I first dyed the body black and sanded back to highlight the grain. Then I mixed up some red aniline dye and added black to it until I got the dark wine red I stained the body with. Then I sprayed zinsser shelac to hold the color and then filled the grain with four coats of aquacoat sealer, sanding in between. The clear coats are applied with a rag, Minwax wipe-on polyurethane, 30 coats. Not as thick as it sounds as it goes on so thin. I would do about four coats and then sand all the way up to a 12,000 jewel grit. Sometimes I would even buff with compound and then apply more coats. It took all winter because my garage is cold, so it took extra long for coats to gas off. The neck was also finished in Minwax wipe-on poly with no stain on it. After I put about six coats on it and then took it out into the spring sun to cure out, it turned that nice vintage yellow, probably from the linseed oil in the wipe-on poly.
Parts: The bridge is a Callaham vintage model. Gotoh locking tuners. Fender custom shop 69 pickups–they sound sweet. Premium switch and pots. You can’t buy a pickguard that color unless you go with an aluminum gold anodized one, which has no beveling and feels weird when playing. I got a three-ply plastic one from Stew Mack and sprayed three coats of rustoleum gold enamel on it. Then buffed out the orange peel. That’s about it. Probably more info that you wanted.
Thanks for sending me the 54 junior so quickly. I have been so happy with the precise job you did cutting that strat body and neck, the fret fit and finish is superb. The grain on the body is outstanding. I was so pleased with the strat, I don’t want to order a neck and body from anyone else but Precision.
Just wanted to say that I’m truly in love with this guitar. This was my first attempt at doing a guitar kit and I have zero regrets. The quality and workmanship of your kits are comparable to any of my other American made guitars. Just a summary of what I did;
-Inlayed some abalone in the headstock
-some water based dye to obtain desired color and about 20 coats of tru oil, I sprayed the last 4.
-ebony headstock overlay
-graph tech nut
-ton pros wrap around bridge
-CTS pots and 50’s wiring
-custom hand wound p90 from Vineham
– and I crafted a truss rod cover and pickguard.
I haven’t played any of my other guitars since I finished this, all my desired sound from this one guitar. Once again thank you.
Really enjoying this guitar. Thanks for the making such a high quality kit available. The ‘hog is beautiful and the figuring on the pau ferro is off the hook. I radiused the board to 20″ and put in jumbo Evo frets, and went with the gold theme on the rest of the hardware. Pup is a Fralin noiseless 5% overwound. Only trouble has been getting the bridge far enough back for intonation – had to turn the saddles around and take the adjusting screws to the limit, but is intonated. Possibly because I use fairly heavy strings (11-49)?
Playability is top notch, even though the neck has almost no relief (I sanded out the built-in relief when radiusing the board!). Low action, no buzzes, can bend notes to the moon.
Finish is black grain filler, Cabot fruitwood stain, and wipe on poly. I did have to go back and add a “rib cut”, because the curve of the upper bout dug into my rib cage so bad I could only play it for 5-10 min. Would have been much easier to do this at the start, but now it is comfortable. The other thing I forgot about is adding a thin wire when pushing in the RH bridge insert, for grounding. Just didn’t occur to me until later, so it might be worth mentioning on the web site. I did get it well grounded with conductive paint & copper foil, though.
Hi Phil Here is my dc junior 59 replica finish “Midnight Blue” relic … Gorgeous guitar, sounds crazy …vero Amazing !!! ! … the quality of your kit is always at the top, this is the 5th that he greets you and am still satisfied! … thanks to all the team for your work! cordially Nicolas
I bought a 59 carved top kit from you a little over 2 years ago and recently finished putting it together. So I thought I’d send you a few “finished” photos and also tell you how much I enjoyed both putting together the guitar and of course playing it! Your kit is absolutely top notch, with great construction but also really great wood. Thanks so much!
I did a french polish finish, with an aniline dye burst right onto the maple. I also added binding to the top and a custom inlay.
If you’re interested, I wrote about my whole build process here:
Just uploaded some photos of the custom jr kit I got from you a year ago.
I finished it few weeks ago. It is quite the rocking beast. It is extremely resonant. I love it. The ebony board and maple neck with the maple capped mahogany body is what Exactly what I wanted.
I call it the yellow bastard.
Tru oil finish
Duncan Custom neck and Duncan jazz neck.
