Building a SG 'Kit' guitar

Discussion in 'SG Copies' started by Tom Dickinson, Aug 31, 2021.

  1. Tom Dickinson

    Tom Dickinson New Member

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    So I've been in this game for decades, getting my first electric guitar back around 1965! Since then, the number of guitars Ive bought and sold is literally countless. But throughout the years, the SG has remained my favorite, and for that reason I've decided to try my hand at building one from one of the many 'kit' providers. Mine happens to be a Sino version with nothing more than a neck and body, shipped separately I might add, and both for about $150! Not knowing what I'd get for that I held off on this post until I actually had parts in hand. That day came yesterday, about 30 days from order to delivery!

    After looking things over and taking some basic measurements, I have to say I'm pretty impressed!! While the body shape is not 'exactly' that of Gibson's product, some gentile work with a file and sander will result in rendering it virtually indistinguishable . Likewise with the neck. And, the neck joint area looks to have very little in terms of need for achieving a 'proper' neck fittment! In short, this doesn't look to be too complicated a project!!

    The kit was an ebay purchase, so I had ebay's customer protection policies in the event the parts were total junk! On the contrary, I think this will turn out well. The ONLY issue I see is that there appears to be a small piece of 'filler' used in the body joint only visible on the backside. And, I may be misjudging it as it may actually be just a grain anomaly as is sometimes the case. zin any event, I will post a couple shots of what I have shortly, and for those who wish to follow along on this I welcome you aboard. I'm pretty confident about most of the assembly aspect of a project like this, but I have like 'zero' skills in the 'finish' category. Fortunately, I have a couple of friends who are GREAT at that! So, we'll see how it goes!

    The ebay seller is listed as Song-song, if anyone wants to go check them out. Lots of other kits available including LP, PRS, Flying V, tele, strat, etc! So wish me luck! Progress reports will be posted as they happen!! Tom D
     
  2. Tom Dickinson

    Tom Dickinson New Member

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    OK, further up-date: I spent some time with rulers and measuring sticks.......and.., well, ... um.... ah,

    CRAP!!

    So this thing is listed as being a 24.75" scale length guitar. It appears that is correct, IF you measure the distance from the 12th fret to the nut, and then down to the centerline between the two holes drilled in the body for the bridge posts. And, that alone doesn't necessarily cause a problem. BUT, the problem is coming in from the fact that when you place the neck INTO the body pocket and position it properly so as to achieve that 24.75 scale length location, you end up with the heel end of the neck protruding into the pickup route in such a way that you can barely drop a pickup into the hole, and you can NOT get a mounting ring around the pickup and then screw it into the wood body! NOT COOL!!

    This is a 22 fret guitar, but I have a feeling it may end up being a 21 fret guitar.....and, I'm now rather concerned that it may never play right! I suspect that the intonation will not be right based on some shoddy fret work. I guess we'll see. But, before I glue the neck in, I have to resolve this problem! I fear it may take some revision of the pickup route itself..... I bought a 4" X 36" belt sander yesterday, just to be able to plane down the backside of the neck heel in order to get the neck to drop into the body pocket a bit lower. ($50 off Facebook Marketplace, and $8 for some new belts from Harbor Freight!! .... not bad!!) But, now it looks like I'm going to need to go buy a routher too!!!
     

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  3. Bad Penguin

    Bad Penguin Well-Known Member

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    OR a Schaller styled harmonica bridge. Where a tun-a-matic gives you roughly 3/8" adjustment, the harmonica bridge gives you slightly more then a 1/2".
     
  4. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Send it back. The fretboard is too far into the body to give the major advantage of an SG, that is easy access to upper frets, and if you still insist to use that neck you have a lot of work ahead of you just on the corrections only to end up with something like a crappy Epi 310, which you could have gotten second hand for a song and a dance. Most likely what you have there is a Les Paul neck and not an SG neck.

    Spending money on tools to get that to fit is like buying a chisel to fit a square peg into a round hole instead of just taking the round peg. It just makes no sense. Just get an SG neck instead.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2021
  5. laza616

    laza616 Active Member

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    Lol , thats useless with this neck.
    Dont waste your energy, time and money on this as its all wrong.
    My eyes hurt :(
     
  6. RW59

    RW59 Member

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    Is there a shoulder on the neck heel or something else that requires to to set the neck that far back? Or can you slide it forward a bit?

    You seem to say you measured the scale down the centerline, using the spot between the D&G strings on the line between the bridge studs as the end point?

    If so, that's wrong. The high E string requires virtually no saddle compensation, the heavier strings always require compensation to make them longer than scale length. So if you use the centerline for scale measurement, you'll need to move all the saddles all the back in the bridge -- and most likely run out of adjustment room and not be able to properly intonate most of the strings.

