First Guitar Build - starter questions

wooders

Strat-O-Master
Nov 19, 2021
792
Kent
Hey all.

So, I've gone and took the plunge to build a strat.
I picked up a new Fender Player fully loaded pickguard and the body and neck arrived today.
I think I may have my work cut out with this. The body and neck are from BooBoo guitars, so I was expecting to have some work to do, but it looks like the neck is going to be a bit more complicated.
Build plan - off white hardtail, 2 piece alder body, contoured heel, sss pickup, maple neck/rosewood fretboard, 10-13/14 compound radius, abalone dots/markers, locking tuners, bone nut.
First plan is to shape the body heel and the neck heel. Going for the new Fender contoured heel on the American Elite.
I'm comfortable with doing this bit(Joiner by trade), but would like some advice on the body heel depth. It's currently 29mm and I would like to reduce this. How much is viable to reduce this down?
I was planning to paint the body to match the colour of the pickguard (parchment), but now wonder about a burst. I have a few knots to fill and would appreciate advice with this. What product would you recommend for the filling?
Going hardtail and am thinking Wudtone holy grail with highland bent steel saddles. I would have liked 52/52.5mm bridge spacing. The holes in the body are about 56mm. What would you advise? Top loader?
BTW, the neck and body pocket fit is perfect.
Any help with the above will be great to aid me at the start of this journey.

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ThreeChordWonder

Senior Stratmaster
Dec 2, 2020
3,397
Cypress TX
Send those parts back!

If they ship sh#t like that to begin with, there's no telling what the rest will be like, and you'll probably be disappointed with the results.

Start with a half decent neck from Mighty Mite or Allparts and add a pre-painted body from aeguitars or take a punt on one from eBay.

Painting bodies is a major PITA. BTDT, given up on the idea. Like so many others told me when I started building.

Make sure the body and neck are a good fit before proceeding with anything else. Getting the scale length right is priority #1, #2 and #3!!!

Alternatively buy a ready built Squier or similar and mod that.
 

FuncleManson

Strat-Talker
May 23, 2021
364
Moline, IL
Send those parts back!

If they ship sh#t like that to begin with, there's no telling what the rest will be like, and you'll probably be disappointed with the results.

Start with a half decent neck from Mighty Mite or Allparts and add a pre-painted body from aeguitars or take a punt on one from eBay.

Painting bodies is a major PITA. BTDT, given up on the idea. Like so many others told me when I started building.

Make sure the body and neck are a good fit before proceeding with anything else. Getting the scale length right is priority #1, #2 and #3!!!

Alternatively buy a ready built Squier or similar and mod that.

Apparently, that's BooBoo's schtick. They sell damaged bodies and necks.

JMO, but I would definitely agree that you should make it easier on yourself with your first project.
 

mistermikev

Strat-Talker
May 12, 2018
254
surprise, az
dang... those is some big knots... knotts berry farm... don knotts. I would use epoxy on them as block epoxy would likely make them a bit more 'natural' looking and epoxy is good candidate afa holding strength in these types of scenarios. afa min thickness... I think the general consensus is that anything less than 1/2" is a bit dodgy. I usually try to stick around there as given a 1/8" avg thickness on the ferrules themselves you are leaving a solid 3/8" right where the pressure is greatest. (this is assuming you are using ferrules). if using a neck plate... still I'd prob try to stick around 1/2".
 

Eric_G

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 10, 2021
2,435
Quebec
Actually if I had that body to work with, believe it or not, Bondo would be my go to filler. Apply generously and sand down to perfect shape. After that use a filler primer and let yourself lose on burst. Obviously transparent paint is not an option in this scenario.
 

wooders

Strat-O-Master
Nov 19, 2021
792
Kent
Thanks all.

