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Hey there! So I thought for my first post on this forum I'd start up a little (haha) project to do over the summer.

So here's the situation, a relative has kindly let me have his old hohner arbor series guitar, it's old it's knackered, it's rusty and sticky... But hey I thought it would be cheaper to do this up than buy a pre built body online to just paint up.

So basically I guess all the electronics on it will be crap, the input is dodgy and you need to jiggle it for it work, tuning pegs are rusty and useless, finger board is sticky. It's got left over christmas spray on paint so that'll have to go, I'll give it a full go tomorrow.

I can't find out much info on it, I think it's this guitar:

No serial as I can tell but it's late. All I really want to know is what wood type it is and then judge if it's worth spending money on to replace all electronics, and lastly to paint it up and get rid of all the dents etc.

Watch this space for pictures!
Last edited by Mr.Meh at May 5, 2011,
Easy there, pictures and plenty of them are coming.

I just posted early incase anyone owns one
Cheers dude

I just thought if I'm going to do a project I may as well post it somewhere online so people shout at me if I don't finish ^^
Sorry about the amount of pictures, and the quality, I haven't used the camera in a while!

Oh dear god....



Using my genius powers of deduction, I can tell you that it's not mahogany... or koa.

I'd guess that it's either swamp ash, alder or maple.

I'd say it's definitely worth refurbishing if the neck's good and you have the time/money.

EDIT: The neck wood is almost definitely maple w/ a rosewood fretboard though.
Eek! It's a bit overkill isnt it?

Cool, as for the neck I'll inspect it. It feels nice to play for a guitar that has sticky and rusty strings mind.

I'm assuming it's alder as it's quite light.

Thanks for the great info! I'm pleased it got your thumbs up.

Money should be ok, what are student loans for after all? :P

Got nothing better to do over the summer, so this should be a fun project.
Last edited by Mr.Meh at Jun 15, 2010,
Reckon it'd still be worth it if the body was made out of Agathis?
Quote by Mr.Meh
Reckon it'd still be worth it if the body was made out of Agathis?

Yeah, all the woods we listed have roughly the same tonal properties.

Just b/c certain woods get associated with low end guitars doesn't mean they're "bad."
For instance, basswood is actually used in $4,000 Ibanez Jems as well as $70 Squier Strats
Fair enough, no need to panic I guess, it's easy to be prejudice about that sort of thing, I'll keep an open mind about it

Thank you so much for your replies guys.

Just out of curiosity I did a quick recording of the hohnor on a VST, not particularly sure if it's anything to go by so I'll try it on my amp tomorrow but it was interesting.

Excuse the sloppiness etc
The higher tuned of the sampes is the Hohner (middle), the lower tuned (first and last) is the Epi.

That was the best I could get out the tuning pegs, one of them is slightly raised out of head so I was scared of some horrible accident involving tuning heads
Last edited by Mr.Meh at Jun 15, 2010,
My bet would be on ash, although I've never really seen Agathis before.

And if you think it's crappy, fix it up, then it won't be crappy anymore.


Hey I really hope it's that simple haha

I just realized I don't actually know what style of guitar body it is (flying v etc) someone give me a hand

I've got a few ideas and designs in mind I'd just like to see some existing guitars for inspiration, but I honestly can't remember haha!
a long shot with cherry - it can have grain like that and is not the heaviest of things
That Mad English Child 0.o
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Quote by LeviMan_2001
To fix the jack just take it apart and bend the J shaped thing in tighter.

Thanks! That solved it, so I'll get to work on some sound samples, I don't trust my ears when it comes to guitar tone so you guys will have to help me out with that if it's ok

Hmm interesting kaino, I'll take a photo of the back at some point, unfortunately the cavities have been painted. I'll do some macro shots of the parts that have paint scratched off.
To be fair it doesn't sound too bad, the neck pickup seems messed up but that might be because all the volume pots don't seem to work at all. The bridge pick up is alright though! It sounds quite heavy!

It's quite trebbly and bright though compared to my epiphone, but overall I'm pleasantly surprised.

Also I've suddenly got this appreciation for it's vintage genuine relic look, haha but I'm thinking up some colors and designs to use now!
I'm about 97% sure this is ash by looking at the grain lines.
Cherry wouldn't (and really hasn't been) ever used in a production guitar, to my knowledge.
Custom builders love the stuff, but big companies dont for some reason.
Just call me Bobby
Member of the official GB&C "Who to Listen to" list
Quote by mikeyElite
you build guitars worthy of sexual favors

Quote by Invader Jim
if this party gets any livelier a funeral is gonna break out.
Thanks Schism, I figured as much it would be the wood, just from the wav I thought it could have been that too

Hey warrior if this helps this guitar is verryyy old, the relative I got this off of bought it for about $30,$20 a very long time ago.