    Your high E will end up being very close to true scale length. So measure from the nut (or 12th fret) to the high E. Set the neck so the high E saddle will either be centered in the bridge, or even better moved forward in the bridge a little.

    That'll put the intonation points of the other strings somewhere close to the centerline between the angled bridge studs.

    It looks to me that if you measure properly along the high E you'll have to move the neck forward/out a little, and the rear edge of the neck near the fretboard will line up close to perfectly with the walls of the pickup cavity.
     
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  7. Bbr6704

    Bbr6704 Member

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  8. Chips

    Chips Member

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    If you still have a return option you'd better get in contact with the seller and try to get it straightened out. If it is meant to trimmed in the forward pickup you should consider a chisel rather than a router bit or belt sander. Both of those tools will send your trim job to the scrap pile in a hurry. A sharp chisel (sharp as in you can shave with it) will fix that up faster than you could get your router properly set up.

    That being said and as others have suggested I don't think that neck body combo fits right. I'd think even if take off enough to fit your pickup, the neck and fret board is still too into the body enough that you would also have to trim the pick guard to fit between the pickup and neck....assuming you are going with a stock pick guard.

    Sometimes making a small adjustment in a spot not meant to be adjusted will multiply your problems elsewhere. That is the primary reason why I have chosen not to time travel.
     
  9. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Guys, it's the wrong damn neck, ok? He bought them separately.
     
  10. Tom Dickinson

    Tom Dickinson New Member

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    Von, NO! I did NOT buy them separately! I bought what was supposed to be a body/neck 'kit' for the SG.

    As it turns out, I've seen a number of these shorter scale SG version available from Asian manufacturers. They're all clearly NOT what a true SG should be...... so I think the question of 'Can it be made to replicated a genuine SG?' will have a clear "NO!!!" answer. Of course, as soon as I say that, somone will probably produce photos of some old SG from the past where the 24.75 scale length was employed. But, no doubt it will be routed differently, and may even have a long tennon neck joint vs this short version.

    As to returning it, to be honest, it's not really worth the hassle. Granted, I'll probably not end up with a really 'nice' guitar out of this, but it will be a 'learning' experience.....and that's worth the $140 I paid for the body/neck.....at least it is to me. I may do this again, and if so, having done it once will probably provide a lot of good knowledge for the next time......starting with: Buy a better 'frickin' kit!!!

    RW, first, thanks for some legitimately 'helpful' commentary! That stuff is in short supply these days. Let me just try to address my 'technique' here, and if you get this, maybe you can respond again: First, the holes for the bridge and stop tailpiece are pre-drilled in the body (as seen in the pickures). So, one has to accept the fact that the 'laterel' angle of the neck (or if you were to 'pivot' the neck at the body joint and adjust the lateral angle by movng the headstock side to side until the strings lined up properly along the fret board) is really pre-determined by the positioning of the bridge and tailpiece in the body. So, fortunately, some cursory measuring seems to support that this part of setting the neck in position within the body will work out OK. Next we have the 'verticle' angle of the neck.....or what is typically shimmed in a bolt-on Fender (or other) in order to get the string height properly adjusted along with bridge saddle position. Obviously, in a Gibson, the bridge can be raised or lowered to compensate for this to some degree. But, it's still critical, and I rather wrestling with that part of the process at the moment. Finally, we have the actual 'scale length' positioning of the neck..... adjusting the 'set-point' so the scale length is 'proper'!!

    In consideration of that you're saying (to RW), and if I understand you correctly, you're stating that the 'shortest' linear measurment with respect to bridge saddle position and either 'nut' or 12th fret is on the High E, yes? So, that being true, and considering that bridge-pin holes have been pre-drilled..... I would want to make this measurement and eventually locate the neck such that with the presumed position of the bridge saddle on the High E would be as far forward as a Nashville style bridge would take it. That would then result in a neck position where the other 5 strings would have the further reach of backing up the bridge saddles in order to achieve the proper intonation, yes?

    Honestly, I have a feeling that what's going to end up happening here is that I'm going to make these measurements, set the neck in place, and then install the bridge, tailpiece, and tuners. Then, after a good 'curing' time on the neck joint, I'm going to string up the guitar and see how it plays. And, I won't be surprised if I end up having to pull the bridge pin ferrules out, dowl up the holes, and re-drill the body on one side or the other.....or both! But, if I can avoild that, it would be nice!! But then there's the pickup cavity to deal with too.....and the further 'inward' that I set the neck (assuming that 'inward' is the proper term for either lengthing or shorting the overall scale length.....and 'downward' would be the depth of the heel into the cutout resulting in the hight of the fret board above the body?) the futher 'in' it goes, the more of an issue I'm going to have with mounting the neck pickup and ring.

