covid/something to look forward to 

I have decided that, once I am duly vaccinated (Which in my neck of the woods would be beginning May at the very earliest) I am going to mask up, goto my friendly local music store, trade some shit in, poke around *at my leisure* and maybe get a new goddamned guitar.

If I'm still on my guitar bullshit by then.

guitarposting 

...or I may* stumble across a relatively local store with a used listing for the make+model I'd been zeroing in on, in the exact, rare color that would have been my first choice, and just jump on it.

* when I say "may", I mean "did". 🙄 In theory, this will get the gear-chasing/celebratory splurge energy out of my system, *and* I can consign some stuff with the shop when I pick it up.

guitarposting / covid logistics 

...after doing a bit of research on the matter I discovered that, as a responsible human being, I am going to have to leave my new-to-me guitar in its case for 5 days once I get it home because there's no telling what any number of sanitizing substances may do to the finish. :sadparty:

Picked up the Epiphone tonight and it’s f’ing beautiful😭

No photos yet because I am leaving it in its case until Wednesday (5 days being the generally accepted outside length of time that coronavirus might survive on hard surfaces)

I realized on my way home that the shop was only a mile or two from the mall parking lot where I met the guy I bought my last “sudden fixation” guitar from, which seemed auspicious to a sentimental fool like myself

I am really liking this guitar a lot, it's really versatile and the semi-hollowbody resonance really adds a lot of flavor to the tone, especially in the "enough gain to break up but not full-on clipped" zone.

And pelham blue really is just a beautiful color 👀

Odds of me eventually attempting to do a DG-335 kit build are pretty high.

So, a seller made me an offer I couldn't refuse on a cheap basswood telecaster kit that I had watchlisted 👀

(I mean, I should to a practice run if I'm going to attempt a semi-hollow kit, right?)

I still want to do a kit with an outrageous chunky 1970's van purple flake (Like, so chunky that an actual spray gun would be involved) but I have a different style in mind for that.

Meanwhile I'm eying Re-Ranch's "Crown Royal Purple" nitro-lacquer aerosol 💜

Apparently Minwax makes an aerosol nitro-lacquer clear-coat that is considerably cheaper than the offerings from ReRanch/StewMac/etc., so that's cool; I'd like to spend less on finishing supplies than on the kit itself.

If this were a one-off I'd probably just do a rustoleum home depot finish, but it *is* a practice run

Telecaster kit arrives today, but ReRanch has had a 'online shop closed for a few days so we can catch up on orders' message up for a week now :blobpats:

Impatience (and frugality) are probably going to win out. Rustoleum makes a pretty good-looking purple metallic acrylic lacquer that can be found in-store at Autozone, and while I'm at it I'll just go with Rustoleum primer & clear coat. Not sure what I might do about a sanding sealer, if anything.

If there's one thing that dudes (and it does seem to be 100% dudes) on DIY guitar forums love, it's bickering and holding forth about finishing schedules

(It does seem that, if you're really going for a glassy smooth finish, you want to do a proper sealing step. Zinsser Bullseye Shellac should do the trick, I think my pick-up-all-the-things trip is going to have to wait until Wednesday)

holy crap, the quality of this kit really exceeds all expectations. The heel will need a fair amount of sanding to get the fingerboard flush with the body, but the pocket itself has been fitted quite nicely.

The frets are really nicely finished and a quick check with a straightedge seems to indicate that they're consistently level all the way down and across the neck.

The tuners feel a bit cheap but that's to be expected, and an easy upgrade if they turn out to be total garbage. I'm sure the pickups are cheap too, but the pots, switch, and bridge plate are nicer than I was expecting; nicely plated and solid. But all of that stuff is easily swap-outtable whenever.

The only mild gripe I have is with the jack area, which is a bit squared off for some reason. At first I assumed it must be to accommodate a flat jack plate, but no... the one included in the kit is gently curved.

