#1
Ok, so I'm building a kit guitar. Normally I wouldn't consider doing this, but I needed a guitar that I could use for 2 classes(guitar setup and repair, and instrument finishing). I don't have any lying around and I really didn't feel like stripping a Squier, so I figured I'd kill 2 birds with 1 stone and get a guitar I could use for both classes(actually 3 birds, since i wanted a flying V, but didn't want to buy or build one).

So I orded a flying V kit from BYOG.com. I was a bit miffed about it being a bolt-on maple neck, but whatever. I got the guitar today and these are my initial thoughts:

The wood is pretty sweet. It's a 3-piece mahogany body with a coat of "sanding sealer". It looks like it was sanded with 60 grit before it was sealed

There is filler on the top. That's right, apparently the guitar was gouged at the factory, and they decided to fill it instead of throwing it out. So much for a natural finish Actually, if I were to order a regular flying V pickguard, rather than the small, half -sized pickguard they included, it would cover that up. But still, that is inexcusable.

The fret work is horrid. I counted 5 high frets, 2 of them serious enough to cause dead notes. For the average person who just wants to assemble and play a guitar, that would be seriously disappointing.

All of the hardware is junk. No surprise here, it's a cheap, Chinese kit guitar. I'll probably end up changing the tuners to Gotohs at some point since it should be a direct swap.

The neck is mahogany. I'm happy about this one because the description on the website says it's maple. Now I realize that the pics on the website are of a mahogany neck, but I didn't notice that before

The pickguard is pretty sloppy. There isn't a straight line to be seen on it. It looks like it was cut out by hand with scissors. Ordering a regular flying V pickguard is starting to sound better and better....

So overall, I feel like this kit isn't worth the $200 I paid. I can get a $200 Squier or LTD that has been assembled and finished, and it will have better fretwork and probably not have filler in it(if it's a natural finish). I would never EVER recommend one of these kits to someone.

Ok, now that I've got that out of the way, some pics!




Filler:





I'm going to dye the fretboard black and do a silverburst finish, inspired by the Dethklok signature Explorer:

Last edited by W4RP1G at Feb 6, 2013,
#2
So, the first thing I did was pull out the frets. I'll be installing Stewmac fretwire, and I'm debating on whether or not I should increase the radius of the fretboard. I've read that it's possible to do that and still use a 12" tune-o-matic, but if anyone has any more insights into that, I'm all ears.



Then I made a plug for the output jack hole. I'm filling it because it's a really annoying spot for a jack when you play with it between the legs.




I used a piece of poplar because it was there. I turned it on the lathe. It's a pretty tight fit, some epoxy should be permanent enough.

I think tomorrow I'll epoxy that plug, and drill out the screw holes so that I can can plug those too. Then I'll sand it all flush.
#3
This is awesome, I'm building a v as well and mine is going to be pretty much the same only where yours had the jack mine will be on the outside of the wing using a strat jack.

Also it will be the color of Randy's les Paul custom, plus the controls are going to be basically the John 5 tele style of 2 volumes and a 3 way switch but i am going to add a killswitch.
#4
This looks very interesting, I'd love to try something like this. Could a total amateur buy a kit and do something like this?
#5
Quote by DESTROYER5000
This is awesome, I'm building a v as well and mine is going to be pretty much the same only where yours had the jack mine will be on the outside of the wing using a strat jack.

Also it will be the color of Randy's les Paul custom, plus the controls are going to be basically the John 5 tele style of 2 volumes and a 3 way switch but i am going to add a killswitch.

Very good ideas. I'm just going to mount my jack on the pickguard.
Quote by pugachev
This looks very interesting, I'd love to try something like this. Could a total amateur buy a kit and do something like this?

You should be able to put this kit together and play it. However, you'd have to do some fretwork, which can be intimidating.

If you are willing to spend a bit more, there are better kits out there(or so I hear, I only have experience with this one kit).
#8
Quote by von Layzonfon
Did you actually have the hammer in your hand when you opened the box (pic 1), just in case you had to kill it?