Yep, I originally looked at getting a cheap squire to play around with.
I debated getting one and buying a set of nut files and seeing how good I could get it set up. Then upgrading bridges, tuners, pickups etc, got me thinking about just buying parts and assembling. Finished neck, finished body etc. as mentioned. While doing research, I started looking at contoured heels. Getting a body and neck for this was then looking more and more complicated. So I basically took a simple idea to getting a start and developing luthier skills, into a whole heap of 'I've made this over complicated'. But hey, I can take my time and if I FUBAR it, so be it.
I've been tinkering with guitars recently and wanted to try to test my mettle with a build. I've honed my set up, fret levelling and crowning skills to a decent standard. (I've got a crafter acoustic that has 11 gauge strings with action at 12th 1.25 on high E and 1.75 on low E and not a buzz in sight.) so a fret installation seemed like a reasonable thing not to be afraid of.
This is where Booboo guitars came in. They basically sell the rejects from Guitarbuild.
Now, I naively thought the fretboard would be finished to the point that it needed frets and dots and nut. Everything else, I went in with eyes wide open. Maybe not too smart, but I promise, I've done much much dumber things.
So parts stand me in about £135 so far. If I get this right, I'll have a nice strat at a bargain (IMO). If it's FUBAR'd... oh well. I'll be dead before long it won't matter much then.

So resin for the body. I'm in UK and seem to be struggling with searching for Bondo. There are a few different applications. Could you be a tad more specific, or have a link/picture please? Or a product readily available in the UK? I'm lead to believe that I do not want quick drying resin? Everything I've found so far seems to be quick/rapid set.

Body heel. Wow! I wasn't thinking of going anywhere near 1/2". I'm thinking plate is how I would like to go but, feriles would give me so much more scope for tapering the heel, though I have it in my head to keep it like the AM Elite but with a thinner heel. Either way, getting it down to approx 18-20mm (3/4") should be plenty?

The only bit that frightens me in this whole build is the fretboard. If I hadn't got a compound radius, this fear would have been greatly diminished. I do have pretty decent tool skills and am quite anal about getting things just so. Though worse case, I know enough people to get finishing/spraying done for gratis/few beers. And I can always hand the neck over to a luthier I use for a fret install and a nut. That's last resort though, if I can help it.

Thanks for the replies so far
 

wooders

Strat-O-Master
Nov 19, 2021
792
Kent
And as ironic as it feels to say this... I hate the relic thing. I have a permanent fear of getting the tiniest of chips on a headstock, let alone someone taking belt sander to a perfectly nice guitar!
 

Archtops

Strat-O-Master
Mar 25, 2021
603
SoCal
Filling it may not work in the long run. My experience has shown me that’s knots tend to shrink differently than the surrounding host wood.
I would consider keeping it like it is. I actually like it that way.
The bondo idea is a good one. You can spray the edges black as it fades to an amber center. Best of luck!
 

StratoMutt

Dr. Stratster
Mar 15, 2019
10,838
SE Pennsylvania
BlackLabOH.gif


img_20211119_135003-jpg.520265
 

Wayne Adams

Strat-O-Master
Aug 12, 2011
922
Kentucky
Thanks all.

So resin for the body. I'm in UK and seem to be struggling with searching for Bondo. There are a few different applications. Could you be a tad more specific, or have a link/picture please? Or a product readily available in the UK? I'm lead to believe that I do not want quick drying resin? Everything I've found so far seems to be quick/rapid set.

...

Thanks for the replies so far

Bondo is a brand name for a two-part auto body filler. It's a thick paste that you blend with a tube of hardener. There are probably lots of different brand names for similar stuff that would do the same job. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0007ZG9TO/?tag=strattalk05-20


I was thinking in terms of the two-part bartop resins that are getting so popular these days. Like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099XFL1PK/?tag=strattalk05-20
 

ThreeChordWonder

Senior Stratmaster
Dec 2, 2020
3,397
Cypress TX
Bondo is American for Plastic Padding car body filler. As seen holding many an old banger together :)

Halfords or your local independent car parts type place is your best bet in the UK.
 

ThreeChordWonder

Senior Stratmaster
Dec 2, 2020
3,397
Cypress TX
If you're going for epoxy use a clear or yellow one. The epoxy will soak up some of the natural coloring from the knots.

Then finish in tung oil (no idea what that's called in the UK) or even yacht varnish for the barncaster look.

I did that to an off spec Tele body I bought for US$50 earlier this year. It turned out great.