But, since I'm doing this as a solid color it's not really a huge deal; I'll build it out with some wood epoxy.

For $66? 👀 I'll take it 🎸

Huh, TIL (never having owned or spent any real time with one before) that the flat jack area is a standard tele feature, with a lot of variation. (and now thanks to the internet, maybe a bit of a silly "makes it more authentic" trend)

So that's cool. I'll ease those corners a little but but leave well enough alone. Gotta order a proper flat jack, though. Might get a black pickguard while I'm at it :blobthinking:

(here's that Rustoleum purple BTW )

oooh

I might have just half-solved a long-running mystery about a favorite paint color with enormous sentimental significance for me. Might chase this down for the instead of the purple.

My grandfather used Kyanize paint - I don't know if there was any reason for that loyalty beyond that being what the hardware store in town sold.

They made this one color, a beautiful deep, dark green, so dark that you might mistake it for black at a glance, and grandpa used it to paint various things around the family's summer cottage.

Kyanize is long gone, and the cottage was sold four years ago after 100 years in the family, and all I have is an old Kyanize stir stick with some paint on it. My dad tried to get it color matched but it was so dark as to confound the scanner (although I think he just went to Home Depot, I'll bet a specialty paint shop could do better)

My dad's recollection was that it was called "Bottle Green", but the last time I went on an internet search I came up completely empty-handed.

Tonight I found two very promising leads: Some Kyanize floor paint chips, one of which is a very dark green called "Tile Green", and the other, probably more likely given the name similarity, is an auto paint color they made called "Brewster Green", and folks,

I am NOT going to buy aged brass hardware to go with Brewster green and a black pickguard...

Yet

Well I've gotten fuck-all done work-wise so far today, but I did find out about "Montana Gold" spray paints, which are marketed to taggers and come in a million lovely colors, including this one, which looks like a strong contender.

Bonus points: their paint is Iacquer, and a hell of a lot easier to obtain than chasing down old DuPont/PPG color codes and trying to find a paint shop who can mix them. (It also seems that the sale and/or use of automotive lacquer is no longer allowed in many states)

Paint ordered, sadly there don't seem to be any brick-and-mortar stores anywhere even remotely near me that actually stock the stuff. Fingers crossed that it's not wildly different than a sampling of online RGB swatches appear.

Hmm, order got canceled, guess they didn't have it in stock after all. Found it cheaper elsewhere anyway, and took the opportunity to get a can of "Olive Green" as well. Maybe a tad on the yellow side, and definitely lighter than the looks-black-in-some-conditions platonic ideal, but I'm a little worried that "Military Green" will be too blue/gray IRL.

I don't imagine it's possible to evenly mist one color over another. It's been a long time since I did any kind of real-attention-to-detail spraying, and that was with a proper spraying rig. :blobthinking:

Slowly gathering finishing supplies. Ran out of steam and daylight today, but I intend to at least get the headstock cut out and sand everything tomorrow. It really won't need much (apart from whatever butchery I do to the headstock), it's quite smooth already

Did not get to the headstock the other day, I'm fighting a battle on two fronts:

1) I really need to put in a solid amount of time to clean out and re-claim what little "workshop" area I have so I can access and safely use my little bandsaw

2) I greatly under-estimated the number of finishing supplies I'd be able to obtain via local brick-and-mortar means. Hard getting up a head of steam when I know I'll have to stop and wait on X, Y or Z

The 'Montana Gold' spray paint just arrived, and if the color sample on the can top is accurate then Military Green is gonna be 💯 for an old school "Brewster Green Dark" look.

... and of course the can is defective. 😒

Nevertheless, I managed to sort-of spray a piece of wood with it and that's enough to see that this should make for a mighty handsome guitar in an understated way, especially if I can pull off a decent clear coat (my assortment of extra-fine sandpaper arrived yesterday, Mohawk gloss nitro-cellulose rattlecans arrived today) and especially with a black pickguard to pop the color. I ordered the pickguard before deciding on Brewster Green and it's got 3 plys: black-white-black, will have to see whether or not the white is too much between two very dark colors.

