Saylor Bodies

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j mascis
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Saylor Bodies

Post by j mascis » Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:19 am

I just want to throw my feedback into the pool for those of you considering Saylor bodies.

I purchased a JM body to US specs. The main issues:

1. The contours don't seem right. They just aren't as deep and curvy.
2. The bridge thimbles didn't fit. I had to take it to my city/public workshop and use a drill press to enlarge the holes. The master craftsman there at the shop confirmed they were too small for the thimbles.
3. The vibrato plate fits, but when you engage the lock forward it bumps into the wood, so it has to be routed or dremeled out further if you want to use the lock. I was able to do this at home with a Dremel.

The weight was good at 4lb, 5oz. Sanding it wasn't a big deal. The main problems are the three above where they simply aren't to US spec. When I wrote Saylor about this, he got really defensive and said it's all perfect to US specs (then he banned me from ever purchasing from him again). I know for a fact that's not true since I brought it to the woodshop and had the pro there look it over. Anyway, I think the body is a good value if you're doing your first build, but I since got bodies from other makers and they are so much better in terms of the curves, routed cavities, etc, and their staff was much nicer. So, if you're on a budget maybe go with Saylor and deal with all his problems, but if you're not I'd recommend going elsewhere.

This is just my experience. I read threads here where people liked their product and Saylor, so consider all of that, too.

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Trout
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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by Trout » Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:51 am

The problem for Saylor and others, is that I can read 50 good reviews and 5 bad and decide never to shop there. I an still amazed at how some manufacturers deal with complaints.
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mbene085
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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by mbene085 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:04 pm

Well, here are a few thoughts based on my own Saylor body, which was sent directly to MJT for finishing, and required additional sanding and prep:

1) When you offer USA-made goods at an incredible price point, it's not reasonable to expect the level of detail to match products being sold at 2-3x the price. That level of detail includes customer service (time is money, and he's not charging much money, so don't expect as much of his time as a builder charging you 200% of his prices or more). He absolutely refused to accept my PayPal order because I was outside the USA (Canada), even though shipping was direct to MJT. MJT graciously agreed to make the purchase on my behalf through their PayPal after I sent them the full price, so I found a workaround, but I understood why a guy charging razor-thin margins didn't want to deal with any potential issues from an international buyer.

2) Most bodies that I have ordered have needed the thimble holes to be enlarged, either due to finish buildup or just too tight of a fit.

3) I have no fewer than 3 USA-made bodies from 3 different manufacturers that don't perfectly match Fender's JM/jag contours.

4) I have Fenders of different eras and construction that don't match each other in terms of the exact contours.

5) Vibrato installation in new bodies has room for user error at the best of times. There is horizontal and vertical play, and if you drill/install the screws a millimeter or two in the wrong direction, you'll get friction between part of the vibrato and the wood in the cavity.

So, maybe I went into my purchase with a different mindset, but Saylor fully delivered what I wanted (a thinline Jaguar body...something a lot of people won't do) at a pretty bonkers price point. I'm handy with tools and needing to finesse some parts into place is something I'm used to on basically any project I've assembled, but I wouldn't recommend a Saylor body for someone who wants the easiest-to-assemble project possible. It'll need a little more TLC than that, but nothing major in my experience.

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j mascis
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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by j mascis » Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:33 pm

mbene085 wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:04 pm
So, maybe I went into my purchase with a different mindset, but Saylor fully delivered what I wanted (a thinline Jaguar body...something a lot of people won't do) at a pretty bonkers price point. I'm handy with tools and needing to finesse some parts into place is something I'm used to on basically any project I've assembled, but I wouldn't recommend a Saylor body for someone who wants the easiest-to-assemble project possible. It'll need a little more TLC than that, but nothing major in my experience.
Yeah, I think he has a place in the market, but I doubt I'd use him again ( (unless I needed something I couldn't find somewhere else like a thinline jag) just based on the rudeness and defensiveness. The two other shops I have used have been excellent to deal with.

What did you think of the quality of the wood itself?

Oh, the vibrato cavity had no play at all. It was a super tight fit, and wouldn't fit at all with the lock pushed forward. So that route in the front for the lock had to be enlarged. It wasn't off a little...must have been 3mm I had to Dremel out. This was my first build, so I had to teach myself some stuff on the fly, which is why I brought it to the local woodshop for their opinion. They said it's not user error but the things just weren't to size. What can you do? I was able to handle it all but it would be nice if it were truly to US specs.

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Trout
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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by Trout » Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:41 pm

If you have a shop making guitar bodies, how fucking hard can it be to get a correct template? I’m sorry, I just can’t get past that.
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tribi9
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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by tribi9 » Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:51 pm

Neck holes looked a bit wonky on one i bought. The dude got all defensive when i questioned it, the holes for the bridge were too small too.
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j mascis
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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by j mascis » Wed Dec 26, 2018 3:51 pm

tribi9 wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:51 pm
Neck holes looked a bit wonky on one i bought. The dude got all defensive when i questioned it, the holes for the bridge were too small too.
That sounds right.

