This year has been a very unique experience for all of us. As is the case with most of you, I have been away from school for around two months. While I have still assigned and corrected essay assignments and taught online video lessons, I have also had quite a lot more free time than I do normally. Because of this, I decided to use my extra time to do some constructive things. I have been excercising more frequently than before, I have taken up skateboarding (though I am still quite bad), and I put together a kit guitar which I bought from an online music shop. I would like to take you through my building experience.
The kit comes like this, with the body pre-cut and the neck already with frets in place. It cost a little under ￥30,000.
I started by customising the body to my liking. I don't like the hard corners, so I used a tool called a 'rasp' to make the guitar more comfortable to hold against my body.
This is the finished shape, but as you can see the wood is still very rough.
Sandpaper is great for smoothing out the wood. I started with 60 grit and worked my way up to 240 grit (higher numbers are finer).
The next step was to make sure the guitar neck was straight. I made this notched tool with my dremel tool and a piece of straight plastic.
If the neck isn't flat you can adjust it with an alan key using the nut at the very far right.
I polished each fret with 0000 steel wool. It was hard work.
Next was the main part, dying the guitar. I originally bought powdered dye because the brand I wanted doesn't sell liquid dye in Japan, but after mixing it with water it was very thin. I tried evaporating some of the water, but it didn't work out.
I bought these next. They were thicker than I'd like, but worked okay.
I started with black. As you can see, it's way too thick. Oh well!
The black base colour was to highlight the grain of the wood. I had to sand almost all of it off. It gave me some finger blisters. :(
I added some blue dye after the black. When I sanded the blue off, I tried to leave the edges darker to make a "sunburst" pattern.
I wanted the main colour to be purple. I like purple, and the bass guitar I made when I was in high school is also purple so I wanted them to match. Again, I sanded less off to continue the sunburst pattern. I did the same thing to the head of the neck.
This is a plastic binding. Only the front of the guitar is expensive maple wood, so they laminate it onto cheaper wood for the rest of the body. The binding hides the seam between the two types of wood. I cleaned off all of the dye from it with a sharp blade.
To protect the guitar I applied many coats of oil. Between each coat I used 0000 steel wool to remove any excess oil. Unfortunately, something happened and all of the colour that I spent so much time on disappeared. Dying and oiling took about one month of work. It involved a lot of waiting for the dye and oil to dry.
It's an electric guitar, so I needed to wire and solder all of the components. It was my first time, but after watching some YouTube videos to learn how to do it I think I did a pretty good job.
This part was really confusing.
Wiring is all finished. Now on to final assembly!!
Putting on the tuning pegs. As you can see, the colour of the guitar head turned out really nice! I wish the body had turned out the same.
When working with screws, it's very important to ALWAYS pre-drill your holes.
One trick to know where to pre-drill is to set up what you plan to screw together and screw in just enough to make a mark.
It's also important to work up in bit size. Start small, especially if you are drilling by hand like I was.
After screwing everything in and stringing it up, it's finally finished! All I need to do now is buy an amplifier.
I really love DIY projects. If you have any interest in doing something similar, please don't be afraid to ask me for help or tips!