I have to say... I am disappointed

O

oldmanriver

Guest
Well, my VIP body and Warmoth neck came about two weeks ago, and things are not going as smoothly as hoped.

I don't have a soldering iron at the moment so there has been little work to be done thus far, but I was able to drill a couple holes for the tuners and the truss rod and control cavity covers. The first problem I ran into was with the truss rod cover. When I was screwing the screws for the truss rod cover, I noticed they were going in a little tight. Things still felt alright, though. The slots in the heads of the screws were holding up pretty well and weren't stripping out at all. I had my last screw in almost all the way, and then suddenly the whole head of the screw breaks clean off. I was devastated. And now there is an entire headless screw embedded in the front of my headstock. I am very frustrated and distraught over this.

Second, there was the control pots. I was making sure all the electronics would fit properly and seeing how all the hardware would look. When I tried to mount the pots, I noticed that the holes are drilled straight vertically down into the carved top of the body, rather than at an angle to accommodate the body's curvature. This meant the nut couldn't even lay flat on the body. I ordered the non-recessed PRS style control configuration, but I still assumed this would be taken into consideration. One small edge of the nut touches the body while most of it is floating a few millimeters above. In addition the knobs I ordered don't even fit the pot's shaft, which I consider unacceptable considering both were supplied by Warmoth.

And just now I was fitting the neck to the body for the first time, and the neck screws were going in VERY tight. I could hardly budge them by the end and the slots in the screw heads have already started stripping out. They are also protruding at a terrible angle out from the neck plate, and I even used the neck plate pad that Warmoth sells. Again, this is very frustrating.

I haven't yet attempted the final assembly or setup. I am worried about what other problems are likely waiting to reveal themselves. This whole process has been very discouraging for me. I dropped $1100 on the body and neck and it seems that it all went to waste. I still believe that Warmoth exhibits excellent craftsmanship, but the hardware that they supply is just simply shit. It is possible that I will not be using Warmoth again.

That said, there is still an itch inside me to own something high quality and custom designed. I could very well have a much better experience next time with Warmoth if I find ways around the problems I encountered with this build, such as avoiding a carved top body and contoured heel, and buying all hardware from another supplier. I'm now wanting a dual p90 LP junior type guitar, so we'll see on that. It's not like I have any money left though, which is still pretty damn frustrating. But there is still some ray of hope, I suppose.

I just needed to get this off my chest. I'm embarrassed, honestly. I almost feel like I'm the one with the problem, not Warmoth, because it seems that basically everyone here has had nothing but positive experiences with their builds. Please feel free to way in on this, and if you have any advice to give, it would be very much appreciated.
 

line6man

Senior member
Messages
6,443
Aside from the pot holes being drilled at weird angles, everything you've described is your issue, not Warmoth's.

Small screwheads snap off all the time. It's very common, and an easy fix.
The holes for the pots can easily be enlarged to allow you to slant the shaft in the hole.
If the neck screws are not going in easily, you haven't lubricated the threads enough.
 

thebutcher85

Senior member
Messages
427
you need to use some bar soap or candle wax to lubricate the threads on the  screws,
also it's wise to drill a small starter hole for the screws (make sure the diameter of the drill bit is the same size or smaller than the core of the screw without the threads so the screw has something to bite into when you put it in) (not for the neck screws obviously! for those, I always lubricate the threads with bar soap or wax, I've found that Irish Spring gives a fresh "snap" to the guitar's overall tone!  :icon_thumright: ;)
 

JimBeed

Senior member
Messages
953
To do with the Knobs and the Pot shafts, are they both split shaft or both solid shaft(think the second options called that) cause if they arent that is your problem.

Can't comment on the pots fixing in, never had a carved top, but the rest of the problems are a case of not lubricated enough or needing a small guide hole such as for the truss rod cover screws, which you can drill out the broken screw shaft with a small metal work drill bit i believe, I have been there with my Z bass.
 

Street Avenger

Senior member
Messages
2,127
You should always use wax to lubricate screws before driving them into the wood.

