How much would it cost to fix a small lacquer chip in an
Epiphone Les Paul? It hasn't affected the wood, is on the side of the guitar, and
it's a little smaller than a dime in size. Thanks.
If it's a recently made guitar, there's a good chance that
the finish is urethane rather than lacquer. Touching up urethane with urethane isn't
really practical, so a touchup using lacquer as the touchup material is probably the way
As for cost....the better the job, the more it'll cost you. But if it's on the side of the
guitar I can assume that there is only one color to deal with, not like trying to touch up
a sunburst finish. That means that the repair is relatively easy. Whoever repairs it will
probably charge straight bench time, at X dollars per hour. I'd estimate that it's a one
hour repair, but one hour separated into a few smaller blocks because the paint has to dry
before it can be leveled out and polished.
Between 30 and 75 dollars, depending on the local repairman's pricing.
Anyone have any alternatives to the neck heater that LMI
offers for $225.
I use a clothes iron to heat the neck evenly (use it as
though you were trying to remove wrinkles from the frets), followed by strategic clamping
and subsequent cooling overnight with clamps in place. Be sure to loosen the truss rod nut
completely first, and rehearse your clamping sequence before you apply heat. The fulcrum
is what matters here, and it usually takes minimal clamping pressure to achieve the
desired neck bow or arch. When you heat the neck, you'll know you've arrived when you can
feel very distinct warmth all the way through the neck. No need to use the hottest
setting, and don't use steam. Also be sure to protect the top (face) of the guitar from
any heat spillover, a precaution you should also take with the LMI neck heater. An
alternative is a paint-removal heat gun, but they get really hot really fast and heat
spillover can be difficult to monitor.
When I make a neck, should it be dead straight before doing
the frets or putting tension on the truss rod or should it have a slight up-bow? Also, how
should a good neck relief look? Should it be even along the whole neck, or should it bend
more on the outer part/inner part?
I put a hair of tension on the neck before sanding it true.
Make sure it is straight on the whole board -- not just the center. I often will put three
or four pieces of masking tape over the 7th fret and just sand from the 12th up to put a
little fall-off for the upper frets. (Thanks to Frank Ford)
Frank Ford did demonstrations at a couple lutherie conventions where he gave an unbound
guitar a complete fret job in about an hour and a half. First he loosened the truss rod
and pulled the frets. Then he leveled the fingerboard with an old #5 plane bottom as his
block and progressive grits of sandpaper. Once the board was level he wrapped several
piece of masking tape over the fifth fret (I use 7) and tore his sandpaper in half. The
sandpaper stayed to the front of the plane and the bottom of the plane without the
sandpaper registered against the tape so the plane had a very slightly steeper angle. This
removed a very small amount of material from the higher frets as far down as the 12th. I
do this operation almost in the dark with a gooseneck lamp behind the guitar so I can
check board with a straightedge. You are only taking enough material off to see a sliver
of light at the 21st.
Remember that a moving string creates a parabola like a jump rope (although it also
wiggles along the length). If you have relief at about the 7th fret the string is
dangerously close to hitting the upper frets. By creating a little fall-away at the
highest frets you remove them as contact points at the lowest arc of the strings. It does
make the action higher at those frets which is It does make the action higher at those
frets which is your trade-off. You see this more with acoustic guitars than electrics. You
see this more with acoustic guitars than electrics.
Lately I've tried to apply a wood binding to an electric
guitar. I don't own an electrically heated bending tool and the approach using a steel
tubing heated by a torch seemed somewhat dangerous to me :-).
So I used my 100W soldering iron. I connected it to a standard lamp dimmer to regulate
temperature and it works absolutely fine. The small diameter of the iron makes bending
small curves easy. This makeshift tool may come in handy to newbie instrument
builders that do not have a fully-equipped workshop.
I've got a standard humbucking on a Korean guitar. The
pickups are awesome - very well balanced and great tone. I want to keep them and don't
want to go to the added expense of buying a Duncan or a DiMarzio. I believe there is
a way to re-wire these into a 4 conductor layout isn't there?
There are four outputs from a standard humbucker; two from
each coil. These two represent the beginning and the end of the wire wrapped around the
bobbin. Normally the outside (end) of the coil has the series link, i.e. the connection
between the two coils.
In the scenario you listed, you can cut (please be careful) the red wire that connects the
two coils, and unsolder the wire from the baseplate (metal frame). By doing this you'll
have two wires from each coil -- wire these to a four conductor wire. Tip: Note, on paper,
which wire from which coil is soldered to each wire in the four-conductor lead!
You can now wire in a phase switch or a coil tap using the four conductor wiring. Plenty
of diagrams at Stewmac.com and Seymourduncan.com.
Safety Warning: Pickups are delicate, and can be rendered
permanently unusable by a slip of a knife or wayward soldering iron. If this pickup is
dear to you, take it to a reputable repairperson for the "operation".
