Believe it or not – today – almost exactly 6 months after starting this project – I FINISHED THE GUITAR! Yep, that’s right – now it’s both finished AND done.
Before I get into how that feels – a quick tour of what I did on this last build day. First up was some fret work. I admit I was a bit apprehensive about this, because it turned out I made a fairly large rookie mistake. By “leveling” the fretboard and frets before attaching the neck to the guitar, I found that once attached, the frets were no longer on the same plane, and I had a noticeable gap at the 14th fret when I checked it with a straightedge. Thanks to some advice from some guitar forums, I decided to re-leveled the frets – but the downside was that some frets would be a bit thin. I really had no choice – unless I wanted to pull off all the frets and start over – which I really didn’t want to do. So, I re-leveled and re-crowned the frets, and then worried about if it would all work out until I actually tried the guitar later in the day. And yes it did all work out – but I definitely learned a lesson.
Next was attaching the bridge – I measured the location – double, tripple, quadruple checked it – and then masked out around the bridge to be able to quickly position it again.
I used some sheet rock screws to fix it in place – drilled a few holes through the bridge pin holes, and glued it up. I used a Fox style clamp which worked really great! Much better than using clamps through the soundhole – at least I think it is, because I’ve never done it that way.
After a few hours I removed the clamp, drilled out the rest of the holes, and then reamed them to fit the bridge pins.
Then it really was getting near the finale. After thickness sanding and shaping the saddle, and also doing some work on the nut, it really was time. The next hour was a bit surreal – because this woodworking project became a live guitar right before my eyes.
I can’t even describe what it felt like to grab a pack of strings knowing that I was going to put them on this guitar. Putting strings on a guitar is something I’ve done countless times, so it was totally natural – but at the same time totally weird. Hearing actual tuning sounds – cool – then actual tones – wow – and then amazingly – I could tell that this was going to sound really good. A nice resonant tone – with a lot of projection. Before going up to pitch, I had to adjust the nut and saddle for action, loosening all the strings at least 3 times before I was done. But then – I really was done. OK, there’s still going to be a few weeks of settling in, during which time I’ll be doing some minor adjustments – but I’m definitely calling this puppy done!
I think it sounds and looks fantastic. And it sings. What a great Christmas present! Thank you again Candi!
(p.s. If you thought I might now have gotten guitar building out of my system – nothing could be further from the truth!)