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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

What to do with this old Melody Maker

Discussion in 'Finely Finished' started by freddarl82, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. freddarl82

    freddarl82 TDPRI Member

    40
    Nov 10, 2012
    Colorado
    i have already done some testing with acetone and spraying on some nitro with no ill effects. I went ahead with a coat of grain filler. Next up will be Behlen's vinyl sealer followed by Behlen's instrument lacquer. I also have a gold Gibson logo on the way to restore the headstock, and I think 3-on-a-plate tuners will fit the bill.

    I'm still on the fence about pickups (and the needed pickguard to complement the choice). Lot's of suggestions for P90's. I love P90's and have had a few guitars with them. I presently have the P Rails in this guitar which I have set up to optimize the P90 sound, so I will likely stick with this for awhile.

    My main concern about real P90's would be mounting them. For soapbars, I am worried the roughly-done routing job went so deep I don't have much to screw into, with the corresponding concern of going through the back. Also, because the routs are quite deep, I'd need a lot of spacer material under the pickup. If I use dogears, they would have to mount onto my pickguard (which is required to cover up the routs). While do-able, it might look a little funky mounting a dogear on top a plastic pickguard, as opposed to the usual dogear mount directly into the body.
     

  2. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Meister

    496
    Jan 26, 2012
    Troy, MO
    That guitar looks great as it is, to me. From your description, before I scrolled down to the photo, I wondered if your post was an old one of MY posts, because I received a trashed melody maker with a huge ugly two-humbucker rout years ago...with big honkin Grover Imperial tuners and that same damn bridge yours has. Then I saw your pictures. Yours is way classier.

    Mine is sprayed badly with a sort of metallic maroon color and the pickup rout is one big rough-sided hole, like a strat bathtub rout, and looks like it might have been done with a roundpoint shovel. I am a caveman so I decided to leave the bad paint and ugly homemade giant pickguard as they were and just try different pickups until I found a good sound...to hell with its looks.

    I ended up with a strat single coil in the bridge hole, back-slanted Hendrix-style, and a single volume knob...no neck pickup. Out came the stickers to cover the unused holes. It's a hideous-looking thing but it is a blast to play rhythm on...it's got a great cutting Kerrrang!!! sound, and notes really jump out on solo licks too.

    I predict you will have a lot of fun with that project and end up with a beauty, as well.
     

  3. freddarl82

    freddarl82 TDPRI Member

    40
    Nov 10, 2012
    Colorado
    After being out of town a few days, I sanded down the grainfiller today. It definitely needed filling, after all, as evidenced by all the fine light colored streaks of grainfiller that filled in the grain (it was neutral colored filler. Duhhh!!!). Any suggestions on how to get everything a more uniform color? Would a MinWax stain from HD do the trick? (Without darkening everything up too much) Any opinions/experience with what it might look like if I put red mahogany stain on top of this body?

    Mind you, I am a shadetree finisher doing this in my barn with rattle cans -- no spray gear, dyes, etc.

    Another thought I had was, after two coats of vinyl filler, begin my top coats with one or two thin coats of Stew Mac Tobacco brown (which I already have on hand for a sunbursting project on a strat body). Would that accomplish the objective of blending in the lighter streaks in the grain and make everything look more uniform without obscuring the grain?
     

  4. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    Minwax "wood finish" (misnomer) stain is usually pigment in an oil-based binder (i.e. very thin varnish) and it would not be my first choice for something that's being sandwiched in between layers of a finish. Dye would be more effective at getting some color in there (assuming the filler will absorb anything) without building up another layer to mess up your schedule. Ironically enough red mahogany from Minwax is brown pigment and red dye, the only one that has a combination of dye and pigment AFAIK. Try something line TransTint (or Colortone relabeled version) stain diluted in water and wiped off to see what soaks into the filler, let dry, then clearcoat it. Be careful about SolarLuxe NGR dye stain which is mixed in alcohol and will soften your sealer and possibly even the filler.
     

  5. freddarl82

    freddarl82 TDPRI Member

    40
    Nov 10, 2012
    Colorado
    Thanks for the reply, Vizcaster. I had already put on some of the Minwax stain (I believe it was called Special Walnut). It went on fine, and the vinyl sealer on top of it went on and dried nicely. I will begin spraying my gloss coats next week (I'm out of town again -- it comes with the job). I think it is going to work out OK...I just hope there are no problems down the road combining these products.

    IMG_0112.JPG
     

  6. jimash

    jimash Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 5, 2013
    NJ
    It looks just like a Badass, and that was my experience with the badass bridge. Tore up my hand.
    Switched it out for a Schaller. Much smoother.

    And the Melody maker looks fine. Very nice actually.
    [​IMG]
     

  7. freddarl82

    freddarl82 TDPRI Member

    40
    Nov 10, 2012
    Colorado
    I did find that Badass bridge in my parts bin, and it's original. It has raised lettering, "Leo Quan, made in Germany." (Hope I got the name right, I'm doing this from memory while out of town). Well-made, well-functioning bridge...butt-ugly, IMO.
     

  8. Regarding mounting P90's, if you don't have enough thickness left, add more. Cut a wooden shim of appropriate thickness and glue it into the route. Screw into the shim.
     

