'74: The Reconstruction

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by wax, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. wax

    wax Member

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    So, my oldest friend has been through a number of mods since I bought it in 1983. It was originally a standard cherry with a repaired headstock and serious buckle rash on the backside. The case has a giant Boy Scouts fleur-de-lis decal remnant, so I'm guessing it was a summer camp guitar in the '70s.

    For the beancounters, S/N: 123195, pot codes are March, 1974.

    I refinished it in 1988 (poorly), and redid it in the last decade. Somewhere along the line, I lost the original pickguard and the pickup ring mounting holes went from misaligned (the only real original factory flaw) to completely unusable. I solved this at one point by seating PEM nuts in the back of the guitar and running machine screws through the body. Not perfect, but it worked.

    The control mounting holes were also shot, so I did what any good luthier (cough) would do and cut that section out. To make things right with the world, I needed to make a new pickguard/control cover - one that would also facilitate pickup mounting.

    Having never been a fan of the original tarbacks (mud anyone?) I've had a variety of pickups in it over the years as well. I've never quite found what I was looking for, but I know what I want to get out of it. I want a clear, low-output in the neck (I have one in my FrankenPaul of unknown origin that sounds amazing) and a slightly warm, moderate-output in the bridge. In digging through my bucket-o-parts, I discovered a DiMarzio Super 2, which is intended as a neck pickup and was at one time in the neck position of this guitar. Close, but too warm for the neck, but perfect for the bridge. I also discovered that the (very bright and clear) Duncan in my F-Paul bridge is a Duncan SH2N. It's too bright for the bridge in that guitar and lo and behold, it's intended for the neck position anyway. Problems solved. I will likely need to flip the magnet in the Super 2 to keep the polarities correct for their respective positions.

    Here is where I confess my biggest sin: It has been unstrung for 2 1/2 years. It might take a while for the neck to settle back in, but this isn't the first time it's been left unstrung as my mods have never been speedy. The last time it had a lot of funky overtones when restrung, but these go away pretty quickly. Also, it's a 40+ year old chunk of wood, so it's stable.

    Without further ado, porn:

    [​IMG]

    Final pickguard shaping and pickup knockout roughs

    [​IMG]

    The coats are stacking up.

    Ultimately, the pickguard will also be veneered with something woody and not black, but right now, I want to get it up and running and play the damn thing. Two volume controls (500K), no tone pots, standard pickup selector switch, two coil-split double-to-single switches. That's how the F-Paul is set up and I'm really happy with it. The F-Paul is the next candidate for some serious maintenance.
     
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  2. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    you ever try any Duncan Antiquities pickups ??? spendy yes but im sold on them.i got a dogear one in a LP JR Kit guitar and a Humbucker in another SG JR kit guitar and love them.ive tried a few to.good luck putting the old gal back together.
     
  3. wax

    wax Member

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    Nope, although they're something I'll definitely keep in mind for the future. Both the Duncan and the DiMarzio that are going in are' naturally aged' already as they're both at least 30 years old or close to it. The DiMarzio is for sure (it came out of a friend's guitar that he acquired in roughly 1984 and it and the Super Distortion that were in it were not the originals...aged ceramic...hee) and I purchased the Duncan used in 1988, so...The Duncan should have an alnico 5 in it per Duncan's timeline so there should be some definite aging going on there.
     
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  4. JohnnyGoo

    JohnnyGoo Well-Known Member

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    should be great in there.
     
  5. Norlin SG

    Norlin SG Well-Known Member

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    Tarbacks are pure mud? Really? Their only crimes is being standard to a particular guitar/tone. I went through that nonsense of trying different pickup and really what you need to do is find the sweet spot tone wise a particular guitar/pickup has. Do I want jangle? Get a Ricky 12. Do I want clean and crisp? get a Strat or Tell. Do I want some monster woman tones? Get some of those nasty abomination Tarbacks in a Paul or SG.

    Seriously, play that guitar that sounds to you like a mud monster and you might just find a purpose for it. The limitations of any musical instrument can many times make it really shine. Just ask Jack White about that thought.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2016
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  6. SG John

    SG John Well-Known Member

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    Did that have the plastic pot mount of the face of the guitar similar to the '72 models? You didn't want to try laying a new piece of mahogany into the body to keep the original look of the guitar?

    Just curious. I'm a geek when it comes to mods, and always am interested in the back stories, etc.

    Good luck finishing it up.
     
