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Old 01-07-2012, 08:26 AM   #1
von Layzonfon
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Guitar Butchery 101: My First Project

I've been wanting to build my own guitar for a long time. However, I didn't really want to jump right in with a full build, so I thought I'd start with a refurb. Obviously all my own guitars are far too precious for me to start hacking about with, so I've had my eye out for a cheap donor guitar that I don't mind making a complete pig's ear of.

This has taken quite a while because ideally I was after something with a single pickup - I rarely use the neck pickup so I starting from a base like this means less holes to fill. Anyway, last night I finally picked this up.



Now the full project plan is to strip it down, reface it with some nice looking wood and upgrade all the hardware and electronics. Pretty much everything I'd expect to have to do for a full build, but without having to worry about jigs and templates and stuff.

The problem I have now is this: This guitar is a Marlin SL200G and they don't make them any more. It's not like it was a ever a pricey guitar, it's not a classic and it certainly doesn't seem to be a collectors' item (I only shelled out 40 notes for it), but at the same time there aren't many of them about so I do feel a little guilty about destroying it. Maybe I should've waited for a crappy old Gio or something to turn up.
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:09 AM   #2
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Nah, there are a shitload of crappy discontinued guitars out there. You'll be much happier making it into an awesome guitar with your own custom specs than having a crap guitar that you'll never play and will only use to tell noobs about how this is limited edition or something.
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:30 AM   #3
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I have a really old marlin sharks fin guitar which I occassionally use as a photography prop - they were really bottom of the range guitars, although yours looks a looks a lot more useable so just go for it.

I'd go for it, but don't sink too much money in with quality parts and the like, as the end result probably won't be outstanding, given what you are starting with.
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itamar100
Nah, there are a shitload of crappy discontinued guitars out there. You'll be much happier making it into an awesome guitar with your own custom specs than having a crap guitar that you'll never play and will only use to tell noobs about how this is limited edition or something.


Yeah. Actually I tend to agree.

There will now likely be something of a hiatus in the project while I find some decent top wood. But I'm sure I'll be back with more pictures and dumb questions about glue, grain filler and clear coat.
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mark_wuk
I'd go for it, but don't sink too much money in with quality parts and the like, as the end result probably won't be outstanding, given what you are starting with.

I'm budgeting maybe another 50 - 100 as a learning experience. I've thrashed it around for about an hour and it actually plays quite nicely.

Plus I'm one of those heathens who figures that with the amount of FX I'm usually running, what the guitar's made of is probably having a minimal impact.

*sits back and awaits ensuing pandemonium*
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Old 01-07-2012, 10:02 AM   #6
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have you thought about putting in a p90 sized humbucker? that could be quite cool for a single pickup. or what about a 4 conducter humbucker and a coil tap function. it could be awesome to mess aroud with
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Old 01-07-2012, 10:12 AM   #7
von Layzonfon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itamar100
have you thought about putting in a p90 sized humbucker? that could be quite cool for a single pickup. or what about a 4 conducter humbucker and a coil tap function. it could be awesome to mess aroud with

I fancied giving one of these a go: http://www.axetec.co.uk/axetec%20gu...pickups_075.htm - they're well written up and pretty cheap.

However, in terms of wiring I was going for monster simple. I rarely vary my sound at all so I was actually thinking of having nothing but a volume pot on it. Of course, I could always rewire at a later date if I find I'm missing flexibility; or I want to try and learn something new.
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Old 01-07-2012, 10:49 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by von Layzonfon
I fancied giving one of these a go: http://www.axetec.co.uk/axetec%20gu...pickups_075.htm - they're well written up and pretty cheap.

However, in terms of wiring I was going for monster simple. I rarely vary my sound at all so I was actually thinking of having nothing but a volume pot on it. Of course, I could always rewire at a later date if I find I'm missing flexibility; or I want to try and learn something new.


never heard of them but the look sick.
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Old 01-07-2012, 08:24 PM   #9
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Today's lesson: Nitromors* does absolutely nothing to a twenty-year-old, budget paint job.

* Other chemical paint strippers are available.
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Old 01-07-2012, 08:45 PM   #10
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will you only upgrade stuff, i dont know about you but IMO the headstock looks horrific, i would try to reshapen it to something nicer
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Old 01-07-2012, 08:51 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Leon987
will you only upgrade stuff, i dont know about you but IMO the headstock looks horrific, i would try to reshapen it to something nicer

Oh I completely agree. Trouble is, it's not as big as it looks so there's not much room for change. But I'm pretty sure I'll be trying to do something with it.
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:09 AM   #12
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look at GFS pickups fer sure
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:09 AM   #13
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That flat edge on the bottom of the headstock is begging to have a piece of wood glued onto it so you can make it look more attractive.

Too bad you don't want to route. This guy would be sweet...
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3028..._62a8e68aa2.jpg
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:02 AM   #14
von Layzonfon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMaiden76
look at GFS pickups fer sure

Thanks. I'll bear them in mind for my next one. I've always wanted a set of rails; I think they just look cool.
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:10 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inkandlead
That flat edge on the bottom of the headstock is begging to have a piece of wood glued onto it so you can make it look more attractive.

Yeah, that thought crossed my mind last night, although then there's a very real possibility it'll end up looking like an Ibanez stock because, well, I like them. :P
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:14 PM   #16
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I have an old Marlin. It has scalloped frets which is quite obscure.
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:54 PM   #17
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The sanding's coming along quite nicely. It will come as no surprise to anyone to learn that I've got my hands on a rather sexy lump of plywood.



BUT before anyone starts suggesting I throw it on the fire, I'd like you to take a look at this: http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Ele...-Zoot-Suit.aspx

(Apologies for the lousy pics BTW. My decent camera's elsewhere.)
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Old 01-08-2012, 04:57 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by CrazyPigeon
I have an old Marlin. It has scalloped frets which is quite obscure.

I very nearly got a Marlin as my first electric back in 1986 but I opted for a 2nd-hand Westone Thunder I-A for the same price. I still have it and it's still a monster (when I can afford to feed it batteries).
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:09 PM   #19
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I see nothing wrong with plywood. One of my guitars has a plywood fret board, that was a surprise.
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Old 01-08-2012, 10:34 PM   #20
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I have a Kramer Striker which is made of plywood, and it sounds better then both my other guitars that has solid wood bodys. And thats with a cheap pickup too. Plus its lighter. But then again, I've herad very bad sounding plywood guitars, like most people expect. I think you just have to get a pickup that works well with the wood and I think I got lucky with my cheap pickup.
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