Guitar Upgrade – Paula gets the final touch – Part 3 Before we begin

100100So a little update, I got some of the items I ordered and I treated the guitar in the meantime.

Links to the rest of the process:
Part #1 – The Plan
Part #2 – Parts, Parts Everywhere
Part #4 – Smooth As Basalt

Took the pickguard off and…

Before Cleaning

…got a reminder of my paint job… Dang it..
I have a paint smear under the pickguard!
So, I’m currently thinking what I would put
there to make it more versatile…
Also, for some reason,
the paint was affected greatly from everything it touched-
there are bumps around the area of the pickguard,
the bridge, the jack boat…

After Cleaning

So I sanded down all I could,
and tried to polish with 2000 grit sandpaper, wet,
and using a lot of guitar polish.
The result is smooth to touch but the paint lost its gloss.
I am considering spraying some black over the finish, so the right side
will have a nice black glossy coat where it needs…

As you might have noticed, the cavity looks worse now…
The reason is that it had chips of wood that fell when I cleaned it,
so I filled the new holes with toothpicks and wood glue.
I also sanded a bit that cavity so some of the bumps would go out,
I prefer scratched finish instead of a surface with bumps…

I’m currently considering repainting the whole right side with another coat of black,
and in the same paint session also cover the cavity in black.
I don’t know how it will look with the copper foil above it,
so I’m also considering first putting the cover foil, securing it in place with additional glue,
adding a wire so I can ground it, and only then finish the guitar.
This way the copper will also be painted black.

* A problem rises from this procedure
the transition in colour from the new black back to the transparent part.
I don’t really want the repaint to be visible…
Suggestions will be welcome in my eMail! (see contact page)

Also about that neck…

No gaps now!

The original neck installed on Paula was drilled with
misaligned and angled screw holes, so the body matched them…
Drilling screw holes for the new neck was a bit problematic for me.
First, I didn’t know how to align the neck properly for that,
especially because I don’t have any tools to hold the parts in place.
And secondly, because of the odd angled screw holes,
it was harder to mimic the holes…
Eventually the neck was angled a bit
and the high E string was almost on the edge of the fretboard for a long time.
I finally had the chance and concentration to work on the neck!
So what I did was like so:

  • I used a step drill to slightly (first step only) widen the end of
    the neck holes on the body on both sides.
    That let the screws to have a bit more freedom in moving.
  • I drilled the screw holes with a bit larger bit than they need,
    to get rid of the screwing threads in the body.
    This way I don’t rely on the body’s holes.
    I’m not bothered with any loss from that –
    because the screws are still held in place by
    their tightening and the thinner part of the holes.
  • I sanded down extra paint that was inside the neck pocket.
  • I sanded the neck pocket to match the neck, so it could be straightened.

Installed the neck – and it is now straight! 🙂 Success!

Small parts are just as important


I made a star ground terminal that will be stationary in the guitar body.
The idea is that I will connect the bridge ground and jack ground to it,
while the most accessible lug will be connected to the pickguard hardware.
This way I don’t have to fiddle with the jack or bridge wires anymore!
The reason I made it a single parts is to reduce vibrations,
and this way the guitar will need a bit less maintenance.
If they weren’t soldered, when the screw was loosened by time,
the lug and the screw would move separately and thus make noises…

How I made it was simple –
I used terminal lugs I ordered, which are just piece of metal,
with a hole in the centre for a screw and a hole in each side.
Screwed two of those in a pickguard screw, crossed.
(Matching colours of course!
It’s the most important stage in the guitar build! ;P )
Held the screw with the Helping Hands,
in between the piece and the hand I put cloth,
so the screw will heat up, too,
and prevent it from cooling using the metal of the hand.
Then soldered all of the pieces together;
heated the iron, tinned it, soldered the lugs together.
Then heated the screw and pushed some solder to it.

I’m planning on screwing it in the control cavity as in the picture.
This will allow me to connect the wire from the bridge with exact wire length,
So it wont be taking too much space and attention.
Also, reaching it is easy, so connecting it to the jack and the pickguard will be a breeze.
Also, the almost-Faraday-cage (copper shielding around the cavity)
will be connected to it, somehow…

Link to Upgrade Table on Google Docs

Closing words

So now I’m waiting for all the additional parts to arrive,
I will update when I’ve done enough work to put in a post.
Thanks for reading!
I hope you find this project interesting 🙂

See ya in the next one,

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