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Ibanez AX120 Doublecut Restomod

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Jim85IROC, May 15, 2018.

  1. Jim85IROC

    Jim85IROC Tele-Meister

    Age:
    41
    201
    Mar 17, 2009
    Readsboro, VT
    My son is turning 9 in June, and has been taking guitar lessons for about a year and half. He uses an Ibanez Mikro 3/4 scale guitar, and is about ready to move up to a full size guitar, so long as it's one that's a little on the smaller, lighter side. I found an Indonesian Ibanez Gio AX70 at a pawn shop on vacation a few weeks ago for a great price ($50), but passed on it because I'd already bought another guitar that I had to deal with getting home.

    A couple days later, I ended up bidding on and winning an ebay auction for an older Korean mahogany bodied AX120 basket case. It was just a body & neck with no hardware at all except for the tuners. By the time I factored in shipping, I probably paid too much ($70-ish), but oh well.

    So, the plan here is to keep the total end cost under $150, and to have my son help me assemble the guitar as a learning experience.

    This is what I'm starting with:
    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    The ugly truss rod cover needs to go.
    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    Somebody over did it with the sanding on the back:
    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    and a little on the front:
    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    The only other issue on the front is a little chunk of wood missing from underneath the bridge area:
    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    First I tackled some low hanging fruit by cleaning up the neck. Fortunately, the blue truss rod cover turned out to just be a ****ty paint job, and some acetone took care of it. I removed the tuners, took them apart, cleaned & polished everything, polished the frets, oiled the fretboard, and put it back together:
    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    first two frets polished:
    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    shiny:
    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    this is more like it!
    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    Body updates below
     

  2. Jim85IROC

    Jim85IROC Tele-Meister

    Age:
    41
    201
    Mar 17, 2009
    Readsboro, VT
    On to the body:

    For aesthetics, I wanted something that he liked, but also something tasteful enough that I can resell the guitar without losing my shirt, which in my mind, means making it look "special" and not just like a current production AX120... so a plain red body is out.

    What I decided on (with his approval), was a grey metallic body, with a hue right between silver and black so that I could utilize a combination of black and chrome hardware. I love that older Fenders were often styled similarly to cars, and in fact used automotive colors. More modern cars tend to have a lot less chrome, and instead use a mixture of chrome and black. I wanted to incorporate that idea here, to give it a modern, but still tasteful look, and one that fits in with my son's musical tastes, which ranges from Imagine Dragons to Metallica. I think the silver/black/chrome idea will fit that pretty well. To make the guitar pop, I'm adding a red pearloid pickguard.

    So... now that we've figured out the design, let's get to it. I decided to keep it simple and use rattle cans, which ultimately turned out to be a mistake.

    Body sanded:
    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    After the missing chunk under the bridge area was filled, I used glazing putty to smooth out some of the minor dings around the body, then laid down a few coats of high build primer:
    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    Silver paint:
    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    The paint went on well, but I didn't feel like it was dark enough when putting some of the black and chrome up to it:
    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    So, I decided to go with a little darker silver. I don't have pics of that step, but it basically looked the same, just darker. Next I sprayed a few coats of polyurethane clear, which left a fair amount of orange peel. I wetsanded to get it smooth, but in the process, accidentally went through the clear in a couple spots, and went through the darker silver and exposed the lighter silver in one spot on the lower horn. Because of that, I had to respray the silver on the front of the body. When I did, it lifted the clearcoat. I don't know why... I know that lacquer can lift acrylic enamel, but it shouldn't lift poly. But, it did. :mad:

    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    I don't have any pics of the subsequent re-sanding, re-priming, and re-painting, because frankly, I had all I could do to keep from throwing the guitar into the river across the street.

    On Sunday I got the painting done, and then Sunday night I sprayed a lot of heavy clear on. This time I pre-heated the aerosol cans in hot water to help them spray better, and the result was a nice smooth finish. I got a few runs on the back that I need to sand out, but the front looks so nice and smooth already that it shouldn't take a ton of sanding to get it perfect.