Thanks for the awesome kit. You make it almost too easy! The coloring on my thinline is a few coats of water based vintage amber dye, sanded back to make a sort of burst effect while bringing out the flame in the maple top. The same dye just naturally stained the alder body a bit darker and it all blended together well with a bit of elbow grease. The body has about 20 light coats of tru oil sanded up to 2000 grit. The neck has about 5 coats and sanded up to 1000 grit. It just feels alive! Lindy Fralin blues specials, an Emerson paper-in-oil tone cap, Wilkinson bridge and Grover tuners really work to make it one of my favourites. It’ll definitely be seeing some stages (and grimy bars) across Vancouver Island.
Please see my completed junior project below using your body and neck- I’m loving it! My daughter’s name is on the headstock. I’ve changed the knobs out to black speedknobs…now she’s complete. Nitro finish was completed by Jereme Clingan here in Melbourne. The guitar has the most amazing acoustic ring to it- this sounds silly but it has a complex / subtle sweetness to it. Can’t wait to start my next project.
Hey, Phil. The Knucklehead is done and it’s fantastic. The fit and finish of the routs, the neck, fingerboard and fret work is impeccable.
A nod to Nik Huber guitars, I decided to go with a master volume & tone so I filled the other two holes in the cavity with mahogany dowel. A pair of Lollar P90’s, a Bumblebee cap from Luxe Radio, Tonepros wraparound (from you!) and Kluson Deluxe machine heads. Everything was pore filled, sanded… filled… sanded… the back and neck were aniline dyed brown mahogany. The top and head stock were primed and sprayed in lacquer and the entire guitar was clear coated with lacquer.
I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the work you guys do and I’m already looking forward to doing the double cut Chucklehead! I’ll be in touch soon.
Hi Gents, just wanted to say thanks for the beautiful custom archtop kit. It came out fantastic your workmanship and fretwork are next to none. I went for a faded denim colour on the top coated in good old nitro lacquer. Stuck with the natural mahogany on the back and neck with a tru-oil satin finish. A great set of Mcnelly pickups, tonepros bridge, Kluson tuners and of course cts and switchcraft electronics. Sounds and plays awesome. Very happy with it. Thanks again.
Can’t thank you enough. I worked on this everyday until I had to wait to buff the finish. It’s hard to put down now. It sounds way better than my other guitars, and plays a lot better too! The wood joints are extremely well cut, and wood quality is excellent , fret work is fantastic , fretboard inlays are very well made… very precise, and the extra jumbo frets makes playing this thing very fun, and easy.
I used colortone stain, mixed in alcohol , behlen nitro lacquer , Grover tuners, tonepros metric bridge and tailpiece set, zakk wylde emg pickup set and various other small parts.
I can’t wait to build another one . Thank you again, and I will surely be back .
My other guitars have been feeling neglected since I got my first Precision Junior finished. I’m loving the range of tones this little devil can produce. And the resonance is amazing.
Finishing the guitar was a piece of cake:
Grain filled with ebony filler.
Sanded it back then dyed using amber dye/rubbing alcohol mixture.
Applied sanding sealer, sanded lightly then clear coated with several coats.
Level sanded, then buffed to a gloss finish.
I purchased my finishing supplies from Wood Essence in Saskatoon.
Here’s a few pictures for your gallery.
I wanted to share some images of my completed guitar, you are nore than welcome to include them on the website if you’d like. I’m pretty happy how my half of the work turned out and very happy with your end of the deal. Set up was a breeze and everything was spot on.
I went with seth lover pickups and of course used all of the nickel goodies you offered. Top it off with a set of Kluson tuners and there you go.
I’ve run her through both my Vox Ac10 and Fender Bassman ltd. And it sound amazing through both. Thanks again and looking forward to building another someday.
This is something I always wanted to do and I am very pleased with the kit and the results. Especially for my very first build. I even got my wife involved with staining and such, and as a thank you to her I put her name, Jamie, on it.
I used your parts kit (perfect color for my on the dials, btw) and Seymour Duncan Vintage Blues pick up set.
This is where the boys in the paint shop rise above the others. The attention to detail is crazy good, This on of the PH-AT, plain maple cap arch top with the maple cap sides taped off. It creates a binding that’s so cool, because you can look at it up close and see the grain of the maple. It’s quite beautiful actually.
