#1
This whole guitar modification thing is a bit harder than it looks isn't it!?

Right then. Basically I got the worst strat knockoff you could ever imagine. It goes under the same of a 'Crafter Junior' and you can see some pictures below. I think its originally from Argos if you needed some indication of the quality.

However, I got this thing totally free so thought I'd have a bit of a mess with it since I'm not going to lose anything.

I'm going to keep all of the electronics the same, I want to have a go at the body and setup mainly.

My girlfriend has been wanting an electric for a while so I thought it'd be a decent present to customize it for her.

So here's what I'm thinking, along with questions and problems I need helping with.

Oh, and before I start, can I say that I fully admit I'm a nOOb, so if I do say some thing stupid then don't bother posting a little rolleyes smilie or laugh at me, just answer the questions please

1) Sand down the body to the wood, then engrave 'Debbiecaster' quite large on the front, and maybe a little personal message on the back.

-----------What tool would I use to do the engraving? A dremel maybe?
-----------I'm expecting the wood itself to be plywood or something equally low quality. Can this be stained? Basically I want to avoid painting it because I know I'd make a ****-up of that.

2) Somehow get rid of the tremolo system. As you can see the trem arm has snapped off and I can't be bothered with it all so I just wanna get rid of the thing, or should I say just stop it havn't any effect on the tuning of the guitar. Its a cheapo system anyway so theres no point in trying to rebuild it.

-----------How the heck do you do that!? Just take off the back and have a fiddle?

3) Can I just take the neck off without worrying about the truss rod? I mean I'm not gonna leave it off for ages but maybe a week or so?


I had a look around and the guitar isn't even on the company website, which probably isn't a good sign. But I did find this! http://www.harmonymusic.co.uk/electric.htm (the bottom one)

Thats the guitar, and below are some pictures of it.





So in summary, I'd like to know;

1) Finishing options for a plywood body
2) How to disable the tremolo system, doesn't have to be taken out, just disabled
3) Can I take the neck off without adjusting the truss
4) How much would it cost to proffessionally set up the guitar

THanks to anyone who relies, I really do need help!

Thanks again, John
#2
1. whatever you would like to do but i wouldnt dish out too much money on paint or anything really cause it is a PLYWOOD body
2. tremol-no but I dont know if its worth it to spend 70 bucks on the guitar
3. Im pretty sure you can but ull get a second opinion from someone else
4. its about 30 bucks where i live but i go to a local guitar store so it might be more expensive where you do if you go to guitar center
My Gear:
Fender American Deluxe Stratocaster
Epiphone Sheraton II
Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue
Teese RMC Picture Wah
MXR Carbon Copy
Keeley Modded TS9
Korg Pitchblack
Schecter Omen 6
Dean Performer Acoustic

#3
I'm not really bothered about the cost of the thing, I mean I'd like to keep it to a minimum but its more the effort thats important. So I don't mind paying a little bit.

Would the stain work ok on plywood then? Or would it look a giant pile of crap? Oh and I didn't really understand your comment about the trem, could you rephrase it? Why would I need $70?

Thanks again
#4
well, he suggested a tremel-no, but that would be a bit pricey. for $40 you could get a plain old fashioned non-tremelo strat bridge from warmoth.com. and for plywood, spray paint works just fine. just use plenty of masking tape. and sand in between every 4-5 coats. and use lots of the clear varnish on top. and then use a car buffer to get it shiny.
Quote by corduroyEW
Cheap amps are "that bad". They suck up your tone like cocaine at Kate Moss' party.


I am Michael!
#5
Oh dear. I thought tremol-no was a misspelling

I should say know I don't give a monkeys about the hole in the bridge, as long as the trem doesn't mess with my tuning and all, which I don't think it does tbh. So could I just freeze the trem in place somehow? If you get me?

Would a stain do equally as good a paint job? Or would it not really look right on ply. You know it might not even be ply as far as I'm aware.

Anyhow, the reason I was thinking about a stain is that I'm gonna engrave a lot on it, especially on the back where I'm gonna have a lot of song lyrics, and I thought paint would just mess that up and get rid of the detail, wheras a stain would just colour and leave the detail as it was.