How do I tell which is the beginning and end of the wire on a
Well, you can hook up a decent meter to the two wires and
then plop a screwdriver (or something else metal) onto the pole pieces. You should see the
meter kick UP (positive). If it kicks DOWN (negative) then flip the meter leads.
When you have it kicking up, the lead attached to the meter + is the start. This lets you
get both coils the same way, which is what really matters.
The truss rod's Allen key hole in the Fender restoration
project of mine is stripped. Any ideas of how to repair this? I don't want to replace the
Ok, If I remember correctly....that should have the
bi-directional rod in it and the only thing that you see on the face of the peg head is
the rosewood plug with the hole in it that they put in through which you access the truss
rod nut. I spoke to Fender a while back when I had a neck on the bench that had the same
problem and their response was:
1) heat up the rosewood plug and remove it and 2) loosen the nut and remove it. The
rosewood plug is what the nut pushes against when rotated in the 'wrong' direction and
creates relief. So, the nut will not pass through the plug, the plug has to be removed.
The reality of the situation was that the rosewood plug had to be removed by brute force,
no amount of heating the thing up was going to break the glue loose that was holding it
(the wood shrinkage around it also probably conspired to hold it as well). I believe that
I ended up Dremmeling the thing out. Now, the stinker of the thing was that the nut itself
is such a snug fit in the hole that it resides in that it too was near impossible to pull
Even after getting out as much of the residue of the plug and glue from the hole, it still
didn't want to come out of there. I believe that what I did was to remove the string
nut, Dremmeled out a bit of the nut slot down to the truss rod and then drove and
persuaded the nut out of the channel that it rode in.
Fender will sell you a new nut and plug, I think I had a nut on hand and simply made a
plug to complete the repair. The plug had to be glued in with hide glue, nothing else that
I found would hold up to the pressure that the nut exerted on the plug without making the
How do YOU shape the back of a guitar neck? I'm talking about
a normal bolt-on neck. I've read a few methods of doing this but I would like to know if
you have any ideas to make the job easier and more accurate.
Technique 1: Take two neck blanks, spot-glue
them together face to face. Turn them on a lathe, split apart. Finish the heel and peghead
joints by flowing out with a spokeshave, rasp, or whatever tool you feel comfortable with.
Two necks in the time it takes for one; can't beat it for speed if you don't object to a
half-round neck section. Contoured scrapers will further speed sanding. If you're starting
out coarser than 220 grit, you're wasting time and making work for yourself.
Technique 2: I do the profile and rough 'faceting' on my bandsaw. Cut the
heel and peghead transitions with the sander and I use one of those deals that looks like
bound hacksaw blades to do the shaft. It makes amazingly quick work of it and, unlike a
sander, it's hard to do too much to quick and it keeps all the lines straight, no dips.
After that it's a scraper and sandpaper.
Technique 3: Go to woodbits.com. They
have a 1.5 inch radius (3 inch circle) roundover bit in their catalog. Very reasonably
priced, and the quality is excellent. It's great for roughing out necks.
Technique 4: 6x48 belt sander with a fresh 120 grit belt. It takes MINUTES to
rough out a complete neck. Then I go to a die grinder with a smooth cutting high speed
steel cutter with a round nose cylindrical profile. It's a godsend for working deep into
the heel of a set neck, and for other purposes. I finish out with a random orbit sander
and some moderately aggressive files, but I no longer use rasps.
Technique 5: I recently found a great solution for shaping necks. Its called
the Microplane. The idea is that it mounts in a hacksaw frame and acts like a plane
instead of a file. What this means is that you get a very controlled cut and the shavings
are "heavier than air" meaning they dont float around like sawdust for you
to inhale. I thought this was just hype until I tried one and they really work great.
There are a couple varieties: the hacksaw blade type, a rotary rasp, and a handheld sort
of file arrangement. I work with mostly Mahogany and they work great. The hacksaw version
is $10 so you cant go too wrong.
Anyone know of a web site to see an wiring diagram of a
typical Strat type guitar pickup setup with what wires to to what pots and ground?
www.seymourduncan.com -- You'll find
them all there.
I would appreciate any methods that makes inspection for
surface scratches more foolproof prior to applying finish. Maybe there aren't any real
tricks, but I'm betting someone here has discovered an effective way to uncover those
pesky little scratches that you just can't see (or I miss) when the wood is still in the
white. I'm tired of discovering them only after the first coat of lacquer is applied.
Usually hitting it with a little denatured alcohol or mineral
spirits will show scratches. You have to be careful that you don't cause woods to bleed,
though. On some of our guitars we count on using a couple coats of shellac to highlight
not only scratches but also rough spots on end grain and will sand back with 220 or 320 to
smooth it out.
I have a Jagmaster. I don't like the tremolo, 2 point
floating. I prefer vintage, and intend to replace. I need to take the posts out, so I can
plug with dowel pieces for re-drill for vintage type whammy. Any suggestions?
