GTS Music - DIY Guitar KIT
GTS Music
Les Paul Style Kit
GTS Music
313 Strachan St.
Port Hope, Ontario L1A 0C2
Please read these instructions carefully before beginning to build your guitar
in order to have a complete overview of the project.
Although the overall tone and playing characteristics of the instrument will not
be affected, a high quality finish is a real source of pride to the builder.
Both the neck and body of your Electric Guitar Kit will have to be sanded with 180 / 240 and
320 grit sandpaper to prepare for finishing.
First you will need to decide whether you would like a natural finish or a
coloured finish on the body. For a natural finish or stain, go directly to "Clear Coat".
Before application of finish, the fingerboard should be masked off to prevent
finish from adhering to the fretted surface.
- Spray all exposed surfaces evenly. The neck of your Guitar has been
sanded level so it should not be necessary to sand between coats unless
runs, orange peel or drips appear. Use the same procedure that you followed
on the body – again, two or three coats should do the job. The final cut and polish takes place
about one week later when the lacquer has cured.
The acrylic lacquer made by the automotive industry is particularly
well suited to your needs. In addition to providing a full range of colour
choices, acrylic lacquer is extremely durable and resistant to cracking.
Choose your colour from the many available shades (including metallic
options) used for automobile touch up work. A spray can will make your job
much easier and will produce great results.
Begin each spray stroke in the air on one side of the body and continue until you reach the air
on the other side.
Overlap each stroke by one half, and every other stroke spray crosswise, then
length wise. This technique will provide an even colour distribution.
Although lacquer dries quickly, and successive coats may be sprayed in a
short period of time, attempts to spray too much in one coat can result in runs
or bubbles in the finish. Spraying should not be attempted on excessively
humid or rainy days.
- One or two coats of colour should be enough. It should not be necessary to
sand between coats unless there are drips, runs or bug feet (!) to be levelled.
All exposed surfaces should be dead level and have a nice satin gloss.
The clear lacquer topcoat is also available at most hardware stores. If you
have applied a stain coat, it is advisable to select the same brand of clear
lacquer to assure compatibility.
- The clear coat is applied to the body using the same technique as described
for the colour coat. Two or three coats of clear should be adequate.
For best results the body finish should be allowed to harden for one week
before the polish.
Note: Any banding on the guitar must be taped off to prevent overspray from the
finish. To avoid runs and drips, hold the spray can 6-10 inches from
surface. For best results follow directions on spray can.
Caution: Remember that spray paint is extremely flammable. Do not spray
near open flames, heat or sparks. The area where you spray must be well
ventilated while spraying and until all vapour is gone. Do not smoke! Do not
breathe the vapour and keep doors and windows open during application and
The headstock has been left extra long and here is a chance to express your
individuality and to make a guitar that is truly your own.
First, decide on the shape of the headstock that you would like to use
and draw the outline on the top of the headstock.
Using a bandsaw or simple coping saw, cut out the shape of your headstock.
A half round file should be used to level the top edge of the
headstock. Finally, the edge should be sanded smooth with fine 400 grit
After allowing the clear lacquered surfaces to dry and harden for at least one
week, sand lightly with non-loading 400 grit sandpaper (commonly known as
“wet and dry”). During sanding be sure to place a firm material behind the
sandpaper. A large rubber eraser works fine. The eraser is flexible enough to
sand the gradual curves but is stiff enough to prevent the sharper edges (of
the headstock, for example) from being rounded off. Be sure to sand with the
grain of the wood.
- All sanded surfaces should now be a bit dull, indicating that the finish is flat
and level. Now repeat the sanding process with very fine 600 grit sandpaper
using water and a small amount of dishwashing detergent as a lubricant. This
will remove any sanding marks left by the previous step and leave all surfaces
a dull gloss.
- The finish may now be rubbed out using a medium grade automotive
rubbing compound (DuPont White Polishing Compound for example). The
compound should be used sparingly with fairly good pressure at first –– as a
high gloss develops, pressure should be diminished. An extra fine grade of
polishing compound may be used to get that final bit of gloss. If instructions
have been followed you should now have a professional quality finish. You
can protect your work with a light wax –– Guitar Polish is a good choice.
Before gluing the neck to the body inspect the joint at the neck pocket to ensure that it is
clean. Apply yellow woodworking glue following the manufactures instructions. Make sure the
neck is straight with the body.
Clamp and clean away excess glue, let dry for 24 hours.
Use scrap pieces of wood along with the clamp to protect the guitar.
Push the threaded shaft through the 1/2” hole on the upper left side of the
guitar top. Turn the body over and slip on the selector switch plate.
Now slip the washer on the protruding shaft and loosely screw on the nut.
Look at the switch mechanism inside the cavity. All of the attached wires
should be facing the bottom of the guitar.
Run the wires from the switch through the hole between the selector switch
cavity and neck position pickup cavity. Then, run the same wires through the
hole from the neck pickup cavity to the bridge pickup cavity and on to the
control cavity.
The cavity for the neck position humbucking pickup is located on the upper
part of the body closest to the neck pocket. As you look into the cavity you will
notice that a hole has been drilled that connects the cavity for the neck
position pickup to the cavity that will house the bridge position pickup. Notice
also that the Neck Position Pickup has a thinner mounting ring than the Bridge
Position Pickup. Run the yellow wire attached to the neck position pickup into
the hole from the neck cavity to the bridge pickup cavity. This is same hole
that the wires coming from the selector switch have been run through. Use the
four 5/8” screws to attach the neck position pickup to the body.
There is a hole connecting the bridge position cavity to the control cavity. The
black wire from the neck position pickup should run through that hole into the
control cavity. The red wire that is attached to the bridge position pickup is
now pushed through that same hole emerging into the control cavity also.
