Precision Guitar Kits SG Jr.


Back in the early 1990's, I had one of the Gibson SG Jr.'s that was available at the time. It was a fantastic guitar but I had to let it go. The last 10 years or so I've wanted to get another one. It's hard to find one of those reissues and originals from the 1960's are way out of my price range. So what am I to do? Make one, or in this case, assemble one from a kit.

Enter Precision Guitar Kits. This kit is made with really good quality mahogany. The rosewood on the fretboard is gorgeous. When I first opened the box I was giddy with excitement of what was about to become a complete guitar. Full specs on the kit are on their web site.

This page follows my progress of assembling the kit from start to finish. I received the kit at the end of June 2011, just to establish a start date of some sort.






July 15, 2011:

The time has come to glue on the neck. After carefully reading up on this process and checking the fit, getting my clamps together in addition to everything else, I got the two pieces together using Titebond II Premium glue. The clamps went on and it will sit to dry for a few days. To protect the wood and the frets, I took a couple small wood blocks, wrapped them in duct tape, then put two soft rags folded over between the block and the frets. The other block went on the back of the joint. A portable guitar stand came in real handy in getting this done. The neck joint is so snug that it was easy to clamp it down.




July 18, 2011:

The body and neck are glued and ready for sanding sealer, which I may able to get done this week. With the neck attached to the body, I can get a better feel for it. It's a really nice feeling profile; slim, but not too slim. Once all the hardware is in, I'll be doing a dry assembly to make sure everything lines up and no adjustments need to be made prior to paint.



July 19, 2011:

Using Minwax Sanding Sealer, I sealed the entire body and neck, including the control and pickup cavities. The can says let dry for an hour and then sand but since I also have a day job, it's going to sit overnight and I will do the sanding another day. I was planning on hanging it from a C-clamp in the closet doorway of my work room but the C-clamp isn't deep enough so I had to make use of one of the bathroom shower rods. I made sure to put an old towel on the floor to catch anything off the brush during application. A trusty wire coat hanger holds it in place. In these pics, you can really see the grain. It makes me rethink the finish but I'm really set on white. The next step after sanding is to dry fit the hardware before painting. Hardware will be ordered after I return from a family vacation. Stay tuned...




July 30, 2011:

The sanding is done and it's ready for paint. It's been really hot this summer and so far it looks like painting will have to wait until it cools down, which might not happen until September. We'll see how it goes. Stay tuned...




August 8, 2011:

All of the hardware has arrived, with the exception of the pickup, but that is really electronics, so it was time for the dry fit. This evening I was able to get the tuners fitted with the screw holes drilled on the back of the headstock, the strap buttons are in place, and the bridge is on. All of the hardware is Gotoh and was ordered from Mojotone.

There is one small snag with the bridge and that is the bridge post inserts sit in the holes a "tiny" bit loose. To give an idea of how tiny, I wrapped blue painters' tape around the inserts just once and they fit in the holes snug. A better method besides the painters tape will be used to keep them in when I'm ready to put them in permanently.

Since the hardware is on, I couldn't help but put some strings on it and tune it up. Now, the nut still needs some work and a full setup done once it is completed but at least I could get a good idea of how the wood is. I am happy to say that this Junior is one resonant guitar. I can feel an A chord ring from the neck all the way down in to the body. That tells me the neck/body joint is good.

The strings will stay on for a while to test the overall strength of the joint under string tension. Oh yeah, balance on the strap....perfect, even without the additional weight of the pickup. Next step...paint! But it is still over 100 degrees Fahrenheit so the wait for a cool-down continues.



September 2, 2011:

It's been nearly a month of waiting since the last update for the temperature to drop low enough to spray some paint. Well, it looks like Mother Nature is going to bestow us with some cooler weather this Labor Day Weekend. I plan on taking advantage of it to get a couple of coats laid down.

During the last month, the pickup was ordered (a Lollar tapped P-90), remaining bits of hardware, and the nut was installed. There are still many little things to deal with but the light appears at the end of the tunnel. My patience is definitely being tested with this project. So far, so good.

September 3, 2011:

This morning I was able to lay down two thin coats of paint. The official color is Oxford White, a Ford color. It's in Dupli-Color Perfect Match rattle cans. It went on real smooth and the adjustable nozzle helped with laying down the spray evenly depending on the direction I was moving; horizontal or vertical. There were only a couple of run spots that I sanded out between the coats. At this point, I will let it dry completely, sand if necessary and then lay down two more thin coats. In the end, the headstock face will be black.




September 5, 2011:

The weather has been great this weekend which allowed me to finish painting. I'm really pleased with how it turned out. The faded look is definitely there. The paint dried pretty quickly and it appears to be completely cured but I am letting it sit another day before putting on any more hardware. Once it was dry and ready for sanding, I went over it with 1000 grit sandpaper to knock off any rough spots to smooth it out.

After the sanding was done and the entire guitar was wiped down, it was time to tackle a couple of the small projects. The bridge inserts were put in (along with the bridge ground wire), the truss rod cover was put on and the strap buttons were put on. The bridge inserts are in snug with a little bit of general purpose Locktite. These pictures were taken before anything was put on (except for the shot with the pickguard laying on it). The next round of pictures will be of it completely assembled.







September 11, 2011:

The finished product...

The pickup is a Lollar tapped P-90 that I custom ordered. Full output mode is the 5% overwind, wound to 10k. With the tap it is close to the output of the 50's wind at 7.5k. It doesn't sound like the 50's wind as the construction is different. I'm extremely happy with it. It's big, fat, snarly, yet clear. Just an amazing pickup. Highly recommended. In one of the pictures below, there is a switch mounted to the back plate. That switch toggles between full output mode and tapped mode for the P-90.

As mentioned a while back, the hardware is Gotoh. The pots are Alpha 500k with an Orange Drop .022uf tone cap wired 50's style, and the jack is a Switchcraft. The nut is bone, pre-slotted, that I fine tuned for proper break angle and action. The pickguard was ordered on eBay and the back plate I made from pickguard material. The strapbuttons are the oversized variety so there is no need for strap locks.

The paint is Dupli-Color Oxford White Acrylic Lacquer. The headstock face is done in Dupli-Color Universal Black Acrylic Lacquer. The finish I went after is like the Gibson "faded" finishes where there is no clear coat or grain filler. It came out better than expected. There is still a little bit of a natural shine to it so it's not completely flat.

Playability is excellent. There is zero neck dive which is real nice. The wood is definitely good quality as I can feel the guitar resonate and the sustain is really good. I have to say that the outcome is better than I had expected. This is one guitar that I will be playing for a long time.

Thanks to Phil and Kevin at Precision Guitar Kits for making this kit. And thanks to Jason Lollar for winding a fantastic pickup for it.






2 comments:

  1. Lovely build, and an appealing choice of guitar - those SG's are great but SO pricey as originals and it looks like you really achieved the goal of getting your own project to be very much like an unobtanium relic.

    White was a good choice - those Gibson styles look super-classy in white!

    If I was gonna build another project (I have built one axe many years ago) I'd go for a white Trini Lopez Standard (it's like an ES-335 but with a much cooler look to it!) That'd be a head-turner, and originals only came in blue and red so it'd be pretty unique too. John Hiatt had a black one and it was pretty cool looking. Pipe dream....

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    1. Thanks, Jer. Two years later and I'm still in awe at how it came out. The one thing I had to stay focused on was being patient. There was no rushing it. I'd like to do another of their kits down the road. Perhaps a LP Jr.

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