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  7. wax

    wax Member

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    Nope, it looked exactly like this originally: [​IMG]

    Those '72s (I think there are some other years in there too?) with the plastic control covers or Les Paul-style pickguards always make me think of a decrepit old rescue dog. You look at them and think...oh you poor, poor thing, but in a loving way. :D That's the main reason I did not want to go with a control cover, but pragmatism wins out.

    I'm not bent of keeping the original look of the guitar. There are enough that look virtually identical to this one and it's of a vintage that's not exactly revered, although I LOVE the Norlins myself.

    I did consider using mahogany for a cover, but I guarantee I'd never be happy with it unless it matched perfectly and that ain't gonna happen.
    Ultimately, I'd like to contrast the existing mahogany - and this guitar was made from a really pretty slab - with another wood because I'd never get a piece of mahogany to match quite right. I made a cover a few years ago out of walnut, which looked really nice, but I misaligned the grain direction just enough to bug me and it broke, too. I don't have the woodworking tools that I need to do the perfect job, so rather than wait until then, this will have to do. It's the difference between having it hanging on my wall gutted, or being used. Much like art, music, etc., it's never really finished. :D

    Anyway, the birch plywood I used is a perfect base for veneering after I get the fitup right and everything broken back in...and I'm comfortable enough with veneering.

    Other history: I mentioned that the headstock had been repaired when I purchased the guitar. True. I didn't mention that I broke and repaired it twice more after that. Gravity and headstocks do not play well together.
     
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  8. Norlin SG

    Norlin SG Well-Known Member

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    RE: your mod. I'm waiting to see how it turns out. You might have a winner, and at least it would be reversible if you didn't like it. A real plus is that it does not look like a Bat Wing pick guard which I'm not really fond of.
     
  9. wax

    wax Member

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    Much like the control cover, I'm not a big fan of the batwing either, but this will a little bit of both. I was hoping to be a little further along than I am. Taking a day to fill some imperfections before drilling/countersinking the screwholes. Another day of happy lacquering and the first fitup should be on deck.

    What will likely happen is I'll get it on the guitar, strung up, and start playing it. I will subsequently procrastinate on the rest of what could be done: veneering, fixing the big blemish on the guitar itself from the previous control cover attempt, etc.
     
  10. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    Y'know...in a way, it's almost gonna have a Peavey T-60 vibe to it!

    [​IMG]
     
  11. syscokid

    syscokid Well-Known Member

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    Then wax can call his modded guitar the Gibvey ST!


    ... I know.... that was stupid... I need more coffee :rolleyes:
     
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  12. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Diaz Bong.gif
     
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  13. syscokid

    syscokid Well-Known Member

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  14. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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  15. wax

    wax Member

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    If I decide to shave the neck to potato chip thickness, I will. Actually I don't remember which Peavey model it was that had a neck like that, but I think it was this one. I was always mildly turned on by these actually. Almost bought one at a pawn shop once until I noticed a very obvious BB indentation in the fingerboard.

    P.S.: I'm more of an edibles guy. :D
     
  16. alexander paul

    alexander paul Well-Known Member

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    my sg looked 100% like this picture in the store... i bought a black toggle switch knob so when it left the store in december of 1972 it had it's first modification among many...

    http://www.everythingsg.com/threads/heritage-cherry-sg.27967/

    [​IMG]
     
  17. smitty_p

    smitty_p Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, but the profile of the pickguard you're making for your SG is rather T-60-ish.

    I'm interested in seeing the final product!
     
  18. wax

    wax Member

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    I'll call it the Bat-60II.
     
  19. wax

    wax Member

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    So the SD Jazz (SH2-N) is toast. Long story. Instead of that, I put a Kent Armstrong M213K back in the neck position after changing out the ceramic magnet for an alnico 5. Flipped the magnet in the DiMarzio Super 2 so it's correct for the bridge position and routed the pickup wiring. Nothing's wired up yet and the bridge needs some restoration as well. Tomorrow.
     
  20. wax

    wax Member

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    Got 'er strung up. The bridge didn't need as much as I thought it might. No electronics yet but damn it feels good to play again. The neck is quite a contrast to my 1 5/8" W Ibanez. Felt weird at first but then my fingers hit that, "oh yeah, this is my guitar" stage and it felt like it was playing itself. Not getting serious phantom tones from the neck, but it's got a ways to go before it's settled back in. The intonation is shockingly close considering I randomly centered the saddles.

    Pics and soundclips coming soon.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016

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