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Thread: A friend just gave me this guitar, should be an interesting restoration project.

  1. #1
    GAStronomist DrNomis_44's Avatar
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    A friend just gave me this guitar, should be an interesting restoration project.

    Hey Everyone,


    A mate of mine just gave me this guitar, it's a brand-name I've never seen, let alone, heard of before....Italla.

    The bridge is a Wilkinson, and the tuners are Chrome Grover Locking-Rotomatics with pearl buttons, there are some bits missing from the guitar but I reckon I might have some usable replacements, anyway, this looks to be an interesting restoration project.


    I'll post a pic of the guitar shortly......


    Okay, here we go, have any of you seen one of these before?

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    Last edited by DrNomis_44; 03-09-2021 at 10:52 PM.

  2. #2
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    It's another Trevor Wilkinson design brand, (like 'Vintage' was), that concentrates on modern interpretations of quirky 50s and 60s European guitars, especially Italian brands (hence the Itallia name). Made in Korea. Very decent guitars, even if the looks are far from mainstream.

    https://www.italiaguitarsusa.com/

    Been going since 1998, so there will have been a few models that have come and gone in that period.

    Yours looks like an Italia Modula Tipo 3, though heavily modified since the original finishes were quite 'out there'. This is one of them:

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    And another:

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  3. #3
    GAStronomist DrNomis_44's Avatar
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    One of the mounting-holes for one of the bridge pivot-studs needs filling in with some wood dowel and then re-drilling cause it's very loose and the pivot stud leans too far towards the bridge pickup, the other mounting hole for the other pivot stud could do with some filling and re-drilling too.

    The rest of the guitar looks in pretty good condition, although the body needs re-finishing cause all the old vinyl (I'm guessing that's what it originally was), has come off.


    The body looks to be made from a few pieces of solid wood laminated together, and there's a piece of silver plastic triming running around the edge of the body at about half the thickness.


    Closeup pic of the headstock:

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    Just because of the "Cool" factor alone, I'm going to see if I can restore the guitar to a playable condition, so, this should prove to be both a fun and interesting restoration project, I think I've got a set of black Strat knobs, and a set of white Strat knobs in amongst my bits and pieces, I might order two black Kent Armstrong dual-blade single coil sized pickups for it later on, just debating in my head what kind of finish I'll go with for the body, was thinking of doing a clear finish, but maybe a sparkly silver finish, like the headstock perhaps?, or maybe sparkly metallic blue?....hmmmmm.....
    Last edited by DrNomis_44; 03-09-2021 at 11:21 PM.

  4. #4
    GAStronomist DrNomis_44's Avatar
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    I had a closer look at the hole for the right-hand bridge pivot-stud that felt a bit loose and wobbly, I soon found out why the stud was leaning towards the bridge pickup, as the saying goes "A picture is worth a thousand words", I thought that the problem would be best explained by posting a closeup pic of the pivot-stud mounting holes in the body of the guitar, as you can see, the cause is only too clear:

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    Notice the bridge pivot-stud mounting hole on the right?, my theory is that the piece of wood just above it was pushed-out of it's place due to the string-tension, the direction of the wood-grain contributed to it, so, I'm thinking of using some 2-part epoxy adhesive, like some Araldite, to glue the piece of wood back into place, I might need to add some reinforcement while I'm at it.
    Last edited by DrNomis_44; 04-09-2021 at 11:02 AM.

  5. #5
    GAStronomist DrNomis_44's Avatar
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    Managed to find two spare black Kent Armstrong dual-blade single-coil sized humbucking pickups that I could use as the neck and middle pickups, I don't know how well they will work with the stock Wilkinson bridge humbucker, or even if the Kent Armstrongs still work, we'll have to see.


    It's looking very promising, I think I've got enough spare bits and pieces to build a fully-loaded scratchplate, I just need to find the missing black Fender style volume and tone knob, since I decided to go with black knobs.
    Last edited by DrNomis_44; 04-09-2021 at 12:07 PM.

  6. #6
    GAStronomist DrNomis_44's Avatar
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    While I was working on sorting-out the bits I needed for re-building the scratchplate, I decided to remove the neck from the body, to make it a bit more manageable, in the process, I discovered a piece of the original vinyl covering (I'm assuming that's what it is) of the body underneath the neck plate, here's a pic of it and I think this gives us more of an idea of what the body must have originally looked like:

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    The colour seems to be a very dark chocolate-brown colour, but then again, I'm red-green colourblind so it might look like a totally different colour to you, thickness of the vinyl is about 1mm.


    Just found-out that the neck truss-rod adjustment is at the heel-end of the neck, like early Fender necks.
    Last edited by DrNomis_44; 04-09-2021 at 12:50 PM.

  7. #7
    Overlord of Music McCreed's Avatar
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    That vinyl just looks black to me. Black Alligator to specific! A very rare species btw.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  8. #8
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    Not sure if it is restoration or resurrection.
    Still looks like it will be interesting to bring it back to a bit of glory.

  9. #9
    GAStronomist DrNomis_44's Avatar
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    Might have to either buy a complete Wilkinson bridge, or buy a replacement string-saddle for the existing bridge, turns out one of the saddles on the existing bridge, has a height-adjustment screw that has seized, tried everything I could think of to get the screw out, but it's seized good and proper and won't budge at all, even when soaked in WD40.....that has really thrown a spanner in the works now.

  10. #10
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    You can normally get complete replacement Wilkinson saddles (provided none of the lock-down screws have rested in place), though sometimes it's easier to replace the whole thing. Look for VS50 replacement saddles. But the Wilkinson post thread sizes have varied over the years, so if you go for a similar bridge, you may need to keep the current posts unless you feel like replacing the inserts.

    I had a rusted Wilkinson bridge on an 1993 guitar I was doing up for a friend. Tried WD40 soaking but nothing budged. Ended up replacing the old VS100C (semi-locking) bridge with a WCS50 II and a Hipshot tremsetter. One had all imperial, the other all metric, threads.

    Or you could fill in the two existing post holes and fit a six-screw trem instead. Or a generic 2-post trem to keep costs down.

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