You never know when things might go terribly wrong
#10
i actually bought the explorer kit, more of an opportunity to work on various aspects of building. It had a set neck, which was a little intimidating at first. I actually have had some issues with the frets as well, I have just been leveling them as opposed to replacing them. Other than that, I replaced the pickups, tuners, pots and switch. It has been fun to mess with and works and sounds great. I am pleased with how it turned out considering it was only a kit. I am curious to see how your finish turns out, it should look like Brent Hinds V once it is done, which should look pretty sweet.
#11
Quote by bobafettacheese
i actually bought the explorer kit, more of an opportunity to work on various aspects of building. It had a set neck, which was a little intimidating at first. I actually have had some issues with the frets as well, I have just been leveling them as opposed to replacing them. Other than that, I replaced the pickups, tuners, pots and switch. It has been fun to mess with and works and sounds great. I am pleased with how it turned out considering it was only a kit. I am curious to see how your finish turns out, it should look like Brent Hinds V once it is done, which should look pretty sweet.

Yeah, I forgot to mention that the switch it comes with is the worst switch I've ever seen. I'm definitely replacing all of the electronics.
#12
So I got the hole plugged:



And I added a carve to the heel. I started by plugging the screw hole where I would do the carve, then I redrilled the hole in a more convenient spot. I then recessed the screw holes for screw ferrules because I'm not using a neck plate. Then I hit it with a rasp, followed by a sanding block. It feels so much better now, upper fret access is a breeze. Gibson should make this carve standard issue on all flying Vs.




That's about it for body modifications. I think my next step is to sand and seal it, then I'll be ready for lacquer.
#13
I like the look of the carve, I'm glad you decided against the neck plate. Looking forward to seeing the progress.
#14
Thats a really nice axe!!

I see I'm not the only one disappointed with these kits! I have bought 3 in the past, just for fun and as a project for summer. A strat, les paul and les paul junior.

OH MY GOD they sucked sooooooo bad.

No wiring diagrams, odd dents and scratches in the "Just spray a coat of paint and you're good to go!" bodies. Crappy hardware. Crappy pretty much everything.


HOWEVER. I have to this day been working on improving them and I have managed They now sound epic. The les paul has been the envy of genuine les paul users, as has the strat. And the les paul junior is fretless xD

What I'm trying to say is that these kits are good simply as a template. You need to make them your own to get some real awesomeness out of them!

Good luck with the rest of the build!
#15


I like V builds.

Why not use the fender strat-style jack? You could install that on the back of the guitar and it would look pretty interesting.
Quote by W4RP1G
It feels so much better now, upper fret access is a breeze. Gibson should make this carve standard issue on all flying Vs.

I've never had a problem with getting to the upper frets on my V, but to each his own.
Quote by Axelfox
Please understand how little we as a community care
Last edited by T00DEEPBLUE at Feb 7, 2013,
#16
Quote by toomanyguitarss
What I'm trying to say is that these kits are good simply as a template. You need to make them your own to get some real awesomeness out of them!

This is true, but also disappointing since everyone expects to shoot some finish and put it together. They'd sell far less guitars if they told the truth, that the wood contain repairs, and that the frets will need a level and crown.
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Why not use the fender strat-style jack? You could install that on the back of the guitar and it would look pretty interesting.

That's an interesting idea. I could do that, but I'm also building a 7 string fanned fret, so my hands are kind of full. My goal right now is to finish this as soon as possible so I can spend more time on that 7 string. And as of right now, I only have tuesday and wednesday nights to work on the V, so that's not even a lot time to begin with.
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
I've never had a problem with getting to the upper frets on my V, but to each his own.

It's more of a comfort/feel thing than actual accessibility of the upper frets. I've always felt that square heels had an awkward transition cause by my palm hitting the bottom corner, it just throws me off. I suck it up on some guitars, but I prefer to have a rounded heel. Do you not feel the heel as you reach the high frets?
Last edited by W4RP1G at Feb 7, 2013,
#17
Coming along nicely. I just dug out a Dean V I've had for years as my next project. The carve you made on the body is a nice touch, it almost looks like it should be there (as any good mod does)
My Set Up -
American Strat - Marshall MG100HDFX - Peavy BW Series Cab... All bought broken and brought back to life.
#18
Quote by W4RP1G

It's more of a comfort/feel thing than actual accessibility of the upper frets. I've always felt that square heels had an awkward transition cause by my palm hitting the bottom corner, it just throws me off. I suck it up on some guitars, but I prefer to have a rounded heel. Do you not feel the heel as you reach the high frets?

