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Old 12-22-2014, 01:52 AM   #1
Phoenix V
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Epiphone Les Paul LP100 Project (Warning, Long and Picture Heavy Thread)

Well summer is here, and to be honest in recent years I've been concentrating a lot on my playing and much less on gear and mods.

Even though the playing has come along well, I spotted an old Epiphone at my local Cash Converters (AKA pawn shop for our US friends). The service guy wanted $175 for it. I had a good look at it and talked him down to $150 (needs a bit of work) helped along with a small trade in of small audio console and two cheap speakers I hadn't used in years that was gathering dust. Was happy to be rid of it. Maybe someone can put it to good use.

Hoping by the end of all this I can flip this for added cash. Or maybe I'll love it and just make it mine. Haven't decided yet.

Anyway, here is what I ended up with...



1995 Korean made Epiphone LP100, built in the Samick factory and finished in poly (tested it with acetone just to make sure). It was an instant player and is fully functional. Tested it in store and all the controls and pickups worked. No strange noises or hum or buzz. The pots worked across their full range and no scratchiness or drop outs. The output jack connection is solid. The fret board was setup correctly and the action was relatively fast. No dead frets. Just needed a tune. Good start when there are no electronic problems right off the bat and the guitar plays smoothly.

You can probably already see what needs work on it from the front. But lets start at the back. Here's a few close ups.

The Back. Lots of buckle rash, which I don't mind so much. Some fills and sanding with help smooth some out. Will leave some in there just to highlight that used in gigs mojo.





Back of headstock. Gotoh tuners have replaced the original ones. Which I don't mind. The Gotohs are far superior to the stock Epi tuners that came with the LP100s. However no refinish was done when swapped. A feeble attempt to fill the old holes and the imprints of the original tuners left as is. Ugly.



Strap locks are both gone. The one in the photo looks like its been threaded and someone attempted to fix with floss or plumbers tape to pack in the thread but in the end failed anyway. The one at the base is the original hole and thread is intact. Will fix and replace the locks on these.



Back of neck looks good. No chips, marks, dents or scuffs of any real note.



Time to check the front. Scuffs and scratches first up & the streaks in the clear finish are pretty ordinary. But these are easy to fix.







Need to refinish where the clear has sunk into the wood joins over decades.



Continued......
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Last edited by Phoenix V : 12-22-2014 at 02:24 AM.
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:53 AM   #2
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The pickup selector & poker chip need replacing. I have these on hand as spares from previous projects and as luck would have it, they are also in cream. Happy days.



Front of headstock. Needs a sand respray and polish. Looks like a arc scratch on the G string tuner possibly from the tool scraping the surface while tightening the Gotoh when they swapped it, or a curved string end scratching along as they would up the tuner. Easy fix.



Fretboard. The frets themselves have slight wear but not enough to warrant a refret. The rosewood is in good condition, just needs a clean of the gunk.



The fretboard itself is nice and straight. However why do the strings all bias to the left of the fretboard. That's because the nut is no longer glued in! It slides about in its cavity and has slipped towards the low E string. The nut itself is fine and does not bind any of the strings. They move freely. Again, locking the nut with glue is an easy fix.



The bridge, saddles and top hats are in decent condition. A little bit of corrosion on the saddles but they will come up like new with a little bit of TLC. All components still serviceable.



Lastly the pickups. Not sure if they are the originals. All the screws are corroded so will look at getting new ones even those these still function ok.



Scratch plate on, or scratch plate off? Decisions decisions.....

Next up, will see what's what when I open her all up and completely strip her down.

Are you excited? I know I am.
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Last edited by Phoenix V : 12-22-2014 at 02:27 AM.
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:55 AM   #3
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Got onto stripping all the components yesterday.

I bag and label everything. I also sticky tape all the screws into the holes of the components they are meant for. Mainly because it can be weeks between stripping everything off and putting everything back together again and I have a crap memory. This avoids the whole problem with losing screws or trying to remember which screws were for what holes, etc etc.

Started with the pot top hats, scratch plate, neck plate, tuners...









