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I’m giving my LP a makeover!

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by TenaciousP, Aug 21, 2020.

  1. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    ok. I gotcha. I have the little touch up version of the purple gun. I’ll have to use it on something sometime. But yea, I’m pretty happy with the HF guns. I’ve not done enough painting to have ever used a nice gun so I don’t know how well the HF gun compares. But it works well enough for me.
     
  2. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    And I just about vomit from planning even inconsequential things. I'm floored!

    Bravo!
     
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  3. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    Don't blow chunks on any of our accounts. We all started somewhere. Heck about 20 years ago I started downloading CAD files for guitars to shrink them for jewelry sized pieces, and I thought, Hmm, maybe I could use these plans to actually make a guitar. I am working on my #2, which was my first build started in 2009. I am a slow learner, and life got in the way. Oh, BTW, this forum is the real place to learn and share ideas. Many proficient builders come here and help out all of us.

    We're all here because "We're Not All There". A songwriter friend of mine wrote a song with that title, and it's a hoot, and true.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2020
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  4. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    This burst is so perfect. Thank you for sharing this "makeover", which I, like other members, thought would be some new pickups and knobs. :D:D:D
     
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  5. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Thanks! I’m glad you like it. I’m happy to share my projects. I just wish I had more time to work on them so I’d have more to share on here. This really is my favorite guitar building forum. A lot of great stuff being shared here and everyone is always so friendly.
     
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  6. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I 100% agree. I guess I have a membership over at one of the Les Paul sites because I get an email with updates about once a month, but I don't even bother with it. Everything I want in a social media platform is right here. TDPRI has the best members and literal tons of excellent content.
     
  7. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Funny, that’s exactly what I thought when I first stumbled on this thread several weeks back. That’s always interesting too but this was so much more. I especially like the repair on the binding and the discussion on preparing lacquers and shellacs.
     
  8. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    I think the un-faded, as-just-painted burst colors are lovely. I also liked the in-process photo of the pale natural wood top color but freshly done cherry on the neck, back and sides...seeing some new (to me, at least) looks on an LP is cool. And you do nice, ambitious work. And you write it up comprehensively, clearly, and full of useful detail. It is inspiring to read!
     
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  9. smile-4-me

    smile-4-me Tele-Meister

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    So any other updates planned for the guitar or just the refinish?
     
  10. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    I have some new plastic pieces to outfit it with. I bought a new pickguard, jack plate and treble/rhythm switch ring from Mojoaxe. I had already used their 50’s repro truss rod cover and back plates, but had used a cheaper pickguard and jack plate from allparts. I ended up not likeing the color of the Allparts guard and jack plate. When I was ordering those two new parts, the guy that runs Mojoaxe told me he had recently started making 50’s repro switch rings. They weren’t on the website yet, but he emailed me some pics. The color and treble/rhythm font looked really authentic to the originals. So I told him to add one to my order ha ha!

    I hope to get a little assembly work done on it this evening. I got the tuner bushings pushed back in a bit ago but had to stop for dinner.:)
     
  11. stratoman1

    stratoman1 Friend of Leo's

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    That is some awesome work

    :cool:
     
  12. Chief101

    Chief101 Tele-Meister

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    Sincerely, that is one of the most attractive bursts I’ve ever seen. Colors are stunning and rich looking. Well done.
     
  13. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Thanks y’all!

    I got a little done on the assembly last night, but not much. Hopefully I’ll have some free time to work on it this evening.
     
  14. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Progress has been made! I started working on reinstalling the wiring harness and switch a couple of days ago. I didn’t take any pics of that at the time. But it’s pretty uninteresting stuff anyway. So next I needed to get my pickups reworked. I got new magnets a couple weeks ago. I also was thinking if completely rebuilding the neck pickup to a lower wind count. The neck was currently at about 7.5k and the bridge at about 7.9k I had a couple of underwound coils that I had wound a couple years ago laying around. The were the product of a miscalculation I had made. So just bagged them up and stashed them in the parts drawer until now. Together they read about 7.0k so I decided I’d give them a try in the neck. Also I wanted to replace the covers with ones that are a little more true to the look of the 50’s PAF covers. I wanted ones that have the screw holes slightly rounded in and dimpled looking. So came up with a method for modifying off the shelf covers to achieve the look instead of buying expensive boutique covers. I’m fairly certain the originals had the dimpled holes created by the polishing process. So I took a similar approach. Keep in mind I know very little about polishing or plating metal parts so this is not the most professional quality work, but it’s decent enough for what I’m after.

    so I started off by wet sanding the raw unplated covers. These are the 50’s spec covers from Philadelphia Luthier in the unpolished/ unplated version.