The only thing i have a problem with is the location of the strap button on V's. I use dunlop straplocks, and as solid as they are, they do tend to stick out a bit. Once the straplock is off though, i have no problems. I can just rest the meat of my thumb on the curve of the neck where it transitions from the neck curve to the square shape of the body. Bearing in mind i do have large hands.
Quote by Axelfox
Please understand how little we as a community care
#19
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
The only thing i have a problem with is the location of the strap button on V's. I use dunlop straplocks, and as solid as they are, they do tend to stick out a bit. Once the straplock is off though, i have no problems. I can just rest the meat of my thumb on the curve of the neck where it transitions from the neck curve to the square shape of the body. Bearing in mind i do have large hands.

Can you recommend a better place for the strap buttons? I might relocate mine, but i have no idea where I'd put them.
#20
Quote by W4RP1G
Can you recommend a better place for the strap buttons? I might relocate mine, but i have no idea where I'd put them.

Unfortunately the standard place to put them is a place where the guitar balances perfectly.
Quote by Axelfox
Please understand how little we as a community care
#22
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Unfortunately the standard place to put them is a place where the guitar balances perfectly.


Seriously, you have to think a little bit out of the box, it's not like everything ever done is perfectly calculated, you know? Let him try, nothing is written in stone.
#23
Why not use a strat jack, that's what I'm using simply because where I'm putting will be more out of the way.

Also, what does fanning frets do/accomplish?
#24
Quote by LeviMan_2001
If you just move it up a bit ( away from the carve) id think itd still balance well.

You can see the factory hole for the strap button in one of the pics, it looks pretty out of the way. I'll probably leave it, and if it really bothers me once I play it, I'll install some flushmount strap locks.

Quote by DESTROYER5000
Why not use a strat jack, that's what I'm using simply because where I'm putting will be more out of the way.

Also, what does fanning frets do/accomplish?

Fanned frets accomplish a multiscale. The last string could be one scale, for instance 27", and the first string could be another, like 25.5". This causes more tension for the lower strings. Plus, a fan can be more comfortable, depending on your posture.
#25
do you need to do anything special when you do the crown and fret leveling? Also, how are you going to determine where the fret slots will go?
#26
Quote by Rusty_Chisel
do you need to do anything special when you do the crown and fret leveling? Also, how are you going to determine where the fret slots will go?

Leveling and crowning is the same process. And you can use this to figure out the fret placement.
#27
Quote by W4RP1G
Can you recommend a better place for the strap buttons? I might relocate mine, but i have no idea where I'd put them.


Don't locate them until you've finished the lot and everything is in. Where the buttons go now to balance it, will not be where they should be when its finished.

Good going so far. Well done.
'It takes 100 guitar players to change a light. One to change the light and 99 to stand around pointing, saying..."Yeah man, look...I can do that too"...'

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#28
Cool stuff. I changed one of my guitars to have a sculpted heel as well.
EH


"Show me war; show me pestilence; show me the blood-red hands of retribution..."
#30
Updates aren't very frequent because I have a lot going on. After a lot of sanding, filling, and sealing, I've finally got the finish on the body. Sorry about the quality of the pics, I had to use my cell phone:





It's my first burst finish, and it was a pain in the ass. I'm told that a tobacco burst or other such finish will feel easy now I'm pretty happy with it. It's not perfect, but a helluva lot better than I thought it would turn out. I was going to do the faux white binding like the Gibson has(don't know if there's is real or paint though), but I decided against it when I realized it didn't look good enough to justify the extra headache.

For anyone that's curious, I used Reranch for the silver and Becker's lacquer for the burst and clear.

Next I'll be radiusing the fretboard to a 20" radius, dying it black, and fretting. And I've decided that I'll be winding my own pickups for it, rather than using my EMGs. I bought a rail bobbin, so the bridge pickup will be sorta like a Crunch Lab.
Last edited by W4RP1G at Apr 13, 2013,
#32
Cool.

I am waiting for real pictures....


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