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#1
Ok, so for this project I will be giving an old crappy Washburn guitar a new life. The guitar is a Washburn Billy T model, and was bought at a local pawn shop. I couldn't really find any information online about the guitar, but it played well, had a unique body shape, and a Seymour Duncan in the bridge, and only ran me $120. I needed something to try all of the following on, so here are the plans:

1) Re-cut the body to a ( I think anyways ) cooler and more playable shape

2) Re-cut the headstock to a ( again, this is subjective ) cooler looking shape, make a new truss rod cover, and inlay something or other in it

3) Re-radius and re-fret the fingerboard, as well as slapping a 23rd fret on the end of the board just for fun

4) Stripping the guitar and repainting it a nice bright orange color, mostly because I'm pretty sure I have never seen a bright orange guitar in a shop

5) A ton of other little stuff along the way


Most of the stuff I'm doing, besides re-cuting the body and headstock, is stuff I have never done, and I'm pretty much just doing it to this cheap guitar for the experience. You'll notice someone installed a killswitch before I got my hands on it, which is cool by me. Here are some pics of it "before":






Any comments, questions, or suggestions are more than welcome!

Last edited by lumberjack at Aug 5, 2008,
#2
Does it have grovers? if i were you id try to see what i was cutting up..before i cut it up.... but thats just me, pics if you do hack that beast up!
LIFE IS TOO SHORT NOT TO LET YOUR MIND SPREAD WINGS AND TAKE FLIGHT

Quote by KeepOnRotting
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#3
I love those! There is a bt-4 or 5 for sale at the pawnshop here for 120 dollars, with the high-end washburn floyd rose on it, maple neck and fingerboard and a quilted maple top. washburns were amazing in the early 90's, now they suxxorz, but the new HM series will give them a comeback.

oh and let me know when you wanna come work in my shop. i just got a new bandsaw and 6'' jointer, so if you wanna do some cuttin let me know. PM me if you are serious about it and ill shoot you a celly number. maybe we can take a trip to one of my fav. lumber yards.
#4
Quote by LaGrange
Does it have grovers? if i were you id try to see what i was cutting up..before i cut it up.... but thats just me, pics if you do hack that beast up!


It does have grovers, but on the other hand the rest of the hardware/electronics are a mish-mash: black knobs with funky red rubies in them that don't look stock ( mostly cause of the rubies and the fact that the rest of the hardware is chrome ), no name stop tail and bridge, and the stock pickups were Duncan Design ( that's what was in the neck ), but someone popped a real Duncan TB-'59 in the bridge. Whatever is in the neck is gear for a much hotter bridge; the neck pickup is a bit hotter than the '59, and it makes a pretty darn bad pair all together, it's very unbalanced. I will be selling the '59 and popping in a JB and SH-1 I swipped from a Jackson DK2M.
#5
1. Make plans for this thoroughly along with measurements in all possible aspects you can think of, and be sure it looks good, because it's like hair: you can grow it as long as you want and cut it off if it's too long, but once you cut it off it won't be as easy to put it back on. I vote for a really "spikey" shape (think explorer/a lot of B.C. Rich Warlock or something), but with a round bottom!
2. See #1
3. Cool. Good ide of the 23rd fret btw.
4. You fail. I've seen an orange Parker Fly. But do it anyway.
5. Be specific...

Also if you want to spend some money on this: replace all hardware with black stuff!
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#6
Quote by LP Addict

oh and let me know when you wanna come work in my shop. i just got a new bandsaw and 6'' jointer, so if you wanna do some cuttin let me know. PM me if you are serious about it and ill shoot you a celly number. maybe we can take a trip to one of my fav. lumber yards.


That's actually EXTREMELY tempting, as I have a bookmatch set of lightly quilted/flamed maple I need to get "jointed" ( I don't know how to say that ) for gluing onto a bottom I have been working on, and the fact that I don't have a bandsaw for cutting it even though I would be gluing it, or a jointer, or a decent drill press or....uh.....anything cool besides a massive air compressor and a jigsaw and a crap load of hand-held power tools hahaaaaa...

