Monday, 28 July 2014

James' Les Paul Jnr DC: Unboxing & Mock Up

I received a new guitar kit on my doorstep this morning - a new Les Paul Jnr Double Cut from Pitbull Guitars. This is a build for my friend James who has requested a spanking new Jnr in butterscotch and tortoiseshell. No worries James! I gotta say, I love this particular model of kit. It's simple and elegant in its design, is straightforward to assemble and finish, and requires minimal wiring. It's just a joy to build, and the resulting guitar is just so nice to play!

The kit came well boxed, with a very generous compliment of butterscotch Wudtone nestled inside. James has requested that both the body, neck and headstock be finished in the butterscotch, so thankfully Adam and the boys at Pitbull have furnished me with a full bottle - enough I hope to finish the job! The basswood body looks good with no obvious machining marks or dents. There's some nice figure in the basswood, especially on the front of the guitar. Unfortunately, there are three obvious glue spots on the back of the body, and these will need to be sanded out before the Wudtone goes on.

The neck is 22 frets with a fretboard made from a beautiful piece of rosewood. There's a very nice grain pattern along its length that will look amazing when conditioned with a little Dr Ducks Axe Wax! The back of the neck, like the body, is free from blemishes and dents; and will come up beautifully with the Wudtone applied.

With the body and neck out of the box, the first task before sanding can begin in earnest is to get the guitar assembled to make sure everything is where it should be and that the strings can be aligned correctly up the neck. The neck has quite a bit of play in the neck pocket, so some care was required to make sure the correct lateral angle was achieved to allow the two E strings to sit equidistant from their respective edge of the fretboard.

This achieved, the neck was clamped and the neck screw holes drilled. A transfer punch allowed the exact position of the neck holes to be transferred onto the back of the neck heel. A hand drill was then used to drill into the neck and the neck was screwed to the body (using a little linseed oil for lubrication) to check that everything was OK.

At the same time, I checked the neck for backwards angle to see whether a shim will be required at assembly time. All indications are that the neck and body has been machined correctly - the E strings travel from the wrap around bridge down the neck and at the bridge's lowest adjustment height sit flat in the first few frets. This will allow a good action to be achieved when this beast is finally strung up. I also checked the location of the single P90 pickup and the pole pieces seem to line up reasonably well with the strings. The P90 pole pieces are a little narrower in total than the width of the bridge, but the pickups route allows them to be centred under the strings.

Now, on with the sanding! Best results are achieved with Wudtone when sanding up to a maximum grit size of 240. Therefore, sanding at 180, 220 and 240 grits will be the go here. Stay tuned!