#1
Hey guys, this is the next chapter in my Saga Flying V kit build. Last one, I held a poll over what finish I should give this V, which now is moot (for several reasons that I will go into later). Also, I journaled a little bit of the initial assembly, when really what I should've done was start a new thread for the actual work.

As you probably know, I ordered the Saga FV-10 Flying V kit for $169 on Amazon nine days ago. Received it a week ago today (with free two-day shipping thanks to an Amazon Prime Membership Trial that I cancelled almost immediately after shipment--I don't deal with them hardly at all anyway). Here are some of the specs on the guitar:

-Basswood body (multi-piece, mine was a 5-piece body)
-(Unknown wood) Bolt-on neck
-22-fret rosewood fretboard
-24-5/8" scale (just like most Gibsons)
-2 chrome-covered humbuckers
-2 volume controls, 1 tone control w/ 3-way toggle switch (electronic layout is identical to a Gibson V's layout)
-Tune-o-Matic bridge and Stop tailpiece

So the specs, aside from the wood and neck joint, are much like that of a '67 Gibson Flying V reissue. The kit comes with everything you should need aside from tools: all hardware and electronics are included. They even pack a set of strings (which, by the way, sound dead and feel like dental floss compared to the strings I use).
#2
The first order of business, before I moved any further, was inspecting the items and seeing if everything seemed to be in good working order. No problems here, so I decided to move forward and assemble the guitar as-is, no finish. The bridge and tailpiece studs were a bitch to put in, but I got them in (and they fit TIGHT).

Next up was putting the remainder of the screws in the pickguard (the kit was shipped with the pickguard secured to the body with two screws). Almost all of the holes lined up beautifully, which was a surprise, because I've read all too many stories about how the kits have screw holes that are all over the place.

Then I bolted the neck to the body. Now, this takes some work, and strength, if you don't have a drill, because the people at Saga don't drill nearly deep enough for the screws they give you. Also, the alignment of these holes are a bit dodgy. I managed to get all four screws completely in, and found that the neck plate hangs off the heel on both the bass and treble sides. This is a hiccup in craftsmanship--doesn't affect playability, but it sure drove me nuts! More on this later.

By this time I was ready to string it up and set it up. The neck had a TON of relief on it, to the point of being nearly unplayable (I guess they ship it that way to avoid broken necks or truss rods), so a bit of effort was spent adjusting the truss rod. I finally got the neck pretty damn straight, and after cutting the nut and filing down some high frets, I managed nearly perfect intonation using Ernie Ball .012s tuned to E-flat.

At this point, there is one major problem: the tuners. They work, but are VERY stiff. The low E tuner was ok, but the tuner for the A string required a LOT of strength (and I'm a fairly big, strong guy at 6'5", 235lbs) just to turn the key. This is unacceptable. Once I get a couple dollars that WILL be replaced.

Here's what the guitar looks like at this point:


#4
After plugging the guitar in, I was honestly quite surprised to find that the stock pickups had a decent sound to them. I honestly was expecting a ridiculously overwound ceramic humbucker that was noisy as hell (the irony) and sounded like absolute shite. These are fairly versatile, and not too hot, but a hair on the muddy side for my liking though. But I'd say they were pretty good. Run through my Line 6 POD Farm setup, on my lead preset, it screamed with massive gobs of sustain.

My only gripes here are the toggle switch, which cuts out and isn't any good in my opinion; and how the pots seem to wiggle (however this is only a matter of tightening the nuts securing the pots to the pickguard. They're fairly smooth, and have a decent taper.

The overhanging neck plate was still driving me crazy at this point, and after thinking about it for a couple of days, I realized that the thing had to go. I prefer set-neck guitars, personally, and since the Gibson V was a set-neck, I decided to at least try to set the neck, using Titebond, and placing wooden dowels in the screw holes for reinforcement. I put a lot of thought into it--how to get the neck pocket nice and snug so the glue would bond well, as well as what general approach to take. Here's what happened...
#5
I sanded the neck pocket and the section of the neck to be glued. Then I shimmed the bass side of the neck to get the correct string alignment between the nut, neck, and bridge. I then put a THICK layer of Titebond in the neck pocket, with the dowels in partially. I set the neck in the pocket and inserted the dowels the rest of the way by using the butt end of a screwdriver. I then took a piece of basswood that I had laying around, and laid it across the fretboard, and placed two clamps on the joint.

