BUILDING A SAGA LP-STYLE


 

Note from GuitarAttack:  This is a great story.  Lots of great techniques and a really cool finish.  Remember -- Leo Fender couldn't play guitar, either.

From Anthony Griffith

First off I would like to say that I cannot play the guitar at all; however, I love how a guitar looks and think they are awesome pieces of art. About 10 years ago I built a 1959 Les Paul Junior replica completely from scratch, with a 2003 Trailblazer red. Iíve wanted to make another but I no longer have the proper machinery at my disposal. Hence I purchased at Saga LP!

Initially I wanted to do a black and blue tiger stripe using aniline dye, but when I received the kit and saw how much sealer was on it I thought having to sand the sealer off and then sanding the black dye down would be too much sanding and I would go through the top layer. I then thought of doing a vintage tobacco burst; however, living in Canada it is not that easy to attain tinted lacquer!

After doing some research, I really liked the silverburst effect, but thought the silver was too dark. Thus I came up with the idea of a white burst that fades into black around the edges (as opposed to a tear drop burst which I thought would be too dark).


I started by cutting the head into the classic Gibson style. I did this using a hand held jigsaw, a rasp, and some sand paper.

Next I spray painted the entire guitar (neck, head, and body) using Duplicolor Arctic/Polar White automotive paint. I even spray painted the binding because I didnít like its color (it was more ivory than white). I sprayed about 3 coats in total, so I had a nice, bright white on the whole guitar.

Next I used ľĒ painters tape to tape off where the binding was. My goal was to have a brighter white for the binding. I also taped off the front and back of the head. I then painted the neck and sides of the head with Nighthawk Black (again Duplicolor). Now came the tricky part, doing the edge burst. I traced the body onto some cardboard and hand drew a smaller template. I decided to practice on the back of the guitar. I used bulletin board pins to keep the cardboard slightly above the guitar. This worked ok, but the pins left little round white circles where they were sitting. The edges also were not as even as I liked.

To do the face of the guitar, I more carefully traced a template onto cardboard, and strategically placed the pins in places that were going to be covered (humbuckers, knobs, etc). This worked beautifully as I got a really nice fade. Maybe a little more sharp than I wanted, but overall Iíll take it!

Next I printed a logo onto a label and carefully cut it out using a very sharp knife. I was then left with a label that when placed onto the head I could simply spray black onto it and I get a perfect logo when I peeled off the label. It was a little edgy but I was able to smooth it a bit with some white paint. I then sprayed the sides of the body black. I used about 3 cans of each (white and black) in total, mainly because I needed to fix the head where some tape had pulled off some paint.

Next I used Duplicolor clear coat. I used four cans over three days on the body, and one can over three days on the neck, focusing on the head. I did not sand in between coats, which seemed weird but ended up working out well.


 


I let it sit for seven days then started wet sanding. 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000 grit. I then applied Turtle Wax Rubbing Compound, Turtle Wax Polishing Compound, and a Hi Gloss Guitar Polish I picked up at a local guitar shop.



I then assembled and tested it out. Assembly was VERY easy and sort of fun. I then plugged it in and I think it sounds great and looks AMAZING!!!!!!!!




Anthony Griffith
Brampton, Ontario

   
Great job, Anthony!  Nice take on the "sunburst" finish!

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