Rebuilding A Epiphone...

Discussion in 'The Custom Shop' started by JonMan94, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. JonMan94

    JonMan94 Senior Member

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    For real this time, on a tight-as-balls budget none the less XC

    Here is the guitar in question (which hasn't been seen since I joined here years earlier):

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    It was a firesale Epi from GC that my dad got for me for 50 bucks, but of course... I kept messing with it and soon enough I just busted the neck and truss rod. But after looking up the possibly through a fellow member's rebuild and a UK builder's site, I've decided to go for the drastic route and just stick a whole new neck on it, and here's the candidate, a completed long tenon neck from the far east (or far west but slightly longer) side of the world:

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    Guitar Neck Electric Guitar Neck Mahogany Rosewood 22 Fret 24 75'' New 1 Pcs | eBay

    I already scrutinized the seller and compared to most of them on the ebay, he checks out pretty clean, overwhelmingly positive feedback and he evens points out that you should check your customs policies before buying (which happens to be no charge for anything under 200$ here in the US). As for gluing it on, I'm also thinking of shaping the heel after the neck has sat to dry for a week just enough to make it comfortable (similar to a blue Les Paul build that someone did here, could someone link it to me?)

    Otherwise, here's where I want to go with it:

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    Alnico II pickups of somekind, the same grovers it came with, Push-Push Coil splits and different tone caps for bridge and neck (22 & 15 respectively). I have a Metal guitar, a all-rounder guitar... now I need a just plain-ol rock n roll rhythm machine that can scream.

    This one's going to take abit so... I will update when I get the neck.
     
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  2. frankencat

    frankencat Senior Member

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    If you are going to go through all of that why not just purchase a body and build it from there?
     
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  3. JonMan94

    JonMan94 Senior Member

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    Because it's one of my first guitars and it means something to me, like many a guitar fixed up around here... plus in the long run, it means one less brand new guitar for me to buy.

    Plus it was gotten for fifty bucks... so far, I'm still long under the price of any kit build or the same epiphone brand new.

    Lurkers, jeez... so critical, ya know? :p :lol:
     
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  4. Mr Teeny

    Mr Teeny Senior Member

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    Think your main problem will be the fact they're not made for each other so that's bound to throw up problems like' the epi tenon route not being the same size as the long tenon neck, maybe having to redrill bridge posts to get the intonation correct etc etc. Add in the fact you need to steam off the neck, refinish etc and it might be wiser to pass the epi on and get a body that's been made specifically for that neck.
     
  5. JonMan94

    JonMan94 Senior Member

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    I know what I need to do... someone already did it, again I did my reserach a long time ago on this project. Here is the example:

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    To this:

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    Epiphone Body Goes Orange (not a spray Tan!) | SMP Artizan Home of "The Guitar Tech Dude Man"

    If I can, I may use a Schaller Bridge/Tailpeice combo if I can find one at the up-coming guitar Expo here in Florida... they always have this one booth that sells old guitar parts up the wahzoo.

    EDIT: Yeah, basically I'm going to follow in the footsteps of TKOjams and his goldtop, inlay and all:http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/luthiers-corner/190867-gold-top-restoration-epiphone-56-reissue.html
     
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  6. JonMan94

    JonMan94 Senior Member

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    Update #1: I won the bid on the guitar neck, 55$ total... so now, I'm just going to play the waiting game.
     
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  7. JonMan94

    JonMan94 Senior Member

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    Update #2: Surprisingly, the neck came in today, one day before the edge of ebay's estimate...

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    WHATS IN DA BOX?

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    First impressions from here... it was packaged extremely well, handled well too.

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    And I paid 55 dollars total for it... so, now to the nitty-gritty.

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    Besides the headstock looking slimmer than the picture from the bid (which is actually a good thing,), it looks 100% like the auction pictures.

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    Smallerish-frets, but I'm not complaining, this may very well be my hard-rock/all rounder guitar, perfect for everything but dive-bombing and harsh-tapping. The neck profile is also nice, just a hair thicker or so than the epiphone's, but just enough to feel the way I think slimmer Les Paul necks ought to feel.

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    No warping or any weird crap, the piece is as straight as an arrow.

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    Super-nice thing: rosewood head-stock veneer and a truss-rod channel that can use a two-screw cover.

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    Here is the patient again, and the neck that will replace the POS-Snafed thing that I'm slowly trying to remove.

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    Like TKO, I will be transferring the logo from the old head-stock to the new one.