    [​IMG]AX120 resto-mod by jim85iroc, on Flickr

    In retrospect, I should have just sprayed automotive paint. My father is a retired autobody shop owner, so he's got cabinets of paint that I can use, but I usually find it easier and faster to use rattle cans. This time I had enough problems that I would have been much better off just getting out the good stuff. But, as long as I don't tear through the clearcoat again when I wetsand, the body should end up looking great.

    I'm going to leave the body for at least a couple more days to make sure that the clearcoat has had sufficient time to harden, then the wetsanding starts. The hardware is slowly arriving. Once the pickup rings get here, I can start shaping the pick guard, and getting the rest of the hardware installed.
     

  3. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    The missing hunk of wood under the bridge was for the bridge ground wire.

    I use Dupli-Color Perfect Match rattle can paint. They have a lot of great car colors in acrylic enamel and use the clear coat for wheels(very durable).
     

  4. Jim85IROC

    Jim85IROC Tele-Meister

    Age:
    41
    201
    Mar 17, 2009
    Readsboro, VT
    ha, I forgot about the ground wire! Guess I'll be drilling a new hole. :D
     
    Jerry Lee and Zepfan like this.

  5. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County

    I am pretty sure Duplicolor Perfect Match is acrylic lacquer, not enamel. It dries too fast to be enamel. According to this, it is lacquer. It really shoots a thin coat though. I have about 6 cans of color and clear on a body, with more to go.

    https://duplicolor.com/product/perfect-match-premium-automotive-paint
     
    reddy2300 likes this.

  6. Jim85IROC

    Jim85IROC Tele-Meister

    Age:
    41
    201
    Mar 17, 2009
    Readsboro, VT
    I looke at that stuff at the local Advance Auto, but they only had one can of the color I liked. I ended up using a Napa paint. It's a restoration paint for cast iron parts. It's a nice gray with a lot of small metal flake. I believe it's a lacquer. It sprayed so smoothly that I didn't need to color sand before clearing.
     

  7. Macrogats

    Macrogats Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    51
    May 15, 2017
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Yes you will be. :D Zepfan beat me to it, but as I was reading through I knew straight away that missing "hunk" of wood was for the bridge ground. :p

    Interesting guitar, and I feel your pain with the finishing processes. NOT my favourite part of guitar work. :rolleyes:

    I've actually noticed a couple of different threads about this style of guitar just today. It seems the latest model(s) are using NZ Pine for fretboards! Not something I would ever consider, but the specs say it's a tanilised Pine for extra strength. Unfortunately we can't walk into our local hardware store down here and grab a few pieces of maple and/or rosewood for necks /fretboards. :(

    Any idea what the neck/fretboard on that guitar is?
     

  8. 2blue2

    2blue2 Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 20, 2013
    Island of Oahu
    I love this father son project.
    My kid and me's first guitar project together was an sg sort of thing.
    Looking forward to the progress on it, keep posting pics.


    Im guessing rosewood/maple...but liking the cool binding
     
    Jim85IROC likes this.

  9. Jim85IROC

    Jim85IROC Tele-Meister

    Age:
    41
    201
    Mar 17, 2009
    Readsboro, VT
    This model has a maple neck with a rosewood fretboard. I didn't feel too bad paying more for this basket case than for a complete, fully assembled newer one because this one is Korean (vs Indonesian), and uses pretty good wood. The body is a pretty light weight piece of Mahogany, and the neck has a rosewood fretboard. You can see the fretboard pretty well in one of my pics above, although it hadn't been cleaned yet in that pic.
     

  10. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 30, 2013
    Horn Lake, MS
    You are correct, I got it mixed up with their Engine Enamel paint(I've used both with good results). So the Engine colors are Enamel and the rest of their paint is Acrylic Lacquer.
     

  11. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Mar 30, 2003
    Ontario County

    I bought two more cans today.... I can't wait until this thing is done. I think I have over 100 dollars into color and clear for one guitar.
     
