REPAIRS GALLERY

*** I AM NOT CURRENTLY OFFERING AN ONLINE "WALK-IN" GUITAR REPAIR OR SETUP SERVICE ***

I am simply too busy with other projects that I am working on. Apologies in advance.

 

In this section you will find some pictures and explanations of interesting repair/restoration projects I have worked on.

ALUMINIUM BODIED GUITAR WITH A CIMAR MAPLE NECK

This is an aluminium guitar body with an old Cimar maple neck that I put together for an old colleague of mine. At his request I modified an old guitar neck of his own that he really liked the feel of to fit this guitar. As you can see, it's got a lot of "grunt" about it still! I smoothed off the rough cast body and polished it up a bit using compound and resin. My old collegue insisted it kept the worn in look, and so I followed his wishes.

The neck had been rubbed down to bare wood so I resprayed it with 4 or 5 coats of nitrocellulose lacquer and polished it up. Instructions were to make the neck slick and fast so I rubbed in some fine beeswax using wire wool to pull back the lacquer coats a touch and add a satin sheen. The end result was the best of both worlds - a slick neck but well protected against moisture attack.

My collegue supplied the neck as i have said, but also the guitar body, aluminium scratchplate and a set of Bareknuckle pickups which I wired to the same spec as his beloved Yamaha SGV-300 (3 way selector, master volume and tone, with a blend control for the bridge/mid pickups). I also added a little extra for him in the way of a push/pull solo switch on the volume control (which bypasses the volume and tone controls to give the full raw output of the pickup). This guitar is a monster, needless to say he was very pleased with the outcome!

Above left to right - 1. Guitar parts when I picked them up

2. The aluminium body after some serious elbow grease and a quick polish

3. The neck modified to fit the body perfectly (luckily the neck was the correct scale length otherwise it would have meant cutting a new one)

4. The part wired controls mounted on the aluminium scratchplate

 

To hear what the aluminium guitar sounds like listen to "Dorothy Matrix" by The Shogun's Decapitator at www.myspace.com/theshogunsdecapitator

 

1974 GIBSON LES PAUL DELUXE

I got hold of this '74 Les Paul Deluxe in a stripped down state from a gentleman in London. Structurally the guitar was sound apart from an old headstock repair - which are extremely common on the 60s and 70s Les Paul models due to a relatively weak slim tapered neck profile that was popular at the time. It was not the end of the world however - this one had been repaired very well and was solid. That was one less thing I had to fix up on this fine instrument.

Generally the thing to do with vintage guitars is to source vintage parts/components and stick it all back together as it would have come from the factory. As I planned to use this as my own gigging guitar I figured "why do what everyone else does?", and so I decided to break off from the norm and wire this Les Paul to a different spec than one you would get from the factory (just like Jimmy Page et al. did) as it didn't come with any of the original electrics anyway. I wanted to try at least one original 70s mini-humbucker that I had got hold of, so I stuck that in the neck position. For the bridge position I used a hot Seymour Duncan P90 pickup that has a whopping 17k dc resistance. The debate in the LP deluxe guitar world swings between mini-humbuckers being better than P90s or vice versa, so I decided to mix and match as I am fond of both types. It certainly makes the guitar look splendid! The original pickup surrounds or "goof rings" (not fitted to all deluxe models) simply make the pickups look fantastic!

In the past someone had decided to drill an extra hole in between the control pots to add another switch - this is not something I would ever recommend doing to an old Les Paul but since the hole was there I decided I would use it in the electronic setup of the guitar. I used the regular 2 volume/2 tone setup with 3 way selector switch you would find on ordinary Les Pauls, but I added a series/parallel switch in that extra little hole, and one of the volume pots is a push/pull which reverses the phase of the bridge P90 pickup. This gave me a load more tonal options than you would normally get on top of the non-standard pickup arrangement.

This goldtop had some Grover machine heads installed which had been put on at some point in the past to replace the original Kluson tuners. Apart from being (in my opinion) much more robust and accurate tuning machines than the stock Les Paul tuners, the Grovers also had a natural worn in look so I was more than happy to leave them on this guitar. Apart from needing a bit of a clean, and some lemon oil applied to the fingerboard, I didn't need nor wish to give any attention to the finish - there is evidence of weather checking on the front and that classic "green flash" visible in the above right pic - caused by partial oxidisation of the bronze flakes used in the gold finish. Refinishing vintage guitars detracts from the value anyway, but I think they look so much better when they have that worn in look. Someone had further modified this guitar and drilled two small holes just south of the pickguard - I don't know what for, but I decided not to fill them at this point in time.

I managed to get hold of era correct 70s saddle, tailpiece and cavity covers for the back to maintain the vintage nature as far as looks goes. I added a repro LP deluxe pickguard because I prefer that look and it helps to protect the body from stray plectrum scratches. I am however, still on the hunt for a 70s deluxe pickguard and bracket.

So far, this ongoing project is looking pretty good, and it sounds fantastic!

Above left to right - 1. Test fitting 70s saddle and ABR bridge components

2. Fitting copper shielding tape inside the control cavity

3. Part wired controls and my wiring diagram

4. I had to lengthen the old mini humbucker wires as someone had cut them too short when removing from another guitar. I created a plumb solder joint using a copper "cage" wrapped around the old wire. Very strong.