Instructables

How To Build A Saga LP LC-10 Kit, and add Flashing LED's

Picture of How To Build A Saga LP LC-10 Kit, and add Flashing LED's

So today we will learn how to add LED's that flash according to how you strum your guitar. This instructable is also my senior project, so its reputable. =D

Rounded Total: $300.00

Parts List

1 - Saga Guitar Kit $250.00
1 - LM386n-1 op-amp $3.00
1 - general purpose protoboard $3.00
3 - 2packs of white LED's $6.00
3 - 100ohm resistors $2.00
2 - LED mounts $2.00
1 - 5pack of 9volt clips $3.00
1 - 9volt battery*
1- 2pack of Panel Mounted Stereo Jacks

- Spray Paint and Lacquer of your choice $20.00ish
- Guitar Polish $6.97 and Car Wax*
- Miscellaneous 22 gauge wire $6.99
 - Soldering Iron*
 - Cordless Drill*

ESSENTIAL: Positive Attitude, Patience, and a Passionate interest for what you do*

Key: "*" means i did not have to purchase it.
 
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Step 1: Basic Overview of Project

Picture of Basic Overview of Project
     What we are going to do with this guitar is add 2 LED's to the face of the body and 2 in each pickup cavity. They are going to be hooked up to the stereo jack of your guitar, which outputs an electrical signal that will be amplified by the 9v powered LM386 operational-amplifier chip. The stereo jack acts as a switch. When you re-solder all the wires, you will solder them to the ground (which touchs the ring) and the left channel (which touches the tip). When the guitar is not plugged in, the circuit will be broken, so the battery will not drain constantly, but when plugged in the circuit is completed, and the LED's will light up, and sound will be outputted to the amplifier.
      Now first you need to buy your guitar. It doesnt have to be a Les Paul, i just like this style.... You then need to decide where you want to drill the holes for the mounted LED's on the guitar body's face.





1. drill and paint kit
2. solder circuit
3. re-solder stereo jack
4. assemble guitar
5. assemble LED circuit
6. TEST BEFORE TIGHTENING! (or test with an MP3 player with 1/4 adapter-to-left-right-output)
7. tighten
8. play


note: there are sub-steps that will go into more detail as we continue through the instructable

Step 2: DRY FIT! BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING!

i suggest strongly that you dry fit your guitar, BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING ELSE! if you make changes to your guitar without knowing it works in the first place, you can't return it! i dry fitted all of the parts, but didn't put it together completely, you can but don't have to. Just make sure all of the parts fit snugly, If you purchased a Les Paul Kit, the neck is supposed to sit above the body about an 1/8 of an inch. i already emailed the Saga Company, and they confirmed my inquiries.

Step 3: Drill The Holes


     Now its time to drill. Make sure you have the right size drill bit. It's better to be to small and get bigger, because once the wood is drilled, there is no turning back. Have someone hold the body on a flat padded surface to keep the guitar from moving. My dad held mine for me. Make sure you watch the level bubble on the top of your drill, and keep it as vertical as possible, unless you have a drill press available (i don't.)

     Make sure the mounts for your LED's fit snug, and don't wiggle. When you complete this continue ON!

Step 4: Mask off Lining for Paint

So now you need to break out your painters tape and start masking off the lining of your guitar if it has one, or whatever you don't want painted for your different paint layers... i am doing a stripe design, but i have to paint the first layer, tape off the stripes,the paint the next layer, and so on. then once i reach my top coat, which is going to be white, i will have to remove all the tape once dry. you can do whatever design pleases you.

Step 5: Solder Circuit while you wait...

Picture of Solder Circuit while you wait...
You should wait a week after you have finished painting, and applied your final layer of lacquer. while it sets, you can solder up your circuit. The schematic is attached below.

here is the step's to what i have done so far.

1. solder LM386 chip in place

2. solder 10uf capacitor into place on pins 1 to 8. the negative end should be going to pin

3. solder jumper from pin 5 to a separate hole for the 3 resistors to be soldered to the wire to the LED's

4. solder negative end of 9volt clip to negative/tip of stereo jack.