I'll let you know when my shoulder is well enough to drive my car again, it should be within the next two weeks.

EDIT: even though the maple is no-where near as cool looking as the stuff you're always working with
#7
Quote by asfastasdark
1. Make plans for this thoroughly along with measurements in all possible aspects you can think of, and be sure it looks good, because it's like hair: you can grow it as long as you want and cut it off if it's too long, but once you cut it off it won't be as easy to put it back on. I vote for a really "spikey" shape (think explorer/a lot of B.C. Rich Warlock or something), but with a round bottom!
2. See #1
3. Cool. Good ide of the 23rd fret btw.
4. You fail. I've seen an orange Parker Fly. But do it anyway.
5. Be specific...

Also if you want to spend some money on this: replace all hardware with black stuff!


ARRRGGG I know I know I know, that's the FIRST thing I thought when I settled on orange as my color! You're a wise man. But there's a problem: I have shoulder recovering from surgery i.e. no job, and I have approximately $237 in the bank. I have a hand-full of things I'll be selling to make a little money, but I don't know if I will be able to afford all new hardware

Also, I'm from the "artistic" woodworking mold, and have already done alot of cutting to this guitar w/o measuring, I just haven't told you all yet ( it's spikey! pics later on, I have to leave for the night ). Stupid perhaps, but I trust my pencil and my hand as much as measuring tools when it comes to re-cutting guitar parts. Of course, making parts from scratch is a different story, but when I'm working with already-done stuff, I tend to go free form.
#8
Quote by lumberjack
That's actually EXTREMELY tempting, as I have a bookmatch set of lightly quilted/flamed maple I need to get "jointed" ( I don't know how to say that ) for gluing onto a bottom I have been working on, and the fact that I don't have a bandsaw for cutting it even though I would be gluing it, or a jointer, or a decent drill press or....uh.....anything cool besides a massive air compressor and a jigsaw and a crap load of hand-held power tools hahaaaaa...

I'll let you know when my shoulder is well enough to drive my car again, it should be within the next two weeks.

EDIT: even though the maple is no-where near as cool looking as the stuff you're always working with



If we go to the lumber yard and you bring 30-50 bucks you can get enough awesome maple to build 6 guitars.
#9
that is the gawdiest ****ing guitar I've ever seen in my life. have fun.
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#10
So I re-cut the headstock, after stripping the paint of course! I was going to use stripper, but the brand I had didn't pull up the paint at ALL, so I went for the heat gun paint stripper option instead, hence all the burn marks!




Next, I re-radiused the fingerboard, which was about 12", to a flatter 16" radius: better for shred'n! I pulled the frets first of course, and before I radiused the fingerboard I also slotted for the infamous 23rd fret, as seen in the pictures below. Here's some
shots:

Before:


After pulling the frets:


After re-radiusing and slotting the 23rd fret spot:


I've cut the body, but I want to do some sanding around the cuts I made to make it a little bit more photogenic. I also have decided to cut back around all the sides, just enough to have really sharp angles between the sides and the top, instead of your standard rounded-edge look. Unfortunately, my plan is to do that with a belt sander, and my physical therapist won't allow it for at least 2 more weeks on account of my bum shoulder. Curses!

Body pics to come soon.
#11
If it is the "Washburn resurrection" you need to paint it to look like a zombie.
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
#12
I actually think the original shape isn't bad at all. It's just that colour that is pretty gross.

How did you injure your shoulder?
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#13
Quote by jmag
I actually think the original shape isn't bad at all. It's just that colour that is pretty gross.

How did you injure your shoulder?


It was actually a long time ago weight lifting; it just took the docs 2+ years to actually find the tears. It was actually on the 3rd MRI that they did, so recently I went in for surgery, and am currently in rehab.
#14
Quote by lumberjack
am currently in rehab.


You made it-- you're totally a rock star!

How do people find such good things at pawn shops? The one near me has horrible (possibly plywood) p.o.s' for 250+. I know you said you tend to "free hand" the stuff, but do you have any kind of idea for the shape you could let us in on?
#15
Quote by Merdesa
You made it-- you're totally a rock star!

