ESP LTD SC-607B Refinishing Project

Discussion in 'Luthiery, Modifications & Customizations' started by EpicFlail, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. EpicFlail

    EpicFlail SS.org Regular

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    Hey, all! I've been lurking here for almost a year with nothing to contribute.....until now!

    Around a year ago I came across a used early model 607B for pretty cheap so I snagged that up. I've never been a huge fan of black guitars so I really wanted to strip it down, paint/stain/alter it. The problem was that was my only 7 string and I very well can't be guitar-less for the time it would take to finish it. A few weeks ago I found an RG1527 for a decent price, bought that, and now I'm here.

    My original plan was to first sand down the paint and sealer to bare wood and paint it white. I've never had a white guitar and I think they look pretty slick. However, I'm a sucker for natural finishes (like most people on here), so that's always an option (depending on what the wood looks like--I'm not holding my breath). I want to put some black hardware on it if I do end up going with the white. If I go natural, I really don't know yet. We'll get to that later though.

    I also want to replace the fretboard. One, the SRC inlay is ugly. Two, the SRC inlay is ugly. And three, the SRC inlay is UGLY! I can't stand that stupid smiley face staring at me while I play.

    I'll go ahead and apologize in advance for the crappy iPhone pics. It's all I have right now.

    I actually started this two nights ago at like 2 AM but I'm just now getting around to posting it. That being said,

    Say goodbye, hardware.
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    Goodbye, hardware!
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    I took everything off but the bridge bushings and the string ferrules and put them in a cigar box for safe keeping. I was considering leaving all the pressed in fittings in until I could find a way to safely remove them, but I got impatient and wanted them out now. I'd seen someone drop a broken drill bit in the bushing hole and screw the post in there to force it out, but alas, I didn't have anything that would fit in the hole. Not going to be done in by a little piece of metal, I went to brainstorming and this is what I came up with.
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    I threaded it in as far as it would go, took it out, rolled up more paper, jammed it down there again, and screwed it in again.

    We have liftoff!
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    A couple more spirals of paper and viola!
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    I didn't take any pictures of removing the ferrules. I just cut a coat hanger and tapped them out. Not very interesting, I know.

    Since I will be replacing the fretboard, I figured I should get rid of the binding. I took tons of pictures, but it was around 4 AM and the lighting sucked so none of them turned out that well. I had an X-Acto knife lying around so I just tried to get inside between the fretboard and binding. I started with the treble side. The first few frets and last few frets were the biggest pain in the ass. Everything in between was cake (once I figured out the best way to do it, haha).

    Here you can see the treble side complete and my awesome paw print sweatpants. It's interesting to note that the slots were cut really deep. There's only around 1 mm of wood between the neck and the bottom of the fret slots. You're crazy if you think my phone would take a decent picture of that, but you can kind of see it here.
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    I moved on to the bass side, but encountered a problem with the side markers. They were glued through the binding and into the fretboard, so I kept breaking the binding off every two frets. Not so much a problem as it was annoying starting a new splice. As the sun was just beginning to rise, I decided I should get some sleep.

    Today was my day off, so I woke up early (noon) and walked to the hardware store for some supplies. For some reason, LA decided to be a bitch and be cold all day. My first day off in a month and it's cold. Awesome....

    My roommate told me to fix my car (hence why I walked to Home Depot) instead of work on this guitar today, but I'm sure of all people, you guys will agree with me that this must be done. Since my car is out of commission in the garage, the only logical choice is to do it inside.
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    This is actually Workshop Version 2. The first was a trash bag tossed under the chair I was sitting on. That got messy fast. I took my time to make clean up a little easier on me. As you can see, I started a bit on the body.

    Safety first! The hat wasn't really necessary. The respirator....yes.
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    I got a ton of sandpaper. Some for this, and a bunch for other stuff around the house. I had a sanding block already, so I loaded it with a sheet of 80 grit and got to work.

    Starting on the back:
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    Tummy bevel:
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    For some reason, I passed up a $30 orbital sander at HD today. "No, I can do it by hand!" I said. I'm still kicking myself. Although I probably wouldn't have been able to do it in my living room. Eh, can't win 'em all.

