goldtop refinish/beat-down/trial by fire

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by vaguely, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. vaguely

    vaguely Member

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    hey guys, here's my first post in this forum, comments and questions welcome!

    I'm not a luthier. I make art for a living and have some experience sanding a painting things, so the project described hereafter is anything but a "pro" job. more, a refinishing trial-by-fire that came about after an 18 month wait for some custom Ron Ellis pickups to be built and sent to me (only 14 months late!). when they arrived, I had no decent guitar left to stick them in: I'd sold the original destination guitar almost a year earlier, and as such was left with great donor organs and no wounded patient, so to speak.

    also, was low on cash.

    on the internet, I found a sad Orville by Gibson Les Paul custom that some Japanese fellow had painted, with a brush, and a pail of white enamel. fine. let's do this.

    the pictures will tell the story from here, but I'll add a few details:

    I wanted to paint the entire instrument gold and did so. got all the paint from reranch and the products and the customer service was really, really excellent. I reckon this guitar was factory painted with polyester paint because sanding it all off was a monstrous, grueling undertaking. weeks later, I discovered that, as it turns out, scraping binding for the first time is way, way harder than I thought it would be. after numerous gaffs and mistakes, I was ready to give up, throw the guitar against the wall and go home. before doing so however, and trying to keep the chin up, I accidentally slipped with the X-acto knife and sliced a 1.5 inch scratch through about 9 coats of paint, down to the wood, on the front. melt down.

    after regrouping, I got philosophical and remembered that this is not a perfect world we are living in and mistakes are plentiful; perfection, a myth... so i made a water slide decal that says "this is not a perfect world" and slid it on there, right next to the scratch and poorly scraped binding and carried the hell on, with clear coats!

    cured, sanded, polished, reassembled and loaded with top-notch electronics, the guitar is no beauty queen, but it plays great and sounds amazing! In all, this was a rewarding experience replete with gut-punch pitfalls and ego-lofting lessons wrung from blood, sweat and tears. a blast!

    thanks for looking!
     

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    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
    Wooball32, J-Dizzle and smk506 like this.
  2. judson

    judson Senior Member

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    looks better than my first...i like it and if it inspires you to play it, more the better

    i dont like paint on the back of any of my necks, i would have left the entire back natural wood and maybe some dark stain on it ...but thats just me

    but its your's...looks great enjoy it :thumb:
     
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  3. vaguely

    vaguely Member

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    thanks for the kind words!
    I thought that laying the gold passes down properly would be the tough part, based my reading, but it wasn't. that went well. the tough part was seeing exactly what the sanding was doing and what it was and was not leaving behind... and then the scraping - that was super tough, without prior experience. overall though, a fun project for sure and, considering the source guitar, a low risk rehab. loved it.
     
  4. smk506

    smk506 Senior Member

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    I always thought an all gold custom would be too gaudy.

    I was very, very wrong. Looks great from my house! :thumbs:
     
  5. vaguely

    vaguely Member

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    I dont think there are too many guitars like this one out there... I couldn't find any pix of all gold Orville customs and moreover, because it's a Japanese husk, many of the US components I bought for it did not fit properly (I assume this is a metric disparity) so I had to make adjustments to the plastics and the switch cavity to make things go back together. International teamwork! also, weirdly, it has a rosewood fingerboard. between the mismatched parts and wood, this thing is a real salad! but the set up on it is perfect and the tone is 100% there. I'm stoked on it. the ellis pickups are stunning.
     
  6. J-Dizzle

    J-Dizzle Senior Member

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    looks nice.
     
  7. vaguely

    vaguely Member

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    thank you so much!
     

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