THat brings me to two more things, what should I use to engrave, and can I do something to make the words stand out. I'd like to have them gold but I wouldn't know how to do that.

I'd paint it if I could make sure the words stood out, which I could do if I filled the engraving with a colour, metallic gold being the one I'd like. But how would I do that? If anyone has a link to a tutorial it would be appreciated. Thanks Tubaboy and welcome to the jungle, big help so far.
#6
put all the springs in place, there should be five, then yopu had to do summat else, thell probably post after me.
I'm back. No-one knew I left anyway. Do you even know who I am?
#7
Thanks Slashfan, hopefully somebody will be able to help.

Also, could somebody run through how to paint the damned thing? Presuming I've sanded it all ready, could someone provide a really really easy step by step account of how to prime/sea/paint the thing?

THanks a lot.

I have looked but I don't have the resources most sites demand and its always too complicated. Cheers
#8
What's the cheapest of cheap multi-purpose stores in your area?

For me it was Walmart and in total I dropped 6 bucks on 6 spray paint cans.

Spray paint is probably your best bet, as you can get it for cheap, it's easy to use with not too many guidelines to follow, and it comes in pretty decent colors.

If you're looking at a solid color, don't look into priming it. Just get enough cans of paint to cover the thing. You're looking at 3 cans there. Sealer...if it's plywood don't bother. Just get 3 cans of clear lacquer or however many you buy of your base color.
#9
Thanks superanalytical but I'm not sure I fully understand.

What kind of spraypaint should I be buying? So if I wanted to paint the thing white, I'd sand it down, put on layers of paint and sand inbetween, and then after 10ish coats put on another 10ish coats of lacquer?

Sorry I really do need things spelling out hehe.

Also if I detailed the engraving with gold paint how would I go about this? With a brush maybe? I thought I'd have to do it after the last coat of paint, before putting on the lacquer. That way I can make the gold smooth before I start to lacquer it. Whether I'd be accurate enough to paint in the gold is another matter.

Has anyone got a solution about what to do with the trem? For little or no money if possible. I don't mind the hole in the bridge still being there I just want to freeze the trem as it were.
#10
I dont know too much about the details of painting, but if you're planning on just finishing the wood the sides of the guitar will probly look awful since its plywood...maybe not, youll find out when you sand. But for the tremelo, you can get a tremel-no, which "freezes" the trem, but its pretty expensive, or you could just get a non-tremelo strat bridge. If you went with the second option, im pretty sure you would have to fill in the tremelo cavity with a wood block or something....not sure though

Good luck!

EDIT: or, you could always put all five springs on the trem and use medium-low gauge strings and the bridge will stay flush against the body
Quote by Raven
i would much rather go to the ****ing hospital and have them surgically reattach my penis instead of slap some silly puddy on there and call 'er "mangled johnny"
Last edited by angusmeetsjimi at Jul 24, 2006,
#11
Could I jam a bit of metal in there instead? I.e. get rid of the springs alltogether and weld it shut? I've never experiemented with one so I don't know if this is possible.

In all fairness I've neer changed strings on one either. Maybe I best have a look!

The 5 springs with low gauge sounds good but I might want high gauge. So if its possible just wedging the thing tight would do me. Also, if I do wedge it shut, will the intonation be screwed?

Thanks Angus, big help mate

Edit: I just took off the back and had had a look and play around. I don't see any need whatsoever to do anything to the trem system. Without the leverage of a whammy bar the thing is horrendously difficult to move. Its essentially fixed. If I try and lift the bridge from the front I can't physically do it.

THe only thing is, if I leave it well alone will things like intonation and tuning be screwed? Thanks for any help.

Edit 2!: As for the plywood yes it may look horrific but then again it might be quite cool to have stripes of different shades of wood! I'm an optimist you should know, and if it looks shocking I'll just paint the thing.

What paints do I need by the way? Gloss or matt? and what type? And what lacquer lol!?

Also has anyone got an idea how to do the gold lettering? the wood will be engraved and the gold will sit inside the engravings.

Just realised I'm not really doing anything myself, but it doesn't matter. All you guys are far better than me and I'll be chuffed if it turns out half as good as any of yours!

