Monday, September 7, 2015

Paul McCartney Prop Bass revise


About a year ago I made a Paul McCartney Prop Bass guitar which came out pretty well.  Recently I decided to make some new prop guitars to join Paul's Bass.


The Strat and the Les Paul above were made of wood, but I 3D printed a lot of the machine heads, pick ups, knobs, etc.  These turned out much nicer than the screws and bolts I used on the bass guitar.


I also attached real straps and strap buttons to my guitars which look and work better than the nylon belt and washers I used for the bass.


The guitars were also made a bit better, thinner and lighter than the bass.  After a few months the head began to break off from the fret board on the bass.


So I decided to revise the bass and make it look much nicer.  To start I began removing all the elements on the guitar with a chisel and hammer.  This included all the wood pickups, pick guard, knobs and the top layer of the fret board.


After everything was off, the surface was very rough.


I used my belt sander to remove excess wood from the pieces that were glued on.  


I also leveled it as best I could so I could start using my hand planer.  This thing took off a few thin layers leaving the surface more-or-less level.


The head had to be removed, and unfortunately replaced.  I traced the shape onto a piece of pine...


...and cut it out with the jigsaw.


Then I routed the edges with a round over bit.


To attach the new head to the old fret board I had to drill some pocket holes.


Unfortunately the fret board has a lot of holes near to where the head was.


So I trimmed a bit off...


...so that I could drill fresh holes and screws.


The connection wasn't as strong as I would have liked, so I cut some thing plywood and glued/screwed it to both pieces to strengthen it.


I put these pieces on both sides.


Truth be told, I'm not over enthusiastic about the fret board and new head.  While I pondered about replacing it, I added wood filler to all the many spots that needed it.


When the filler dried I sanded.


Since there were a few deep gouges in the wood, I had to repeat the filling and sanding stages a few times.


After about 3 rounds of filling and sanding, the guitar body was flat.


Convinced I could make a better fret board and neck, I traced the shape onto a different piece of wood.


Then cut that shape out with the jigsaw.


Then I cut off the old neck...


...and used my router to cut out a space for the new neck.


Next I drilled some holes for the new fret board.


And connected the 2 pieces with screws.


Not too bad...but the fret board needs to be a bit thicker.


So I traced the fret board and head onto another piece of wood and cut it out.


I trimmed the head off of the new fret board and placed it underneath the first one.


Then I glued and clamped the 2 fret board pieces together.


While that dried I printed out the old templates I had of the pick guard and traced it onto a piece of plastic I had.


Then I cut it out with a sharp X-acto knife.


I also began 3D printing some new pieces for the guitar...


namely the bridges, machine heads and buttons, knobs and pickups.


When the glue dried on the fret board I used my hand planer to level the sides, and thin out the bottom.


Then I used my belt sander to continue leveling the sides and round the bottom edges.  The orbital and mouse sanders smoothed out the rough sandings.


When all was smooth I reattached the fret board to the body.


Next I added some wood filler to the fret board and head.


While that dried I spray painted the 'metal' 3D pieces silver...


...and the 'plastic' 3D pieces white.


When the filler dried I sanded once more.


Then I cleaned the pieces and applied some dark gray primer.


When the first coat dried I applied a second coat, this time light gray.


The light gray primer showed some flaws I didn't see earlier.


Both the body and fret board/head had various pits and scratches that needed to be filled.


I added one more coat of primer, this time filler primer.  This took care of some of the smaller imperfections, but many still remained.


So when the primer dried I applied some more wood filler.


Then sanded when dry.


Then I cleaned everything up once again and applied more primer.


Sometimes when waiting for things to dry, I break out the pins and play a little garage bowling.  But, that is totally unrelated to this project.


When the primer was dry I applied the first coats of black glossy paint.


Then I added orange spray paint to the body...


...followed by a little more black around the edges of the body.


When everything dried I reattached the fret board to the body.


Next I added the pick guard...


...and then began gluing on the 3D printed pieces.



For the frets I taped on some masking tape and used a silver paint marker.


When the paint dried I removed the masking tape to reveal some nice frets.


Then I began adding some other elements with the paint marker, such as my logo on the head...


...and trim around the body.


And I think this guitar is done!





Below is a side-by-side comparison of the new and old guitar.


I definitely think the new one turned out better.


With the Bass guitar done, I needed to make one more guitar stand.  So I used a previous stand as a template for a new one.


Since I've made these stands several times before, I'm not going to go into that process again.  If you want to see my blog entry on making guitar stands, click here.  With the stand complete, the only thing I need now to wrap up this project is some strap buttons and a guitar strap.  These I ordered online, and when they arrive I put them on.



And now I'm done!!


This thing turned out so nicely!


Now I have 2 guitars and a bass for me and friends to play with.  I think I'm done making prop instruments.  Now I have to make something that actually plays!

Thanks for reading!

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