    Starting on the front. I got all the binding off. One less thing to worry about.
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    This is where I stopped. I didn't realize the time and had to cut it short there. I realize that I still haven't sanded through the sealer. I still have to sand the paint off the sides, neck, and headstock too, so I can wait on the sealer until I get all that done. I plan on regularly updating this as I make more progress. It's not going to be a super speedy refinish, but I promise I'll work on it in my free time and days off.
     
    Skyfire, mman36, MrMcSick and 14 others like this.
  2. Mysticlamp

    Mysticlamp Ripplesprint

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    gonna look grreat man, keep it up
     
  3. penny1

    penny1 kinetiks

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    So far I think it looks freaking great without the black. Wayy better natural.
     
  4. BlackMastodon

    BlackMastodon \m/ (゚Д゚) \m/ Contributor

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    That is some surprisingly nice wood underneath there, at first I was hoping you would make it white but the natural look will look better I think. It's gonna be a huge pain in the ass for you to sand those inner horns though. Also, very ballsy move on swapping the fretboard, you're gonna have to exercise a lot of caution with that. Good luck man!
     
  5. ASoC

    ASoC Downpicker \m/

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    looking good, if I were you I'd forget the natural look, fill the neck pickup route, and move it up closer to the end of the fretboard. The pickup position on that guitar kills me every time I see it.

    But, hey its your guitar :)
     
  6. Zombie13

    Zombie13 Guitartist

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    Why are you sanding off the headstock? :/ and dude! cover up the fretboard with blue painters tape!

    Have fun.
     
  7. 7stringDemon

    7stringDemon SS.org Regular

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    He's getting a new one since he hates the inlay.
     
  8. EpicFlail

    EpicFlail SS.org Regular

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    My first plan was to go white with all black hardware and an ebony fretboard to complete the whole black on white theme, but since the wood is actually pretty nice, it may as well be a naturalization.

    I've been looking at all the different builds on SSO over the past 6 or 7 months and have branched out from the "EBONY IZ THA BEST FRETBRD EVAR!!!11!!1" argument. So, now I want your opinions on what to do for the fretboard. I have a nice, thick piece of heartwood/sapwood Cocobolo that I bought back in December, but it's all the way back in Oklahoma at my parents house from when I visited over Christmas. I'll be flying back in May, but I don't necessarily want to wait that long just for that.
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    That grey blotch.....:noplease:

    My only concern with Cocobolo is the ease of working with it. I've heard that it's really oily and you have to be very careful gluing it on. Not to mention the possibility of being allergic to it. I don't want to be allergic to my guitar.:lol:

    What are your favorite fingerboard materials? I'm open to all suggestions, so don't hesitate to tell me your opinions!

    If I remember correctly, I also have a slab of wenge, but I don't think it's long enough for a fretboard. I'll call my parents on my walk to work and have them do a quick measurement.
     
  9. BlackMastodon

    BlackMastodon \m/ (゚Д゚) \m/ Contributor

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    I think either one of those Cocobolo boards would be awesome! I love the look of fretboards that have heart and sapwood on them. As for the allergy thing, from my understanding it's the dust from Cocobolo that irritates the lungs/skin so just wear a mask, long sleeves, and gloves while working with it and you should be OK.
     
  10. Zombie13

    Zombie13 Guitartist

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    Ah, new fretboard, I missed that, awesome!
     
  11. jordanky

    jordanky Contributor

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    This is going to turn out great, nice progress so far. By this time in stripping/refinishing I'm usually ready to kill myself and everyone that I love for even thinking it was a good idea to do a refinish.
     
  12. EpicFlail

    EpicFlail SS.org Regular

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    A little update tonight. Before I left for work I took a quick snapshot of the fret slots. I thought it was funny how deep they were. Little things like that bug me. What do you guys think?
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    At work, I showed my boss what I was doing. We're in the process of remodeling the store, and he told me that if I wanted to come in on a day off, I could use all the tools he has there to keep this thing moving along. :D

    I got off early so I could do some more sanding, but when I got home, we had company. I had to wait until about 11 to start, but I still got a fair bit done though.