I let it set overnight, and after 12 hours removed the clamps. I then took this time to put the bridge back on the guitar, which then allowed me to check my work on aligning the neck (which was perfect). I let the guitar sit for several more hours, and tuned up the low E and high E strings. The neck didn't budge. So more waiting, then I finally tuned it up. No movement.

At this point I thought it would hold. It'd been about 24 hours, and so the glue surely must had dried by then. Before going to bed last night, I did a quick test of swinging the guitar (almost like a baseball bat) by its neck, and just abusing it. Not even a hint of a snap or crack, or even a creak. It felt solid.

Here's the guitar after disassembly:


After applying the clamps:


And an underside view of the guitar during this process:

There will be pics of the aftermath soon. I'm still cleaning up excess glue along the edges. While the joint is tight and the guitar still sounds good, let's just say it wasn't pretty, and I'm pretty sure, because of this (and the 5-piece body) that a transparent finish is pretty much out of the question.
#6
Are you goin to sand down the heel or just leave it like that
My gear:
Yamaha f335 acoustic
Ibanezs ex 270
2003 mim strat
peavey xxl head through Marshall cab
Tama rockstar drum kit
#7


Are you going to try contouring the heel of the neck? What idea have you ultimately come up with finish-wise? Black?

Edit: Ninja'd on GB&C. A rare occurrance indeed.
Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
#8
The heel is fine the way it is, It was the neck plate that was bugging me. I like having a little bit of a heel, for strength, since the neck ends at the 21st fret (the fretboard hangs over a little). I'm gonna do some sanding to level out the heel where the dowels didn't quite sit flush with the body, and in turn level out the strap button hole that I filled in the back. I moved the strap button hole to (I guess what you would call, on a V) the upper bout, so I can use the same strap with all of my guitars, without it being twisted.

EDIT: I'm not sure where to go with finish. My Strat, Tele, and PRS Tremonti SE are all black, and because of this I'm not sure if I should go that route. I've actually contemplated painting my Tele white because I think I have too many black guitars.
I like the look of the silverburst V, but have never done a burst before, and I'm actually scared shitless to do it. My wife wants me to do heritage cherry, but I'm not sure. So I'm kinda weighing the options between those two and white.
Last edited by dkennedy88 at Mar 31, 2012,
#9
Typically on Flying V's, the strap button locations are at the underside of the upper wing right at the tip and the other strap button right in the center of the body were the body and the neck joint meet each other.

I have a Gibson V myself and those locations make the guitar wonderfully balanced. My Stagg V copy have the locations offset and its the most unbalanced guitar there is.
Quote by Axelfox
Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Quote by H4T3BR33D3R
I also have to do that. Cottaging this weekend
#10
The strap buttons are about midway down the upper horn and on the bass side of the side of the body where the body meets the neck. It seems a hair neck-heavy, but balances OK, considering how low I typically wear my guitars.
#11
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Typically on Flying V's, the strap button locations are at the underside of the upper wing right at the tip and the other strap button right in the center of the body were the body and the neck joint meet each other.

I have a Gibson V myself and those locations make the guitar wonderfully balanced. My Stagg V copy have the locations offset and its the most unbalanced guitar there is.


Your Stagg V has a bolt-on neck, correct? Looked like it to me.
#12
Wow that looks pretty cool! I gotta admit. I have those same knobs on my yamaha. Anyhow, what I think would look cool for color is a nice aged white color. Just so it has a bit of contrast with the pickgaurd. Maybe a painted headstock to match. And btw the neck is more than likely maple.
#13
I was thinking maple, but I have read otherwise in some sources. Not too worried about it. Sounds and feels good, that's really all that matters.
#15
Next step is painting. Bear with me though, since time is kinda short for me. Getting ready for my kid to get here.

All in all the guitar sounds and plays well. The glue job didn't really affect the tone much, at least to me.

I'm still undecided as to what direction to go in as far as finish.
#16
i'm really loving this, your guitar looks very pretty
i wanted to glue my neck to my body to
#17
Quote by JazzMunkeyy
i'm really loving this, your guitar looks very pretty
i wanted to glue my neck to my body to

Thanks

As for the neck setup, like I've shown, it can be done. But it takes a lot of time and effort to do it right. If you do this, you MUST put a lot of thought into doing this. Make sure you wanna do this, because it's damn near irreversible! Here are some tips I can give you from my experience:

1) Make sure that neck joint is tight. Now, it doesn't have to be so tight you can pick the body up by the neck, but make sure the neck doesn't wiggle. If loose, add a thin shim or two in the side to tighten it up (I used a couple business cards this time, however I'd much prefer a wood veneer).

