26 November 2013

Flaxwood - MOF kit MK1

After modifying the Vintage VS6 (LINK) I really started thinking about getting a ready guitar kit to assemble. After first spotting a Flaxwood (LINK) guitar in the hands of my friend Tuomas (Bullet Control (LINK)) I fell in love with the idea of this composite material axe.

So I went right away and ordered the MOF - kit straight from the Flaxwood factory. The injection-molded body and neck were beautiful straight from the pack, but indeed needed a load of sanding and preparing before they were ready for assembly.
I took my time on this project as everything was fairly new to me ...also did some wrong turns and followed non logical steps, such as starting the whole process with fitting the backplate (doh!?).

Installing the frets were a quite interesting procedure for me, as it was all new and I really had no idea of what I was doing. Thankfully I got some good advice and instructions from J-P at Flaxwood.
There really isn't enough good things I can say about the service from their side, nothing short of spectacular!

The great thing about flaxwood as a material is that it was easy to work on and the gluing were made with Loctite (LINK) superglue(!). It really took no time to attach the neck and nut when I got that far in the process.

The joints were all formed for easy fitting.

Getting down to hardware, I had already decided to go for an all black look on this guitar and wanted it with tremolo,  so the body came with pre-fabricated hole for the Schaller Tremolo LP (LINK). I also decided to go for the Planet Waves Auto-Trim tuning machines (LINK) that I already had found to be superb.
The process of  installing the tuners was very straight forward and I only needed to drill open the holes a bit to fit the pegs.

I was very impressed with the sound of EMG active pickups and hence I tried out the EMG KFK-kit (LINK) for this build ... and I can say I haven't regretted my decision yet.

The solderless system was easy to connect and only a bit of head scratching was needed to connect the pickups to the EMG solderless Strat switch (LINK).

The body and neck finishing was made with Osmo Color (LINK) transparent wood wax so that the cool textures of the composite material stayed visible. Application of the wax was super easy, just dipped a rag in it and saw to that the whole body got a piece of it. 3-4 layers later it was a done deal.

Initially I was setting up some Ernie Ball Skinny Top/Heavy Bottom (LINK) strings but the tremolo spring couldn't handle them, so I switched to my (now) exclusivly prefered Super Slinkys (LINK) which give a nice bright'n'tight sound.

Finally it took some detective work and a great deal of tweaking and rasping to get the final setup right. Seems that one of the frets had been left a bit high, so I lost a note on the high "E".

Now it's a beautiful all-black stealth guitar with a living surface coloring due to the composite material.
The neck is very fast and comfortable with good action, though a professional could probably tweak it a bit more for even better playability.
For me however, it is a splendid axe!

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