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Akula Builds On A Budget

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The black gaffa tape definitely has a certain charm about it - I like it! Gives the guitar finish an almost roadworn, patchwork black denim look. Gaffa binding is a stroke of ghetto genius too.

At the very least, if you accidentally drop the guitar it will bounce ;)

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17 hours ago, Workingman said:

If you can do it so can I......maybe.  

Dude, go for it! Tools I have used so far: power drill, jigsaw, file, rasp, coping saw, knife, sandpaper. Bandsaw doesn't count, I couldn't tension it properly and the blade kept falling off. 


And thanks for the kind words about the gaff finish, everyone! Honestly, didn't know how that one would go down. I've refinished two guitars already using this technique - one of them is my main touring guitar, and yep, if I drop it, it definitely bounces! 


Days Twelve and Thirteen:


Before I unveil the top finish, I feel I should give some insight into the inspiration behind this guitar's style. What do we know? It's a no-budget, trashy build, which may not last more than a few years. My last guitar build was just the same, and it's been touring Australia for two years now. So I figured I'd make something slightly more classy, hence the hollow body, yet still in touch with the punk-ass roots. Think of it like this - guy dressed up in a perfectly tailored suit, but with a big blue Mohawk.


Did a base coat of white. Left it pretty thin.



Blue number one...



Blue number two....



And blue number three.



I'm applying this with my fingers. Palette-painting artist, I am not. I just don't have any paintbrushes, rollers, or spray equipment, but I have fingers. The effect is... unique....


Then I paid some attention to the neck. As far as backstory for this neck, it came from a budget guitar I bought when I first moved out to Sydney. Last year, my band's old guitarist decided to smash the guitar to pieces on the stage floor - looked awesome, I'm sure. I took the neck home and had to epoxy a few cracks back together.



Besides new tuners and most likely a tetanus shot, I imagine there will be a fret replacement job somewhere down the line. That, or I'll get employed again and just build a new neck. In the meantime, I sanded the headstock back to maple and gave it the same wacky paint-job I inflicted upon the body.



Even wrote my name on it. With a sharpy. 


Back to the body. Paint's freshly dried - I'm using acrylic hobby paint at $2 a tube - so I sanded back to level it. Nearly had the 2000grit wet paper going, before I realised it would simply wipe off the water-based paint!

Then I applied the first layer of water-based polyurethane lacquer, and took a shiny video.


Of course, I don't want to leave the guitar outside in the garden while I wipe on probably 30 coats of lacquer. It would be like Jurassic Park when Hammond finds a mosquito in the amber. 


So, I commandeered the wardrobe. Honestly, the wife took it very well! 




There's a few things I need to take care of while the top coat gets done. I still have to make some pickup rings out of plywood (groan), craft an output jack plate, cavity covers, and wire up the electronics externally ready for installation. 

Back in a coupla days!


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  • 4 months later...

It's ready.



Well, it was actually ready mid-May, but since I've been given an infinite timescale on everything in my life, it takes me a proportionately infinite amount of time to get things done and post about them. I'm sure we can all relate - what a year, right?


So anyways, after about 15 coats of wipe-on poly, I let her sit for a few days to cure, then installed my cheap hardware and strung her up.




As promised, the bridge pickup is a Seymour Duncan SH-6. The neck pickup, a position I have yet to understand let alone use, is a no-name pickup playing stand-in until I learn how to utilize guitar tones properly. Hey, I play scratchy punk rock, okay?




The tone is fairly bright, which I did not expect from such poor materials - I was expecting a dead tone, but it's quite the opposite! Not much in the way of bass response, but the mids are definitely there, and the high end can need taming at times.

Acoustically it's much louder than any solid body I know of, due to the chambering, but it wouldn't hold up against my friend's Gibson 335. It's fine for playing ska unplugged in the kitchen at 4am to a group of pissed-up mates. 




Overall? Very happy. It cost me less than a hundred bucks, and took up a few weeks of my time at a moment where the entire world seemed to be crushing down. It doesn't sound like a high-end instrument, but at least it does not pretend to be something it is not. A good friend and industry guitar tech told me - "It's fun to play! Needs a bloody re-fret, though, that's for sure."


Thanks for reading! More budget builds to come...


 - Jam

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