View Full Version : Guitar Project: Comments?

November 30th, 2005, 11:04 AM
(Crossposted from the Metal Method forums. I wasn't sure where to put this, but "Open Mic" seemed good.)

I've got a plan for a guitar project that I'd like to get people's feedback on. I've got a used Charvel Model 7 (MIJ, circa 1990, telecaster-style). I'm not sure what the body wood is, but the guitar is relatively heavy. The previous owner modified it in two ways. He installed what I believe to be a Hot Rails humbucker at the bridge. From a look at the cavity, his soldering skills left something to be desired. He also repainted it blue with a brush. It was hot pink. You can still see the pink paint where some of the blue is chipping off. The neck has a slight warp in it, so it would really need to be replaced.

I would like to have a "true" Strat or Tele for more SRV-type sounds than my single-humbucker Fender is able to produce. With that in mind, I was thinking of doing the following:

1) Stripping the guitar and refinishing it. From what I've read, it shouldn't be too hard, given a bit of patience. Ideally, I'd like to paint it white or off-white and put a Red Wings logo on it, but that might be pushing it :) My wife likes woodworking so it might be a fun project for the two of us.

2) Replace the pickups with Fender Texas Tele pickups (http://www.fender.com/products/search.php?partno=0992121000) (or something similar) and put in a four-way switch.

3) Replace the neck. Here's where I'd need some advice. I'd like a maple neck with a maple fretboard. I'd prefer the neck to have a satin finish (Is that the right term? I don't want that sticky finish). I'd also prefer a pointy reverse-swept headstock to keep the Charvel "feel" but that's not a major point. I've a feeling that this is where the project could get expensive.

Thoughts? Am I crazy for wasting the time/effort/money on a guitar like this? My guess is that I could do these mods more cheaply than going out and getting a semi-decent Tele or Strat (say, a Fender MIM) with the added bonus of saying that I did it myself.

November 30th, 2005, 11:48 AM
I recommend "stripping" the paint, I did that to a old yamaha guitar I once had, I dont know the proper english word but I used something like this : http://www.boschtools.com/tools/tools-subcategory.htm?H=175979&G=54925 and then used some fine sandpaper, at least the yamaha had some really nice wood underneath all the thick black paint. Then I oiled it with some dark furniture oil that I found in the garage ;-)
It looked fantastic.

I really must recommend the Texas Tele, I tried them when our local music store had a Fender Clinic a few months ago, and they sounded fantastic!

I hope this can give you some inspiration :)

*edit* forgot to recommend http://www.warmoth.com/guitar/necks/necks.cfm , they make really good necks and other guitar parts, I even think they have those old Charvel/Jackson style "hockey club" heads if you are into that stuff ;)

November 30th, 2005, 12:11 PM
Yep, I'm getting bitten by the same bug myself! Stripping and repainting an old guitar sounds like a fantastic project! As for necks, there's always Warmoth, but also Stewart McDonald (shortened to stewmac), WD Music Products, and www.guitarshopsupply.net has the reverse pointy Jackson/Charvel style necks at a relatively inexpensive price (although I can't say what kind of quality they are)...

I have an early 90's Charvel, and I believe they were using good woods about that time... My $175.00 cheapie plays better than my $1,000.00 custom, and it's real heavy for its size.

It might be cheaper to just buy a MIM Tele (or a Squier), but I think any project that can combine guitars and getting the spouse involved can be worthwhile and fun! Good Luck on whatever you decide, and POST PICS!!:R

December 1st, 2005, 01:32 PM
You know, I have a TON of respect for all of the guitar "do-it-yourselfers" out there - esp. those that are skilled. On the flip side, I recently watched one of my buddies ruin a very nice mid 80's Hamer Standard (kind of Gibson Explorer-like, similar to the the one Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick plays - sans the checkers, of course). As a result of his most dubious efforts, the guitar now features a very stupid-looking homemade pick-guard (and I quote, "making a pickguard isn't rocket science!!), an absolutely hideous neon-green / yellow / black Dimebage Darrel-esque paint job (and I quote, "just how hard can painting a guitar be?!!"), a hacked-up headstock (and I quote, "maybe these tuners will work!!"), and slightly tarnished gold-colored humbuckers of some off-brand (quote, "a humbucker's a humbucker"). The result: "Guitarenstein"!!! :eek: And truly, it is a monster in every sense of the word.

Rather than enjoy a life in the limelight as a professionally-restored, six-stringed rock n' roll Cadillac, "Guitarenstein" has now been banished to the spare bedroom closet in the basement, the butt of every ugly guitar joke a person could dream up. Somehow, I just know he so desperately longs to again feel the joy of lively strings being pressed against his fretboard, and his pickups screaming "California Man" to adoring listeners (oh yes, a most-classic Cheap Trick song if there ever was one!)

Of course, this is a worst-case scenario, but something to consider none-the-less. Good luck with your project, marnold. I hope to hear something a little more encouraging from your endeavors! If all goes well, maybe you could "resurrect" Guitarenstein for my buddy!! IT'S ALIVE!!!!