2) Make sure your neck is aligned with the bridge. To do this: while strung up, take a close look from the nut down to the bridge. You want to strive to have the strings centered on the neck (i.e, the spacing between the low E string and the bass edge of the neck is about the same as the spacing between the high E string and the treble edge of the neck). This is, of course, provided that your nut is cut properly and evenly spaced. If out of alignment, loosen the screws just enough to shift the neck in the right direction. If possible, shim one side to shift the neck over in the direction you need to go in.

3) Make sure your action is close to where you like it, or at least where you can adjust it without shimming the pocket for height. Because, once you glue it in, it'll be awful hard to get the neck off (if even possible).

4) One thing I did to help stabilize the neck was to insert wooden dowels into the screw holes. I found a long (36") dowel rod at a hobby and craft store for a quarter. I cut them into roughly the same length as the screws and during the gluing process, prior to clamping, tapped them into the holes.

Hope these tips help you.
#19
Small update: guess I might not have to replace the tuners after all. As a last-ditch effort this afternoon, I removed two of the tuners (the two most offending) and dropped machine oil down the shafts. They turn much better and smoother now, and I can deal with them, I think.

EDIT: 4/3/12 - 1:45am -->Also filled in additional holes. Sanded down heel to level out the dowels with the body. More to finish. Also filled dents in body and headstock (from a harrowing fall during neck setting). Oiled the other tuners, we're just about ready for paint.

I apologize if my updates aren't too steady. Like I mentioned before, my wife is expecting a baby boy and there seems to be some conflict (totally unrelated to this build). Our obstetrician and her sonography tech are complete retards and are certain that we're 8 weeks from due date, however all other signs point otherwise, suggesting it's maybe 2 weeks or less till go time. We're trying to switch docs at the last minute for a second opinion. This is serious BS, if you ask me.

Sorry for the rant. People's stupidity, especially overpaid quacks that call themselves doctors, never ceases to amaze me.
Last edited by dkennedy88 at Apr 3, 2012,
#20
Update: Guitar is ready for paint. Holes and dents all filled in and level. Bought the paint already...a can of Krylon Cherry Red, a can of Krylon Black (for the headstock), and two cans of Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane. Going to paint first chance I can. Right now, I've been in and out of the hospital for going on three days now--wife's showing signs of potential preterm labor...NOT GOOD. So when things settle down (now mind you, we may have a little man in tow as well) I'm gonna start painting. Looking to do two coats of color, then 3-4 (maybe more) coats of poly (I'm looking for a thinner finish).

Ok, so one question: I had to literally force the bridge and tailpiece bushings into the body, and to paint, I'm gonna have to remove them. I have an extra pair of bridge posts from a replacement bridge for my black PRS (the posts fit, I checked). I personally don't care if they get messed up, because I don't need them. That said, could I use those posts to pull the bushings out of the wood by pulling them out with pliers? Also, any other tips on removing these bushings?
#21
When I'm pulling out bridge anchors I usually use a bolt of the same thread patter (old studs will also work). I then put down a cloth over the body, use a scrap piece of wood and pull up with a claw hammer. It's always worked for me though I'm sure some people may argue the safety of the guitar.
#22
Quote by inkandlead
When I'm pulling out bridge anchors I usually use a bolt of the same thread patter (old studs will also work). I then put down a cloth over the body, use a scrap piece of wood and pull up with a claw hammer. It's always worked for me though I'm sure some people may argue the safety of the guitar.


That's why I was thinking of. I didn't want to harm the guitar, considering I just leveled it out, and I was gonna paint as soon as I strip the hardware and strings from the guitar and tape off the fretboard. I already have a rig set up to hang the guitar.