To get the posts out I made my own extractor from a set (a
bolt with thread all the way up), a nut, a washer, a socket from a socket set and a piece
of cork cut from a cork tile.
Make sure the thread on the nut and bolt is the same as the stud you're extracting.
Place the cork on the body (this is to stop the socket marking the wood) and the socket on
top, then a washer on top of that. Screw the nut to the top of the bolt, then screw
the bolt into the stud through the socket. Once the bolt is all the way in, wind the
nut down the bolt until it sits on the washer, then holding the bolt still with one
spanner use another to continue winding the nut until the stud is extracted. If you
already have a socket set lying around then this tool can be made up for almost nothing.
I'm making a SG style guitar, and I am about to glue the neck
to the body. My question is: Should I glue the fingerboard to the neck, before I
glue the whole thing to the body, or should I glue the neck to the body, and then glue the
fingerboard? The neck has a "tongue" that fits in a pocket in the body,
just like the Les Paul joint. The reason I'd like to glue the fingerboard last, is
that I can then make sure that the transition from neck to body is smooth and plane, so
the fingerboard will have contact with both the neck and body when I glue it.
You can do it either way. I make mostly classical guitars
where the neck goes on when you assemble the box so you have to put the fingerboard on
last. You can check the alignment and make minute changes on the spot. Most people put the
fingerboard on the neck first for steel strings and electrics. The advantage is that is
much easier to completely shape the neck.
To do it right for a one-off you need to be sure the neck (without fingerboard) is a good
fit in the pocket and in line with the center. I mark the center on the body in a couple
places and at the nut then stretch a piece of button thread to check it. Once the neck is
firmly in place I lay the fingerboard on and check it against the centerline and to make
sure it is flat on the body. From there I clamp it to the neck, drill 1/16" holes
through the fingerboard into the neck at the 2nd and 16th frets (two each 1/2" from
the center line) and remove the parts for assembly. I have a piece of 8/4 scrap I use for
my clamping caul with holes drilled to match the ones in the fingerboard. I forget the
size but there is a brad that almost perfectly matches a 1/16" drill and I use those
to pin the board and neck when it is glued on. Leave plenty of brad sticking out to pull
out later. Use a piece of newspaper between the board and caul or else glue will find a
way to stick them together.
Once glued you can shape, inlay and radius the board before attaching it to the neck. You
can also put the frets in. The danger there is that sometimes if the neck pocket isn't
perfect you will distort the board a little when clamping it on. If you wait to fret you
can touch-up sand the board after assembly to make sure it's level and radiused right.
1. I recently had the factory issue Samick humbuckers in my
335 style guitar replaced with Kent Armstrong designed P-90s (WPU900C and WPU900CR). I
later realized that the pots had not been changed and were still factory 500k pots.
(They're kind of small - a little over a half inch in diameter, but are smooth). The sound
was much clearer but without the oomph of the Gibson P90 I have in another guitar, unless
the volume and tone are turned to full and the sound breaks up. Should I change the pots
to another value? 250k? If so should I change the volume AND tone pots?
Also I wouldn't mind a simpler configuration - say three knobs, two volume and one tone,
or even one volume one tone control seeing as how to it is to put the pots in a 335 copy.
2. I bought a Kent Armstrong designed floating humbucker (HJGN-2) for my Korean archtop to
replace the existing pickup that came with it. I don't know if the existing one is a
humbucker. It seemed a little noisy to me but that could have been an ground/shielding
problem. Anyhow, should I be looking to have 500k pots for this pickup? The pots and
knobs on it are tiny -- about the size of shirt buttons, and may be hard to replace.
The 500 K are perfect for a P90...that is what Gibson uses on
its models. The P90 you have are humbucker size PU with chrome cover and that cam change
the sound... The sound is close to a P90 but not exactly a P90 sound...
250k pots always bleed some signal to ground. It just isn't enough resistance to
completely get through the circuit. They are most common in Fenders because the high
frequencies of those single coils are mellowed a little by always having some leakage
through the tone cap. On the other hand, a 500k pot will pass most of the signal but a big
resistor like that will also remove some highs through inductance when not cranked. You
might consider wiring a .001 cap between the input and output legs of your volume pot(s)
to replace the highs you lose at low volumes. This allows those frequencies to pass
without going through the pot at all.
I scraped the binding on the neck of my newly made archtop in
preparation for finishing and found pits in it. This is binding that is unmodified,
straight from the factory. The pits must have been inclusions in the material.
The affected piece is black. How can I fill these pits? I've considered just
filling in the pits with black lacquer, but I want some opinions on whether or not it's a
good idea before I do it.
If it's celluloid just make a paste in a glass jar from
shavings and acetone and drop fill it. This technique also works with the ABS
bindings from Stew-Mac.