How do people find such good things at pawn shops? The one near me has horrible (possibly plywood) p.o.s' for 250+. I know you said you tend to "free hand" the stuff, but do you have any kind of idea for the shape you could let us in on?


It's actually already been cut, I just need to do some sanding before it's photo op. Basically all I did was cut the cutaways back approximately 1/2", and rounded off the heel, kinda like Ibanez does. It has alot of shaping to go yet, but I won't wait for that to show you guys how the cut came out! Pics should be up no later than tonight.

Also, I have been searching 3 local pawn shops for over a year now, and this was the first decent thing I have seen, as far as the price was concerned; I certainly don't find deals very often in there. I think there may have been better deals in pawn shops in general before websites like eBay and craigslist, but personally I just can't seem to snag a good deal in there any more. On guitars that is.

EDIT: the shape I cut out is very pointy!
#16
Ok, so I cut the body shape I wanted after stripping the finish off. I didn't strip off the sides because I'm going to end up carving those inwards to make sharp 90 degree angles with the top, that was the whole body has them, just like the fresh cut I made around the inner horns and neck pocket. Here's some shots:





All my cuts were made free hand. Also, I re-fretted the neck, but am waiting for a few dabs of glue to set up before I start dressing them, so here are some pics of the frets with ragged edges:





Not bad for my first-ever fretting job, eh? I started out with the Stew-Mac caul and had it in my extremely bad drill press, but didn't like the feel of it, so I ended up using the caul and caul-clamp over top of the frets, and just tapped 'em in with a hammer. You'll noticed here and there that the fingerboard has got some rashes on it. Those are from a coping saw I used to widen the fret slots to accept the bigger fret tangs of Stew-Macs "widest/tallest" fretwire. I decided not to sand them out yet, as the more and more I work on making this guitar different and wierd, the more and more I think it would be nice to fully scallop the fingerboard. I mean c'mon, how cool would a bright orange guitar with huge spiky horns, 23 frets, and a full scalloped fingerboard be??
#19
Quote by necroscience13
with 23 frets it may throw your intonation way off.


I didn't add any wood, just another fret where there was extra space. So long as I don't change the scale the intonation won't change at all.
#20
this is quite cool. What's the body made of? It looks like alder or something like that to me.
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#21
Quote by oneblackened
this is quite cool. What's the body made of? It looks like alder or something like that to me.


I'm not really sure, I'm open to all suggestions, although my personal belief is that it might be ash. I'm not certain though.
#22
Almost ready for finishing! Only thing left to do is drill a 4th hole behind the neck pocket, as well as sink a 1/2" hole around each screw-hole to accommodate some washers. Since the last time I posted, I squared off all the sides to make sharp 90 degree angles with the top and bottom, starting with a belt sander for the major demolition and then moving to a cabinet scrapper to polish things off. I also decided to add some bevels on each horn, as well as dig out a massive scoop on the right horn, for more upper-fret mayhem. It started out very conservative, kinda PRS style, but then I realized nothing else about the mods I have been doing on this guitar have been subtle, so why should the scoop be? Anyways, here are some shots right before my first coat of grain filler:

here's the bod


a shot of the neck pocket that I decided to sculpt to a rounded contour:


mondo scoop:


mondo scoop + horn bevels:


example of the sharp angles resulting from cutting in the sides:


and finally a little insert I made to mount a cover on the control cavity:



Sooo, shots of the primed body to come soon. As I mentioned earlier, this is going to be bright orange.

What do you all think?
#23
dude, biohazard orange is the way to go
maybe w/ a biohazard logo?
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#24
that looks very good, but I think if you thinned up the bass side your shape would flow much better with those super thin horns.
#25
Quote by jafar007
dude, biohazard orange is the way to go
maybe w/ a biohazard logo?


I've already got the paint, and I'm not sure that it's quite up to the challange of biohazard, but it's definitely construction/safety equipment orange , check it out:


I don't think I'll do a biohazard logo on the body, but I'm going to inlay something in the headstock, and I havn't decided on what yet, so that might be the ticket. It's either that, a custom design, OR a suggestion made by my friend: a leg of ham. Haaaaa that would be incredibly funny, but I couldn't do it I don't think, seeying as how I've never inlayed anything before.

