This guitar is simply stunning! A Warmouth kit brought to me by Mr Wesley Greer Jr. This build is a Christmas gift for Miss Kadie Lynn, which included Texas Special Pickups, Locking tuners, Pre-wired Emerson electronics, Stainless Steel frets and a custom abalone inlay on the fret board.
If you notice in this first pic, the fret board has no frets! That's because in order to place the inlay the frets had to be removed. So the first thing that had to be done was to replace the frets, and that is honestly one of the hardest things to do when it comes to building any guitar! One of the first issues that came up is the metal the frets are made from. Normally fret wire is made out of nickle, and sometimes silver or gold is added to make the frets look unique. For this build Wesley requested Stainless Steel, and the big difference between the other metals and stainless is malleability!!! Nickle can be hammered into shape quite easily and silver and gold are super soft metals, but stainless steel is a very hard rigid metal and has to be ordered specifically to match the radius of the fret board, and even then is usually not perfectly shaped...
The first step is to tap the fret into place using a plastic hammer, and clip off the majority of the excess wire. starting and the base of the neck and moving towards the head stock, one b y one until they are all snugly installed.
The edges of the frets are super sharp at this point and can really cause some damage, so the process is slow going and tedious.
When I reached the inlay I realized the gap to install the frets was not cut wide enough for me to fit, so one by one, with a razor, I cleaned and carved the slots to be able to install the frets correctly.
Once all the frets were in place, they had to be trimmed down, flat against the neck using end snips. Then pressed and hammered into place to remove all gaps. As I said before, with stainless steel, not very easy! The edges had to be beveled, and then rolled and sanded so that all the sharp ends were smooth.
On to the fun stuff! Once the neck and frets were handled the rest of this build came together very quickly. The pickups were soldiered to the pre-wired electronics and I bolted on the neck. Then I installed a Fender Bone nut, which needed a little bit of sanding to fit in place.
After stringing up the guitar and adjusting the neck, I did a full set up, including the intonation, and she was almost ready to go!
The finishing touch was a set of Chrome knobs with blue abalone domes to perfectly accent the inlay and paint job.
A big thanks to Wesley for letting me work on her! Check out the video and let me know how it turned out!