I know there are a lot of cork-sniffers out there that any finish that isn't oil or nitro, but since I'm trying to achieve a thin finish, I think it'll mean little to no difference. So my questions are: 1) How long between coats, if I'm sanding between coats? and 2) How long does this Minwax spray polyurethane take to cure for final wet-sand and polish?
#23
stewmac.com has a puller that is pretty simple, you could probably make one fairly easily but you want to cushion the boby or the puller will dent the body. however you pull them out be careful and go slow, you dont want the hole to split or splinter. I would probably just tape the bushings and go ahead and paint.
proud american
#24
I got them out with needle-nose pliers, no problem, no dents. Did one coat of the cherry today, gotta sand tomorrow though because the paint decided to run then do two more coats of that. Then let that dry for awhile, then paint the black on the headstock.
#25
Got the runs fixed, that resulted in a bit of sand-through :/ oh well. Went ahead and touched up the bare spots, so the color's somewhat uniform. I totally suck at painting. Plan on doing at least a couple more passes of the cherry, but now I'm relying on doing VERY light coats to prevent the run. Had to buy another can of cherry, but that's ok. Krylon spray paint is cheap.

After I get the paint all sorted out, I'm gonna tape off enough of the red so I can shoot black on the headstock without splattering it on the red. Then a light wet-sand at 400 grit to smooth it all out, before I start the Minwax fast-drying spray poly. Has anyone used this for guitars? If so, how long did you let the poly cure before final wet-sanding and buffing? I'm looking to do a thin finish, so I'm thinking 4-5 light coats, sanding lightly in between.

Also, my wife damn near went into premature labor last week. So I've been busy. On that subject, when our child gets here, I'm doing a decal of his name in the Gibson font, for the truss rod cover. We have a name picked out, but I want to make sure before it's done. I can't wait till this is done!

FYI: I will do pics when I'm done with the paint phase, before the clear
#26
Cool project. I'm glad you reinforced the neck with wooden dowels. Id still be wary about knocking the neck tho.

Anyway, looking forward to seeing the finish. Just dont skip grits when you wet sand. Obviously, the longer you spend on this stage, the better the finish will be for clear. Not sure on poly, but theres plenty of other painting guides on teh web that you can have a look at. I thin Ormsby guitars uses poly on some of his. check his site (and cry like a baby at how beautiful they are!)

Good luck with the baby as well. Mine are all but grown up now, but I remember the fun and games we had! good luck!
#27
Will be interested to see your finished product. Currently dicking around with an old cheapy guitar, but was wondering if the Saga kits were any good, since it's still possible I'll just wreck the one I'm on atm.
Quote by Diemon Dave
Don't go ninjerin nobody don't need ninjerin'
#28
Don't try to pry off the inserts with pliers.There is a very simple way. Hopefully the bottom of the inserts are open.Get a small screw about half the depth of the insert. Drop the screw in head first.Screw in the other part of the insert.When you screw it in the insert in the body will start to pull out.You shouldn't have to force it.
#29
Quote by PTModIT
Don't try to pry off the inserts with pliers.There is a very simple way. Hopefully the bottom of the inserts are open.Get a small screw about half the depth of the insert. Drop the screw in head first.Screw in the other part of the insert.When you screw it in the insert in the body will start to pull out.You shouldn't have to force it.


Already done, like days ago. :p

Anyway, the paint is done, all I need to do is tape off the fretboard and nut and shoot the clear on the guitar. It looks good, but there are some flaws. The grain still shows in places, and there are some uneven spots, where the red is darker than others (but not too easy to notice though, thankfully).

I'm gonna wait on the clear until my son gets here, so I can inscribe his date of birth with a paint pen, as a serial number of sorts So it may take a few days to start on that, could take a few weeks, who knows?

Stay tuned!
#30
No...no pliers dude! try cutting a wedge of wood...like a big triangle. Wedge it between the body and your stop bar. start screwing down the big screws. the posts should pop up. If that doesn't work put the big screws in the studs and use a claw hammer like pulling a nail out, but a little at a time. try one side of a stud then the other side of the same stud.
#32
Quote by badkirk
No...no pliers dude! try cutting a wedge of wood...like a big triangle. Wedge it between the body and your stop bar. start screwing down the big screws. the posts should pop up. If that doesn't work put the big screws in the studs and use a claw hammer like pulling a nail out, but a little at a time. try one side of a stud then the other side of the same stud.

Dude, I already did it. I used a couple of old bridge studs that fit in the bushings. I then did use pliers, but was pulling by the studs (which I wasn't using with the guitar anyway, so if they got messed up, no big deal) that way I wasn't even actually touching the bushings. Worst case scenario, I would've warped an old pair of bridge studs that I've been meaning to toss anyway. Took all of 2 minutes to pull 4 bushings out of the guitar, without so much as a scratch to the hardware or guitar, and those studs are fine too!