Thanks for the help again
Last edited by ClaptonWannabe at Jul 24, 2006,
#12
You can go the cheap route and buy Krylon for your base color, 2 should be plenty, make sure you wetsand from 600 for the 1st coat, 800 for the 2nd coat, 1000 for the 3rd coat.

Then you can clearcoat it, put in about 9 coats, with wetsanding getting progressively higher uo to 1500. You *will* notice the thing get shinier. Use some silicone-free car wax to make it look really wet shiny.

For better protection, you can replace the Kry;on above with car spraypaint in acrylic. The same brand will carry the acrylic clearcoat. In the US, we use Duplicolor car spraypaint, very tough when it's all cured/hardened.

Good Luck! Your GF will love the effort.

Last edited by Ippon at Jul 24, 2006,
#13
Glad i could help bud. About the intonation, if the bridge is completely stable i dont see any reason why it would cause problems.

As for the paint, i have no idea but it looks like ippons got you covered.

And youre doing everything yourself, were just giving you advice lol....and for the record, this is one kickass present
Quote by Raven
i would much rather go to the ****ing hospital and have them surgically reattach my penis instead of slap some silly puddy on there and call 'er "mangled johnny"
#14
Thanks a lot Angus and Ippon, really helping me along.

Right then, as far as I know we don't have Krylon here in the UK so I'm going to use Plastikote. Below is the paint I've chosen. Could somebody just take a quick look and tell me whether it's suitable?

http://www.plasti-kote.co.uk/Site/productsdetail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=18 f

And I also saw this http://www.plasti-kote.co.uk/Site/productsdetail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=64. Do you think it would look decent or just tacky? I can imagine this is one of those things that sounds great in theory but looks shocking when you actually apply it.

Also can somebody confirm its ok to take the neck off without adjusting the truss rod? I don't wanna screw things up lol.

Yeh I hope it'll be a good present, just had the idea the other day and went with it!

And finally, can someone point me in the direction of a tutorial on how to strip a strat ripoff. I'm gonna need to take the electrics out obviously and I don't want to be soldering much. Is the only thing I have to disconnect the ground?

I'm paranoid by nature so would quite like it if I wasn't in constant fear that me taking out the electronics could somehow cause a electric shock that kills my girlfriend.

Ta much
Last edited by ClaptonWannabe at Jul 25, 2006,
#15
Sorry I gotta give this a bump. I know its not popular but I do need help.

Could someone answer the following questions?

1) Can I take the neck off without adjusting the truss rod? And if so for how long?
2) Are the paints I posted above suitable?
3) Is taking out the pickguard and electronics simply a case of disconnecting the ground and imput jack wires?
4) If I made a mess while soldering things ack, would it be dangerous. e.g. if I somehow got the ground wrong or the input jack wiring wrong etc. I'm paranoid I'll give a risky instrument to my GF

Thanks a lot guys. Sorry for the double post and all
#16
1) Taking the neck off will be fine, when you put it back on the action might be very low because it hasnt had the tension of the strings but it should go back to normal after you put the neck back on and restring it.

2) I dont know much about paint, but that seems like it would work...and if youre gonna try the pearl stuff, make sure to test on scrap wood before you try the guitar, it might be amazingly sweet or it could suck lol.

3) Sorry i cant help you on this one, ive never had to take the electronics out of my guitars

4) I cant see anyway it would be dangerous, the worse case scenario would be the pickups not working, dead signal, etc. Unless of course you somehow manage to leave miscellaneous wires sticking out of the guitar and she happens to hit the right ones lol.
Quote by Raven
i would much rather go to the ****ing hospital and have them surgically reattach my penis instead of slap some silly puddy on there and call 'er "mangled johnny"
#17
Dont stain a ply guitar. Debbie would hate you.
DARK_MATTER, Instrumental Post-Metal from Ireland


Bass:
Ibanez BTB 405QM
Ashdown PM600 - Peavey TVX 4x10
Russian Big Muff

Guitar:
Fender Jim Root sig
'99 Stagemaster 7-string
Yamaha F310
Hughes & Kettner Warp 7 w/4x12
#18
About the stain-


Seeing as how the guitar has an armrest (i don't know if it has a techincal name or not, i just call it an armrest haha- the beveled bit at the top when you play it sitting down) if it is indeed plywood, once you and that down, you'll be able to see each separate layer on the front of the guitar. Stain that, and it will look pretty crappy.
I had the same idea with the guitar i'm refinishing now, and once I sanded it down and realized it was plywood, I threw that idea out the window.

