Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 76
COLUMN Shop of Hard Knocks
using a hand-held polisher with foam pads and a
mild abrasive compound without risking damage or contaminating components or hardware.
3) The first thing I do when assembling an
instrument is establish the string path, which
makes it easier to fine-tune the installation of
Once assembled, the guitar eagerly awaits
its turn to relay a Frampton talk-box lick.
SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED
Guitar (Re)Building 101
By Will Kelly
hether you're a professional guitar tech
charged with an extensive rebuild or a
newbie pondering your first run at a kit
guitar, one vital consideration is the "progression" of an assembly from a disparate group of
components to a playable instrument.
1) If you strip a set-neck electric, you'll have
about 180 screws, nuts, bolts, washers, and parts.
2) The best time to conduct a thorough cleaning and polishing of a guitar's finish is when it's
"naked." It's much easier to wet-buff scratches
and surface contaminants like smoke and sweat
components such as bridges and pickups to
match string spacing. I do tuners first because
once they're on, I can position the tailpiece and
4) I use a rubber mallet and "dummy" stud
insert to install a stop tailpiece and bridge. To
ensure they go in straight (not cocked to one
side), the threaded inserts must be perpendicular
to the horizontal plane of the guitar's top. This
is also the time to run the ground wire into one
of the bridge insert cavities (prior to installing
the threaded insert).
5) Next up are the potentiometers. They can
be grounded in the traditional manner, with
a soldered lead on the rear case, but I use a
custom-made aluminum shield in the cavity,
to provide a better connection to ground, and
quieter operation. It also makes it easier to replace
the pots in the future.
6) While installing electrical components, I
pre-position the wires from the control cavity
to the three-way switch cavity; a route through
the pickup cavities connects the spaces, and it's
very difficult to get to this wire after the pickups