For the bridge and saddle inserts I dropped a flat ended screw into the cavities and use the posts to screw in which lifted the inserts out easy in one action without splintering any wood. Did each one by one and labelled the body with temp marker. Don't ever use pliers or grips, nor ever try to lever these out, you will screw the finish or slip and hit the top.



Then the pickups and switch wiring. No markings on the back of the pickups. Not original? Unsure. Don't have time to worry about these yet. Will come back to them later.



Pots in excellent condition and all shielded cabled. Warms my heart. Fit for immediate reuse.



And the remaining sundries....



All these went into my padded inventory bag and stored for later.

Clean canvas. This is where the fun begins....





However will be away until just after new years, so this will be my latest update till I get back. Have a happy and safe holiday season. See you in the new year!

To be continued....
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Last edited by Phoenix V : 12-24-2014 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:16 AM   #4
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Back from my break. Hope everyone had a great new year!! I sure did!! Still feeling it a little bit

Anyway, before I went away I drip filled many of the major isolated dents and nicks. Then I was away for about 8 or so days, which gave them all time to harden and cure nicely.

Came back and started shaving the tops off, ala Dan Erlwine style with a razor blade. Make a bur on one edge and tape up the ends. This lifts the blade bur about 0.2mm above the surround finish and shaves the tops off the fills.



Started with the back of the headstock, but eventually got all around the guitar. Doesn't take too long.

Then it's time to flatten. I use 3 strips of sand paper of different grades.



Starting with 400 grit I run each one, 5 times over the fill in different directions to level it, increasing the grit grade each time.



Now time to scuff and level the lot. I use a 320 grit soft block for this and increase grits to 400 then 800. Photo is of the headstock but did this all around the guitar. Scuffing and taking the sheen away from the finish helps with the new clear coat to 'grab and hold'.



The old scratches on the headstock front from the initial photos, are pretty much gone....



The dents and divots on the front are mostly finished. You can still see part of the nick I filled off to the side as the shiny bits arouind it indicate a bit more sanding is needed. But we are almost there...



This is starting to look a lot better. Incidentally the area near the pot which has the blemish is mostly hidden under the top hat. However I'm going to try colour match the fill in the exposed area before putting on the clear coat. Got to say, I'm not minding the sheenless 'matt' style finish the fine sand paper has left behind. Toying with the idea of possibly applying a matt clear coat or a regular clear coat and scuffing it again. Not sure yet....



Heres the back. Compared to the original pics of the back this is coming up a lot better.



However I'm not game to sand much further to take out the last of the shiny depressions as I think I've taken away quite a bit of the original clear. Might be getting close to the wood and I don't want to start removing the colour stain. Here is the last of the buckle rash. Just the deepest bits left...



What I will do is apply layers of new clear first then allow that to cure and re-flatten that instead.

Anyway, all the surfaces are scuffed now ready for the next stages but I'm going to have to make a run to my local hardware store as I've run out of naptha and it's time to start selecting what clear coat I'm going to go with. Will pick up a few sundries as well.

Will update again soon.....
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Last edited by Phoenix V : 01-02-2015 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:38 AM   #5
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yeah I'd definitely take the gotohs off and start from there. A bit of refinishing or buffing depending on how severe the refinishing is you could turn a nice profit.

cheap tuners and all got to love ebay or guitar fetish. They have a lot of great project guitars you can do as well in their clearance or used bin. They need everything from tuners to wire but I'm sure you could do it if you're as comfortable with a soldering iron as you are refinishing.
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Old 12-22-2014, 04:52 AM   #6
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Wow, I don't even like LPs, but that's a pretty attractive guitar. I like that it's thinner being without a top, and the burst is a real nice color (also never cared for bursts). I say pickguard off, remove the cream switch ring (if you can), chrome pickup rings and knobs..not very traditional lp, but like I said....