Hopefully that made sense.
#19
MEMBER 6 OF I <3 Online Putt Putt Group
Puttsecks?
Quote by DoTheEvolution
I like peni better. It sounds funnier.
"a group of naked guys jumped me, I have never seen so much peni ."
he likes peni

Captain of the Rage Against the Myspace Club. PM Bloody Mary to enlist.
#20
Quote by ClaptonWannabe
1) Can I take the neck off without adjusting the truss rod? And if so for how long?
2) Are the paints I posted above suitable?
3) Is taking out the pickguard and electronics simply a case of disconnecting the ground and imput jack wires?
4) If I made a mess while soldering things ack, would it be dangerous. e.g. if I somehow got the ground wrong or the input jack wiring wrong etc. I'm paranoid I'll give a risky instrument to my GF

1. Usually, truss rod adjustment becomes necessary when you change the string gauge, drastically, say from .09 to .12 ... the pros here can give more details.
2. The acrylic paints you linked to should be fine. Crash, the artist who painted 3 of Clapton's guitars used Krylon, which appear to have the same formula as PlastiKote. Make sure to use a primer/sander/sealer from the same family ... acrylic.
3. For Strat style, the jackplate has both ground and power AND the in the back, behind the tremolo cover where the springs are hooked to the trem claw, you'll see another ground wire.
4. Before de-soldering the wires from the jackplate, label where the color wires go to, and for the trem ground wire, label the wire ... to avoid oops. Not sure how significant the electric shock would be ... I'll leave that for the pros to comment.

BTW, as far as the pearlescent finish, why the heck not? Go for it and follow the ReRanch 101 and Project Guitars hints/tips, etc. Good Luck.

#21
I have deduced your in the UK. I suggest halfords spray paint. It's cheap and works wonders.

3 cans of primer.
4 cans of colour
4 cans of laquer.

Thats about 40 quids worth of stuff. But WELL worth it. For a fender like finish
Quote by tubab0y
Woohoo, I love you Ped!
#22
Quote by Pedricko

Thats about 40 quids worth of stuff. But WELL worth it. For a fender like finish


*Dies*

Yeh Ok then, I'll have a look and compare it with Plastikote. Someone on the last page told me I didn't have to bother with primer as its plywood. Is this not true then?
#23
i thought you still needed primer...anyways, i vote you try the pearlescent stuff, but its your call, seeing as its your project
Quote by Raven
i would much rather go to the ****ing hospital and have them surgically reattach my penis instead of slap some silly puddy on there and call 'er "mangled johnny"
#24
Quote by Pedricko
I have deduced your in the UK. I suggest halfords spray paint. It's cheap and works wonders.

3 cans of primer.
4 cans of colour
4 cans of laquer.

Thats about 40 quids worth of stuff. But WELL worth it. For a fender like finish



that's over doing it a bit if it takes that much to get the result your looking for your doing something wrong.
MEMBER 6 OF I <3 Online Putt Putt Group
Puttsecks?
Quote by DoTheEvolution
I like peni better. It sounds funnier.
"a group of naked guys jumped me, I have never seen so much peni ."
he likes peni

Captain of the Rage Against the Myspace Club. PM Bloody Mary to enlist.
#25
Quote by Ippon
1. Usually, truss rod adjustment becomes necessary when you change the string gauge, drastically, say from .09 to .12 ... the pros here can give more details.


-ideally, a jump from 9-12 is about 1/4-1/2 turn of the truss, then leave it to rest overnight and settle.
-my strat was around that, then you will need to re-intonate the whole guitar, measurements can be off by about 2/3 cents with ease from that
-finally, if its a strat style bridge, screw the trem claw screws in by a half turn per gauge id say, so thats about 3/4 turns, or that area

hope it helps man :cheers
#26
It isnt as much as you might think. The Halfords cans sometimes die out. And there is nothing wrong with 4 cans of laquer, thats 20 coats, which is about standard.
Quote by tubab0y
Woohoo, I love you Ped!