Would you say that due to it's age the quality of the wood may be fairly decent?

To be fair I really don't know that much about hohner, I'll go dig out my old guitar book.
Last edited by Mr.Meh at Jun 17, 2010,
Guitar's are supposed to sound better with age. But yea, I'm pretty sure that's ash, a pretty standard guitar wood to use.
Just call me Bobby
Member of the official GB&C "Who to Listen to" list
Quote by mikeyElite
you build guitars worthy of sexual favors

Quote by Invader Jim
if this party gets any livelier a funeral is gonna break out.
Fair enough, thank you! Do you think it's worth doing metalwarrior?

Hmm I noticed that there is a layer or two of polish (I'm still learning ) underneath paint, making it easier to chip off, I'll take some close ups tomorrow but I'm sure you guys know what I mean.
*edit* I guess it's clear primer or something similar, still makes it easy to chip paint off.

Also the tuners look like they're coming to an end, the first three strings are almost impossible to tune now, and the 6th string's tuning peg looks like it's gonna fall out! So I'll do as many recordings as possible before I finally start surgery on the guitar :P
Last edited by Mr.Meh at Jun 17, 2010,
So here's another recording done with the VST LePou, alot longer than the last rubbish I did, I really don't trust my own ears but it doesn't sound half bad! Even with all that terrible buzz (that's my bad I'm terrible with this!)

Tomorrow I'll put some recordings from my amp up and then it's time decide what tuners to get, I figure that to start with I'll just give it a good service and test out the neck pick up, hope that's not too slow.

Edit: IT would be a good idea to actually post the link

Night night guys.
Last edited by Mr.Meh at Jun 17, 2010,
Hmm I don't think someone has set it up purposely for that, I'm not sure if this is relevant but the neck pickup is barely audible. Also when I press down on one of the other pots the guitar cuts out. Not to mention there is crackling when I move the pots.

I will however fix it up and see if there is a difference in sound, thank you <3
Yeah, electronics in guitars are super simple. You could even fix the pots you have, it's just not particularly worth it in time when you could buy new ones for like 2$. If you do want to fix it though, just take it apart and bend the wipers out so the contact the resistance material tighter, and move them to the side a bit so they rub on fresh, un worn resistance stuff. I just rebuilt a switch in my Yamaha today, works great and it was free! hahaaaa
Yeah I took a look at the electronics properly but it was horrendous, I knew there was something rattling in the guitar but I realized it was blobs of loose solder...(saying this the organisation of wires was far better in this guitar than in my bloody les paul...)

Also seeing as I don't have a desolder gun I think I'd make a hash of things trying to get tham massive lumps of solder for each connection off to organise it, there was a wire here and there that were not connected so obvious solution to the problem.

One thing is that the screws are so rusted it was difficult to unscrew, but worse the threads were messed up so they were stuck in the guitar, had to pull them out with force - small bits of wood came out with it (just splinters) , so I guess I'll have to get some epoxy or something to fill in the holes perhaps. I also snapped the back cover for the tremolo (whoops!)

On another note I have bit the bullet and taken apart the guitar! Boy that required more effort that it should of, just difficulty when the parts don't want to move thanks to rust haha!

So now it's time to buy new set of tuners I think (I guess I could clean up the original ones). The bridge might go too seeing as it's caked in a bit of rust, however again I could clean it up.

Is it a good idea to use some lemon oil on the fretboard? I know it makes it a bit softer and nice to play, but are there any drawbacks? Like the fretboard drying out sooner?

More questions will come later, sorry about the amount of questions I ask

Pics to come guys. Thanks for the support, I really appreciated it! Will be rewarded with cake and bottles of beer!
Last edited by Mr.Meh at Jun 19, 2010,
Pictures as promised:

To be fair the rest is ok, that is what scares me.

What fell out upon further inspection

I'm going to sleep on that bed, gonna be covered in wood chippings, rust and 50 year old viruses.

I may clean and polish this, looks sweet

More pictures shall come of interesting bits when I have time <3
Last edited by Mr.Meh at Jun 19, 2010,
One thing I completely overlooked (because I'm an idiot) is that judging from the inside of the guitar, the body is made up for multiple layers of thin wood...It goes light then dark. I am quite afraid that I may have a plywood guitar with ash veneer, shall I provide photos?
Right, I'm a bit sad that no-one replied but oh well

Decided to go through with it, and today's the big day: I'll be stripping the paint off of this pile of what I think is plywood...