    Zepfan likes this.

  12. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 27, 2012
    Calgary, Alberta
    For that kind on money you could be a long way into a spray rig..
     

  13. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Holic

    579
    May 28, 2008
    netherlands
    i think your son will never forget your effort, and you gave him a good lesson in life.
    that some things don't come easy, but are worth the struggle.
    what pickups are you going to use?
     

  14. Jim85IROC

    Jim85IROC Tele-Meister

    Age:
    41
    201
    Mar 17, 2009
    Readsboro, VT
    I picked up a cheap pair of chrome covered Alnico 5 humbuckers on eBay for $20. Options are pretty limited when you're trying to stick to a $150 budget. His playing level is a long way off from being to a point where pickups will make a difference. Hell, I'm not even sure I'm there yet. :D

    That said, they shouldn't be that bad. The bridge is wound to about 14k, so it should be good and hot, and have somewhat rolled off highs, which should help with the ice-pick sound that some bridge humbuckers can have. Since my son seems to want to roll his tone way off anyway, a little darker sound will likely suit him.
     
    Hyliandeity likes this.

  15. Jim85IROC

    Jim85IROC Tele-Meister

    Age:
    41
    201
    Mar 17, 2009
    Readsboro, VT
    And... I'm back to wanting to chuck this POS into the river. I started wetsanding today, and with 2000 grit I managed to go THRU the color coat into my primer before I could even see that I went through the clear. :mad:

    The spots are small, and I'm NOT stripping and painting this thing again. I burried the spots in clear and they'll stay. :mad:
     

  16. Jim85IROC

    Jim85IROC Tele-Meister

    Age:
    41
    201
    Mar 17, 2009
    Readsboro, VT
    Today I wetsanded the spots I re-cleared yesterday then started polishing.
    This is the wetsanded body with a little of the Maguires Swirl Remover 2.0 on the lower horn:
    [​IMG]
    I used an orbital polisher for the large flat spots on the front and back, and hand polished everything else.
    After I did the whole guitar with the swirl remover, I did it all again with Maguires Machine Glaze. After that, I did it again with Maguires cleaner wax.
    It took most of the afternoon, but I'm quite happy with how it came out.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The black tuning keys came in today, but they're not standard size. They're tiny and they look stupid:
    [​IMG]
    For now I'll stick with the original keys until I find a normal sized black set at a price I'm willing to pay.
    I put some of the hardware on the body along with an SG pick guard to compare it to the red pearloid (my red Tortoise blank isn't here yet). I think I like the tortoise better. What do you guys think?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I'm really liking the black & chrome hardware with the gray body & red pickguard. It should look really nice when it's done.
     

  17. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

    Coming together well. If the pups are both wound really hot, .01mF caps will help along with treble bleed circuits on the volume pots. Also make sure the pots are 500 meg.
     

  18. Jim85IROC

    Jim85IROC Tele-Meister

    Age:
    41
    201
    Mar 17, 2009
    Readsboro, VT
    The pots are 500k. The bridge pickup is about 14k, the neck about 8k. I'm ok with the bridge pup being a tad on the dark side. My kid likes to roll the tone knob all the way down anyway. :D
     
    Barncaster likes this.

  19. oldrebel

    oldrebel Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Oct 23, 2011
    Lynchburg Tennessee
    That looks fantastic!! I love the color.
     
    Jim85IROC likes this.

  20. Jim85IROC

    Jim85IROC Tele-Meister

    Age:
    41
    201
    Mar 17, 2009
    Readsboro, VT
    Ok, time for a question: is there multiple choice in terms of spacing of mounting screws for pickup rings and output jack plates? My humbucker pickup rings came in yesterday and they don't line up with the screw holes in the body. Today my output jack came, and those holes don't line up either.

    The holes in the body for the pickup rings are 3.22" center to center, but the holes in the rings are 3.287".

    The holes in the body for the output jack are 1 485", and the plate is 1.410.
     

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