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Hi, forgive my massive amount of ignorance


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Hi,
I am in the realm of getting a Precision Guitar Kit for an LP Style guitar.

I am willing to put in the time and effort to making a decent guitar.

My idea is generally a Les Paul Special with an archtop, either in Mick Ronson light yellow or white with black hardware with p90s


So, I have very few tools around the house, so what would I need to make this build to a good guitar?

Again,  forgive my deep amount of ignorance.


Rodi

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Hi and welcome to the House of Ignorance!

A kit made by a reputable maker is a good starting point, gathering bits and pieces from here and there is diving into the deep end as you really can't tell if the parts match.

For building a decent electric guitar there's really not too much to worry about: There's tuners, a nut, a bridge and something to attach the ball end of the strings to - a trapeze, a stoptail, ferrules going through the body, a trem or a hardtail integrated to your bridge. Apart from the electrickery all that can be assembled on a single piece of 2"x4" carved to a playable neck and places to attach the tuners and pickups on. The only essential rule is that the 12th fret has to be right in the middle of the nut and the bridge! Of course for most players the spacing of the frets has to follow the "Rule of 18" or rather the more modern more accurate version of it but unless you go really cheap that should already be spot on in any ready cut/fretted fingerboard.

Choosing the right kit is important since most LP kits are routed for humbuckers. P90s are longer and narrower than the humbuckers which Mick seems to have used. There's a workaround, though, if you're not a purist: Humbucker spaced P90s do exist and their sound is close to the originals. As said the most important thing to consider is the placing of the 12th fret. The top should also be readily carved to an archtop so no gouging and should be required.

54 minutes ago, Rodi said:

So, I have very few tools around the house, so what would I need to make this build to a good guitar?

Let's assume the kit is perfect, having all the cavities routed in the right places and the bridge and stoptail post holes in the right places. In that case all you'd need is some wood glue and a couple of clamps to attach the neck, a Phillips #2 screwdriver to attach the pickup rings, the pickups and the covers. And a hammer and a block/something to sink in the bushings for the ToM bridge and stoptail. A long ruler (60-100 cm or 24-39") helps to ensure that the neck is aligned with the centerline of the body. A Phillips #1 screwdriver for the smaller screws and a wrench to tighten the tuners. That's the very essentials unless you have to drill holes for screws in which case a drill and some bits are needed. The drill for screw holes can be of any type, even a hand drill.

The kit neck may or may not be according to your liking. If that's too thick it's relatively easy to carve it thinner. My favourite tool for that is a card scraper, subtle and inexpensive.

And finally, the looks... All finishing starts with sanding. And continues with sanding. Followed by sanding... Again, there's kits and kits, some more ready for finishing than others. If the surface looks and feels alright you can start with some 180 or even 240 grit. Don't push, the grains in the paper are tiny and you really can't hog out more material than what fits between the abrasive particles. Wiping with abrasive material and dedusting regularly is what you need to do. Pressing hard will only make the sugars in the wood melt and mix with the dust and loose abrasive particles, building abrasive lumps that clog onto your paper and making scratches that would be impossible for the fine paper alone. Sand along the grain going through the grits up to 320 or even 400. At that point, if you see no single scratches that would need leveling, take a moist rag or a spray bottle and lightly moisten the surface. Let it dry thoroughly and you'll notice that the silky smooth surface now feels like stroking a hedgehog! Gently cut the bristles with the last finest paper, then moisten again. Let dry and feel the bristles, they should now be less. Rinse and repeat a couple of times for the smoothest surface for a finish.

For the actual finishing you can use several methods even with limited tools and premises. Brushing is one option, rattle can another. The latter may provide a more professional result if performed correctly and you get no runs. And no insects stick to the almost dry surface... My personal preference lately has been a mix of poly, boiled linseed oil and pine turpentine. The commercial names for that blend are TruOil and Danish Oil. I wonder if you could substitute the poly with solvent based paint for a thin, semi-gloss surface. That would require some testing on scrap pieces, though. I have no idea how that would work and especially with white it would definitely result an ebony or cream hue and potentially also be blotchy. But the oil is perfect for the neck, unless you really like a plasticky thick glossy grip.

Oh, and for the electrickery you'd need a soldering iron and some solder.

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