    I've decided to dedicate these pants to sanding.
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    It looks like a really pissed off lizard.
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    I took a quick break to have a midnight snack next: Vegan. Belgian. Waffles. Go ahead, be jealous.
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    Back to work:
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    I touched up the area around the fretboard with some sandpaper on the end of my thumbnail. It was quite relaxing and to my surprise I legitimately enjoyed it. My arms hurt, but it was enjoyable. If anybody wants a body sanded, hit me up. Haha.

    One more parting shot with less noise in the background.
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    I want to get the tone knob area and the sides sanded down by the next update. My arms are going to be ripped by the time I finish this....

    This is the piece of wenge that's also back in Oklahoma. It's about two feet long. Enough for a fretboard. Or 4.
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  13. penny1

    penny1 kinetiks

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    Please use that Cocobola. It looks absolutely awesome. And the gray spot? It's like a naturally grown inlay/fret marker :D
    I vote use the shit out of it. It'll look beautiful in contrast with the guitar now that the finish is gone.
     
  14. Necky379

    Necky379 SS.org Regular

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    agreed on the cocobolo, i love everything about it, grey splotches and all.
     
  15. EpicFlail

    EpicFlail SS.org Regular

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    You weren't kidding. That was brutal.

    That's not a bad idea.... I'd rather have a grey spot than that gaudy smiley face. :lol: The pictures don't do it justice. It's absolutely gorgeous up close in the sunlight.

    I got about an hour and a half of sanding done tonight. I finished up the sides and the tone knob area.

    I absolutely HATED doing this part.
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    My inspiration and motivation for the night. I listened to the entire album. I noticed myself sanding to the beat. By the time I got to XIV/Behold, I was full on headbanging. :hbang:
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    PROGRESSSSS!!!
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    This was my favorite part of the night.
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    I'm still amazed by how good the wood looks. I went into this expecting the worst, but dammit, I'm excited! I guess I really lucked out.
     
  16. penny1

    penny1 kinetiks

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    Oh yeah totally. This is going to be super cool. Especially with that Cocobola. The sanding is looking nice. Good job so far.
    And how is that album? Wonderful I'm assuming haha
     
  17. Dan_Vacant

    Dan_Vacant Hi I'm Dan.

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    I think it is the best Born of Osiris Album.
    Now to the op:
    Holy jesus lizard that thing is awesome looking.
     
  18. ibanezcollector

    ibanezcollector Gear Junkie

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    awesome, subscribed..
     
  19. EpicFlail

    EpicFlail SS.org Regular

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    Definitely. 10 steps forward since A Higher Place.

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    I officially hate sealer. I hate it.
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    I slapped the original tuners back on it to see what it looks like. I wanted to go with black hardware, but the chrome looks pretty good. What do you think?
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    I was thinking some wooden tuner knobs would look pretty cool. Keeping with the wood idea, I cut a 6" long piece of that wenge and brought it back to California. I thought it would be neat to sand it down to use for the tone and volume knobs. I started one back in December for another project but forgot about it. I was rummaging through some boxes and found these three pieces. Jackpot! It's not done obviously, but still. JACKPOT!
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    Also, what should I do about the headstock binding? Ideally I would like to go all natural, but there's going to be that area routed out. It's not too noticeable. Should I just leave it there for now? If I could get away with it, I would bind it with something more wood-like.
     
  20. TheSixthWheel

    TheSixthWheel bangetzit

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    Hey man, this is really looking promising. I would never in a million years have replaced the fretboard because I, unlike yourself, do not have the balls (or tools/money) for a refret. I probably would have removed and filled the inlay while keeping the original fretwork, but I'm really glad you're doing what you chose to do, because it'll be a complete one-off and a half custom due to the interesting fretboard wood choices. Huge respect for doing what you're doing, I've been there before a few times - without the fretboard replacement.
    The only advice I can offer you regarding the headstock binding is reiterating what you've already suggested - Leave it there (because white binding on natural wood doesn't look bad if the wood is nice) or remove it and leave the route.
    I'd recommend leaving the headstock binding until after you've replaced the whole fretboard, that way if you choose to add your own binding to the new fretboard, you'll still have the old headstock binding to use as a reference for where your new binding may continue. Maple looks really awesome with a thin black binding, IMO.

    Either way, it's badass, you're badass, and I'm very interested to see what options you end up going with. Mockups might be a good idea?
     

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