Guitar Of The Month – September, 2019

Written by: Kevin Strom On: Oct 15th, 2019

Congratulations goes out to Scott Neufeld for his guitar build, to earn him Guitar of the Month for September 2019.

Scott used our TCK-1BK DIY kit as the basis to create his guitar.

I have been playing guitar on and off for around 25 years and was inspired to build my own telecaster style electric guitar last year. I was also interested in learning some woodworking skills by creating a guitar body from raw materials, and brought in my father-in-law for some carpentry assistance for that build. In searching out online sources for the neck and electrical components I was thrilled to discover Solo Guitars! I decided to make a trip into their old store front and I was not disappointed. Chris spent some time with me and guided me into purchasing a B-Stock TCK-1BK kit with all the components I needed to complete my first build.

Completing that first project fueled my desire to customize another telecaster, and luckily, I already had the black TCK-1BK body!  I decided that I wanted to change the colour and style of the guitar in a way to create an antique white road worn look with a subtle view of the black binding showing. Using some serious elbow grease and a random orbital sander, I stripped the black finish down to the bare wood and then primed the whole body with a white primer/sealer.  I then applied three coats of Painters Touch Heirloom White and prepped the body for finishing. Using several different grits of sandpaper, I was able to sand down the new paint to the bare wood in several places on the body, as well as exposed some of the binding until I was satisfied. I even used both masking and duct tape to peel some layers of paint to uncover small sections of the white primer underneath. A final clear coat of wipe-on Minwax polyurethane was added to give it a finished road worn look.

Once the body was completed, I made another trip to the Solo Guitars showroom with the body and was grateful to have Chris there to help me out again. He walked me through all of the parts I needed and what upgrades were possible.

We found the perfect Solo TC Style maple neck that fit, and I discovered how easy it was to use Saman water based stains to achieve the aged colour on the neck. I sanded back most of the factory sealer on both the back of the neck and the fret board.  A couple of coats of diluted Saman sesame stain (equal parts sesame and neutral stain – thanks Chris!) gave the neck the colour tone I was looking for. 

The neck was straight right out of the box and only required some fret end sanding with a sanding sponge and 120 grit sandpaper. Then, using 0000 steel wool, I polished and dressed the frets so they would play beautifully and finally applied a semi-gloss Minwax polyurethane spray to achieve a smooth, fast moving neck.

As far as hardware goes, Chris and I walked through all the options available to keep this project within budget…

For the neck we decided on Wilkinson EZ-Lok machine heads (Solo brand locking tuners were unfortunately not available yet) and a Graph Tech TUSQ nut.

For the electronics, I decided on a Hosco HK-CKTC Wiring Kit, a Wilkinson MWHB Humbucker neck pickup, a Seymour Duncan Lil 59 bridge pickup, and Fender Pure Vintage 500k Push Pull pots to split the coils and give the guitar more tonal options.

To finish off the look of the guitar, I installed a Wilkinson WTB Ashtray bridge with compensated brass saddles, a Solo Pro TC Style 8 hole pearl white pickguard, and Fender Pure Vintage ‘60s Telecaster knurled knobs. The pickguard only needed a small adjustment to enlarge the space for the neck humbucker to be installed, which was simple enough with a small hacksaw and sandpaper.

With everything completed and put together, I am amazed at how great the tone is of this guitar and how well it plays. I have performed with it at my church several times and continue to get compliments on it from both other musicians and listeners.  Most of them are shocked to hear that it is a kit guitar and not a “custom shop” purchase!

Thank you again to the whole team at Solo Guitars for all your help and guidance for both builds I have completed this year. I can’t wait to get started on my next one!

-Scott Neufeld

2 Responses to “Guitar Of The Month – September, 2019”

  1. Timothy Daniels says:

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve built two guitars and just purchased a neck and body from Solo to start on number 3.
    Your guitar is beautiful.

  2. scottneufeld1818 says:

    Thanks! I was quite happy how it turned out.

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