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    And slightly unfair comparsion due to the mangling I have done, but damage with-standing, the inlays on the new neck look 100% better than the old ones, the handi-work near-flawless.

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    The only complaint I can have about it is the need for the fret-ends to be touched-up slightly so I don't cut my hands open all over it, along with cleaning some wood residue on the binding itself. Other then that, I just scored majorly, saving a good chunk of cash and hand-work had I instead gone with the BYOG necks which are alot less complete.

    With that out of the way, the next step is scouting for new hard-ware, and that will be done this weekend at the Orlando Guitar Expo. From here, I will officially begin the process of removing the old neck and routing for the new one, and then shaping the heel to a semi-axess shape.

    And just for those wondering, here's the money count:

    Price of LP Standard PT new: 400$

    My Fire-saled POS: 50$

    New Neck: 55$

    Current Total: 105$
     
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  8. JonMan94

    JonMan94 Senior Member

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    Next Update: I have committed to hardware and electronics, along with the finial appearance of my build... kinda ended up going toward a certain kind of look, but not exact :eek:

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    Basically I'm going to sand through the poly finish on the top just enough to remove most of it and leave the dye layer, but the back will be dyed with gun-stock oil after the neck is glued in and the heel shaped slightly. The headstock will be emblazoned with the orginial Epiphone logo from the old neck before being stained jet black and finished in a poly by hand (same for the back of the body but not the neck).

    Here's the parts list:

    MojoTone LP Assembled Harness short shaft

    GFS Alnico II Classic Humbuckers, Black

    GFS Brass Saddle TOM and Brass Locking Tailpeice, Nickel

    Gotoh Locking Kluson style tuners, Nickel

    Gold Knobs

    Schaller Strap Locks

    Tusq Nut

    and no truss rod cover :p and pick-guard either.

    Total Spent on this: 298.58

    Grand Total: 55 + 298.58 = 353.58

    Hopefully in between my classes and the like, I will update more with build pictures... let's hope 5 years of learning from everyone here will be put to good use :D
     
  9. andreww

    andreww Senior Member

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    Not sure how you plan to transplant the epi logo on to the larger headstock?
     
  10. JonMan94

    JonMan94 Senior Member

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    Sand the poly off until I hit raw wood, then CAREFULLY get it to release from its route, then trace a template of its shape onto paper, then use a dremel to route the inlay into the headstock...

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    It has been done... otherwise, bump for questions from anyone willing to answer: who can make a old school epiphone logo decal and two, is there such a thing as a trans amber LP with a really dark back? (walnut dark) Because the cherry finish that was painted over in factory doesn't roll right with me.

    Otherwise, everything I've ordered will begin coming in soon, which just means I'm left to actually get this project going, first order of business: sanding the top finish until I break into the dye layer and completely removing the finish from the back of the body so that I can do some wood-work there, such as carving a comfort contour into the back so the side isn't super-cutting into my body, with the heel shaping.
     
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  11. prismatic67

    prismatic67 Member

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    1. This:
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    Guitar Headstock Logo Decals - Epiphone Vintage Logo Gold Water Slide (Powered by CubeCart)

    2. Also this:
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    2000 Gibson Les Paul Classic Natural > Guitars : Electric Solid Body - Miami Vintage Guitars | Gbase.com

    or this:
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    1992 Gibson Gibson Les Paul Classic Plus Top Gibson Les Paul Classic Plus Top AMBER Flame top > <Unknown> - www.GuitarsAndEffects.com | Gbase.com

    one more:
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    1991 Gibson Les Paul Classic Plus 1960 Standard Reissue Trans Amber Flame Top | eBay
     
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  12. JonMan94

    JonMan94 Senior Member

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    Next Update:

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    Yeah, that's what was really under all the black. Using whatever sandpaper I could find (80 Grit and 100 Grit) and a small, cheep powder sander my dad probably got from a pawn shop, I sanded about two cups worth of poly off (wore a bandanna to cover my nose and mouth) the clear coats being the thickest layers, but it was extremely thick on the top, the back the second thickest, the sides the least (but sanding them, especially inside the horn was a PITA). I had tested sanding on the head-stock using 80 grit which ate through the finish in a flash, which ended up partially destroying the logo (which is nothing more than a M.O.Toliet Seat sticker under layers of poly.)

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    Now, many wonder what the construction of a epiphone short tenon neck joint looks like, now here's a nice and clear cross-section for ya:

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    There's literally less than a 1/2 of body wood under the tenon, two different kinds of wood too, but luckily, it's a nice and tight one at that, no glue seams at all. The binding appears to have been tinted, as sanded portions of it matched the color of the neck binding exactly.

