#1
Hey guys (and gals??) I got my first guitar about 11 years ago, it is like a 100$ Epiphone. It has been through a lot and is no longer playable. I don't think it has had strings on it for some unknown number of years and also lived in a storage unit that varied from -30F to probably over 100F degrees. I want to use this guitar to teach myself how to do my own guitar work but I also have this fantasy that I could modify it and fix it up to the point that I would actually play it and enjoy it (mainly because its the guitar I learned on and it has sentimental value) Do you think for one that its possible to make this guitar playable at all and two to modify it to the point of being like a mid range guitar, better than what it was when I bought it??
#3
Probably not hard to get it playable, some new strings and a setup. From there, play it a while and see of you really want to do anything else with it. Who knows, you might just like it the way it is...
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#4
It would be cheaper to buy a nice guitar.

A cheap $100 guitar that's been neglected for years will fight you every step of the way to its restoration. Even then, you can only improve so much, before its foundation becomes the limiting factor.
#5
You may end up in Theseus' paradox at the end. Definitely not worth it.
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#6
The neck is probably all warped and twisted and all kinds of ****ed up to be honest. But if it is ok then you can work on it definitely.

Fret level, tune, intonate, truss rod and then see if it is playable to your liking. If it is then consider new pickups and tuners first as these will make the most difference. After that you can look at stuff like the bridge, wiring and pots.
#7
Quote by Offworld92
You may end up in Theseus' paradox at the end. Definitely not worth it.


The reference:


"The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned from Crete had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their places, in so much that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same."
—Plutarch, Theseus[2]


So if you replace pretty much everything in a cheap guitar and it costs you a lot of money and labor to do so, is it still that cheap guitar, or has it become an expensive guitar that, at its core, is completely different.
#8
Quote by ryane24
Do you think for one that its possible to make this guitar playable at all and two to modify it to the point of being like a mid range guitar, better than what it was when I bought it??


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#9
Sounds like you have nothing to lose by trying and it is a great opportunity to get into learning how a guitar works. First check the neck to see if it is straight. Take off the truss rod cover and see it the truss rod still moves. If either the neck is twisted or the truss rod is frozen, don't go any further. If those are ok check the frets to see if they are all still in place and solid in the neck. Excessive heat or moisture can make the frets come lose. The neck is the major factor in deciding whether or not to work any further on this guitar. If you do nothing else, take the whole guitar apart and try putting it back together. You'll get to see a lot of interesting things.

If you decide to you throw the guitar away strip off the hardware. Keep the hardware (pickups, tuners, bridge, knobs etc.), put them in an oversized zip lock bag or a small box or container with a piece of paper inside identifying the guitars make, modal and year. Who knows you may find these parts may come in handy down the road on a later project.
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#10
Quote by ryane24
Hey guys (and gals??) I got my first guitar about 11 years ago, it is like a 100$ Epiphone. It has been through a lot and is no longer playable. I don't think it has had strings on it for some unknown number of years and also lived in a storage unit that varied from -30F to probably over 100F degrees. I want to use this guitar to teach myself how to do my own guitar work but I also have this fantasy that I could modify it and fix it up to the point that I would actually play it and enjoy it (mainly because its the guitar I learned on and it has sentimental value) Do you think for one that its possible to make this guitar playable at all and two to modify it to the point of being like a mid range guitar, better than what it was when I bought it??


as other have said fix it up yes, learn to do the work yourself yes. make it into a way better guitar, honestly probably not. $100 epis are pretty botom of the barrel so any real improvements you make will cost you more than the guitr did to begin with. you can't change the fact that the neck and body are as cheap as they come.

use the guitar to experiment on. 'd suggest looking at Guitar Fetish's website as they have cheap parts that are fairly decent quality.
#11
Quote by monwobobbo
as other have said fix it up yes, learn to do the work yourself yes. make it into a way better guitar, honestly probably not. $100 epis are pretty botom of the barrel so any real improvements you make will cost you more than the guitr did to begin with. you can't change the fact that the neck and body are as cheap as they come.

use the guitar to experiment on. 'd suggest looking at Guitar Fetish's website as they have cheap parts that are fairly decent quality.