The pot holes can be enlarged using a reamer (do NOT use a drill bit).

I am sympathetic to your pain; some things in life are trial-&-error until you learn.
The fact remains that one must posses the skills (or a friend who has them) to properly assemble & finish a guitar if they're gonna order components from Warmoth, otherwise there is going to be substantial risk involved...
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
The advice given about lubricating screws is good. Beyond good. Consider it a requirement. The wood species that necks and most bodies are made of is generally very hard, and screw threads won't displace it like they can with pine or other less obstinate species. That means the holes really can't be much smaller than the screw's thread diameter at all, or they're going to get so tight you'll snap the heads off. Especially with tiny screws such as hold on truss rod covers, tuners, pickup mounting rings, etc.

As for the pots, if you bought them new from Warmoth they should have come with two shaft nuts, a lockwasher, and a flat washer. You put on the first shaft nut and the lockwasher and run it down until it's at the point where if you push the pot through the body's mounting hole, you still have 3 or 4 threads showing on the outside. Then, you put the flat washer on the outside of the body before running on the second shaft nut. At that point, you have something hard and smooth for the nut to bear against, and you use either a 1/2" deep-well socket or a 1/2" T-handle driver or something along those lines to tighten the thing down. It'll normalize.

Neck screws will be tight, and you want them to be. But, here again, you're going into some very hard wood and trying to cut what's effectively a very long slot while pushing against it with an equally long bearing surface. You have to lubricate it, or something bad is going to happen and you'll be forced to invent new cuss words. Soap will work in a pinch, but just barely. You really want wax, and ultimately, beeswax.

There shouldn't be any angle on those screws; be sure it's not an optical illusion due to a contoured neck heel, which I think is standard on a VIP. Also, be sure the neck is seated square into the neck pocket. It's a pretty snug fit, and it may not pull up tight until the screws have their way with it.

The hardware Warmoth supplies isn't bad or substandard stuff at all; quite the contrary. It's as good as it gets, which sadly in the guitar world isn't saying much. If you have experience as a machinist/mechanic/electronics tech, you might expect more out of the fasteners and electronics, but it's generally not out there unless you take heroic measures of your own. Also, Warmoth doesn't match parts up or try to keep you honest. If you order single coil pickups to go into the routings of a humbucker-configured body, what do they know? You may already have humbuckers at home. Same goes for screws, knobs, plates, etc. It's up to you to order the right things.

That said, if you talk to someone directly there rather than try to do it all online, they will get the sense you're building a project and perhaps keep you on the straight and narrow. Those guys are good - it's not like you're talking to some script reader in New Delhi whose command of the English language encourages your cat to pursue ESL.

 

TBurst Std

Senior member
Messages
2,591
I am just amazed how someone takes on these builds without searching them first. Its not like we are born with this knowledge. Lubricating screws is a requirement as Cagey noted.

Not sure how to nut out someone wanting to build an electric guitar without a soldering iron. How were those pups, pots and jack suppose to get connected?

The whole carve top thing is not unique to W. Try top retro a Gibby or PRS with a carve top and you experience the same thing.

Dude, take it back apart, and chill. And read up here.
1st LUBRICATE screws!

Ask Qs as needed,


 

stubhead

Senior member
Messages
4,669
I still wish that Warmoth would almost mandate that people who buy their first body and neck would bundle this book with them as an irrefutable necessity:

Guitar Player Repair Guide 3rd Edition
- Dan Erlewine, available through any place, Amazon, Stew-Mac etc.

It's all in there, and unless the buyers have a fairly good proficiency in woodworking, studying the book will show you the gaps in knowledge - which has led to some people on this forum asking a lot of questions, and consequently reaching a successful result. I think it important that you find a "woody guy" right now. As long as there is some screw on the truss cover still above the wood, that broken one can be extracted with - a screw extractor! Plan B would be to to drill a hole around it with sharpened metal tubing - which I would try to avoid right at the headstock.