    I made a T shaped wooden handle that the cover slips over. It really comes in handy for buffing.
    39EBFC1E-1188-4E30-ADB6-D7F09884AB3B.jpeg

    I start with 800 and go through 2000 grit.

    4E13DB40-27F2-4DC6-91DC-948E063993E6.jpeg 903A436F-3540-4690-AB3F-4776820C1557.jpeg

    As I went through each grit on the flat surfaces, I also used a small piece of the sand paper on the end of my finger in the screw holes like so.

    5FBA3D92-2729-4EC7-AA61-6B47BFDA7D68.jpeg

    After going through all the grits, the holes have pretty decent dimples started.

    5A587244-492F-43E5-A334-F02EBFD7F893.jpeg

    After that I got out the buffing wheels and compound. This is where I wish I could get better results. My polishing always ends up with very fine polishing scratches or swirls that I can never get completely rid of. But it will be good enough for me for some pickup covers that are gonna get scratched and scuffed up from playing anyhow.

    CB135031-641A-40DB-9B56-D7C5071D1056.jpeg

    One can probably get away with just polishing the nickel silver metal alone. But, since I have a small diy nickel plating set up I decided to plate the covers after polishing. I bought all this stuff years ago when I built the snake head esquire in my profile pic. I used it for plating my steel bridge, neck and controls plates that I made for that guitar. This is stuff I picked up on eBay And at the local hardware stores. The important stuff is the nickel solution, nickel anode strip and the cheapy DC power supply.
    A34D6C7A-DE98-496F-A7D2-AE21CA7CD374.jpeg

    First I cleaned the parts with lacquer thinner to get any grease or polishing compound off. I follow that by washing with dawn dish detergent as an added grease /oil cutting measure. After that I scrubbed them with some of the Cameo acid based metal cleaner. I think it’s for metal sinks and such. But if there is any oxidation on the metal, it should eat it away. After thoroughly rinsing the parts,
    I filled up the bucket with the solution and attach the anode to the side of the bucket with a clothes clip. The positive lead from the power supply attaches to that with an alligator clip. Then I made a little copper wire contraption to hold a cover while only contacting on the inside. I could probably just use a hook through one of the holes, but you have to keep moving the hook to new locations periodically. Otherwise you get a little bald spot where the two pieces of metal touch.
    14108AB5-67EC-4A84-A8A2-CD9BB0892D0B.jpeg

    Negative lead attached to the copper hook thingy and suspended from a stick. I set the power supply to a couple of volts which gives me about .3 or .4 amps on the current readout.

    FBDDE7F3-A5DE-4881-8B4C-D3274BCECC8E.jpeg

    I don’t know how long you’re supposed to run this, but I did about 10 minutes while rotating the part every few minutes. I also kinda stir the solution around a bit with a small paint stirring stick.

    Anyhow, afterward I rinse them off with water and dry them. Here is the results. You can see the nickel deposited on the copper wire. The covers have a few hazy, smoky looking areas, but I buffed those out on the buffer.
    9BFEB02E-26E6-45C0-9184-7F74E5B4C53B.jpeg

    After drying off for a bit, and a quick buffing, they are ready to be installed. Next up... pickup surgery! Stay tuned, There is more to share, but I think I’m at my picture limit for this post. :)
     
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  15. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    So I had already removed the other covers and swapped to the new magnets, but I decided to swap out the coils on the neck pickup.

    B696B5A1-E174-4227-A8E1-C97A29DDF958.jpeg

    870D161E-757F-4C67-9D65-FB7B5F2B7EE3.jpeg

    I disassembled everything. I didn’t have any other slugs so I had to push those out of the old slug coil and install in the new one. I then soldered all the wiring together and was about to screw the bobbins down to the base plate when I noticed a loose lead wire end! I thought I had soldered every one in its place! Well, apparently in all my handling, one of the leads wires had pulled loose from under the coil tape and pulled loose from the coil wire. Doh!!! Luckily it was the finish wire. I carefully removed the tape and resoldered the lead on to the coil wire. I taped it all back together and re assembled. I checked it with my multimeter... 7.1k! It’s alive!
    4A0D63B3-DAF4-4236-AAAC-DD24AC9A58EA.jpeg

    Time to install covers. With the reflection of the ceiling texture, you can see the dimples around the holes quite well.

    1F1E5A86-E00F-420F-B928-AEDD215EDCDD.jpeg

    Covers soldered in place and rings installed.

    BAA20605-4A78-4863-A9F2-8E5AC12D45AF.jpeg

    Time to install in the guitar!
     
