#1
I decided I wanted to totally mod a junk guitar so that if I screwed something up along the way, I wasn't out much money. I ended up getting a Indonesia Squire Bullet off of craigslist that came with a hard case and vox 10 amp for $80. I figured, what could go wrong right? Well, the guitar turned out to be a bit of a lemon. I didn't notice at the time of purchase, but the bridge saddles were cracked. I wasn't able to plug it in at time of purchase, and the pickups get almost no sound, so I will have to rewire them. Not really an issue since all I really wanted it for was the body.

Well turns out the body is plywood and not like the newer squires that are solid. I decided to carve it anyway. This was my first time trying to carve anything, so starting with plywood probably wasn't the best of ideas. But again, if it failed, I'm not out much. I decided to go with a design of "Old Man Winter" blowing his winter air onto the pickguard. Drew out a rough idea of what I wanted using a dry-erase marker on the guitar before sanding. Once I got what I liked, I took a picture, sanded off the finish, them redrew it out with pencil and then a sharpie.




I had to go slow since the plywood chipped pretty easily. Worked it down a small layer at a time. I actually added flower to the carved areas so I could better see the depths of the carves since the different color woods was really confusing (which is why there is white powder in the carving in some pics).






Once I was finished with the carving, I sanded and checked for areas I needed to fix.



Rubbed in Dap Plastic Wood grain filler into all the gaps and used a flat head screwdriver to clean up some of the lines.



Sanded down the dried grain filler. Had a couple of spots that needed more and had to fix. While that dried, I started on the headstock. Since it is solid wood, the chisels went through it like butter. Didn't have much time to work on it, but it's coming along.




The next step is to paint, then airbrush on the finished graphic, accentuating the carving. I haven't decided what to do with the pickguard yet. I may either get a white pearl guard, or airbrush on a mountain scene that Old Man Winter is blowing onto. I left the rise for the bridge the same in case I decide to get a different one later. Right now I just bought a replacement cheapo off the web. It was a bit smaller since it didn't have the extra side metal.

Eventually I plan to get some Tex-Mex pickups to go with it. It will have Hipshot Locking Tuners as well. I just want to make sure the guitar will actually play ok before I do that. Sure, I should have done that prior to carving, but this was more for fun than anything.
#2
Got the white down and started in with the airbrush (my first time ever using one so there were a lot of errors to fix). I finished up with a bit of detail using a brush. I couldn't get the airbrush to do tight enough lines. I am using an acrylic clear since I had issues with varnish in the past. The plan is to do about 6ish coats of acrylic clear and the finish with polycrylic. Not sure if this is smart or not, but I don't think the regular clear acrylic will have a tough enough layer. Hopefully in the end it works out. The restraints of working in an apartment means I had to do the spraying on the balcony, so keeping out any kind of dust was virtually impossible. Some minor imperfections will be on the back, but oh well.









Last edited by lilcurtis at Jul 9, 2016,
#3
I'll confess that I'm not usually one who likes mods like this, but yours looks wicked cool. Great job!
#4
Thanks! I appreciate it. It's been pretty fun so far. Can't wait to get it all cleared, sanded, and buffed before putting all other parts back on. Clearing always makes me nervous because I know that one screw up can basically kill hours upon hours worth of work.
#6
that is stunning. damn.
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#7
Well crap, I just ran into a major issue. The body is too thin to actually hold the upgraded selector switch. The depth of the switch is exactly the same depth as the body. I guess I will have to bore through and just at a plate to cover it in the back...I feel like that is a better option than using the squire selector. What do you all think?

EDIT: I ended up drilling through and adding a back plate. Not quite what I had in mind, but it's not terrible. Should have final picture tomorrow.
Last edited by lilcurtis at Jul 11, 2016,
#8
So I got everything in with a bit of work. The Fender pickguard wasn't quite the same size as the Squier which kind of caused a few small alignment issues. The top right on the guard was supposed to line up with the "wind" tucking under it. Also, with the bridge centered where it needed to be, the pickguard was just slightly off center. As noted above, I also had to carve out the back of the body and add a plate over it to fit the new switch. Not terrible, but not great.

Kit Components:
Loaded Fender Pickguard with Tex-Mex pickups and 250k pots from Twilight Guitars. White Pearl.
Q-Parts Acrylic Dome Knobs. Chrome Aqua.
Hip Shot Grip Lock Tuners.
Some junky replacement bridge.









#10
Some turds polish up real nice. :-) How does she play and sound?
#11
It plays pretty decent. I think I need to lower the action on it. The tone is pretty good, but it's also hard to know just yet as all my presets are for much hotter humbucker pickups. Eventually I will do a video demoing it I think.
#12
I recorded a video to give a listen to the tone. It's on a phone so probably not the best, but at least you can get a feel for the tone. You will have to forgive my sloppy playing. I haven't practiced in a while.

#13
That is beautiful. I wish I had those carving skills. I have a cheap Rich that could use a refreshing mod like that.
#15
Thanks all. The biggest I have is that now that I am done, I already feel like I need a new project!

Liaztraht - It's honestly just a matter of patience. If you can get a design onto the guitar that you like, you then just have to go very slowly, taking little bits off at a time. I am sure great carvers can knock it out fast, but it took me ton of time to do since I had to go so slow.
#16
Quote by lilcurtis
I recorded a video to give a listen to the tone. It's on a phone so probably not the best, but at least you can get a feel for the tone. You will have to forgive my sloppy playing. I haven't practiced in a while.


Thanks a lot for the demo of the finished guitar. It was really cool to see the person behind the project. The one disadvantage of an internet group like this is that we "know" people, but never actually see them. It was great to put a face with the name. I look forward to seeing your next project.
#17
Quote by lilcurtis

Liaztraht - It's honestly just a matter of patience. If you can get a design onto the guitar that you like, you then just have to go very slowly, taking little bits off at a time. I am sure great carvers can knock it out fast, but it took me ton of time to do since I had to go so slow.


Hopefully mine has enough wood on it. Its an old VG1, basically a super pointy strat with deep cutouts on the sides.

Maybe I will pick up a beater sg someday, carve an Electric Wizard tribute on it. Borrow the Dopethrone album art. This thread gave me many ideas.
#18
I would imagine it would have enough wood to at least do a shallow relief carve (which is what I did). I knew I wasn't going to go crazy deep which is why I decided to airbrush it after to give it a bit more depth. The best thing to do is to come up with a design that works with the available space rather than against it. For instance, I removed very little wood from the headstock and just had the lines follow the existing shape. Then I just did small reliefs to add to the effect.
#19
Looks awesome! Wish I had the talent to do stuff like that. Great stuff mate.
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Harley Benton CLD-41S (Acoustic)

Peavey Vypyr 30.

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Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
Boss FRV-1 '63 Fender Reverb
#20
So I finally got around to recording something through an interface rather than my phone. Tone isn't quite dialed in, but I thought it came out decent.

Side note...the poly finish i used apparently melts when sitting on a foam guitar stand for a while

#22
I am not sure what to do for a next project. I guess I have room on the guitar rack for one more, but I don't know if I really need another guitar (I know, I know. You ALWAYS have room for another guitar). I thought about starting with a Warmoth body and maybe doing a HSH configuration. I can't really justify spending the money on it given how little I actually play guitar right now, though. I also don't really see selling them being an option since they are pretty personal and I'm not sure anyone would want to buy them.
Last edited by lilcurtis at Nov 7, 2016,