  9. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 15, 2010
    Texas
    Don't even sell it...just send it to me and I'll dispose of it properly.

    I say leave it as-is.
     

  10. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    i'd expect you're well beyond the tough part and should be home free at this point. Any compatibility issues would have shown up by now. The vinyl sealer will have the added benefit of ensuring adhesion over the mix of partially unidentified materials that are underneath. Your clearcoats should build as if it were a new project.
     

  11. freddarl82

    freddarl82 TDPRI Member

    40
    Nov 10, 2012
    Colorado
    Ahhh...that is truly good news to hear from one of the resident experts!
     

  12. freddarl82

    freddarl82 TDPRI Member

    40
    Nov 10, 2012
    Colorado
    I have been regarding ideas such as this. Mind you, I had P-Rails in this from the beginning. Most reviews (and my own experience) indicate the P Rail's P90 sound is VERY close, if not dead on, to a real P90. I've had other guitars with P-90's (ES-125, 90's LP Special, 50's Tribute LP) and can verify this. My experience with P Rails is this: one can optimize the height adjustment and polepieces to achieve a GREAT P90 sound, a GREAT humbucker sound, or a very good single coil sound. Notice I said "or." What you cannot do is get all three "great" at the same time. I choose to optimize the P90 characteristics and accept the still-very-good (but not "great") HB and SC sounds.

    But, who knows? The mad scientist in me may still want to go back to a true P90 machine.
     

  13. freddarl82

    freddarl82 TDPRI Member

    40
    Nov 10, 2012
    Colorado
    IMG_0006.JPG The project continues...

    Before I could move on to my clearcoats, I had to put black gloss on the headstock and apply the decal. At first, I applied three coats of black, but when I tried to smooth it out for the decal, I sanded through on a small section (even though I was using 1500 grit. Then again, it was only 1-day old lacquer). So, I applied more coats. Here it is, after about 12 coats of black, decal applied, but no mist coats:

    (Please try to ignore the oversized tuner-peg holes...I already have the adaptor bushings to go back to vintage tuners)
     
    nojazzhere likes this.

  14. freddarl82

    freddarl82 TDPRI Member

    40
    Nov 10, 2012
    Colorado
    The project continues...

    I decided to take Outcaster's advice and turn it into a pure P-90 machine. These routs were cut so deep I couldn't really use what I think of as a "shim," but rather glued in small "blocks" of wood into which I will mount the P-90's. I made them such that a humbucker (or the P Rails) will fit around them if I choose to go back to that configuration.

    After the vinyl sealer, I used Behlens clear Instrument Lacquer. I let it sit for about three weeks, then last night I got down to polishing. I tried using Stew Mac's Colortone polishes, but ended up finding I could do just as well moving up in the grits. Here she is after 400, 600, 1000, 1500, and 2000 wet/dry sandpaper, then 4000, 6000, and 8000 finishing papers. I then cleaned it up a little with Stew Mac Preservation Polish. (I have some micromesh 12000 grit ordered, just to see if I can get a little more "pop" out of it.


    IMG_0060.JPG IMG_0057.JPG IMG_0058.JPG

    I have also put the new tuners on (3-on-a-plate enclosed with white buttons. They fit perfectly into the original drilled holes AND covered all the extra holes from the Grovers) and strung her up. This allowed me to work on my new bone nut. Now I am just waiting on the new P-90 pickguard to get it all put together.

    View attachment 456419 View attachment 456420
     
    LongLiveRock54 likes this.

  15. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 27, 2015
    Da' Magic Mittin'
    It looks a heckuva lot better now then when you found it. Good job!
     

  16. freddarl82

    freddarl82 TDPRI Member

    40
    Nov 10, 2012
    Colorado
    It’s finally done! Here it is out in the sunshine:


    8DA2F484-BC31-40E0-8AE4-925D862685C5.jpeg 28B1632B-E0BC-4B6A-8B1B-AC1933967E98.jpeg 4E67949B-4D48-467C-9379-9A8B1E0B8320.jpeg

    It’s too bad I could not really get the gloss to “pop”in the outdoor shots, but you should get the idea from the earlier-posted workbench shots.

    Some of the components:

    Pickups: Klein 1957 Epic Series P-90’s

    Electronics:
    Mojotone Vintage Taper 500K pots
    Russian K40Y9 tone caps
    Switchcraft switch and jack

    Hardware:
    Wilkinson wraparound compensated bridge
    Gotoh enclosed white button tuners

    Bone nut

    It plays just as well, if not better, than it did before I took it apart. The Kleins + 500K pots + lightweight (total weight 6.4 lbs) make for a very BRIGHT guitar. That’s OK, I firmly believe in the mantra “You can always take highs out, but can never put them in.” Overall, I am really happy with it. I just keep wanting to play it - it sounds really good through the modified Champ in the picture, and I have not even tried it yet through my point-to-point Bassman clone nor my 72 PR.
     
    callasabra and dougstrum like this.

  17. Vizcaster

    Vizcaster Friend of Leo's

    Sep 15, 2007
    Glen Head, NY
    Awesome job thanks for sharing the result.
     

  18. knopflerfan

    knopflerfan Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 18, 2012
    In the woods
    Love the grain on your LP Jr. - really unique. Thanks for sharing.
     

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