BUILDING A SAGA T-STYLE


From Mark Robinson:

Details:

  • Surf Green and Clear Coat Nitro with Fender Neck Amber all from Reranch.
  • String through body with vintage style, 6-saddle bridge.
  • Decal made from Micro-Mark clear stock.
  • Shielded all pickup and control cavities, plus the pick-guard.
  • Duncan hot-stack in neck. Original pickup in bridge.
  • Reversed controls ala Fender Custom Classic.
     

Overall my experience was very good. There are good reviews on Harmony-Central that were somewhat helpful in looking out for trouble areas in advance and I heeded some of these.

I started out by getting the headstock routed, holes drilled in the body (string-through) including a sink for ferrules. (I had a guy who builds guitars do this for me for $80.00) He also measured and drilled (new) holes for a replacement bridge (vintage re-issue with the lip for the ashtray cover). I filled two that were not needed.

You already know the painting/finishing stuff Ė that was the next step. Note that I painted the head stock which is a factor below.

Iíd read that the tuning keys arenít very good on these, although more recent H-C reviews indicate theyíve improved them. I replaced mine with Kluson re-issues. One HUGE WORD OF WARNING. If you do this, make sure you drill the holes out to fit the replacements. I didnít find this out until after Iíd painted the head stock. The paint chipped when I tried to fit them in. Cost me weeks of refinishing time to re-paint, make a new decal, etc. Rookie mistake.

Next, I went the extra step and shielded the cavities (including the back of the pick-guard) with copper tape.

 


The input jack as designed sticks out too far for my tastes, so I found another washer to put behind the plate so I could adjust it and make it flush to the body. The wiring is very easy if you go with the stock electronics. I replaced the neck pickup and kept the stock bridge one, so I had a little soldering to do. Also, I reversed my control plate (a la a Fender Custom Classic) so the volume is far forward, tone in the mid and the selector switch to the rear. This created a few wiring issues so it went back to my guitar electronic guy for some wiring (another $40.)

I replaced the pick-guard which meant drilling and filling a few holes, no big deal.

One of the best things about my Saga (donít know if this is true of all) is the neck. I wanted a rosewood fretboard as my two Strats are maple. This thing is chunky, solid and straight. Feels very fifties-like. It fits very tightly into the pocket. I did have to drill the holes a little deeper to get the screws all the way in when attaching it to the body.

Iíve noticed a little gap (less than an 1/8Ē) and in a crescent shape the size of your pinky fingernail beside the bridge thatís created by the routing for the bridge pickup. Iíd check that in advance before painting, too.

The finished product plays great. Iím letting the neck settle down a little and then Iím having my guitar guy do a complete set-up to get the intonation right.

With a molded case from Same Day Music Iíve got about $500 in this thing. Not bad for a one-off model that you wonít see just everyday.

If someone just wanted to buy the kit, spray it with some lacquer from an auto store and go with it as is, I think you could have a killer guitar for $150.

Thanks for all the helpful tips on your web site, too.

Mark


Great job, Mark -- Keep up the great work!

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