Guitar Restoration – Teardown

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We can rebuild him. Better. Stronger. Faster…

Let’s go over what I found both right and wrong with this guitar. I’ll start with what I had to work with.

The pickups were all swapped out and it looks like all of the original electronics were removed. I did play the guitar as it was and it really did sound pretty sweet. I am very particular about tone and the power of the pickups and I could hear the differences in tone as I switched around between the pickups using the 5-position switch.

The pickup removal:

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BRIDGE
Seymour Duncan SH-12 (12B) George Lynch Screamin’ Demon SH-12

MIDDLE
DiMarzio DP423 Paul Gilbert Injector – Bridge

NECK
Seymour Duncan STK-S2B Hot Stack for Strats – Bridge

The Guts

The pick guard was warped from being melted by solder most probably. And it had a few sloppy holes drilled into it.
I immediately took a screwdriver to the (slightly melted) pick guard do see what surprises lurked underneath. I was not disappointed. The hack job that was holding all of the electronics together was hideous. No S1 Switching System. All of the original electronics were removed. The posts for the volume and tone knobs were too long and the plastic knobs were sitting very high. Annoying as it was ugly.

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Sighhhh… Listen, I am all about doing stuff yourself and making my guitar sound exactly how I like it. I dig it man! But please please if you are doing your own mods, at least take the time to do a clean job so MAYBE if you need to put the original parts back, you actually could.

The Body

The body of the guitar was heavily scratched up, dinged up, buckle-rashed, missing the back cover plate but surprisingly still in great shape. The pickguard screw holes were stripped and shimmed with pieces of random bit of wood and some unknown blue gunk. Yuck! It’s a common thing to shim up stripped screw holes in wood, when the screws get put in too tightly or there’s a lot of installation and removal. But I hate shimmed up holes. That had to get fixed. I had to think about how much the scratches and dings really bothered me and what to do about it. I had an idea on how to resolve some of the issues.

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All of the pickguard holes had bits of wood for shims and some blue gunk in them. I had to dig all that stuff out and level off the top with a sharp razor blade.

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The entire finish was covered in deep scratches and a few deep dings. I went online and bought that Guitar Scratch remover on eBay. It comes in two small bottles and a microfiber cloth. I think it will do the trick.

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The Neck

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The neck is in pretty good shape. The back of the neck has a ding around the 14th fret. Nothing serious and nothing that really affects playability. I decided to let that one slide. The frets are worn on the first three or four frets and all of the strings are buzzing for some reason. I doubted that it was about the worn down frets. Later inspection revealed that the neck was bowed back a bit. It was probably used with a heavier gauge of strings such as 10’s or 11’s and the music store later put on a lower gauge set of strings. Also, I noticed a very slight backward tilt on the neck.

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The headstock had a strange series of scratches around the tuning pegs. The strings looked like they were bent down after being cut and the strings were digging into the finish. What moron way of stringing a guitar with locking tuners is that? I was sure that the circular scratches would not buff out.

The ebony fingerboard is in excellent shape! Miracle! It’s beautifully black and shiny and smooth. Yay!

The Hardware

All of the hardware looked ok. The bridge and saddles were dirty as hell but otherwise in good shape. The tuners and the FSR roller nut looked like they were in ok shape. The tremolo springs were original and in great shape. It can stay. The neck plate is original and doesn’t look like it was messed with too much. The strap buttons were not original. They were some unknown strap locking type. That’s fine. I can get those for a few dollars.

PART 2 – Repairs and Parts

PART 2 – Repairs and Parts, PART 3 – The Re-build