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From Craig Irvine:

Please allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Craig Irvine I'm 43 years old and play lead guitar in rock & blues band in Detroit called The Strays. I have been playing close to 30 years now and use this Tele regularly on gigs along with a Fender Stratocaster and an Epiphone Emperor II Joe Pass Model.

Well about a year & a half ago at Christmas my kids pooled their money together and bought me a Saga T style kit off e-bay because "dad" had always wanted to build his own guitar. Well when I received the kit I started right into it and this gold Tele is the result. I built the guitar exactly as the instructions taught me and you know what, it came out great and has become one of my regular working guitars.

OK, here are some of the details about my Saga.  First it is hard to tell in the photographs but I think I got lucky because there is a real nice flame in the maple neck and it looks very sweet, I finished the neck in Deft clear lacquer from a spray can, going off the top of my head I believe I finished the neck with six coats of clear with fine sanding between coats, it is fast, smooth and feels great in my hand. I dressed the frets & nut a bit and also junked the stock tuners in favor of some no brand die cast sealed tuners with the small Fender style buttons on them. I finished the body of the guitar first by sanding down the "sealer" stuff they put on it at the factory and then priming the body with Kilz primer and then several coats of Dupli-color Cadillac gold from the auto parts store along with several coats of the Dupli-color clear coat. I must admit the finish is not perfect but it is perfect for me, remember this is a working musician's guitar that gets beer spilled on it on a regular basis. The guitar was then assembled and set up using all the factory stock parts and it plays great, sounds better than great, and stays in tune reliably.

Since I built this guitar about a year and a half ago, it has been used and abused, it is becoming a relic the hard way, though use, sweat, beer, rock & roll and regular jobs playing out. Is has already got quite a few nicks and chips and wear marks. It also has been dead on reliable, on a job last Saturday playing outside in 90% humidity and 90 degree temps, my real Fender Stratocaster would not even think about staying in tune for very long, but the saga would stay in tune for an entire set.

So, in my humble opinion I would rate these Saga kits as just a great deal, for about $100 plus some time and paint and maybe another $30 for tuners I have some serious Tele mojo, some serious tele twang and one fantastic guitar that I have grown to love. But since some assembly is required you will only get out of it what you put into it, now I have been working on and modifying my guitars for over 30 years so I do know how to set one up and get it playing the way I like. My only complaint with this kit is that the neck pick-up does not line up right with the pick guard and kind of leans a bit forward towards the neck when it is all assembled; I just left it that way.


From Craig Irvine

Hello my friends at Guitar Attack,

Thought you might be interested in an update on my Gold T-Style Saga kit guitar after several years of daily playing on stages from Detroit to Chicago, Milwaukee and all points in between, this guitar has been on the electric Midwest blues circuit more than a few times.

OK, so let's get to the guitar...

After originally building this T-style kit and sending you some info on the guitar, it became part of my working, "play them everyday guitars", which consists of the T-style kit and two Fender Stratocasters. The Saga T-style has held it's own, it has fantastic tone, plays great and has started to wear in just the right spots giving it a vintage feel that just keeps getting better.

First, the finish on the guitar, which I originally did in Dupli-Color Cadillac gold a few years back has worn in the right spots and really has a nice vintage relic feel to it, lots of dents, dings & scrapes and some serous buckle rash on the back, it's right down to the wood (I wish I would have sent you a photo of the back). The body has held up very well with no cracks or anything bad, and I have abused this guitar, big time.

Second the neck -- it is great, the frets have held up well and it plays very well with just some light fret dressing, leveling and basic set-up work, truss rod adjustments, etc. The original Daft spray can lacquer gloss finish has held up good enough and also has yellowed nicely in just 3 years or so. This finish has been rubbed & polished till it just feels right, and the finish is starting to wear off in just the right spots...I consider this a good thing.

Third, modifications to the Saga T-Style since new. The biggest modification to this guitar has been swapping out the original neck pick-up for a humbucker. The neck pick-up in the guitar now is a stock neck pick-up out of a Epiphone Studio Goth guitar that I got from a friend of a friend. What amazes me is how good this pick-up sounds -- it is one fantastic pick-up.  Did the guy listen to his guitar before he took this one out?

Anyway, I had to route the body for the pick-up, which was not that big a deal, I also took an old beat up Tele single ply pick guard and routed it to accept the humbucker pick-up, then sanded it down to 600 grit paper, gave it a few coats of black Krylon Fusion for Plastic paint and then a few coats of clear coat. So far the painted finish on the pick guard is holding up well and it looks good, I'll let you know what the paint looks like a few years from now. The only other mod to the guitar was to hard solder all the electrical connections and get rid of those cheap connectors it comes with. I also added strap locks to keep my strap on when I play. I up graded the tuners when I first built the guitar and those tuners work fine with no issues.  This guitar has always been very good at holding tune. I use a heavy duty hard shell case for this guitar when it is not in use. I string the guitar with Ernie Ball Power Slinky strings which are .011's and what I use on all my solid body electrics -- remember change your strings often.

Fourth, things I don't like and will change with future modifications. The bridge needs to go, I am sick of messing with this one, it's OK, but the little set screws for setting string height are always vibrating loose, "drives me crazy". So I am going to bite the bullet and swap the bridge with a better T-style bridge of a vintage compensated 3 saddle design of some type, might even add the ashtray cover. The guitar will also become a "string through" guitar when this is done and I will drill the body and add ferrules in the back.

Though the stock bridge pick-up sounds OK, and has served me well, it is on the short list of things to be replaced and right now I am trying to decide what will replace it. I am thinking of one of the GFS Tele split rail humbuckers in the standard Tele size might fit the bill well.

I also plan on tossing the stock pots & selector switch with upgraded items when the new bridge pick-up goes in and the soldering iron is out and hot.

Anyway my friends at Guitar Attack, I have been a fan of your web site for years, take care, keep on playing.

Your friend in six strings,

Craig Irvine


Great job, Craig -- ROCK ON!

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