It’s been a while but I wanted to send some pictures of my LP build now that it’s finished. This was quite a learning experience with a lot of mistakes but I persevered and very happy with the results.
I used hot hide glue for the neck which fit perfectly. Next, oil based pore filler from Guitar Re-ranch was used for the mahogany. I tinted the filler with cherry aniline dyes which gives it a nice antique look with fading. The top was then stained lemon yellow followed by sanding and a coat of tinted lacquer with a few of ‘clear’ coats. This step was the most interesting and fun. I used Behlen lacquer and set it out in the intense summer sun for a week or so which turned it a beautiful amber shade and seemed to lower the viscosity. The top cherry shading was the same aniline dye as used in the pore filler along with a little blue to get a more pronounced and deeper color (I was shooting for a washed cherry fade with a dirty-green lemon). The aged lacquer gives it a nice dirty lemon hue all around and I did a light top coat with the pristine lacquer. The guitar was then wet sanded from 400 up to 2000 grit followed by buffing using the foam pads from stewmac. The top and back are starting to fade slightly and the pics more or less capture that effect, especially the lower bout that now has a nice antique-y amber tone. I kick myself now for not documenting the whole process since it was an incredible transformation and a very rewarding experience overall.
Aside from the finish work, I put in Throbak PG102’s with luxe capacitors and faber hardware. The bridge studs are the new faber ABR-nashville adaptors, which are a nice upgrade. The result is a very lively and resonant guitar that plays and sounds way better than the reissue’s costing around $3K or higher. The guitar is also super light (~8 lbs) which seems to go very well with the PG102s. In particular, the neck pickup along with the out of phase middle position are scary good in this guitar (amazing clarity and punch, notes bloom like crazy)! Together with the thinner and harder lacquer finish and the buttery neck (somewhere between 59 and slim 60 with small shoulders) the feel and playability are absolutely superb. I don’t think it could have come out any better than it did. A real gem.
Lastly, I still can’t get over how cool the old looking top is with all the flecks and subtle curly pinstripe flame that really pop with the finish (so much for being in the ’ugly’ top category!!!).
Thanks very much for all of your help in making this happen!
sorry it took me a while to give an update… I decided to let the lacquer cure while we were on holiday and do the buffing and final assembly later.
Here are some pics… of the end result… I call the look ‘light ginger burst’… quite please for my first attempt at an LP…
To get to this, I first lightly washed the maple cap with potassium permanganate to emphasise the flame and give the maple a slightly ‘sun-light aged’ base colour, then sanded. I then dyed the entire top with water based light amber coloured dye. I then applied 2 thin coats of shellac and sanded again before spraying gloss nitro over the top, with a little more amber tinted nitro towards the edges. The back and sides are dyed in a mix of cherry red and black (to darken it) water based dyes. The back of the body is grain filled using transparent filler that I tinted with the cherry red /black mix, followed by 2 thin coats of shellac as barrier and sanding. The back and sides of the body and back of the neck were then finished in satin nitro…. Buffing and polishing of face of headstock and top done entirely by hand just using wet & dry of increasing grits as well as 3M micromesh, before using Meguiars automotive compound and ScratchX to mirror finish.
The pickups are the ‘Super-Dry’ humbuckers by Mark Foley of Fatboy Guitars UK (Replicas of Maxon/Greco DryZ humbuckers of the 1970s). The wiring harness has all the usual bits, including CTS Switchcraft, as well as bumblebee caps.
All metal hardware is nickel. The tuners are Grovers, the bridge, studs and tailpiece are Faber. All plastics are Gibson OEM.
I see you now do a hollow arch top 335-style body as well??? Might be a project for the winter/spring if I can get a good price on it. Always wanted a cherry red 335…
I finished this thinline a while ago and thought you might like to see how it turned out. It looks way better in person than these photos but you get the idea. It plays and sounds awesome loaded with Fender Twisted Tele pickups.
Yes it took a few years to get her completed but I’ve had her up and running for about a month now. I haven’t played any of my other guitars (save my archtop) since then. Although my last Carved Top was Stolen in 1982, I do think this one sounds better. Band members and fans love it as well.
Wanted to send you a pic of the first kit I got from you. You remember this one? Has the four little knots between the pickups? Anyway, its the best playing and sounding Carved Top l I have ever picked up.