HUGE +1 it would be much nicer than it is now, and cost a fraction of other branded parts. i do have to say that i don't have much experience with them, but over the years i have heard a lot out about them.
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#12
It's definitely worth trying to get it playable if you work on it yourself, but I wouldn't put any money into it. For the cost of parts and getting a tech to look at it, I would rather buy a used guitar.
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#13
I've put together two strat type guitars from spare parts thanks mostly to eBay auctions. Most the cost was in good pickups though, new and used. One of them got complicated though and I needed a tech to finish the job. But yeah...you learn a lot and it's quite exciting. One of them is now my main axe, sounds awesome. Forget the cost, it's the experience that counts.
#14
I've been watching too many wrecks to riches car shows on cable.

Almost anything can be resurrected and made better than it was (look at all those RUSTO-mods rolling across the red carpet at the car auctions!); it's just a matter of skills and money. Whether it's WORTH it is a whole 'nother story.
#15
Yes you can. But it depends on your abilities. I've been buying cheap shitty electric guitars since high school and fixing them up on all sorts of wonky budgets. Quite a fun hobby actually.

The thing about it is it can get expensive fast if you really don't know advanced things like fret leveling, or are not willing to put some elbow grease into it as a project guitar. It also pays to only do this sort of thing when you have a good, functioning guitar if you want something to play int he mean time. I speak from experience with a basketcase for a guitar at one time.

As for the worthiness of it, that's in the eye of the beholder. Honestly, if I can fix up an $80 strat copy for $15 in materials and a few hours worth of concentrated work, and end up with a "keeper", I consider it worth it. For me there's not a lot that isn't worth it, but when I was starting out, that was a different story.
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#16
I literally saw an old, beaten up acoustic guitar in the garbage once and I took it home, resurfaced the finish and bought new no-name tuners and a new pickguard for it, flatfiled the frets and set up the action. It is not an heirloom, for sure, but I do get lots of time playing it and it was well worth the $20 in parts.

My advice: Go for it.
#17
Quote by Blademaster2
I literally saw an old, beaten up acoustic guitar in the garbage once and I took it home, resurfaced the finish and bought new no-name tuners and a new pickguard for it, flatfiled the frets and set up the action. It is not an heirloom, for sure, but I do get lots of time playing it and it was well worth the $20 in parts.

My advice: Go for it.


When you say you resurfaced the finish what do you mean?
#18
You can replace the electronics (pickups, knobs, etc.), the mechanic parts (bridge, tuners, truss rod, etc.), and so on. However, if you still have sub-quality wood, it will still sound worse than if you just bought a new guitar with better quality wood.

Edit: I mean, if you just want to fix it up to fix up -- go for it! But don't expect a $100 epiphone to sound as good as a better quality guitar.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Jul 2, 2015,
#19
^^^^ My experience is that wood has very little to do with anything in solidbody electrics, and nothing at all if you are using distorted sounds.

If you like the lump of wood, the rest is generally worth fixing up. You just have to recognise that you likely won't recover your investment if you sell it.
#20
To ryane24: I resurfaced the finish to remove scratches and improve the generally poor condition of the guitar finish (note that had this been a valuable guitar I never would do that as it would reduce its value). This started with filling the finish gouged areas with added lacquer, letting it cure and sanding it flush, then using 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper (wet with water) over the entire guitar. That left it with a soft lustre, but as I like mine to be a bit more glossy than that I proceeded to use polishing compound on a cloth with water (by hand, although many would use a buffing wheel) to bring the gloss up to a higher gloss level. It looked and felt amazing after that. Final touch was a bit of guitar polish (with wax).