  16. unfamous

    unfamous Tele-Meister

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    Beauty way to go!
     
  17. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    With pickups installed, I soldered the last of the wiring together in the control cavity.

    5C962E61-C6D4-449E-B03A-FBB1E1248AAF.jpeg

    The switch tip I’m using is one I’ve had on the guitar for a while. I replaced the butterscotch colored molded plastic one I originally had with one I made from Catalin plastic. I believe this is a phenolic type plastic material similar to Bakelite.

    B7F43D8F-A900-47EE-AFF0-F2A8ABFF6894.jpeg

    I made three or four of them from the handle of an old 50’s or 60’s kitchen utensil that I picked up at a flea market for a few bucks.

    Here is the one I’m using plus an extra, along with the remainder of the handle. I think the handles outer color is some sort of dye on the outside. But the inside was very white. Over time the one on my guitar (foreground) has ambered quite a bit. But I can see the one that has been in the parts drawers along with the remainder of the handle have yellowed somewhat as well.

    C4C60F95-8086-4BA1-B3E8-2526F1BA0FEF.jpeg

    To make these, I cut little blocks from the material. Then I drilled and tapped one end with 8-32 threads. Then I was able to screw a short threaded rod in the hole and chuck that in to my drill press. I then used that like a lathe to shape the switch tips with files and sand paper. Actually I think I may have rough shaped them with my oscillating belt sander first before turning in the drill press. I finished them off with polishing compound while still turning in the drill press. I think they have a nicer look than the cheap switch tip I had before and looks more like the original 50’s switch tips that Gibson used.

    Anyhow, I know I’m a weirdo for doing stuff like that just for a switch tip. o_O:lol:


    I got the new pickguard, knobs and all that installed last night. So it’s getting close! :D:D

    1D3784E9-5D7A-4ED7-A9D8-2316C72AE5F1.jpeg
     
  18. Engraver-60

    Engraver-60 Friend of Leo's

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    Plating can be dangerous. Make sure you have very well ventilated space when you do it. I received a mild cyanide poisoning gold plating over stainless steel once. The solutions were cyanide based. A few more minutes of exposure and I would not have ever joined this forum. But your results look amazing.
     
  19. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Yea, I’ve heard about the cyanide based plating solution. I was concerned about that when I initially was looking for a way to plate some small parts. The stuff I ended up getting doesn’t have cyanide in it. I think.... Well... it doesn’t say that it has cyanide in it so I assume that it doesn’t. Actually all it says in terms of warnings is the it contains nickel salts. But I’m not sure what the liquid is though. I assumed it may be some sort of very weak acid or something. But no I didn’t have super good ventilation other than a box fan blowing some air conditioned air in my direction. I always wear nitrile gloves when working with the stuff too.

    Thank you for your concern and for the complements. As far as being amazing looking, you’re just seeing it from good angles. ha Ha! :p From other angles, they look a little swirly and scratchy. Like covers that have been played for a while already if you know what I mean. But that’s Alright my finish is like that too and most of the other parts have been used and are scratched and scuffed up. So the covers look right at home.
     
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  20. TenaciousP

    TenaciousP Tele-Holic

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    Well... I’m can’t say that it’s 100% done yet, but it’s close enough that it got loud last night. :D:D:D More on the sound in a moment.

    So at this point, I need to deepen a few of the nut slots slightly. A few strings are a little sharp when pressing down at the first fret. Once thats done, I need to file and sand the top of the nut a little to get it to it’s final shape. I’ll give it a good polishing after that. Then re install with a little glue. The bridge height may need a slight tweaking as well. After that I think I’ll call her done.

    So... back to a much more interesting topic, last nights testing and the resulting sounds. The bridge pickup sounded nice, as did the new low output neck pickup. I’ll need to adjust my pickup heights a bit as well. The neck seems slightly louder than the bridge. Anyhow, when I switched to the middle position, I thought: Man! That sounds really awesome! But not “right”... It seems that I accidentally did a Peter Greene mod on the the thing. I grabbed my handy dandy compass and checked the polarity of my magnets, both pickups were south to the screws and north to the slugs. My only guess is that in my hasty, tired, late night neck pickup rebuild, I inadvertently connected the internal lead wires backwards. But I think I may play it like this for a while and see if I can get used to it. The out of phase sound is really cool and funky. It makes for some really tasty sounding blues licks. And it’s cool how you can fatten it up again by rolling either of the volume knobs down a bit. What an interesting and pleasant accident.:)

    Anyhow, I hope to get the final details finished up today and perhaps post a few final “glamour shots“. :D
     
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