Attach the bridge position humbucking pickup to the body with four 5/8”
There are 2 sets of volume (A500K) and tone controls (B500K) for this guitar. Each set of 1
volume and 1 tone potentiometers are assigned to a separate pickup. As you
play the guitar, the volume and tone pots sit next to each other. The volume is
on the left side and the tone control is on the right side. The top 2 controls are
for the neck pickup. The second row of controls are for the bridge pickup.
Install the volume and tone controls in the first row of 3/8” holes, then install
the volume and tone controls in the bottom row of 3/8” holes
Page 8 of this manual has the Wiring Diagram for you to follow. You will
need to find a friend or family member with a soldering iron. If no one has one,
they are readily available from hardware and electronics stores and are very
inexpensive. You will have some solder in your kit. Follow the wiring diagram
to make all the right connections. The cavity for the controls on the back of the
body should now be quite crowded.
If you have never used a soldering iron before, we strongly suggest looking up
free online lessons on how to solder wires together. It really is an easy thing
to learn to do and adds another skill to your guitar building tuition.
Please remember to turn OFF and unplug your soldering iron when it is not in use – the
soldering tip is very hot when switched on.
Take a look at the bridge and tailpiece hardware and distinguish the
difference between the bridge studs and the tailpiece studs. The tailpiece
studs have a much larger set screw.
Install the tailpiece first. Separate the tailpiece mounting parts from the
threaded bushings. These bushings must be driven in place in the two holes
closest to the rear of the guitar body. It will be necessary to ground the
electronic circuitry to the bridge stud. The control cavity is at the back of the
guitar body. On the inside wall of this cavity you will see a small 1/8” hole.
Run the stripped end of the ground wire through this hole until it emerges in the hole drilled
for the bridge bushing. Form the naked wire into a loop, wrap it around the bushing
and tap the bushing tightly into the hole. This will ground the circuit.
Installing the tailpiece and bridge bushings may be done with a plastic headed mallet or
place a small piece of wood on top of the bushing to prevent damage and tap
the bushing in place with an ordinary hammer. Now screw the tailpiece
mounting screws back into the bushings.
Now screw in the bridge mounting studs. Attach the bridge.
The output jack (once wired) will be attached to the neck pickup tone control
pot by a blue grounding wire. Find the green wire running from the pickup
selector switch and solder it to the green wire on the output jack. Push the
output jack and its wire through the 7/8” hole that has been drilled between
the control cavity and the edge of the body.
Attach the output jack plate (Part C) to the output jack (See figure 6) using the
washer and nut provided. Screw the output jack plate to the body with the two
3/8” screws provided.
Carefully stuff all of the wiring into the control cavity and attach the back
plate using the three screws provided.
Attach the six tuning machines to the headstock of the guitar putting a washer
beneath each threaded bushing. A small set screw is put in place to prevent
the tuner from rotating.
Put on the strings and tune to pitch.
The adjustable truss rod in the neck of your Guitar has been shop adjusted
and should not require any change. If the neck should develop a dip or hollow
spot over time it can be removed by tightening the truss rod adjustment nut
that protrudes from the base of the headstock just above the nut.
A "back bow" or "hog-back" can be removed by loosening the nut. Great care
should be taken with truss rod adjustments where as little as 1/4 of a turn can
vastly alter the shape of a neck. A broken truss rod of course means a costly
The string "action" refers to the height of the strings above the frets. If the
action is too low, the strings will buzz on the frets. If it is too high the guitar will
be difficult to play.
Setting the string action that is right for you starts at the string nut. The slots at
the string nut should already be close to perfection but you might want to
make some adjustment. Here’s how to do it!
Push the sixth string down between second and third fret. The space between
the top of the first fret and the bottom of the string should be about .006” or
just about the thickness of the paper that these instructions are printed on. If
the gap is wider than .006” you should deepen the slot with a small needle file
until it is correct. DO NOT FILE TOO DEEP! If the slot is too deep you can fill
the slots with a mixture of white plastic sanding dust and crazy glue and then
re-shape the slot. Repeat this same procedure for the other five strings. The
action at the nut is either right or wrong; it is not a matter of personal
Now let’s adjust the height of the strings over the 12th fret. Adjustments to the
string action are made by raising or lowering the Tune-o-Matic Bridge with the
thumbwheel height adjusters. Following is a chart to assist you. This action
adjustment is a matter of personal preference. There should be a gradual
increase in height from the first to the sixth string.
String Height at the 12 fret
First String Sixth String
Low Action 1/32 1/16
Medium Action 1/16 3/32
High Action 3/32 1/8
The saddles on the bridge can be adjusted to compensate for the pitch
modification that occurs when the string is stretched as it is fretted. This
adjustment is made by tightening or loosening the set screws at the rear of
the bridge (see Figure 7). Start by tuning your guitar and sounding a harmonic
chime directly above the twelfth fret on the sixth string. Now fret the sixth
string at the twelfth fret and compare that pitch to the harmonic. If the fretted
note is higher than the harmonic pitch tighten the set screw to lengthen the
string. If the fretted note is lower than the harmonic, loosen the set screw to
shorten the string length. When the harmonic and the fretted note sound the
same note, the saddle is at the correct position. Repeat this procedure for the
other five strings.
Each humbucking pickup is adjustable on the bass and treble sides. Finding
the best combination of tone and volume will require some experimentation. A
good place to start is to adjust the pickup height so that the first string is about
1/8" over the pickup pole and the sixth string is about 3/16" over its pole.
Electric Guitar setup is an art in itself. For more detailed discussion we highly
recommend searching "Electric Guitar Setups” on the internet. There you will
find many experienced people sharing their knowledge and techniques on
doing this.
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