I might even be tempted to polish it up a bit and call it a "guide pin", if the other two screws are holding it on. I take you haven't yet drilled the holes for the tuning head screws? They need a pilot hole drilled with a 5/64" or #49 or #48 drill bit. Make a positive stop for the bit by slicing some tubing off the end of a ballpoint pen inner ink tube.

But now, I do agree with you about the quality of screws that are being shipped with... EVERYTHING. Millions of hobbyists have the same opinion - these little potmetal screws that some bean counter mandated are a disgrace, and they're everywhere. Find the funky old hardware store with rows and rows of screws, and get stainless screws- every part. It'd probably take about $7 or $9 to do the whole round. This part I don't understand:
the neck screws were going in VERY tight. I could hardly budge them by the end and the slots in the screw heads have already started stripping out. They are also protruding at a terrible angle out from the neck plate

Besides the fairly obvious need to cut the threads in the neck wood with a really waxed up screw... (?) the holes in the neck are absolutely straight up and down. Did you bend the neck screws? You're not trying to use a POWER TOOL to install any of these, right?  :eek:
 

thebutcher85

Senior member
Messages
427
TBurst Std said:
I am just amazed how someone takes on these builds without searching them first. Its not like we are born with this knowledge. Lubricating screws is a requirement as Cagey noted.

Not sure how to nut out someone wanting to build an electric guitar without a soldering iron. How were those pups, pots and jack suppose to get connected?

The whole carve top thing is not unique to W. Try top retro a Gibby or PRS with a carve top and you experience the same thing.

Dude, take it back apart, and chill. And read up here.
1st LUBRICATE screws!

Ask Qs as needed,

no need to be snippy about it  :icon_thumright:
 

fdesalvo

Senior member
Messages
3,607
Yes, always lube the screws and make sure you have adequate pilot holes.  You don't just jamma-lamma ding-dong, my friend.  You wanna get it ready - play with it a little bit and make sure it's all lubed up before you go playing with the shaft or head.

Your story isn't unique, I'm afraid, and it's easy to understand why you feel so frustrated; you've spent a load of money on your parts and have a vision.  Just do what was suggested.  Back out the sticking screws, make sure you have lil' pilot holes.  If this is your first project, chances are you will learn many lessons, but at the end of it all, you'll have something to be really proud of. 
 
O

oldmanriver

Guest
TBurst Std said:
I am just amazed how someone takes on these builds without searching them first. Its not like we are born with this knowledge. Lubricating screws is a requirement as Cagey noted.

Not sure how to nut out someone wanting to build an electric guitar without a soldering iron. How were those pups, pots and jack suppose to get connected?

The whole carve top thing is not unique to W. Try top retro a Gibby or PRS with a carve top and you experience the same thing.

Dude, take it back apart, and chill. And read up here.
1st LUBRICATE screws!

Ask Qs as needed,


Believe me, I have done plenty of research. I discovered Warmoth two full years ago and am just now doing my first full build. I've disassembled and reassembled my Mexican Strat numerous times simply for knowledge and understanding. I also lurked on here for quite a while before making an account, and even still I mostly just lurk here to gain knowledge.

I actually own a soldering iron and have plenty of experience with it. However it's rather low-wattage and has a screw-on tip. My brother suggested I use a high quality iron and offered to borrow one from his work to lend to me. I'm still waiting on that.

As for lubricating the screws with wax, you can't say it gets much mention around here. Other than this thread, the only other guy I've heard mention it is Jason Holder in his Warmoth Strat Build series on youtube. Given that he obsesses over every detail (admittedly) and was the only one I'd heard mention it, I assumed it wasn't necessary. And now I know.
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
StubHead said:
Besides the fairly obvious need to cut the threads in the neck wood with a really waxed up screw... (?) the holes in the neck are absolutely straight up and down. Did you bend the neck screws? You're not trying to use a POWER TOOL to install any of these, right?  :eek:

He's working with a VIP body, so it has a contoured heel. The screws probably aren't angled, they just look that way because that rear body surface isn't parallel to the neck pocket's floor, but the screws themselves are at 90° to the heel. Coming out of the back and before you ran them in, they'd look sorta bent.
 

pabloman

Senior member
Messages
2,485
I bet theres at least 10 threads that mention waxing screws. I'm sure much more but since I said bet I want to be conservative.
 