    As for getting the neck off, I went with the destructive route and used a power saw from all points around the truss rod (it was the straight-bladed, up and down kind of power saw), and then I knocked it completely off using a big rubber mallet.

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    Initial tracings of the new neck pocket and possible heel reduction, but this will be left for another weekend in between busy weeks of homework and exams when I head onto Macdill AFB to use the hobby wood shop they have over there. I may or may not leave the top as is (just for the rough and nasty look) and the back of it will be stained using minwax. The head stock will be hit with naptha before being stained jet-black and hit with a stain clear coat, but before then I want to put a new logo on it and also put the original serial number on the back of the head-stock.

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    I already received all the hardware and electronics, but I will save that for a later post... but just before I keep seraching endlessly and buy it, anyone here make waterslide decals?
     
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  13. ShelbyDude

    ShelbyDude Senior Member

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    How interesting to find this post. I am working on the same basic project. Just for something to do and to see what's what.

    I stripped the veneer off the back. And started removing wood for a belly cut. May also shave the heel. Not sure yet.

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    Then I removed the veneer from the front. This one was much thinner than the back.


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    No maple cap for this one. It's all mahogany. I'll be working on a neck pretty soon if I can find time.
     
  14. jkes01

    jkes01 Senior Member

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    Open book headstock with an Epi logo, good for you. Nice neck BTW :thumb:

    -John
     
  15. robertoa1a

    robertoa1a Premium Member

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    Awesome work.

    I am a little shocked that the factory covered up that nice maple flame figuring with paint. Then they have plain top ones that aren't as esthetically pleasing. I don't get it.

    It makes me wonder what my black one looks like under all that poly.

    Anyway keep the pictures coming. This build rocks. Especially since you are on a budget and using minimal tooling.
     
  16. jkes01

    jkes01 Senior Member

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    If there was a flaw in the top, they would have painted it a solid color?
     
  17. JonMan94

    JonMan94 Senior Member

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    The easiest way to check is to look at the top and see if there is irregular rippling interrupting the solid color... that's what tipped me off to the flame top veneer under mine.

    I will a update as soon as I can, but as for the wood work and stuff, I'm going to wait until the weather outside clears up and it gets dry, it's cold and rainy down here in Tampa this week.
     
  18. JonMan94

    JonMan94 Senior Member

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    Next Update: Umm... plan B

    well... I found a dremel in the attic with alot of bits. Decided right then and there to do the neck pocket for the new neck.

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    And then five minutes later I found a set of chisels:

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    Well... I got the pocket to shape, but I ended up over-doing it by a milimeter or so on all sides, not to mention that the body wood is soft and splinters to long, brittle spines while the remains of the neck wood was somekind of hard maple, complete chaos for a ametur like me. So, to fix that, I ordered Saplele head-plate wood off of ebay for about 5 bucks total, which is thicker than a venner, but a good type of wood to help even out and fix the gap I made in there, otherwise the neck itself fits fine into the pocket. Also on its way is a sample color pack of five analine dye powders from Keda Dye (12 bucks for red, blue, yellow, black and brown), which means I will be completely re-painting the guitar. with that option now, I decided to go for the tea-burst type of look (following advice from Gator Payne's thread on hand-rubbing one). But that will come after gluing in the neck and carving out the axess heel and the belly cut.

    More pictures to come of the process.
     
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  19. robertoa1a

    robertoa1a Premium Member

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    I am a little blown away that you even attempted this. Continue your focus and courage. Most entry level guitarist would never have approached this. nor had the patience.

    great work!
     
  20. JonMan94

    JonMan94 Senior Member

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    Well... some would call me brave, others (such my mom or cynical commenters) would look at me and wonder if I'm just breaking things again XD

    Another thing I noticed (will take pictures of it) is that the necks are set in at an angle despite the wide, fat looking tenon that could allow them to cut the angle into the the neck, which means for me that alot of guesswork for the correct neck angle is removed, but once the neck pocket is to shape, I will take the time to make sure it is using the guitar's old TOM bridge and studs and a straight-edge, or even better, string.

    Also, I got a very nice present from my oldest sister this past christmas, required reading for guys like me when it comes to learning luthiery and guitar maintenance the DIY way:

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    Hopefully this and the wealth of knowledge here at MyLesPaul will help me bring back my original #1.
     
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