Note from GuitarAttack:  This is a great story from a non-luthier (Photos at bottom of for full-size).  We love the "beer bottle" headstock!

From Mark Courter

Hello Guitar Attack,

I've played a Les Paul for more than 30 years as my main guitar. But I've always wanted a Strat, who doesn't? I play rock, blues and jazz and occasionally like to get down and dirty. This Saga kit is my first do it yourselfer. I got it from Online It arrived in a week. I used all stock parts according to the instructions. I've never worked with wood, and electronics is an arcane art to me.

Finishing was an experience. After fine sanding, the first coat of primer was laughable, I had to sand it all down. But I got better quickly. I used Duplicolor Blue Metal Flake auto paint in a spray can. I used three color coats, and didn't sand, as I've read that that is not a good idea with metal flake due to the sanding process disturbing the "flop"agent which gives the flake its metallic appearance. I was working under deplorable conditions: a breezy patio and a poorly lit garage. After the first coat of lacquer I began wet sanding, using 600 then 1500 grit sandpaper followed by 0000 grade steel wool. Three clear coats, 24 hours between each coat. Wait a week. Followed by rubbing compound and car wax. It ain't factory paint, and I can see a number of flaws, but to the casual observer it looks pretty good. I surely could have taken more time with it. My next one, a T-Style, will look better.

This is NOT a Fender, and I had no desire to duplicate a Fender headstock. Thus you see my unique (I think...) headstock, shaped using a bottle of St. Pauli Girl as a template (Awesome idea...Ed.). Unfortunately, I used a dull blade, necessitating a LOT of sanding. The decal bearing my name was, alas, not truly transparent, but this is after all my prototype.

The electronics proved to be a nightmare, mostly due to my inexperience. But the wiring diagram provided was a very bad joke. Thanks to the Fender site for their diagrams. The pickups turned out to be better than I expected. The hardware was not bad, except the tuners, which are low end, but I'll use them for a while. Everything went together well, except two neck screws were a problem. I'll have to drill those holes deeper. But this is after all a do it your self guitar. A little work is okay. The fingerboard has a nice flame in it, and the body is solid. The intonation was almost perfect right away, and once I get the neck screws replaced and tightened down, the action will be very good. The frets were in good shape, it plays well, it sounds like a Strat and, in fact, I recorded my first track with it tonight ( I record at home).

Eventually I plan to make a couple of guitars from parts, but I was happy enough with my Saga kit to continue practicing with a few kits, including a bass. I'd like to see Saga include a few upgrade features for their kits, such as tuners and pickups.

Thanks to Guitar Attack for the Saga Sagas. I learned a lot here reading other peoples' accounts of their own builds before doing my own.

Mark C near LA

Great job, Mark -- Unique Headstock!

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