After about 3 weeks, I could no longer smell the lacquer, so I considered it dry and set about the task of making the guitar shiny.
To get the paint level and remove the slight orange peel texture that you will get with all but the most fortuitous rattle-can spray jobs, I wet sanded first with 600 grit, then again wirth 1500 grit paper. I did the sanding and polishing before I drilled any holes in the body to avoid contaminating the wood with water and polishing compounds.
The Rub Out
After sanding, I went over the whole body with Turtle Wax Rubbing Compound. I would recommend using some kind of machine to do the polishing if you have one of the appropriate size. I did all the rubbing by hand, and my elbow still hurts. Next, I hit it with a round of Turtle Wax Polishing Compound. I used these products because I already had them on hand, many people seem to prefer McGuire’s for this task. Finally, rub on a coat of wax for good measure.
Assembling the guitar was pretty straight forward. Wiring had to be routed and connections soldered, and screw holes had to be drilled and parts screwed on or pressed in. The hardware that came in the kit is of mixed quality. Some of it is good, some junk. I have already decided to replace the tuning machines with vintage style klusons, and I would like to ditch the neck pickup for something better.
Setting up an elctric guitar involves adjusting the truss rod in the neck (mine had a terrible back-bow), setting the string height at the nut and bridge (setting the action), setting the right pickup to string gap, and setting the intonation. The kit came with good instructions with regard to setup.
Overall, I am happy with the guitar. I’m really hoping that the fact that I put it together myself will give me a bond with the instrument that will help me want to stick with learning to play. So far so good.
Here is some guitar porn for you to ogle.