5. solder a jumper from Pin 5 so the postive lead of the battery can combine with the + lead coming from the LED's

6. solder a wire from the negative lead/ring that will go to the negative input on pin 4

7. solder the negative input wire to pin 2, and the other end on the ground/ring on the stereo jack ( i would advise soldering all things to the stereo jack at the same time...and wrapping the wires to get the best connection.) 

8.  if you get confused message me, or see the diagram and pics. 

Step 6: Cut the Headstock

Picture of Cut the Headstock
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 It's time to get to the fun part, cutting the headstock. If you don't have an extended headstock, you can skip this step.

first draw out your design. if you want it symmetrical fold a piece of paper in half, draw half of your design and cut it out and lay it on the headstock, you can trace it onto the wood from there so you can cut it with a coping saw.

Step 7: Ryan vs. Paint: Round #1


now that you have taped off your guitar, it's time to paint it! there will be 3 or four steps covering this, because I'm doing multiple coats of paint for my stripe design. you can do whatever design you want.  i also painted the Neck and Headstock one color (white) so that is included in this step as well. 

first, shake shake SHAKE your paint can, and take slow strokes, slightly overlapping. you shouldn't have to sand between coats unless something happens. i might have to sand mine a bit, there is a tiny run, but they might smooth out as the paint dries.....

(update) i do have to re-sand mine, because they glossy white decided to bubble, apparently i did not shake it enough. 

(update 2) so, ive had to paint and resand the neck multiple times... but it is now smooth and waiting to be clearcoated. 

Step 8: Ryan vs. Paint: Round 2

so now that the neck painting mess is over, i can paint the second yellow coat.

the logic behind this is confusing but once you understand, you feel stupid. 

i want red, orange and yellow stripes. so to do this i paint a red coat, and tape off where i want the stripes to be red. then i paint the yellow coat, and do the same thing. except this time the stripes will be 3 tape widths (i want different sized stripes, yellow lines hurt your eyes when they are small.) then i paint the orange coat, and repeat striping process 2 tape widths. then i paint the final white coat, and wait a couple days for it to dry. i then clear coat and wait a week. this process will be the next 4 steps.

Step 9: Paint Coat #3

this step is pretty self explanatory, you take and tape off your orange stripes, and then paint the white coat and hang to dry.

Step 10: Get ANGRY!


sooooo. i need to pe-paint the neck, again.....even after i sanded the F-ing lacquer...this makes me angry, but i dont want it to look like poop, so i guess its the better idea....anyways...so i have to do that and sand again...the rub and polish....

but the body is in a bit of better shape....some of the paint spider webbed, so i had to sand that, now i gotta re-sand and paint it again, but i got all the tape off and it looks B**CHN!

after that i just need to re mask the front face so the back of the body can be painted white. then i just need to apply a million coats of lacquer.

Step 11: More Anger

So, i am done with the neck. I give up on it, because the more i try to fix it, the shittier it gets. I just painted the back of the body, and it started to run, so i have to sand that down before lacquer....but I am closer to being done. I put all the tuning machines on the head of the guitar, as well as the truss rod cover. Its pretty straightforward, just screw the cover on. Then for the tuning heads put it through the hole, and then put the washer and funky nut thing on. 

I also tried to remove some of the over-sprayed paint on the body, but it didn't really work.
friger3 years ago
I am enjoying following your progress, I really like how you don't hide the slip-ups. It is the mistakes we make that make us human and lend character to our work. Trust me, you will be the only one who sees them.

I might offer a hint on the paint problems you are having; the "spiderwebing"you are getting is a result of what is known as differential drying. The base coat is not 100% cured and so as the under layer continues to cure it actually moves, the top layer is moving at a different rate but is also binding to the under layer, thus you get cracks. Some people do this on purpose to get an antiqued look to their work.
Building any type of stringed instrument is a test of one's patients and you are obviously a very patient young man, keep up the good work.
olivergon2 years ago
I´m writting a blog about assembling DIY kit guitars. Although it´s in Spanish, there is a Google Translator pluggin so you can read in multiple languages. http://www.hacerguitarraelectrica.com
Re-design3 years ago
Good job on the instructable and the guitar.

I built a copy of the same guitar about 2 years ago. Here's a link to a photo of it.
moogbeatz99 (author) 3 years ago
thank you so much for the advice, and appreciation!