BUILDING A SAGA T-STYLE


Note from GuitarAttack:  Nice T-Style...Lots of great techniques!

 

From Heather Stickney


Hello GuitarAttack,

I came across your site as I was doing research for my own Saga build. I found it very helpful to read though everyoneís stories and lessons learned while I worked on my kit. Here is mine if youíd like to put it with the rest.

Once the kit arrived, I pulled everything out to check that all the parts were there. I didnít do a full assembly before painting as some builders have recommended, but I did at least check that all the screw holes lined properly. Nothing was missing and I did not have to plug/redrill anything, so I started prepping the body.

I decided not to sand through the thick sealer and went straight for a base coat with some flat black auto primer. I botched the first coat and had some extensive wet sanding to get rid of runs in the paint, but the next couple coats went on just fine.

For the color coat, I used Dupli-Color Mirage paint which shifts from gold to magenta. Itís a three part kit that consists of a black base coat, the color-shifting mid coat, and a clear gloss coat. It was turning out awesome until I started clear coating too soon. The front wasnít quite dry enough and I made a few wet passes that caused some runs that the pickguard wonít cover. Unfortunately, I had already used the entire can of mid coat, so I couldnít touch up the finish. I went ahead and smoothed everything out by wet sanding and reapplied gloss, but the coloring is still a little messed up. Eventually, Iíll order another kit to fix itÖ
 

For the headstock, I sketched out a telecaster shape with a pencil and used a coping saw to cut a rough outline. Then, I cleaned it up with a Dremel and some sandpaper. I masked off the fret board then sprayed the unfinished edge with sand and sealer. The back of the neck was sprayed with a few light coats of satin clear then lightly sanded. The face of the headstock was gloss coated for easy decal application. For the logo, I bought some waterslide decal paper and ran it through my inkjet printer. I gloss coated the decal to seal in the ink then applied it using a rubber spatula to smooth out air bubbles. I wasnít concerned with the barely visible seam left by the decal, so I left it as is with no top coat.
After everything had adequate time to dry, I buffed out the body with some 3M rubbing compound. Once I got a good shine, I moved on to assembly. I kept everything stock for now, but I may do some upgrades at some point. The only eventful part of the assembly was installing the tuner bushings. The holes werenít quite big enough, so I had to drill them out a bit. I definitely would recommend a reamer instead of a drill for this, but I had to make do with what I had.
 
It took me a while to string it and get the bridge adjusted (I had never done either before). It was a tedious process, but it was a good learning experience. Once I thought it sounded ok, I plugged it up to the amp. It sounds pretty good, but definitely has some noise issues. I checked the ground wire and itís secure, but I still suspect itís at least partially a grounding issue (not as much hum when I touch metal). Itís pretty loud and makes it very difficult to play with any distortion. I can reduce the hum a lot playing clean if the volume pot is maxed out and the tone pot is turned just right. Iíd like to fix it, but Iím a big dummy when it comes to electrical stuff. Any suggestions on how to fix this would be greatly appreciated.

Overall, Iím pleased with the results and had a great time building my tele. I plan on making some improvements and Iíll be sure to send along an update when I do. On a side note, I definitely recommend the Mirage paint for anyone interested in a color shift effect. Itís hard to capture in pictures, but it really turns out great when you use it correctly.

-Heather
 
Nice work, Heather...looking forward to the next one!

 


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