My brother sent me a kit guitar. A Pitbull ES-3. It is a copy of a Gibson ES-175D jazz box.
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Step 1: Color
I chose a minwax stain, Sedona Red. I decided not to use sander filler and let the wood soak it up where it wanted to. I sanded before hand with 400 grit sand paper. All the binding had to be taped off before staining. I found that auto pin striping works much better for rounding flat curves than the painters tape and doesn't bleed at the edges.
Step 2: Wiring
while stain was drying I put together the pickups and pot's. There are lot's of ways to wire them, I chose a more modern set up. The guitar has no access panel everything has to be fished from the top, so it has to be complete before installing them.
Step 3: Headstock
the neck came with extra wood on the head to customize if wanted. I thought following the line of the harp would look good. I used a coping saw to cut it.
Step 4: Neck
It has a set neck that had to be glued into place. It only took a little light sanding and there was a nice snug fit. Left clamps on overnight and had a solid bond.
Step 5: Finish
I decided on a clear gloss acrylic lacquer finish. I started with a couple rattle cans, but wasn't getting what I wanted so broke out the old MBC Devilbiss spray gun. I bought premix lacquer. First time I have used it. Not as good as I would like, It is real thin but sprayed on ok. I used Dupi-color lacquer, that is kind of known for long cure times. I used Black rattle can lacquer for the headstock and ordered a waterslide decal in the Gibson font for the head.
Step 6: Truss Rod Cover
The kit came with a cover but I didn't like it. I took the one off my Epiphone and copied it on a piece of walnut. Have to shorten it just a little before drilling holes.
Step 7: Polish
I polished it out with 2000 wet sandpaper with just a drop or two of dish soap in the water. Had some 1000 for rough spots. Once the whole thing was wet sanded I used 3M lens polish and protector and elbow grease to get the shine.
Step 8: Strings
bought these for a test. Little heavier than I am used to. I usually use 9.5's.
Step 9: Assembly
putting it together was pretty easy. A piece of wire is a must to fish the pots up into the holes. Had to make sure I chose the right drill bit for the little screws that hold the pieces on. I did have to extend cap wire so it didn't show in the F hole. Lined up the tuners by eye and marked for the holes. It came with a pick guard but not sure I want it on.
Step 10: All Done
It sounds great, Deep and warm. I will take it to CJ. at St. Clair Guitars to get it set up. I am pretty impressed that it is as playable as it is right out of the box. Intonation is good action is a little high but not real bad. Fun to build more fun to play.