Anyway, I love remodel projects and look forward to updates!
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Old 12-24-2014, 09:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallwood13
yeah I'd definitely take the gotohs off and start from there. A bit of refinishing or buffing depending on how severe the refinishing is you could turn a nice profit.

cheap tuners and all got to love ebay or guitar fetish. They have a lot of great project guitars you can do as well in their clearance or used bin. They need everything from tuners to wire but I'm sure you could do it if you're as comfortable with a soldering iron as you are refinishing.


Yeah started at the headstock after I stripped everything. Drip filled the old tuner holes and used the Dan Erlwine razor shave and sand paper strips. Will post photos when I get around to it.

As far as the electronics goes, I can solder these in with my eyes shut, so no worries there.
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Old 12-24-2014, 09:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RestinPeaceDime
Wow, I don't even like LPs, but that's a pretty attractive guitar. I like that it's thinner being without a top, and the burst is a real nice color (also never cared for bursts). I say pickguard off, remove the cream switch ring (if you can), chrome pickup rings and knobs..not very traditional lp, but like I said....

Anyway, I love remodel projects and look forward to updates!


Thanks. Yeah I admit it did catch my eye, and for the price it is a great project guitar to keep me occupied for a while.

Tomorrow I'm off on holiday for a week so this will be my latest update until I get back very early in the new year.
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:08 AM   #9
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Ace work with the refinish so far! It's coming up a beauty.

This is absolutely sublime too:
Quote:
For the bridge and saddle inserts I dropped a flat ended screw into the cavities and use the posts to screw in which lifted the inserts out easy in one action without splintering any wood. Did each one by one and labelled the body with temp marker. Don't ever use pliers or grips, nor ever try to lever these out, you will screw the finish or slip and hit the top.


Do the splines rotate and damage the hole, or come out clean?
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -MintSauce-
Ace work with the refinish so far! It's coming up a beauty.

This is absolutely sublime too:


Do the splines rotate and damage the hole, or come out clean?


Thanks! The splines don't rotate. The inserts lift out vertically as you screw the posts down
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Old 01-04-2015, 01:43 AM   #11
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Cool stuff!
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:51 AM   #12
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Update:

Managed to get some supplies. Edge masking tape, naptha and rattlecan clear acrylic.

Masked off all the important holes and cavities. Probably overdid it a bit as I didn't have to mask everything I did but never mind. Then gave everything a good going over with naptha and a clean rag. Tac clothed the remainder then took everything into the shed and did the spray painting.

I did 10 thin coats for the first 7 coats, then medium coats for the final 3 to even it all out for both the neck and body. Took it slow and easy. Waited at least the minimum time between coats as recommended on the can over 2 days.

I used acrylic lacquer clear I could get at Supercheap Auto here in Brisbane. Automotive grade clear. Took 5 cans to do the lot. A good part of it just ends up not on the parts as I spray overlapping runs across each part starting well before the part and ending well after the start and finishing edges.



Here are some shots of the neck and headstock a few hours after the final coat. They look wet in the photos but they were all well and truely hard and dry in the warm weather we have been having.



A little bit of orange peel but the finish is nice and consistent. This will sand flat easily and polish up real nice.







Similar for the body. Some photos of the pre masking and prep...





Then hours after the final coat. Again a nice clean consistent finish with a small orange peel which will clean up nice....







Now will let them just hang for about a week. Should be ok to work on roughly next weekend. Love acrylic. If this was nitro or enamel these would be out of action for at least a month.

In the meantime I'll get to cleaning and refurbing the accessories, those which need it anyway which should help with the waiting game.

Updates again soon.....
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Old 01-12-2015, 10:55 AM   #13
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Awesome, have you decided if you're going to go with a satin look or buff it up?
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Old 01-12-2015, 06:14 PM   #14
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Good question. Still debating it. Going to buff it up anyway and if it looks too 'lollipop' it's simple enough to fade it. Watch this space!
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Old 01-14-2015, 10:08 PM   #15
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It's definitely a tough call...I think I'm slightly favoring it buffed. Then I look back and change my mind, haha.....
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:04 AM   #16
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Update:

Did a lot over the long weekend. The paint had two weeks to cure. More than it needed but I was distracted by other stuff last weekend so no matter.