December 1st, 2005, 02:00 PM
I have to agree with you on that Nelskie, I remember when some of the hard rock guitarists in town installed Floyd Rose´s (!) on their (at least now they would have been) vintage Fender Strats. I even knew one dude that had his strat painted like a fantasy landscape complete with unicorns, knights and stuff ;)
Of course this was in the late eighties...

December 1st, 2005, 03:08 PM
Well, since the current finish was done with a paintbrush and is in the process of chipping off, there's not much to lose there. The pickup replacement was a bit of a hatchet job, so new pups and wiring would definitely be an improvement. The neck would be the last (and most expensive) thing I would do. Since it's basically a beater guitar with little or no value (except to me), I think it's a safe project. I'm going buy the book on this website (http://www.paintyourownguitar.com/) to repaint it. I've heard a lot of positive things about people who have used that method. The author also had/has a series of columns in the recent GuitarWorlds on this very subject.

December 1st, 2005, 03:12 PM
This one I will watch very intently. Some of you guys amaze me. You never sit still.

December 1st, 2005, 05:39 PM
If you do decide to go for it (I think you should) then make sure to take pictures of it at each stage so you can post them on here :)

December 1st, 2005, 08:14 PM
If you do decide to go for it (I think you should) then make sure to take pictures of it at each stage so you can post them on here :)

I most definitely will. Please note, this project won't take off really until this spring. I don't want to deal with paint fumes in the house. I'm just getting everything prepared, working on a design, looking into necks, etc.

After picking it up and playing it again today, I think I'm going to swap out the volume and tone pots too. The volume pot is easily hit by my hand whilst playing. It's so loose that I can knock the volume down to next to nothing with a moderately forceful strum.

December 2nd, 2005, 04:26 AM
You might also want to keep a day to day log of events (journal). It will make for good reading when your old and grey.

December 3rd, 2005, 11:24 AM
I was intrigued by this post, so I browsed the web for awhile, and came across this site. Dude is putting together a pretty nice Keith Richards-looking Tele copy. Nice photos go through every step. Check it out at:


I thought there might a tip or something else in there for you, marnold. BTW - how is your project going?

December 3rd, 2005, 12:06 PM

If you have a desire and passion to create this guitar, then by all means do so! Creativity is something that should be applauded, not shunned!

I'm working on building a guitar with a rear-routed Jazzmaster body, Tele or Strat maple neck, a SD humbucker in the bridge, a stock JM pickups in the middle and bridge, and a Strat tremolo. People think I'm nuts too, but what the hell!

December 4th, 2005, 09:43 PM

OK, here's what I've found out so far. It looks like the painting business won't be a huge deal, it will just require a lot of time and patience. I can handle that. The Texas Special pickups are US$90 from Musician's Friend. I haven't priced out the minor hardware. I'm guessing it won't be much. Is it safe to assume that the pups should install on my guitar without any problems as is?

The bigger issue will be the neck. From what I've been able to find, I've got two major options. I can either go all out and get a Warmoth neck or get a Carvin neck. The Warmoth would be exactly what I want: maple neck and board, reverse-swept Jackson-style headstock, satin finish, graphite nut. The problem is the price. Those options come to $268. I could save $75 by going to an unfinished neck and just tung oil it myself. I don't know what the general consensus is on having a tung oiled maple fretboard.

The Carvin would be much cheaper at $139. I'd still have to tung oil the back of the neck. I'd lose the maple fretboard (it'd be ebony) and reverse pointy headstock.

Any thoughts? It seems that I'd have decide whether getting my "ideal" neck is worth paying about $100 more than I paid for the entire guitar, if memory serves me correctly.

Of course, by time I'd get done, I'd have a one-of-a-kind guitar that should provide a veritable lifetime of enjoyment and a healthy amount of conversation.

December 5th, 2005, 08:46 AM
Updated update!

The admins finally let me on the Jackson/Charvel forums and here's what I found about the Model 7:

Year: 1988
Origin: Japan

Bridge: J120 Jackson USA Telly Single Coil
Neck: J100S Jackson USA Single Coil

Controls: 1-Volume, 1-Tone, 3-way blade pickup switch

Wood: Ash
Style: Offset single cutaway (similar to Fender Telecaster dimensions)

Wood: Maple with a reversed headstock
Fretboard: Maple
Inlays: Black dots

Bridge: Black Gotoh Telly Bridge
Nut: Black Plastic
Tuners: Jackson Die Cast (6 in-line)

The key here is that I now know that the body is good wood so this project wouldn't be a waste of time from moment one.

December 23rd, 2005, 06:19 PM
I'm really not familiar with the Charvel guitar, but if its a Tele style things will be easier. Electronics are not my forte, for sure, but I may be able to offer some tips as far as neck changes and refinishing goes.

The beauty of the Fender guitar design, is its simplicity of construction and ease of changing components. It depends on how much change you want to do as far as the neck goes. Do you feel it has too much bow to it? Does it have an adjustable truss rod? Most guitars actually play better with some amount of bow, commonly known as "relief". It allows the strings to be set closer to the fingerboard, and still vibrate correctly without touching the lower frets, which of course is "buzzing". This is not hard to adjust. If you just want to refinish the neck with a satin finish, that can be easily accomplished.
Give me a bit more info as to what you want to do, and maybe I can assist.