Now I'm nervous, because the last stage I have to this build is to bolt on the neck, and the neck is a quarter sawn/baked maple ($310 neck!). Maybe I should just sell it and get a more legit body. He builds in that 1 degree neck pocket angle, too, which I'm not sure is the best idea. I'd rather add a shim later if needed than have one built into the pocket.

How did everything turn out with your build?

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BrendanP
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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by BrendanP » Wed Dec 26, 2018 4:43 pm

I was checking out his work when I went shopping for a Jaguar body. He uses a smaller round-over bit on his edges.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Saylor-Guitars ... 3541728272

That's WAY too small for me.

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timtam
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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by timtam » Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:00 pm

For that very reasonable price it looks like there's fine print and you need to read into exactly what that means re contours, and look closely at the pictures ...

"Unfinished, just off the cnc machine. Contour edges need shaping. You can shape and finish sand this one yourself to save money. "

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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by kdanie » Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:42 pm

I've use two with no unexpected issues...

People are always talking about "vintage spec", "U.S. spec", "MIJ spec" but NOBODY can REALLY tell you what those are-because Fender changes things on the fly. I've seen 3 different diameters of bridge thimbles and I don't know what U.S. spec is supposed to be so having to drill those doesn't surprise me. The trem not fitting is not cool, I didn't have that issue. The entire point of a project is to make it what YOU want so DO that.

BTW, I have a template taken from a '63 JM and it doesn't exactly match his bodies but back then they were shaped by hand-no CNC so that should not surprise anyone. In actually playing or handling you can't tell the difference between his bodies and my bodies. Just sayin'.

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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by bgalizio » Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:12 am

I have a thinline Jaguar body from Saylor. No issues there. Bridge thimbles were tight but fit. No issues with the tremolo either.

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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by BrendanP » Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:49 am

timtam wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:00 pm
For that very reasonable price it looks like there's fine print and you need to read into exactly what that means re contours, and look closely at the pictures ...

"Unfinished, just off the cnc machine. Contour edges need shaping. You can shape and finish sand this one yourself to save money. "
The roundover needs to be done with a router for consistency and that should have happened on the CNC with a 7/16 bit. He used a bit, just not the one associated with offsets. Changing that radius by hand with consistent results could be a challenge. Personally, I'd just pay $40 more elsewhere and have it made the way I want it. I expected he was referring to the forearm and tummy cuts regarding sanding needs.

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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by nbc580 » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:32 pm

mbene085 wrote:
Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:04 pm
Well, here are a few thoughts based on my own Saylor body, which was sent directly to MJT for finishing, and required additional sanding and prep:

1) When you offer USA-made goods at an incredible price point, it's not reasonable to expect the level of detail to match products being sold at 2-3x the price. That level of detail includes customer service (time is money, and he's not charging much money, so don't expect as much of his time as a builder charging you 200% of his prices or more). He absolutely refused to accept my PayPal order because I was outside the USA (Canada), even though shipping was direct to MJT. MJT graciously agreed to make the purchase on my behalf through their PayPal after I sent them the full price, so I found a workaround, but I understood why a guy charging razor-thin margins didn't want to deal with any potential issues from an international buyer.

2) Most bodies that I have ordered have needed the thimble holes to be enlarged, either due to finish buildup or just too tight of a fit.

3) I have no fewer than 3 USA-made bodies from 3 different manufacturers that don't perfectly match Fender's JM/jag contours.

4) I have Fenders of different eras and construction that don't match each other in terms of the exact contours.

5) Vibrato installation in new bodies has room for user error at the best of times. There is horizontal and vertical play, and if you drill/install the screws a millimeter or two in the wrong direction, you'll get friction between part of the vibrato and the wood in the cavity.

So, maybe I went into my purchase with a different mindset, but Saylor fully delivered what I wanted (a thinline Jaguar body...something a lot of people won't do) at a pretty bonkers price point. I'm handy with tools and needing to finesse some parts into place is something I'm used to on basically any project I've assembled, but I wouldn't recommend a Saylor body for someone who wants the easiest-to-assemble project possible. It'll need a little more TLC than that, but nothing major in my experience.
I've just recently started a Thinline Jaguar project using a Saylor body. What did you do to enlarge the thimble holes? I started trying the "pencil with sandpaper" trick, but wasn't having too much luck. Dremeling seems to work, but I am worried that the hole may end up too wide instead of too narrow. Just wondering if there are better ideas?

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j mascis
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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by j mascis » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:48 pm

nbc580 wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:32 pm
I've just recently started a Thinline Jaguar project using a Saylor body. What did you do to enlarge the thimble holes? I started trying the "pencil with sandpaper" trick, but wasn't having too much luck. Dremeling seems to work, but I am worried that the hole may end up too wide instead of too narrow. Just wondering if there are better ideas?
See if your town has a local woodshop with open hours and ask to use the drill press.
It's the best way to do it. I forget the bit size needed, but it was one or two up from what he used.

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timtam
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Re: Saylor Bodies

Post by timtam » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:53 pm

Or next-size-up drill bit in a hand drill. Test first in scrap wood if you're not sure of bit size. If you don't have a hand drill you can try putting it a regular electric drill but rotate the chuck by hand - works if the hole size is not too different and the wood not too hard.

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