I really want to mod my Encore strat copy its about 12 years old, I want to change the finish, electrics and hardware.

Problem 1: the guitar doesnt seem to stay in tune for any real length of time, im sure its not the way i tie the strings on, my ibanez is perfect. could this be a problem with the neck as i left it for about 7 years with half the strings on. (did this do any irreversible damage to the guitar and is it worth moving on with this project)

Problem 2: once i remove all the paint from the body, im not sure what kind of wood is underneath i.e. is it solid, 2 parts or strips of wood (if that is actually used) and what is the chance of me ruining it?

Priority 1: apart from the two little problems and assuming that the guitar isnt ruined. i want to make it play as close to a '57 vintage strat as is possible with a cheap original guitar. Is it possible to buy fender parts online?

Priority 2: I want a Bigsby tremolo system

Priority 3: Finish, i would love a varnished wood finish, unlikely that the wood is of a great quality so im probably gonna have to just make a decision on the finish when it comes to that.

Thanks in advance for any help/advice you guys can offer. Krist
1) Locking tuners should help a bit. Either way you should have the truss rod adjusted if it needs it.

2) It really doesn't matter what type of wood it is. It's probably solid and a few peices glued together. Unless you light it on fire or something i'd say chances are slim.

EDIT: Adding to the above, I would sand the finish off, not use paint stripper. I'm not sure why that stuff always gets me nervous about wood damage.

1) Yes but they have to be metric space since I'm guessing this guitar is probably asian made.

2) I'm not sure if that's possible without filling the existing wood where the bridge is and drilling. If your willing to fill and drill go for it.

Your going to need some type of drill to do this right.

Just know that you can't put the bridge wherever you like, there is a specific measurement.

3) I doubt that the wood will be pretty enough to have a natural finish. You will most likely have to go solid. You may be able to put veneer on a strat but I don't think so since it's so curby. Wait for someone else to clarify on the veneer.

For painting, Invader Jim made a tutorial which is linked to in the GB&C essential links thread. project-guitar.com also has a few tutorials.

For the Bigsby, there is a tutorial on how to convert a trem to a hardtail on project-guitar.com that you should be able to apply to this.

You will probably want new pickups on this. If your going to change them yourself your going to need wire (22 or 24 gauge, sheilded, stranded core, radioshack works), a soldering iron, and some solder (60/40 rosin core).

If your going to change pickups, I would change pots and switches too just because they are old and cleaning it up won't hurt.

Make sure it's in your budget to do this.
Soldering Iron and stuff
Locking Tuners
Paint, clearcoat, primer etc.
Pots and Switches
Drill (if you don't have one)
Wood to fill the bridge cavity
Wood filler
Wood glue

All that can add up

EDIT: Also there's a rule against thread titles like this
Last edited by salgala2000 at Aug 18, 2010,
Problem 1: The tuning stability is most likely turd because the tuners are old, (cheap?) pieces of junk, you should replace those first, maybe do something about the bridge depending on how just changing tuners works.
About doing damage to the neck, I doubt it, you can always adjust the truss rod to fix issues caused by the neck bending.

Problem 2: I don't see how you could ruin the guitar by removing the finish, just be sure to take the guitar apart first, makes things a whole lot more simple.

Prior 1: Yes I'm sure you can. You could also get some other pickups also, manufacturers like DiMarzio have pickups that are very vintage, it's all about your personal preference really.

Prior 2: That might be quite an effort but I'm sure it's well doable.

Prior 3: If you really want to be hardcore you could get and craft a better quality wood top on it, otherwise I recommend a solid non-transparent color because if it's crafted from like 3 or so pieces, the edges of the pieces will look awkward.

Hope this helps at all.
Ibanez S5470 w/ DiMarzio Crunch Lab & Liquifire
Ibanez RG1527
Ibanez SA160
Ibanez E-Acoustic
Selfmade Telecaster w/ DiMarzio Twang King & Chopper T

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