So I'll be doing it the chemical way, kind of feel that although it's messy, it shouldn't be too non destructive to my wood, although I'm shit scared about what will happen to the glue and my skin if it comes into contact haha!

Didn't want to ruin any of the unused tools we have in the house so I bought a new set of everything, probably shouldn't have cost this much but all together it was roughly £40 for paint stripping equipment and precautions.

I decided to go with lacquer based paints, but couldn't find any. I know theres alot of snobbery about nitro (or something) paint, but really would any of you say there's much difference? I hear there is a slight tone difference but I don't think I'll worry about that.

I hear this is pretty nasty stuff, I can't wait to see it in action (not in my skin XD)

Gonna use a tiny bit to clean up the guitar after, hope it doesn't turn the wood purple...

I should have bought plastic, I'll have to be extra careful when stripping off the bubbling paint.

Cheapo brush set that will melt on contact of paint stripper

Cheapo Protection! wearing the mask it fogs my goggles up

Hope these gloves are good enough from inevitable spillage

Sand paper for finishing off!
Shit man, I just do the whole thing with sandpaper
My Tele Project!

Cheapy Johnson Steel String Acoustic
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Gray VS Jekyll & Hyde
Vox V847A Wah
Haha yeah you're probably right , I'm just so scared I might really mess it up somehow despite reading pages and pages of info on it.
Last edited by Mr.Meh at Jun 26, 2010,
Right then, big update! Slapped some chemical paint stripper on, and it did a fairly decent job! Yes it was messy but works really well in my opinion. Mind you I still had to sand certain parts, but that was probably due to my stupidity more than anything.

Also never use a metal shaver like I did, unless you're super careful gouging thin lines in your guitar isn't fun, especially when trying to stand them out...

As usual, here is a barrage of cool pictures(haha I wish)

For the record, I love watching paint bubble

So long as you're careful you won't burn yourself with the stuff, it actually has some sort of gas build up in it, I jumped a mile when opening the paint remover tin.

I didn't really layer it on too well, but it did its job, despite being a messy one.

I highly recommend this paint stripper, worked very well. Don't let the stuff dry, it becomes a bit annoying to remove the stuff after that has happened, but adding a bit more can solve that problem.

Brushing a thin layer for 5 minutes followed by a thick layer for about 10+ minutes seemed to have a good effect.

Last edited by Mr.Meh at Jun 27, 2010,
All of the paint and lacquer removed, just the dyed veneer ontop to worry about

Aftermath of all the stripping and a bit of sanding

Last edited by Mr.Meh at Jun 27, 2010,

Went a bit far there!

There's alot of this crystalized crap/residue on the body, I can't seem to sand it off too well, I'm not sure if I should just leave it seeing as I'm doing a solid color for the guitar.

I'll clean the holes out at some point

Aftermath of my reckless scraping


Didn't do a particularly good job of sanding, it feels very smooth despite the scratches but I only went to 320 for most of the body, I kind of ran out of my 80s and 100s
Is that ok or should I go back over it all?

The sealer seems to still be on the sides, not really sure but when I get some sealer I may ignore most of the sides, only the exposed chips in the corners and the front/back of the guitar.

Also what on earth is that residue? Could I possibly leave it on? maybe rough sand it so the sealer sticks properly.
Last edited by Mr.Meh at Jun 27, 2010,
Ok, so a VERY long time has passed!
Sorry about that...I got banned from the forum and kind of lost steam soon after...

Rightio, let's start this up again!

Ok so I want to prime it white, pics of the spray paint I've bought are soon to come.

However, I've got to sort out some of the uneven parts mainly this one:

Basically, I've sanded through the thin wood grain looking sheet glued ontop of the plywood body.

How do I go about fixing this? Would bondo suffice? I've done this in a number of places (Pics will come soon!) I'm a bit worried of messing this up.

So If I fill in the spots where I've gone too far, then sand it down so it's nice smooth and even.

Also, how smooth should I sand my guitar down? I can see small scratches over the body, when sanding I seem to have hit something that I just can't get through, I assume it's the grain filler?

Any advice you guys can give me about applying my first layer of primer before I go further?

Also I'm finding it difficult to think of a good look for the guitar when repainting. I'm slowly falling for the swirl look. However I dunno if this has been overdone, or if it's..."too easy" so to speak.

I mean the shape is kind of 80's glam I guess, a bit crazy, so an assortment of 80s vibrant colours (yellow, pink, red etc) doing a swirl job might help for that crazy look.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions here, get the ideas flowing.

That's all for now folks! Pictures soon, promise!
Last edited by Mr.Meh at May 5, 2011,
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