After coming back home for the summer, I've noticed my ESP EC-50 just sitting in my room. It was my first guitar (have since moved to a MIM Strat as my main guitar) but I would like to "revive" it into something that I would like to play. I have a few ideas in mind, but I need some help/advice.

For reference, my guitar looks like this EC-50 except my headstock is painted in the matching red.

1. Neck
I like the shape of the neck, but I don't like the feel of the back of it. I can really feel the finish. Compared to my Strat's neck, it feels very "sticky" and slow.

What would be the best way to take some of this finish off without damaging the neck?

2. Headstock
I would really like to cover up the LTD logo on the headstock. I just don't like the font they used for this series (the Block print on other series is much better IMO). Ideas on covering it up? I was thinking about using/making an emblem or something like old 60s guitars (like this Supro/Eastwood) Don't want to strip paint off it, more of cover it up.

3. Pickguard
After looking at a ton of guitars online, I've determined I really like the look up pickguards on guitars. I want to add one to this one, but I'm not sure what would be better: try to fit a standard Les Paul one or custom cut my own from a blank sheet. Suggestions? (Also, ideas on color? I was thinking black would be an easy choice, but I was thinking that a gold pattern/print could pop off nicely)

Also, could I use 1/8" plexiglass as a pickguard? It's very close in thickness to most pickguards and it seems like it could be a good replacement. I was thinking about either painting a piece or putting some kind of print/image on the underside of it (having the plexiglass protect it). Has anybody used plexiglass as a pickguard and how has it worked?

4. Pickups/Wiring
The stock pickups are muddy and just not good. I would like to upgrade them, but nothing crazy. Probably just some GFS or similar price since it is my backup guitar. Suggestions? I'm looking for a good general Rock pickup, but I don't need it do achieve metal.

As for wiring, I was thinking about wiring a master volume (closest to neck), master tone (next closest), and moving the pickup selector to the last pot position (closest to end of guitar). If I did this, what could I put in the pickup selector spot? I was thinking something like a varitone switch or something like that. Ideas?

If you have any ideas, suggestions, or past experiences with a similar project, I would greatly appreciate it. I just can't get a perfect vision of what this guitar could be. (Don't worry about tools/workspace; we have a wood shop off of our garage, so I have access to space and common woodworking and power tools, so I should be able to accomplish most tasks fairly easily.)
Last edited by nukewinter04 at Jun 27, 2010,
You could sand the finish off the neck, which shouldn't be too difficult. Once it's sanded down, giving it an oil finish would be easy, and it would give the neck a much smoother, more natural feel than the paint does. One thing to make sure you do it mask off the areas you don't want to remove the paint from, so there is a clear line where the paint stops and the oil finish starts.
Alternatively, you could try rubbing it down with some fine steel wool, which would make it more satin-y feeling and be smoother.

I can't think of any simple ways to get rid of the logo other than some kind of sticker or something. I'd just sand it off along with the rest of the headstock and neck and oil finish it. If it's mahogany I bet it would look pretty nice.

I doubt an LP pickguard will fit the shape, so you'd have to make your own design. I don't know anything about plexiglass so I can't help you there.

I'd get GFS pups.

For the 3-way gap, maybe a killswitch or a coil tap switch? A series/parallel switch?

I can go into more detail about the oil finishing if you're interested.
Bari Build

__\ _ /__
___ \/ ___

Well, ESP lists the neck as maple. Since this is the lowest in the line, I doubted it would have a mahogany neck. So, with a maple neck, what would my finishing options be? I don't have much knowledge on finishing (I've done stain work in the past, but I don't know about all finishing options on different types of wood).
You can oil finish maple, too. I'd try the steel wool thing before sanding it off, just to get a feel for it. Tape off where you don't want to mess with the finish, though.
Bari Build

__\ _ /__
___ \/ ___

Now I've got options. First, probably going to take some fine steel wool to the back of the neck, just to get the finish smooth and more playable.

As for the headstock, I was think of taking a thin line of tape (maybe 1/8" painters tape), masking the rim, sanding off the middle, and refinishing it. Leaving the original red paint as a border. Then, I could oil the bare face of the headstock or possibly some other kind of design. Have to do some kind of mock up to see what that would look like and see if that's what I want to do.

Going to start working on a pickguard design. Pretty sure I'm going to have a custom one cut from Terrapin Guitars. That way, It'll look a lot better than one I could fashion. Laser Cut > Hand Cut By Me.

I'll get pics going once I start on this. Kind of backed up because of the 4th of July.
just get one off ebay, or off a used axe locally. then customize yourself. Krylon makes plastic paint in a spraycan. why spend $40 when you can spend $5?
Pain is temporary. Stupid is forever. - Some really friggin' smart dead dude