Difficult to photograph in diffuse, starting-to-turn-blue evening light, but yeah, this will be pretty snappy

Follow

I'd really love to get going on the
but the weather is doing that thing where it keeps clouding over and looking like it's about to rain, but not

Which of course means that the instant I go outside and get set up to start spraying stuff onto the body, it will start raining.

I need a barn :blobsad:

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Finally made an actual start on things: 2 coats of shellac on the body as a sanding sealer - I'm glad I've spent as much time as I have poking around the TDPRI web site because the 'cantilevered spray stand' approach is great, even my half-assed jerry-rigged version. Way better than trying to hold the thing in one hand and paint it with the other, or hang it from something, etc.

Also an absolute game-changer: the $3 rustoleum spray can attachment that gives you a handle and squeeze trigger; it is *so* much more natural/comfortable/controllable. I surprised myself with how much spray gun muscle memory I seem to have. I'll never spray any thing without one again.

I also roughed out the headstock, probably rushed it a little bit but I don't think there's anything I can't salvage with sandpaper + time.

...this is a fancier version of the spray-can attachment than the one I got, but you get the idea. One of those rare cheap-but-life-changing devices: youtube.com/watch?v=FoqrSoOe-2

...speaking of spray-gun muscle memory, if you have €18,000.00 (lol) you can own some of my handiwork (maybe) from 1997 in the form of this officially licensed, meticulously researched, limited edition life-sized Darth Vader.

trocadero.com/stores/tribalwor

I painted and clear-coated a lot of of Darth Vader helmets and chestplates that year, although by no means all 500 of them.

IIRC they sold these at The Sharper Image for like six grand each.

It's hard to believe it now, but that was pre-prequel and back then George Lucas still had more nerd good will than anyone on earth (perhaps a raised eyebrow at the "Special Editions", but mostly happy to be able to see them on the big screen again), and everybody in the shop was fucking jazzed when we found out one of them was going to Skywalker Ranch. We all signed the inside of the helmet of that one.

I will say that the specimen in this photo needs a proper buffing; they were super-glossy when we shipped them.

Two coats of BIN shellac primer, going to start spraying color later. Second-guessing the color a bit after spouse looked at it and said “hmm, looks like an ammo box.”

I mean, she’s not wrong but I am wary of the Venn diagram intersection of guitar bros / duck dynasty gun nut bros. Hopefully a nice glossy finish will lift it out of that context. The color is not as saturated and slightly less blue than the paint stick swatch.

It’ll look fine.

Tack-coat. You can tell this Montana paint is optimized for taggers because it doesn’t do “broad swaths” so much. But I think I’ll get it dialed in when I want to really start laying the color.

1st real color coat. #2 will really fill it out and I’ll go for a third if there’s enough paint in the can. Impossible color to photograph, even with a mostly matte finish.

I think it’s gonna look boss with clearcoat and a black pickguard.

Why the hell did I only buy one can of paint, it’s not even particularly expensive 🙄

This was #2, I just snuck #3 on at the last possible ill-advised moment before it starts to get dark and cool off. The body seems thirsty despite two coats of shellac plus two coats of primer, and combined with the relatively focused spray it’s taking more paint than I would have expected. It’s staring to look properly painted, but I’m gonna need at least one more can.

At least I can work on the neck while I wait. (Going to finish it with Tru-Oil once I get it sanded.)

Still waiting on more paint, but the initial coats did even out a little bit as they dried more fully.

It'll be interesting to see how long the clear-coat takes to fully dry and harden, internet forums vary wildly with some people like "I can usually wet sand within 72 hours" to that certain type of overly cautious person who's like "give it 12 weeks at the absolute minimum"

...with the most sensible take I've found being, "If it doesn't smell like lacquer anymore, it's good to go."

