Origin: SG clone body purchased from the Guitar Fetish Factory Buyout Sale
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Got to lookin’ at this project the other day and found that the Bigsby I was going to use won’t work. I wanted to use a B7 rather than the B5 that’s supposed to go on a flat topped solid body. I think they look cooler that the B5, but there’s not enough room between the end of the body and the bridge location, which was set up for a 24 3/4″ scale neck. So, I got to thinking, “What if I used a 24″ scale?” So, I got out a Jaguar neck that I bought for Enrica, and did some measuring, and it still looked like a no go, plus I’d have to fill and move the bridge pickup rout. Having stuck that neck on there though, I thought it looked pretty good, and why not put it on there anyway? So I think that’s what I’m going to do. Still gonna have to move a pickup hole though, but I decided I’d move the neck pickup instead and set the neck in a bit farther. And while I hadn’t planned on taking the paint off until after I got it put together, I decided with all the filling and routing involved it would be better to go ahead and get out the heat gun and take the paint off.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
I’ve done quite a bit on this project in the few warm days we’ve had since the last post (and before it cooled off again. It’s snowing as I write this!). I went to The Stratosphere again on eBay, and got a 2012 Squire Vintage Modified Jaguar neck for the project.
I also got out the heat gun and started getting the paint off. Looking at the above pictures, the finish on this thing doesn’t look too bad, and originally it wasn’t. Thing is I didn’t like the color. And I managed to chip out a chunk off paint on the edge, and then after deciding to reconfigure her for a 24″ scale, I had no choice but to refinish anyway, so I figured bare wood was the best place to start.
I was surprised by a couple things in removing the paint. First it came off fairly easily. There were three layers, the light red, a darker red (primer of some sort I suppose), and then the sealer. It all came off much easier than the Squire body I did awhile back! While heating and scraping, I got a bit aggressive with the scraper and gouged the top a bit. But then after looking more closely and peeling a bit more wood off, I found that the top (and back as well) have a veneer. I had noticed right off that the top wood did not look to me like the mahogany she was supposed to be made off. After getting the top stripped, I found a couple other places where the heat apparently loosened the veneer, and found that the wood underneath indeed looked like mahogany.
Third surprise came when some of the paint in the pickup and control cavities came off. I could tell that the body was apparently finished with a clear coat at one time. This would explain the reason for the veneer as, I found out later that the body is made of four pieces of wood. Apparently they cleared it for a natural finish and for some reason removed that and painted it red! Keep in mind this was, AFAIK, a body that was made but never assembled into a finished instrument, so this was all factory work.
You can see above the original natural finish in the control cavity. You can also see that there is wood missing around one of the control holes. I don’t know if this is a problem, but I mean to try and fix it anyway!My thought is to take the router and rout the entire cavity thin enough to clean up this area. Then, since it will be dangerously thin at this point, I would glue in a thin piece shaped to the cavity. I’ll be lucky if I don’t go through, but if I do, I may plug the whole thing and just cut a new cavity. Or use a top control plate. Or I may just use some filler in the low spot and then cut it flat with the router.
So, anyhow, after a cold snap I got working on it again a couple weeks ago. I finished removing the paint around the edges, enough anyway to finish it out with sandpaper.
I measured and found that the pickup routs were right at 3 1/2″ across, so I cut a piece of 1×4 Mahogany I got at Menards long enough to cover the pickup routs, bridge holes and part of the tailpiece holes. (The tailpiece holes were previously filled when I decided I was gonna use the B7 Bigsby.) I laid the 1×4 block on the top and stuck some 1×2’s around it with double stick tape (StewMac) to guide the router, and than cut a hole just a shade under 3/4″ deep. I wanted to have the block sick up just a bit so I could level it down to the top rather than have a large area of filler. I actually got it a bit shallower than intended and I have a bit more wood to remove than planned.
I glued the block in with Tightbond Liquid Hide Glue, and clamped it up for a couple days. Doesn’t need to be clamped that long, but I wasn’t going to do anything else with it for awhile anyway.
So, here it is ready to cut down to the level of the top. I also need to remove the veneer layer. I’m planning to used and old fashioned hand plane to shave it down. Never really used one before, so I don’t know how that will go. If it doesn’t work well, then I’ll use the router. Also need to glue in a couple pieces of wood to narrow the neck pocket. I’ll trim them down flush with the top and then re-rout the neck pocket which will go farther into the body than the original, about down to the edge of the original neck pickup rout.