Warmoth “N4” Part VI

At this point the build is turning out great, but I did hit a few snags on the electronics.

Look at this progress!

I wasn’t able to install the L500XL at first because the pickup ring was intended for a Lesson Paul. The team at Wilde pickups promptly sent me the ring I needed at no cost. ….but seriously who wants to wait for USPS to take a test drive?

I went ahead and attached the Duncan ’59 straight into the jack with alligator clips, cranked up my amp ……..and Continue reading “Warmoth “N4” Part VI”

Warmoth “N4” Part IV

As I’m trying to stay true to a lot of the elements that made the N4 a great guitar, I did a bit of research on how the finishes were done. On the Washburn forums there are several threads that detail how the finish is done. Then I found this post on the stephen’s extended cutaway facebook page which details how the original batch was done. Essentially they used two coats of tung oil and used steel wool between coats. I planned on doing two coats like this and then for the final coat I was going to warm the oil and melt some beeswax in it. This would make the finish more durable and still stay true to the original design. I also decided to apply the oil with a fine grain sandpaper to get an even smoother surface.

The final prepping before applying the oil.

There seems to be debate on what is “real” tung oil. It’s unclear to me if the original batch of these guitars used the oil that the big box hardware retailers sell, or got the snobby stuff. I opted the WindRiver pure tung oil from Woodcraft (snobby stuff) just in case.

Applying the oil with 400 grit worked perfectly! The first application made the wood look absolutely brilliant. The grain just popped and it looked stunning.

Here’s a shot after the first coat of oil.

I hung the body to dry and regularly wiped it down in case any oil was coming out of the pours. I let it sit overnight and started my second coat. What I didn’t account for was how much darker the second coat would make the guitar. Had I known it would continue to get darker I would have not added the second coat, and better yet, I would have melted the wax in the initial coat. Anyway, that’s all hindsight.

The second coat applied easily as well, however it also made it quiet a bit darker.
This shot better represents how dark the guitar became with the second coat.

It took a while for the oil to cure. While the finish looked amazing, I wasn’t happy with how dark the guitar was. I hit it really hard with some 0000 steel wool to see it that would lighten it up some. i think it helped, but it also made the finish look less …..new, if that makes sense.

I then applied a coat of beeswax and this really brought the finish to life. Simply beautiful. Unfortunately, after about a week, it became cloudy. Apparently there was moisture and I didn’t allow the oil to finish curing. I hit it with a little more steel wool and applied more wax. Now the finish is complete.

Warmoth N4 Inspired Project

For a the past year or two, I’ve been wanting a nice shredder guitar. Two of my favorites on the market right now are the Washburn N4 and Guthrie Govan Charvel. If money wasn’t an object, I’d likely just purchase several of each. …but …..yeah, not going to happen. Since my last attempt to merge the characteristics of two guitars worked really well (strat & jaguar), I thought I might get exactly what I want by trying to merge these two.

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The N4 Kit

A couple weeks ago I placed a thread on The Gear Page about how the luthier I hired to build a guitar for me basically stole my money and wasted a lot of my time. This resulted in me connecting with someone else who ordered an N4 neck & body from the same guy. He did eventually receive his order, but it was a painful process. This nice gentlemen was looking to get out of this project and sold it to me for almost nothing. I’m really looking forward to getting started on this one as there’s a lot to be done.

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Do you know John Klein from Pennsylvanian?

tl;dr Please, please, please, use caution when dealing with this guy. My 10 month stint dealing with him was quiet painful. He lied (a lot), stole from me, and then disappeared. The police know him by name and are actively looking for him. His parents are disappointed in him and say he’s “having problems”. If you are considering working with or interacting with this person, please use caution and protect yourself. Do not make the mistake I made by trusting him.

This is John Klein

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New Strat Wiring

tl;dr

The following combination of strat mods is simple to install and greatly increases the tonal palette of the instrument IMO. This requires giving up the traditional 3rd position (middle pickup), but that’s a small price to pay.

  1. Tone knob assignment – Connect the first tone knob to the neck & middle pickups and dedicate the second one to the bridge pickup.
  2. Super switch – Replace the standard 5-way with a super switch or 2-pole 5-way w/ the following wiring: N, N+M, N+B, M+B, B   This preserves all the “good” strat sounds and adds the “tele” middle sound.
  3. Strangle Switch (aka high-pass filter) – Basically just a .003 capacitor on a push pull potentiometer. This will cut out low-end frequencies and make the guitar sound so funky.
  4. Treble Bleed circut – Add a 560pf cap & 300k resistor to the volume pot to preserve tone while using the volume knob.

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Klein Copy: Part X

Since I opened this kit, I’ve know that some fret work was going to be required. Historically this is an area I’ve avoided and sought professional help, but after spending some time on youtube, I decided I am capable of doing this. …….I just needed to acquire some tools first. The main videos I tried to model/emulate were this, this, and this. Most of the supplies came from  Stewart MacDonald. I found a lesser expensive notched straight edge and fret rocker on Amazon, and the Meguiar’s polish and buffer wheel were from an auto parts store where I had a gift card.

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Klein Copy: Part VIII

My replacement JCustom headpeice arrived on Thursday from the good folks at HeadlessUSA. They were incredibly helpful with the few questions I had, and for a couple of reasons I’d recommend buying from them via phone rather than ebay like I did. While I’m not crazy about the extra length this will add to the guitar, the quality easily makes up for it. So far it’s easily been worth the money.

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Klein Copy: Part VII

The whole time I’ve been working on this guitar the question in the back of my mind has been: is this cheap thing going to actually sound, play, and function like a “real” guitar? I’m at a point where I can’t make any real progress for a week or two but I this afternoon I thought maybe I should mount the bridge and neck, string it up, and see what she’s like. So I did.

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Klein Copy: Part V

All of my hardware has arrived with the exception of the new pickguard. I  took some time to make sure everything would install as expected. The main piece of the bridge fits in it’s route beautifully, but unfortunately once it’s fully assembled it overhangs on the top of the route.

……almost perfectly blocked tremolo by mistake.

Continue reading “Klein Copy: Part V”