Welcome to the Blog

Written by: James Krueger On: Feb 23rd, 2018

When my friends at Solo Guitars asked me to write a blog based on guitars, and building; whether it be from scratch or from a kit, I thought to myself, “why would anyone be interested in anything I have to say about these subjects”.  Well after many years (over 40) in music I guess I have made at least as many, if not more mistakes than the average guy or girl out there, and maybe if I tried to impart some of the knowledge I have acquired over the years I could hopefully get someone more interested in building or assembling guitars… or maybe save them from making some of the mistakes I have made.  Luckily for all of you who have purchased a kit from Solo Guitars, a lot of the potential for making these mistakes has been minimized by this great company, the people who run and work it, and the really awesome products they are selling.

My history in this business is much like so many others I know and have known over the years. High-school kid falls in love with the instrument and the rock&roll image, does everything he can to immerse himself in playing and learning. As much as my pals were all into prog-rock and jazz-rock, I had one foot solidly in blues based music and by the time the decade ended, I was playing, tearing apart and re-building guitars and doing sound for my friends and running the occasional super-trooper carbon arc lamp. I gave it all up for a while to start a family but by the 90’s I was back repairing, building both guitars basses and cabinets, working as a tech, consulting and even part-owning a magazine based on vintage guitars. I have worked in virtually all areas of the business from selling to playing and that is where all this incredibly interesting knowledge base comes from….and my obvious sense of humour.

So, if you have already purchased a DIY guitar kit from Solo Guitars, if you have thought about it, or even if you just fell on this blog by accident, you are being welcomed into the Solo Guitars family! What we intend to do with this blog,
the Solo Guitars web page and some future surprises, is give all of you some extra information to go with your kits, or whatever other accessories you will be purchasing.  Hopefully we will be able to answer some of your burning questions regarding pickups, hardware, finishing, strings or even sound and tone.  Or maybe we will just write the occasional blog and address things happening in the guitar business.  In any case, we will be providing a regular blog with new subjects every month….or at least every two, if we can’t fit everything into one month.

Hopefully you have found some success or at least some pleasure in purchasing and assembling a Solo Guitars kit.  They are pretty great!  So if you have any questions regarding the kits, or the process of building/finishing a kit, please feel free to contact Solo Guitars on the website or the telephone, and we will do our best to address all your concerns and your questions!

6 Responses to “Welcome to the Blog”

  1. John Paterson says:

    Love the blog idea & look forward to future postings. I have a question for you; what is the difference between the “stock” mini pots supplied with kits and the larger or what I call standard size ones?
    Thank you and best regards.
    John Paterson

  2. James Krueger says:

    In theory both sizes of pots work the same….there is a carbon-based ring inside with three connection points…. the first tab being the input, the second going to volume and the third to ground…when you turn the knob a sweeper (second tab) moves across the carbon in this ring and determines whether all of the signal goes through to the volume or what percentage goes to ground. So you can imagine,
    the larger the pot, the larger the carbon based ring inside and the more accurate the control will be. After the size difference, you get into the quality of the carbon ring, the quality of the sweeper and whether the pot is shielded or not, plus a few other details that explain why there are so many different pots to chose from for each purpose.
    Hope that helps a bit!

  3. John Paterson says:

    Hi James, thank you for your response to my question. Now I understand the difference between the mini pots & larger ones. Your response is also useful for me when a customer asks the same type of questions. Musicians are more informed about technology these days so guitar builders, such as myself, need a wealth of information.
    Sincerely
    John Paterson

  4. John Paterson says:

    Has anyone used water based High Gloss non thinned VARATHANE using an LVLP spray system to clear coat a guitar. If you have, what size nozzle did you use? What was your pressure setting & how many coats did you apply? If you did how would you rate the results from 1-10?
    Thank & best regards
    John Paterson

  5. James Krueger says:

    Hi John,
    So the subject of water based finishes, is a huge one to look at. The obvious and most sensible answer to your questions will most aften be answered by the manufacturer of the finish you are using….in your case if it is in fact a ‘Varathane’ product you are using, then check with Rustoleum as they are the manufacturer.I’m old and I cut my teeth spraying nitro based finishes and then moving to pre-catalized and post-catalized laquers. I have been experimenting with water based finishes lately however and there are certain rules you need to follow. First off, you cannot spray water borne finishes in temperatures below 65 degrees F. The amount of material you spray is more sensitive than with chemical laquers and the potential for failure is somewhat higher, as there are more variables involved. Your spray equipment must either be dedicated to water based products or it has to be extensively cleaned in order to not contaminate your finish. You also should not use water based products over heavy oil based stains unless you have thoroughly dried the stain and another point is not using steel wool with water based finishes as the particles of steel wool will corrode and you will have odd discoloured spots in your finish. Some people complain that you cannot get a true high gloss with water born finishes, but that is not true. It will depend on what product you are using. I only use commercial type products I get from my supplier….they are better and much more expensive (at times) than what you are buying at Home Depot or any box store. The box store products are ok, but are designed for the home handyman type craftsman. As to your specific points, the nozzle size and the pressure settings will be supplied by the manufacturer (and may be different for different products), but the number of coats will remain a decision made by you. The more coats and sanding you do, the thicker the finish and therefore the less imperfections you will see in the final buff. Thin coats of finish will allow the grain to telegraph through the finish and any other imperfections as well. It all depends on what you want and how you want the final product to look. As long as you follow the instructions from the manufacture, take your time, do the proper sanding and successive coats, your final product should be very close to a chemical based laquer finish….except you will have let very few chemicals (VOC’s) into the air as compared to chemical based laquers. Hope this helps a bit….this is not a full instructional description….I have only touched the surface (so to speak….)

  6. John Paterson says:

    Thank’s again James. I’m still working on clear coating with VARATHANE but im not 100% pleased with the results. When I get there I will let you know how I did it.
    Thanks again.
    John

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