I'll be covering the complete rebuild/refinish of this poor, neglected Jackson. I got this guitar for free from my friend's roommate two days ago. It had sat unused in an unheated garage under some junk for three years, being exposed to extremes of humidity and temperature. The pickups and electronics are all corroded and will need to be replaced. The body be sanded and repainted. It has five (not six...) Sperzel locking tuners. The neck has a serious inward bow (relief) and a slight amount of twist. Some of the frets are pretty flat and worn. When I got it the strings were staggered way off to the low E side of the fretboard. And to top it all off its a JS1, the cheapest model that you can buy for $150 brand new. Why bother?
-It was free!
-Broken, neglected guitars make me sad.
-It'll be good practice for any future builds.
-I'm a sucker for a pointy reverse headstock

On with the pictures!

Nevermind the mess in my basement...

Sky high action. It had pretty heavy strings and the trem was pulled all the way up, in addition to the horribly bowed neck.

Patriotic colors with the pickup rings! ooo fancy

Hmmm something looks a bit off. Might have to shim the neck pocket.

Disassembled and ready for work to begin. Taking this apart was a pretty harrowing experience. The amount of grime, grease, and dead skin was absurd.

At least the frets are in nice shape.

First things first, I'm slowly attempting to straighten out the neck. I'm giving the truss rod about a quarter turn at a time and then waiting a day before checking with a straight edge. Once I get it straight I'll bolt it back on the body, string it up, and adjust it further. Once I get to that point I'll be able to make a better assessment of what I've actually got to work with here.

The theme for this build will be LOW BUDGET. I'm thinking it's going to have a bridge pickup only, maybe one of those GFS high output rail humbuckers that go for about $30. How bad could they be? Good enough for this big piece of shit probably!
Broken, neglected guitars make me sad, too. I'm always happy to see one brought back to life. Looking at the original string height, I was thinking that I'd need an altimeter to measure that high, lol.
That poor, poor, instrument. I've refinished a couple unwanted guitars and this is an excellent source of practice for any guitar work, but I've never worked with anything this neglected. Anything special in mind for the new finish?
I just did the wiring for 2 blackouts in a very similar Jackson, good luck on your project. There's nothing more satisfying than working on a guitar and then hearing the product of your efforts.
Made some more progress. Baby steps, haha. This build is low budget and low priority so I'm just kind of taking my time.

Bridge was rusty and gross. Couldn't even move the height screws in the saddles. Took it all apart and soaked it in lime-away for a while. Its still a cheap piece of hardware and the chrome is all pitted, but it's better than it was.




I also started chemically stripping the body. Must be some serious clearcoat on this thing, the Zip-Strip is having a pretty hard time working. Scuffing up the surface seemed to help some. This is right at the beginning, I've got about 2/3 of it stripped now.

Not sure what to do about paint yet. I thought about a transparent finish, but that's not really an option. The body is 2 pieces of wood (not sure what kind) with some sort of veneer on the front and back. The veneer isn't exactly nice, either, not like you're meant to see it. It reminds me of the smooth thin layer that goes on the outside of a sheet of plywood, but the body itself is 2 solid pieces. I'll add pics of that later, maybe you guys can figure out why it's built like that.

Anyway for the paint color, some of my ideas are flat olive drab green on the front with the back and sides black and some stickers or graphics that make it look like a piece of military equipment, some kind of obnoxious neon color like blaze orange with neon green splatters, some George Lynch style tiger stripes, EVH stripes... The only color scheme I've ruled out is having it a solid, standard color.
^Buy a sheet of flame veneer on eBay for $10 and do a nice stain!
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maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.

Seems like the neck is more out of whack than I originally thought. This is resting on the nut and the corner of the fretboard. There's about a 1mm gap between the fretboard and my bench. Flipped the other way, you can rock it back and forth.

The inward bow is slowly being worked out. There's a noticeable improvement from when I started two days ago. In this pic the neck is resting on the 1st and 22nd frets. Measured at the highest spot around the 9th fret, the gap is about 3mm.

I'm waiting to see what happens to the side bow once I get it straight in the other dimension.
Last edited by TheJawsOfDeath at May 1, 2014,
Quote by TheJawsOfDeath
Anyway for the paint color, some of my ideas are flat olive drab green on the front with the back and sides black and some stickers or graphics that make it look like a piece of military equipment, some kind of obnoxious neon color like blaze orange with neon green splatters, some George Lynch style tiger stripes, EVH stripes... The only color scheme I've ruled out is having it a solid, standard color.

I like these ideas. I think the EVH stripes would be fitting for this project. And I totally agree with you ruling out a standard color. If you're going to custom paint it, why make it boring?
Edited my last post to show the correct two pictures of the neck. Check out how far off it is to the side.