20211110_064620.jpg
 

Eric_G

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 10, 2021
2,435
Quebec
Thanks all.

Yep, I originally looked at getting a cheap squire to play around with.
I debated getting one and buying a set of nut files and seeing how good I could get it set up. Then upgrading bridges, tuners, pickups etc, got me thinking about just buying parts and assembling. Finished neck, finished body etc. as mentioned. While doing research, I started looking at contoured heels. Getting a body and neck for this was then looking more and more complicated. So I basically took a simple idea to getting a start and developing luthier skills, into a whole heap of 'I've made this over complicated'. But hey, I can take my time and if I FUBAR it, so be it.
I've been tinkering with guitars recently and wanted to try to test my mettle with a build. I've honed my set up, fret levelling and crowning skills to a decent standard. (I've got a crafter acoustic that has 11 gauge strings with action at 12th 1.25 on high E and 1.75 on low E and not a buzz in sight.) so a fret installation seemed like a reasonable thing not to be afraid of.
This is where Booboo guitars came in. They basically sell the rejects from Guitarbuild.
Now, I naively thought the fretboard would be finished to the point that it needed frets and dots and nut. Everything else, I went in with eyes wide open. Maybe not too smart, but I promise, I've done much much dumber things.
So parts stand me in about £135 so far. If I get this right, I'll have a nice strat at a bargain (IMO). If it's FUBAR'd... oh well. I'll be dead before long it won't matter much then.

So resin for the body. I'm in UK and seem to be struggling with searching for Bondo. There are a few different applications. Could you be a tad more specific, or have a link/picture please? Or a product readily available in the UK? I'm lead to believe that I do not want quick drying resin? Everything I've found so far seems to be quick/rapid set.

Body heel. Wow! I wasn't thinking of going anywhere near 1/2". I'm thinking plate is how I would like to go but, feriles would give me so much more scope for tapering the heel, though I have it in my head to keep it like the AM Elite but with a thinner heel. Either way, getting it down to approx 18-20mm (3/4") should be plenty?

The only bit that frightens me in this whole build is the fretboard. If I hadn't got a compound radius, this fear would have been greatly diminished. I do have pretty decent tool skills and am quite anal about getting things just so. Though worse case, I know enough people to get finishing/spraying done for gratis/few beers. And I can always hand the neck over to a luthier I use for a fret install and a nut. That's last resort though, if I can help it.

Thanks for the replies so far


In the UK, after a bit of research this seems to be the body filler to go to:

Stevens Body Filler Super Smooth Multi Purpose Filler, 600ml : Amazon.co.uk: Automotive
 

Eric_G

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 10, 2021
2,435
Quebec
Bondo is a brand name for a two-part auto body filler. It's a thick paste that you blend with a tube of hardener. There are probably lots of different brand names for similar stuff that would do the same job. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0007ZG9TO/?tag=strattalk05-20


I was thinking in terms of the two-part bartop resins that are getting so popular these days. Like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099XFL1PK/?tag=strattalk05-20
The problem with the resin is it's liquid and building up to fill that knot will take for ever. Bondo, as it's a paste will only require one maybe two application to fill the cavity. It's sand super smooth and won't even be noticeable.
 

nadzab

Play Don't Worry
Silver Member
May 15, 2009
6,011
New England
Another vote for Bondo, or whatever the UK equivalent may be. I've used it on guitars, mouldings around the house, and oh yeah...cars. All with great results.
 

stratomatt

Strat-O-Master
Sep 23, 2010
805
San Diego
I know it's too late now, but for everyone's future reference, check out this ebay seller: https://www.ebay.com/usr/nomoonlaser/
He makes bodies out of reclaimed wood (barncasters) and finishes them in nitro. I built a tele from one of his bodies with a classic vibe neck and it's the lightest, most resonant guitar I own. He has strat bodies from time to time and they are cheap compared to many, like under $100! PXL_20211119_231908989.jpg
 

Phat-O-Caster

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 16, 2008
1,139
Colorado
I’d leave it and go with a clear finish after staining/dying/bursting the color of your choice-we all have scars-why shouldn’t our tools? One of a kind-make it yours
 


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