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Thread: Pre Owned ESB4.

  1. #1
    Member JimC's Avatar
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    Pre Owned ESB4.

    A good mate passed this on to me, as changed circumstances meant he wasn't going to progress with it.
    Apparently the neck pocket wasn't quite as accurate as one might like, so he had shimmed it with maple veneer so the neck ran down the centreline, but this left the end of the maple shims exposed, which looked worse than one might hope. So to disguise this I first thought of a strip of maple each side, but the piece of maple I had didn't match the body at all. Binding and purfling right round the neck pocket might have been best, but I was unable to duplicate the purfling so I just put in some 2mm white plastic I had. The ends should probably have curved round the pocket, but i wasn't too confident about cutting a neat curve by hand, and it will be fine from five feet away...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've also tweaked the headstock just a touch to radius the sharper corners as this may end up as something of a knockabout live by the desk instrument.

    Next I have to make decisions about bridges and pickups.

    The original plan for the instrument, before things changed, was to have a good number of high end components, but they were mostly not to my taste, and also, frankly, a bit pricey. So I've got the standard bridge and no pickups. To my mind the Gibson design the bridge is "inspired" by was not one of their finer moments, either aesthetically or mechanically. What I'd really like to do is to put a Schaller bridge on, which I think will just get down to the required spacing. Providing a flat surface to screw it down to, on the other hand, will be complicated. Alternatively I could purchase the planned upgrade bridge, which is Hipshot, a considerable improvement, but still not that pretty to my eyes.
    Oddly I discovered at the back of the cupboard a battered Maxon humbucking pickup which has exactly the right pole spacing. I cannot remember what its provenance is, and I wonder if it dates back to when Maxon were the highly regarded company that manufactured Ibanez' pedals. or alternatively some earlier date and standard of manufacture. Its very battered though. A local distributor has some of Artec's Giovanni series wood encased pickups, and something in me suggests one of those might be rather sweet.

    The other thing I'd like to do would be to fill in some of the control holes. "Just" need to find some matching maple. I don't want a full set of 4 knobs and a switch.
    Last edited by JimC; 30-09-2019 at 01:25 AM.

  2. #2
    You got to love a free guitar! Sounds like it will be good project.

    re: the maple veneer shim, Can it not be trimmed back with a hobby knife/scalpel?

    It could then be "creatively hidden" during the finishing process in a number of ways I would think.
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  3. #3
    Member JimC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McCreed View Post
    It could then be "creatively hidden" during the finishing process in a number of ways I would think.
    That was the only one I thought of. But I'm not one for much finishing, way out of my comfort zone. Paint and I do not get on. Solid colours don't appeal either. Finish is liable to be plain oil. Maybe I should go source some packing crate plywood and play with wood dye.

  4. #4
    That was the only one I thought of. But I'm not one for much finishing, way out of my comfort zone. Paint and I do not get on. Solid colours don't appeal either. Finish is liable to be plain oil. Maybe I should go source some packing crate plywood and play with wood dye.
    If spraying lacquer or other paint is a definite no-go for you, you should definitely consider dyes. And there are heaps of things you can use ranging from inks to fabric dyes. As for a top coat, there are also lots of options that can be applied by hand such as wipe-on polyurethane; Tru Oil; Tung Oil (which is really just a polymerised varnish nowadays).

    The only real down side to hand applied finishes is they take a lot of coats if you want nice deep looking finish, but it can be achieved.

    I don't consider plywood a great medium for testing dyes. I think you're better off using scraps of solid timber, preferably something similar to what you plan to finish (or even pine). If you can find a local furniture maker, they'll usually have off cuts of decent hardwoods you buy for peanuts (if not free if you tell them what you're pursuing).
    Making the world a better place; one guitar at a time...

  5. #5
    Member JimC's Avatar
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    In this case what I plan to finish *is* plywood [grin]. Hopefully it would be good enough to practice spreading even coats, even if it won't give much of an idea of results and effects. It may just end up blonde though. I did a dulcimer in Tru Oil, that works OK for me, and its the way I plan to go.

  6. #6
    Member JimC's Avatar
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    Bridges...
    Until I read through the forum I didn't have a lot of confidence in the stock bridge. It seems to be a decidedly dubious piece of engineering. Having read through the forum I now have no confidence at all!
    I do have the possibility of getting one of the hipshot bridges, but examining the centreblock through the holes it seems to me that the fastenings are going to be disturbingly close to the edge of the block, so I'm mulling over something radical.
    Supposing I rout out a square in the top of the body, parallel with the fretboard, and glue a hardwood block into that. Make the block a suitable width, ie a bit bigger than the current centre block. That would give me a block a few mm higher than the body which almost any suitable bridge could be screwed down to. Then I thought maybe a veneer on the headstock to match the wood of the bridge block, and perhaps one of the Artec wood cased pickups to match too - bubinga for all three maybe.
    Might look something like this?
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Does this sound practical, or is there some obvious flaw I have failed to spot?

    [Later]
    I've decided against this. I realised I was starting to turn what was planned to be a budget project into a rather complex expensive one. I figure that if something does go badly wrong with the bridge mountings in the centreblock then that will be the time to do something radical, and if it doesn't then no problem. The only thing that worries me is that the surface the bridge is coming down on isn't flat, and I'll need to do something about that. I think its going to get the Maxon pickup (see above) as its main pickup, and an cheap telecaster neck pickup (also from the bits box) up against the neck, more to give a justification for the extra knobs there are holes for than anything else. I figure pickups can always be upgraded if need be.
    Last edited by JimC; 02-10-2019 at 10:04 PM.

  7. #7
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    It's not an obvious flaw, it's just tricky... I am working on my second highly modified ES bass body, and I have found it really tricky and difficult to rout on a curved surface. I considered doing this with my two ES bass builds. At some point I decided it was too hard and went with two point bridges.

    If you do what you propose, I would ditch the three point, and use something with a smaller footprint like a Fender or a Badass style bridge. You should also do some careful measurements because I think the back of the bridge will have to sit pretty high. You should be sure you're happy with how it will look.

  8. Liked by: JimC

  9. #8
    Member JimC's Avatar
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    Yes, I have to rout the pickup cavities yet, and am not looking forward to it. I have some ideas for a routing jig, but it has to wait for a bit. One complication of this is I have very little woodworking capability where I live: anything of any complexity has to wait until I can schedule a visit to my mother's house and my father's workshop, nearly two hours away.

  10. #9
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    The pickup cavity is not as difficult in some ways because it does not need to be perfect, at least not if you use a pickup ring.

    It might be simpler to sand a small piece of wood down to match the curve of the archtop. I did this to make pickup rings that fit the archtop.

    To do it use masking tape on the top and then stick a piece of 100 grit sandpaper to the tape. I would recommend trying it with a piece of pine--or basswood would be even better. Don't make the mistake I did and use maple or a super hard wood that will take forever to sand.

    That's a lot more work, however, than Using a two point tune o matic, or a floating bridge (like on a horner) which would work, and maybe look more natural.

    Another you might check out is a Guild Starfire bass bridge. They run around $60 US, so pricier than a tuneomatic or fender, but cheaper than a babicz or hipshot.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk

  11. #10
    Mentor fender3x's Avatar
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    Here's a link to show some of my more recent bridge travails...

    https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink/top...ink_source=app

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk

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