Quote by carousel182
that looks very good, but I think if you thinned up the bass side your shape would flow much better with those super thin horns.


Do you mean sorta like this:


Cause if that's what you meant I think you're right. It looks pretty lopsided right now! The only thing is that I hesitate to whack more wood of this little guy: it STARTED as a pretty darn small guitar, then I cut the horns and neck pocket, and trimmed in the sides about 1/2" in all around, and scooped out that horn. If I cut any more wood off this thing, I'm afraid it will dissapear! Do you think it would be worth the loss of wood to re-cut it for a better look?
#27
YES please do cut it
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#29
Quote by LP Addict
looking cool, what do you think this one will sell for?



Haha, I kinda signed off on making any money on this one when I decided to go for a bright orange finish! But who knows, I might sell it after a little while. I'm still going to do a full scallop, which will add even further to it's uniqueness, so maybe just the right person will be on eBay the week I end up selling it. If it DID sell for anything, I couldn't really imagine it going for much more than $400-$500 or something, which is amazingly bad considering the time I'll have put into it by the end. But then again, I didn't really plan on selling this one from the get-go, since it's the first time I've ever tried allot of this stuff. I figured it would come out really bad!

As for the cutting, UG has spoken, and so has my taste: it shall be cut. Pics on that when it's done.
#30
If there's anyone who actually subscribed to this thread, you'll know I haven't posted in a long while. Once my semester got rolling, I sorta forgot my guitar project existed. Blasphemy, I know.

Anyways, I rememberd it and made some progress. I've primed the body, which was an incredibly large pain in the butt: first I had to seal the grain with two coats of grain filler and wait for 5-6 days for it to dry. Then, I did two more coats of sanding sealer and waited a week for that to cure. Finally, I put down my first coat of primer, and realized all the blatant flaws I had left in the base finish of sanding sealer. A few teaspoons of wood-fil, about 8 coats of primer, and tons of wet/dry sanding, here's what I ended up with:






I sanded through in a few spots, but I also ran out of primer, so I'll just go with an extra top coat.

I also spray painted the hardware black, to go with the orange top coat. I totally thought this would not work at all, but I scuffed it all up with light sandpaper and blasted it with a thick coat of some crazy high gloss enamel that's designed for grills and ovens, i.e., it's really hardcore. It came out great! Here's an example:




I will be laying down the orange top coats this weekend, and maybe even getting to the lacquer by Sunday or so. Peace.

EDIT: I never actually cut away the side like I said I would, it's the funny angle I shot that picture at that made it look so fat. It stays.
#31
Looks great man, are you just gonna do the orange or are any graphics involved
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#32
Probably not, unless you can come up with something really awesome! If you are gunna suggest something, make it "extreme"; that's been the guiding principle/word behind all the weird things I'm doing to the guitar.

On another note, I haven't planned on graphics, but I did do a really cool inlay design in the headstock. It's almost finished, so I'll post pics of it soon.
#33
Sweet I was gonna suggest anything to make it "extreme" I was just wondering lol
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#34
looking really tidy there, looking forward to seeing the end result!
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#35
So this morning I took a peek at the guitar and suddenly thought it might be cool if I did some kind of a orange/red/yellow/black burst instead of a solid color. I took an hour and mocked up 5 ideas in paint. Do any of these look better than a solid orange color? I think yes, but maybe it's just because I spent so long working on them in paint, har har.




#36
I like the idea of just a bright orange guitar, you don't see them too often unfortunately - but if you're gonna burst it I vote for number 2.
Last edited by xharass_natox at Oct 10, 2008,
#37
Leave it orange. That color is pretty unusual outside of recent Gretschs and Parkers, and some 80's glam-y guitars. But if you do burst it, numbers 2 and 4 look nicest. Maybe with a slight yellow or red around the edges it would look nice. Overall, this s gonna be a pretty nice guitar. After you spray the color, do a mock-up assembly with the hardware, knobs, pickups, etc., so we dont have to wait a few weeks to see what itll look like.
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