    So, it's obviously NOT a 'quality' kit-project! And, in all likelihood I probably should have done some more research and popped for a better kit from a more reputible supplier. Live and learn! Fortunately, other than the cost of the kit, $5 for a small bottle of Tightbond 'Original Formula' glue, and $8 for a tailpiece..... I have everything else I need to complete this, including pickups and rings, tuners, bridge, ferrules, controls, knobs, etc. So, I'm electing to continue the project, and hopefully end up with something 'playable'. I may end up buying a genuine Gibson SG just cuz ...... But, worse case scenario is this will go to my Grandson some day.....which may be the 'best case scenario' as well............lol

    Tom D.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2021
  11. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Right, well, I misunderstood you then and I see now that you wrote that they shipped separately and not that you bought them separately. Based on that I can only conclude that they either shipped the wrong neck, an LP neck, or they are complete idiots. In any case, my main point was that if you want an SG then fitting that neck will be too much hassle and would still not give you the full SG experience and my recommendation is to either ask the seller to ship you the correct neck or get a new separate SG neck. In any case, fitting that neck on that body - don't do it.

    In any case, you say you have ebay protection so demand a refund because what you got just ain't correct
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2021
  12. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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  13. Tom Dickinson

    Tom Dickinson New Member

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    OK, time for another update.

    After a lot of time with rulers, measuring tapes, protractors, micrometers, calipers, etc.....I managed to reshape the heel of the neck and achieve a proper mounting angle. Neck is now 'set' into the body in what I hope will be a satisfactory manner!

    As shown in the pics above, the neck position did have to be 'backed up' about 3/16" in order to achieve some room at the butt end for a pickup mounting ring. This now requires the bridge ferrules to be relocated as well, plus I had to take about a 1/8" cut off the top of the heel tenon to make that surface flush with the top of the body. But, the good news here is that I would have had to plug and re-drill the bridge ferrules anyway as the holes are too large for a true Gibson bridge. So, relocating them just a bit as part of this process won't require any additional work other than getting the locations properly designated.

    Bottom line is that some further progress has been made, and I'm now pretty confident that the final outcome will be public passable, even if only for a short time (until my neck joint fails....). One other 'discovery' about this product is that the vendor failed to drill the hole to run the ground wire from the control cavity to the stop tailpiece ferrule cavity. Needless to say, that will have to get done, as will replacing the cheap plastic nut at the end of the neck. But then it will be just a matter of putting some kind of 'finish' on the wood, then final assembly and setup.

    If anyone has any suggestions about a simple way to 'finish' the wood, I'm open to ideas. I'm NOT going to rattle-can paint it, but I might spray some clear urethane over some stain! Or maybe just a tung oil finish?

    Anyway....the project continues!! Tom
     
  14. Tom Dickinson

    Tom Dickinson New Member

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    tried to take a pic from web site but couldn't re-size it so it got rejected for being too large. Now i've got to figure out why this one is posting 'sideways'! It's always sumpthin, ain't it?!?!!
     

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  15. Go Nigel Go

    Go Nigel Go Well-Known Member

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    Either of those finishes will work, depending on what you want. The spray can poly can look quite good if properly applied, and can give a nice glossy finish if you keep it even and buff it to a shine. If you want a nice natural looking matte finish however, tung oil (or similar) are easy to do and tough to screw up. It just won't ever be shiny except when it is still "wet". They always dry to a natural looking matte that is only as smooth as the final sanded surface of the wood. Both have their place in my opinion.
     
  16. Tom Dickinson

    Tom Dickinson New Member

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    Nigel, thanks! As this project has NO aesthetic targets other than 'not' being too ugly, I think the Tung Oil will probably get the nod!
     
  17. Von Trapp

    Von Trapp Well-Known Member

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    Was there a reason for not just getting a more suitable neck?
     
  18. Tom Dickinson

    Tom Dickinson New Member

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    yea, time, availability of a 'suitable' neck as related to this body being an unconfirmed variable, additional cost, and finally, this one is fine. Honestly, I'm not sure who deemed this the wrong neck, or why? It came from the vendor as being the proper part. Like most 'kits', it did take some sculpting to fit it properly. But, it's in, and as of today I fitted the bridge, stop tailpiece, and tuners. I strung it up, worked the nut over, and played the guitar sans electronics for about an hour. It played well, but I do think it's going to need a better nut. Electronics will start tomorrow, and then I'm going to let it just 'set' for a bit before I break it down for finishing!
     

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