I have an old Silvertone 1457 guitar that was given to me by my great grandpa a while back. I was looking at it the other day and had the idea to restore/customize it to my likings since I will not be selling it and cannot afford a brand new guitar at the moment. The guitar is in pretty good condition, but could use a fix up. I have never done any lutherie or restoration work before and am in need of some guidance. Here is a list of what I want to do to the guitar:
1. Remove the original finish and put a custom one.
2. Replace the binding.
3. Change the pickups to humbuckers (has lipstick style puckups).
4. If possible, put a quilt/flame maple top on the body after removing the original finish.
5. Change all other hardware (tuners, bridge, screws, etc.).

Any advice/help on tools needed and techniques for any of these steps is greatly appreciated. Here are some pictures of the guitar (had to put links; original pictures were too large):
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Last edited by masonjoseph_ at Jan 6, 2015,
My advice is to not do it. You could buy a good mid level guitar for the money you'll spend on tools and supplies, particularly because you'll spend more than you anticipate because you don't know what you're doing. This is a really big project. I would at least recommend going to a lutherie forum.

Firstly, removing the finish will be a pain in the butt. It's doable by anybody, though. Applying the binding would be difficult. You would have to rout out the humbucker routs; this won't be too difficult if you have the right equipment. The quilted top could be a little tricky. The only difficult part about the hardware will be making sure the parts will fit/retrofitting them. Make sure the tuners will fit the slots and check the measurements of everything. The frets look like they may need a level as well.

I really wouldn't do this unless you just want a really in depth project. Old Silvertones are just kind of cheap quirky guitars that people get for the heck of it. I'd just keep it as a memory of your great grandpa.
I'll second on the don't do it. That particular instrument, whilst not particularly huge in monetary value, is quite a collectors piece to someone into Danelectros. It might even work fine as/is.

If you really want to change it up for sound reasons, you COULD, if you are comfortable enough with it, maybe swap out the pickups for something more to your liking. If you want Humbuckers, you probably could fit in some hot-rails using the original mounting hardware for the lipsticks somehow.

If it were me, since I like quirky old cheap guitars like that, I'd just slap a set of string on it and play er' as is.
My Current Mains
- 1996 Fender Jag-Stang with EMG Pickups
- 1998 Fender Jaguar with Cool Rails
- 1982 Hondo Paul Dean II (DiMarzio Super II X2)
- 2010 "Fender" Jazzmaster (Home built)
- 2013 Squier VM Bass VI (stock)
I went over to a luthier forum and got the same answers. Thanks for the help! I think I'll just start a new build.