Got the body totally stripped tonight. Apparently a heat gun and a scraper is the way to go. Found a heat gun for 15 bucks at Harbor Freight. It actually seems to be an alright piece of equipment. With the luck I've had with some of the crap from that place, I'm lucky this heat gun didn't just explode when I plugged it in.

After I got all the paint and whatever the hell the thick clear shit under the paint was, I went after it with coarse grit on an orbital sander and then medium and fine abrasive sponges. Either the veneer is very thin or I got a little carried away with the sanding...probably both. Oh, and it turns out the body is FOUR pieces, not two. Awesome.

I'd have gone after the paint in the control cavity, but I found a big crack! It goes right between the holes for the switch and the rear knob. It doesn't go all the way to the front of the guitar, but you can feel where there's a depression there. I may have caused it when I was using the heat gun and scraper... Not sure what to do there, yet. Maybe I'll cut out the front of the cavity and make a control plate out of metal or something.
Making a pickguard for it is actually quite a nice idea. Jacksons don't usually have them.
Roses are red
Violets are blue
Omae wa mou

Quote by Axelfox
I talked to a friend at work who does a lot of woodworking in his spare time. He suggested that I make a paste out of wood glue and fine sawdust and use that to fill in the crack. Seems like a good idea, going to give that a try tonight. Then I'll use some wood filler putty to build up the depressed area in front and sand it flat. If that repair doesn't hold, then I think it'll be control plate/pickguard time.
Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Making a pickguard for it is actually quite a nice idea. Jacksons don't usually have them.

I gotta second this.

Looking forward to seeing the end of this.

BC Rich Warlock
Dean 88
ME682-In Progress
Carvin SX300
Clayton 1.0mm picks
Planet Waves cables.
Filled and sanded the front of the body by the controls, and filled in the cracks in the control cavity with a mixture of sawdust and wood glue. Hopefully the repair holds up! Need to do a final sanding and then I should be about ready to prime it.

It's playable! Finally got the neck pretty much straightened out, so I put the neck and bridge back on and strung it up with some 9's. It's not great, needs a proper setup, but now I know the neck isn't garbage. Onward with the build!
I'm commenting here so I can come back.

Probably my favourite kind of threads.
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Just laid a couple coats of primer, going to be ready for paint soon. I was trying to decide what to do for electronics, when I remembered that I had an EMG 81. So a single 81 in the bridge it is! I took it out of my EC-1000 when I put an SD blackout in. I've got the 81 and the SD pickup connector, jack, and battery connector which all will work with the EMG. Just need a couple 25k pots and I'm good to go! There's plenty of room in he cavity for 2 batteries so I'm gonna do the 18v mod. I'm using the stock 3 way switch, and will wire it up so that it goes 9v-kill switch-18v.

Speaking of the switch, it needed some attention. It was scratchy and broken. Took it apart, bent the tabs on the movable part out for more tension, glued the broken housing, removed the rust from the metal part, and cleaned up the contact surfaces with fine sandpaper. It's a cheap part, but reusing it will save a few bucks that'll go towards other stuff.

I also had to open up the pickup cavity a bit to make the EMG fit. Made quick work of it with my Dremel tool.

EMG fits!


Major progress! I decided on a blaze orange to neon yellow burst with black stripes. Then I got crazy and sprayed metallic glitter clear over the stripes. The back of the guitar is all metallic black too. Oh, and did I mention I went ahead and cut out an Ibanez Jem style monkey grip? They really help with carrying the guitar to the next gig . And big eye hooks for attaching a strap (probably zebra or leopard print) with carabiners so it's more secure for throwing it around my back during solos. I also painted the neck black and orange, and dyed the fretboard with black leather dye. I'm going to do another application of the dye to get it as dark as possible. I'm thinking about buying a set of those coated DR strings in the neon green color just 'cause. This was supposed to be kind of a tongue-in-cheek joke as far as the style goes but I'm digging it a lot more than I thought I would. The color on my phone camera is a little washed out. This thing is SERIOUSLY bright and vivid in person.

Reading this thread has made me late for work but DAMNNN it looks like a very tasty guitar!
I shouldn't post when drunk..

15 Jackson SLATHX-m 3-7 Slime green
Squier std tele (modded to hell)

Engl Powerball
Laney Ironheart 60h
Zilla Superfatboy 2x12 v30's

Thanks for the compliments! This thing would already be done, but theres a snag with mounting the pickup. Apparently EMG uses a 3-48 thread miniature machine screw. The only ones I can find in town with that thread are way too short. I'm going to check the guitar stores on Monday, hopefully I can find some there. Otherwise I'll have to order screws online or modify the pickup to make different screws work.