Torment Leaves Scars

Senior member
Messages
1,343
Okay, I'm going to be getting a replacement body back and I'm going to have to re-drill holes for all the hardware; pickup mounts, jack plates, etc.  Which screws do I need to worry about waxing?  Does this go for all of them or just specific ones when doing an assembly?
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
ALL OF THEM. Go ahead and have anxiety attacks about it. You need to do it, if for no other reason than to make assembly easier. It certainly doesn't hurt anything, and it always helps.

More importantly, though, is to make sure you drill the right sized holes. Sometimes, "pilot" holes are just there to encourage a screw's direction. But, when you're going into hardwood, it's a tad more than a pilot hole. It has to be right, because the wood isn't going to want to move or give. So, there's a fine line between "just right" and "clearance" holes.

Hold a screw up to the light with the drill bit in front of it. If you can see any part of the body of the screw other than the threads, the bit is too small and the hole will be too tight. If that's the case, your run a serious risk of twisting the head off the thing and cursing your ancestors for bequeathing you a sub-functional brain <grin>
 

Torment Leaves Scars

Senior member
Messages
1,343
Cagey said:
ALL OF THEM. Go ahead and have anxiety attacks about it. You need to do it, if for no other reason than to make assembly easier. It certainly doesn't hurt anything, and it always helps.

More importantly, though, is to make sure you drill the right sized holes. Sometimes, "pilot" holes are just there to encourage a screw's direction. But, when you're going into hardwood, it's a tad more than a pilot hole. It has to be right, because the wood isn't going to want to move or give. So, there's a fine line between "just right" and "clearance" holes.

Hold a screw up to the light with the drill bit in front of it. If you can see any part of the body of the screw other than the threads, the bit is too small and the hole will be too tight. If that's the case, your run a serious risk of twisting the head off the thing and cursing your ancestors for bequeathing you a sub-functional brain <grin>

Good to know...but not so good to know.  Now I'm super-nervous about putting everything back together. :tard:
 

Street Avenger

Senior member
Messages
2,127
Daze of October said:
Okay, I'm going to be getting a replacement body back and I'm going to have to re-drill holes for all the hardware; pickup mounts, jack plates, etc.  Which screws do I need to worry about waxing?  Does this go for all of them or just specific ones when doing an assembly?

I'd wax any screw that's going into wood.  The only screws I did not wax were the ones I used to mount my pickups (which are body-mounted).
 

Cagey

Senior member
Messages
24,425
There's nothing to be nervous or worried about. Just don't drill your holes too small, and don't forget to wax the screws.

Oh, and don't drill through your headstock when installing tuners. That'll piss you off, big-time <grin> Any time you need to control hole depth, mark the maximum depth you want to drill to with a piece of masking tape or something on the bit itself and don't exceed that. They even make positive stop collars you can clamp right on the bit, if you have poor eyesight or need training wheels.

Other than that, you're golden.
 

Torment Leaves Scars

Senior member
Messages
1,343
Cagey said:
There's nothing to be nervous or worried about. Just don't drill your holes too small, and don't forget to wax the screws.

Oh, and don't drill through your headstock when installing tuners. That'll piss you off, big-time <grin> Any time you need to control hole depth, mark the maximum depth you want to drill to with a piece of masking tape or something on the bit itself and don't exceed that. They even make positive stop collars you can clamp right on the bit, if you have poor eyesight or need training wheels.

Other than that, you're golden.

Yeah, I'm more nervous about something getting drilled in crooked than the actual drilling itself.

My biggest issue, which I'm SUPER NERVOUS about is that since I requested the 700 mod this time around, along with the contoured heel, that the screws that held the neck on the first time are going to be too long this time around.  I'd say that's probably my biggest fear throughout this whole process I'm going to deal with. 
 
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