Over the last 3 - 4 days I just went right into it. In my excitement forgot to take many progress photos in between but managed to install the copper shielding into both pickup cavities, the control cavity and the selector switch cavity. Switched out the selector switch for a new one and also put on the new poker chip. Wired up the lot and tested it. All the pickups, switch and controls worked fine first go. Also glued in the nut and waited 24 hours for it to set.





For the chrome bits I used aluminium foil, dipped in diet coke and rubbed it all over the bridge. Pulled apart the saddles and did those also. Also rubbed out the tailpiece and output jack plate which were all corroded and pitted. The aluminium and coke (coke contains phosphoric acid which does the work) rubs out a lot of the corrosion and pits in the chrome. Washed them all thoroughly afterwards in clean water and towel dry.

The low E end of the saddles have been worn down slightly from years of just playing, but they still work fine. Didn't replace any of the hardware. Rubbed the tops of the pickups with Fine Cut cleaner to bring back some of the black plastic shine, which worked ok.



But before all of this work, for the clear finish I rubbed through the lot with 800 grit then 1500 grit damp sanding to flatten. Tedious work.....then finally with Meguiars Fine Cut Cleaner Number 2 which buffs up the shine then finished with Meguiars Fine Scratch Remover which goes over the fine scratches that the Fine Cut leaves behind. Did the back with a machine and all the rest of the guitar by hand. Going back through all the beginning photos and comparing it to now you'de think it almost a brand new guitar. All the fills are invisible. The deepest gouges on the back from the buckle rash have been reduced to mellow imperfections and softened so they can only be seen from reflective angles.











And some final outdoor shots....





I like the buff shine. May end up keeping it like this.

I performed the final setup, relief, action, intonation and its all come together really well. No buzzing or hum....at all. The shielding works perfectly. No dead frets and the action is very low and quite fast. Probably the lowest of all my guitars.

I'm still waiting on a new truss rod cover (the G rubbed off in one shot when I tried to clean the part) and new strap locks to arrive and it will take about a month before I can apply final polish as the finish needs to rest. From time to time I'll probably give it a slight rub with swirl remover to keep it tip top as I plan on using it over the next 4 weeks LOL. For a cheap guitar its sound is beyond its price.

Anyway I hope you guys have has as much fun reading through this as I have had working through it. If there's anything in here you want to know 'how did he do that' or have any questions just let me know. I'll check back from time to time.
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Last edited by Phoenix V : 01-27-2015 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 02-15-2015, 11:22 PM   #17
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Great story! I have a cherry burst Korean lp100, and I have yet to see another guitar with such a nice balanced fade. Yours looks similarly balanced (unlike many that have clear tear drop shape to them). Mine plays very well and too. It was my first guitar, and not thinking that it was worth putting money into such a cheap guitar, I bought a bit nicer of a guitar. But I kept the LP100 and I am glad I did.

You project looks like great way to freshen up an old guitar without much investment. It is hard to say if you will make any money (especially if you consider the value of your time), but you certainly turned an average import in to a nice example.
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Old 02-16-2015, 05:58 AM   #18
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True. If I counted the value of the initial spend (not a lot) + materials (not a lot) it can turn some cash. If I added in the real time cost (a lot) it would never sell.

I do projects for the love (plus it keeps me out of trouble so the missus says). If I get a financial bonus over & above just the combined initial cost of the guitar plus materials out of it then it adds to the fun.
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Last edited by Phoenix V : 02-16-2015 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 03-09-2015, 12:48 PM   #19
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Hmmm I'm a little late, but I figured I'd drop in and say you did a great job, Phoenix. Stuff like this always makes me happy to see. (people taking the time to make something better instead of throwing it out) Keep it up!
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Old 03-21-2015, 06:15 PM   #20
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Hey thanks. I enjoy this kind of stuff. It's been over a month now since the last post, so I applied the polish. I use Marveer finish polish which is silicone free but after it was done I have very little left and the stores I used to get it from no longer stock it.
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