This paint is a lovely color but a terrible choice for trying to get a smooth even coat onto a flat surface; it sprays a very fine line (like, 1-2" across, great for art, not great for covering a surface) and then the overspray leaves you with dusty texture pretty much no matter what you do; the band of wet paint it lays down is too narrow to blend with the next pass. I went too heavy with coat #4 earlier this week, and got some orange peel.

I'm letting it dry another few days, then I'll give it a gentle level sanding, one more touch-up color coat, and cross my fingers that I can get everything evened out with the clear coat.

Put the first coat of clear on the a little while ago.

I'm having some doubts about how well this may turn out, but we'll see. In theory the clear coat should be implicitly smoother and more even, especially if I do a ton of coats.

Absolute worst-case, I can always sand the damn thing down and start over with the rustoleum

Put two more clear coats on this morning and apparently went too heavy in one spot because now there are a bunch of blisters there; looks like the paint's lifting too. 😓

Fingers crossed I can salvage by letting it dry for a few days, sanding those spots back and spot-coloring as needed. From what I understand nitro is fairly forgiving that way

I've been doing light clear coats here and there as I think of it. Slow-going because it's rained about 6 out of every 7 days for the last 3 weeks.

Not sure if it was partly heat-related (today was a hot one) but I got a bunch more blisters in more or less the same area today. (Of course it's the front, and of course it won't be covered by the pick guard)

The bloom is far enough off the rose at this point that I'm going to just pop them as they appear and coat this fucker as thick as I can manage with the 1 1/4 cans of nitrocellulose I have left, and hope they even out enough for it not to look totally terrible after wet sanding.

If I take the thing back to bare wood... well, at this pace I'm seriously doubtful I'd finish it before the weather turns cold again

I guess I’ll try sanding just the shitty spots down to bare wood and see if I can redo just those areas. The nitro does seem quite forgiving in that respect.

I blame the primer, which I did read some complaints about on tdrp (but also read enough “worked fine for me” posts to go with it.) lifted right down to the shellac, it’s bullshit

I think my main sin has been letting the body sit in the sun when I have it out to work on the finish; I’ll put a coat on, go do other stuff for a while, come back, do another, etc. but I think the sun softens the nitro, and if there’s anything underneath still inclined to offgas, it’s able to raise a blister in the soft finish.

My other mistake was leaving it in my SUV (which, in the summer months, doubles as tool and project storage because I still don’t have a proper workshop for shit like this) as I think the heat caused the nitro to dry too rapidly and shrink, leaving some crazing/checking/not sure what to call it.

Anyway, did a couple more paint touch ups and I’ll see if I can manage to put some final nitro coats on without the heat extremes. I think it’s going to look rough, but blues dads pay Fender hundreds of dollars extra for guitars with fucked up finishes, so 🤷‍♂️

Meanwhile I finally gave some attention to the neck, sawing and sanding the heel so it fits flush in the pocket, and getting the headstock maybe 90% of the way there. I should be able to start putting Tru-Oil on this weekend.

Managed to sneak between the raindrops long enough to finish sanding the neck and get the first coat of tru-oil on. I’d forgotten how nice that stuff is.

Just two coats of Tru-oil and it’s already looking and feeling finished. I’ll probably go for at least six.

I did an iffy job cutting out the concave part of the “scroll” and an even iffier job of sanding it (more apparent with finish on it) but I can live with it. The project had entered the “kinda just want this out of the back of my head, so I can pile some novel new crap in the back of my head” phase

Total of four coats on the neck so far. If I'm lucky I might get a couple more on tomorrow morning before the weather deteriorates completely.

Aww yis

Tru-oil is so good, and it’s such an *easy* finish; wipe it on with a rag or little bit of paper towel, just enough to make the surface visibly wet, let it dry a couple of hours, steel wool, wipe dust off, repeat as many times as you want.

I think I can get one more coat on tonight which I think makes 7 or 8, which I think I’m going to call enough.

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