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B-Day Axe Rebuild: Or, Ooh! Something Shiny!
#1
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Well, it's that time of year again... Don't want shit, don't need shit, but have to do a little something for myself. It's kind of a ritual. 

Pulled this little POS out of the closet tonight. It's one of those Gibson MM Explorers from a few years back. "Damn Mozart, always photo bombing shit..."

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I've tried once to make a decent guitar out of it, but it was several years ago, and my patience and attention to detail were nothing like they are now.

I'm sure you all know what these things are, as well as the the specs. What do I make out of it? 

The sky is the limit, and anything is possible. Old finish is coming off as soon as this post is over. I want to think outside the box. Push me bitches. Resources are not really a problem.
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#2
First set of problems are still the same as before. Yeah, so what if that was in 2011, and it has less than 2 hours play time on it in 7 years? You can't rush awesome.

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One of two things is going to have to happen first, right from the start. The neck has to be unglued, removed from the socket, shimmed, and re-glued, or the bridge posts have to recessed further, and a about 1/8" cavity cut where the bridge would be. No matter what, even with a Badass clone, or a Compensated MM bridge, (I have both,), the strings are just too far off of the neck. 

I guess, technically, I could taper the body back a little bit, from just behind the pup cavity, and drop it enough that way, but might as well shave the whole top down an 8th of an inch if I'm doing that.

Have to figure this out before I can go much further. Drilling for a true tailpiece, and replacing the anchors from the current set to a TOM style is an option as well, but I still have to get that deck down a little. 

Oinkus? GV? You get what I'm saying right?


Problem #2, is the Babe Ruth, Baseball Bat, neck profile. This sucker is a thick ass C, and I need the back side of that C, closer to a D. But I think I can handle that part. I'll just get stoned and go to town on the neck with a bunch of sandpaper for about 2 days. That's the good thing about creeping up on 40. I can take my time and do this shit right, bitches! Integrity is my only concern. How far can I shave off before it's too far?

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poop
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#3
If I was going that far I would have to put 3 pickups into it. Probably would remove the fretboard and replace with ebony and jumbo SS frets. Really have zero desire to ever refinish another guitar myself. Just be careful with the neck sanding , once you go too far it is waaaaay worse. Bunch of work but a long project is always a good thing , end results are when it finally shines and you have a smoking hot monster.
Do as thou wilt . Aleister Crowley
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#4
Not really too worried about a perfect finish... It's just a Melody Maker, and they were blown out on MusiciansFriends, Deal of the day, for $225, if I recall? She was black originally.

It's been 7 years, but I know my DOTD budget. It was less than $300, no matter what. I'll probably just rub it out with a stain, and finish with 20 or so coats of Tung, Tru, or linseed oil. She'll be sexy, but in that old school, home made, pound cake sort of way.

I do think I want to add a pup though. Just a single coil, up close to the neck. I'm going to change the jack placement to the more traditional location, just because I can. I'm even planning on cutting my own pick guard out of a thin piece of some type of finish wood. The 1/8" pieces of Maple at the hardware stores are calling my name. "Ebony Stain, Chrome Screws, Cream Pup rings.... Bitch wut?"

Hell, does anyone have a single coil they aren't using, or just cant get along with? You could donate it to the cause... Just saying. I don't own any singles, and have no clue what would get along with a 59 in this particular experiment. 

Still have a long way to go, and I refuse to use power tools. I'm doing it all by hand, like they did back in the day.

What? You think i'm kidding? You shouldn't...  Cheers

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I'm so feeling a deep yellow finish, and trim it out with ebony and chrome. It just feels right, you know? It's very tempting.
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#5
Well, I didn't go all out on it. The only time I wanted to mess with it was on Friday and Saturday, after catching a buzz. It's not quite done, and I have a few Karps, (fuck ups) to work out, and do an actual setup but this is pretty much her. Probably add a pickup ring, It needs it.

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I'll get a pic of the back of the neck for you. I took it down to a really nice feeling slim D. Turns out these necks were kind of meant for a custom shaping. There is enough meat in that sucker for any shape you want. No worries.

At the moment, it has a mixed match set of Gibson Green Keystones, and white kidney bean tuners. I need to order a new set, but I can't make up my mind on what style to use. I'm guessing a chrome set of Kidney bean Grovers would be ideal, but I use those on everything.

Finish is just an all in one stain, sealer, and poly. Only one coat. I only sanded the top, back, and most of the neck. That,s why its red on the sides, and stained on the front and back. It actually looks pretty interesting in person. Everyone seems to like it so far.

Moving the jack down to the normal spot makes a world of difference in the feel. Having that thing sticking out front will throw you off for some reason. Plus having a Tone and Volume control is always a good thing. 

The LQ Badass clone, is what it is and does what its supposed to. Not much to say about it except it's a million times better than the stock tailpiece that came on it. Just had to carve that depression in the body to get the height down. No problems at all really, though I'll probably replace the saddles and cut the new ones myself. The arch isn't quite right on the frets, but no biggie.

Wired it 50's style, "My personal favorite," with an old silver can .033 PIO cap, solid core wire, 500k mini pots, and an SD 59'. And here comes the problem...


This guitar sounds like total SHIT! And I don't really think its all in the pup. My wiring is right, and components are good. I've quadruple checked everything... This is by far the brightest, pluckiest, "if that's a word," honkyest guitar I've ever heard. It's currently unplayable because of it. I can't stand it! It sounds more like a Tele or Strat to me. Really more like a Tele. Nothing wrong with that, but that's not my kind of sound, and not what I want in this guitar.

So, what do I do about it? Where I start fixing this tone?

My first thought is to try a more low end oriented pup. Something A2 or A5 maybe? I don't want it too hot in this axe, so that cuts all the super high output pups out, looking for more of a medium output. Dimarzio Super D, maybe? I remember it having a good bit of ass end to it.

What do you guys think? The guitar plays great, but it's going to spend another 7 years in the closet or be given away if I can't get it right. I'd really like to get this one right, just to prove my wife wrong. She told me I'd hate it and never play it on the day I bought it, 7 years ago. So far, she's still batting 1000.
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Demanic
#6
I say that you should give it away… In fact, if you like, I would be happy to provide you with an address in Michigan to which you could send it!

Seriously, that’s too bad about the sound. I don’t have enough experience with different pickups out there to suggest anything that’s really low-end oriented, but how about some type of onboard adjustable mid boost or EQ? It would mean you’d have to find a spot for a battery, but it might be a way to shape the tone coming out of the guitar in such a way that you can tolerate it. Just a thought!

At least it LOOKS great!
You do the best you can with what you have to work with
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#7
Sounds like a job for the Invader.
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#8
Spin the pickup 180 degrees first , it is too close to the bridge.
Do as thou wilt . Aleister Crowley
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#9
So where's this at ? Did you try a SuperD in it or something else ?
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#10
I flipped the pup around like Oinkus suggested, and it a helped a little, but not enough to make a decent sound.

Just for the heck of it, I checked the scale length, and it's only 23.25". That was enough for me. Bolted it all back up and gave it to my nephew who wants to learn. It'll be good for him to start learning on.

I'm back to studying these damn amp circuits again, so I just lost any interest in trying to fix it. There are more guitars in this house than I can play anyways. Don't really need it.

Sucks in a way though. First guitar I've ever given up on.
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BriGuy1968


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