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Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby DC-Choppah » Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:08 pm

Please help me bring this old guitar to a new life
https://www.dropbox.com/s/vfucfwm5cmlqq ... 1.JPG?dl=0

This guitar sat since 1978 or so . It has a a wonderful resonance where the whole guitar vibrates, and the head moves when strummed. I mostly play contemporary jazz but have been looking for a rock guitar. The guitars in the music store tend to all be lifeless and don't resonate and sound the same.

But this guy comes alive when you strum it. So I would like to bring it back to life. Problem is that the electronics are unreliable, the pickups are dark and quiet and lifeless, the pick guard is cracked and the bridge is rusted and can't be adjusted. The electronics are dirty and unreliable.

I would like to turn this into my rock beast.

I want to make it sound like a rock guitar but then play my jazzy licks on it I hope for a unique fusion sound.

Style-wise, I want it to be a yellow guitar with black hardware and pickgaurd. I am going for a Frank Gambale, Yellow Ibanez kind of thing: http://ibanez.wikia.com/wiki/FGM100

But, I don't want to change the natural sound of the guitar.

Any help is appreciated. I have never rebuilt a guitar before.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby mashedmitten » Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:24 pm

Don't dare paint that thing yeller! :protest:

By all means new hardware and electronics (save the old for the next owner), but that's a nice guitar, as is.

DON'T WRECK IT!
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby CS70 » Sat Mar 25, 2017 6:29 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:Please help me bring this old guitar to a new life

First thing would be to obtain the precise measurements of the parts you need to change. I've never owned an Ibanez, but the guitar modding universe is so big that I'd be surprised if you can't find an appropriate bridge. Same for pickups - check the routed holes and take the measurements. So long the guitar hasn't active pickups, the electric wiring isn't all that hard to change, but for peace of mind (and zero soldering ability) I always bring it to my luthier - as for someone who does it often it's a very easy job to rewire a guitar. If the pots aren't good, again it's easy to buy the parts and bring them to your luthier for mounting (or of course learn to do the soldering yourself). Pickguard can be a bit trickier, as the shape of the guitar seems a bit unusual, but there's websites where you can make your own custom one - it's just a google search away.

Should be absolutely doable!
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby zenguitar » Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:20 pm

It is worth removing the bridge and then spraying the intonation screws with WD40, leave it to soak in for an hour or two and then try removing the saddles. If that works, drop the saddles into a jam jar and squirt in WD40 until there is enough to completely cover them. Then leave to soak overnight. With luck this will enable you to remove the grub screws that adjust the saddle height. They may be OK to use after applying a little 3 in 1 oil, or alternatively you can replace the grub screws and intonation screws with new ones. That will get the bridge working properly for you.

A quick Google for "Ibanez Blazer Scratchplate" found a USA site which may be able to provide a replacement from a tracing or photo. The should be UK companies that can make a replacement scratchplate if they have a tracing or (ideally) the original. Think about the pick-up mounting options, the Blazer has a 3 screw fitting whereas most replacement humbuckers use the Gibson 2 screw fitting. So, getting a replacement scratchplate with 2 hole mounting will give you a vast range of pick-up options. An alternative would be to get the original pick-ups rewound (and possible new magnets) to whatever spec you require using the original 3 hole mounting.

The rest of the electrics should be pretty straightforward.

Those options could well get you up and running with a nice guitar without having to do too much measuring and searching to find suitable replacement hardware.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Mar 25, 2017 11:05 pm

I'm never going to disagree with Andy on matters like this but would add that if WD40 doesn't get the rusted screws freed up Plus Gas might manage it. It's a penetrating fluid (WD40 is a moisture displacing fluid) and if WD fails then a liberal soaking with Plus Gas may get things moving.

BTW if you really want to paint it yellow, a liberal coat of clear celly (or WHY) beforehand may give you the option to restore it to the original finish at a later date.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:42 am

If you've never painted a guitar before, be very careful. I've done precisely this kind of restoration/customisation on quite a few guitars now (see my website www.yamahapacifica.com. Whilst replacing pickups, scratchplates, electrics, bridge etc are all very straightforward if you're just using like-for-like parts, a paint job can very often end in tears very quickly. Been there done that.

Feel free to PM me if you want any tips etc. Cheers.

BTW, it's really easy to make your own scratchplate. You can buy blanks on eBay and shape it using a coping saw and a few bits of sandpaper.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:45 am

In the immortal words...here's one I made earlier. This was a natural finish Pacifica 120 originally, like your Blazer. Then I stained it Orange a la Gretsch, before settling on yellow. Excellent choice of colour. I had a black scratchplate on it originally too. Great minds etc!

Image
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby Wonks » Sun Mar 26, 2017 12:31 pm

The Ibanez Blazer was introduced in 1980, so it can't be any older than that. http://s93105080.onlinehome.us/Ibanez-Catalogs/file.php_n=1980-3&p=&y=1980.html. Yours is the Blazer BL-200 and has two Ibanez Super 70 pickups (and they are pretty well thought of and quite PAF-like). I'd try them through a new wiring harness first before swapping them out for replacements.

The bridge is fixed and made of brass, though the saddle screws will be steel. I'd be tempted to replace it with something else, but first measure across the strings at the bridge to get an idea of the string spacing required. Brass was fashionable at the time and supposed to increase sustain, but it does dull down the sound a bit, which is why it generally stopped being used after a couple of years.

So, how good at DIY and soldering are you? How many tools do you have?

Modifying a guitar isn't that difficult (especially ones with bolt-on necks), it just takes some preparation, slow but constant progress and a good deal of common sense.

The body undoubtedly has a poly finish (hopefully polyurethane rather than the thick polyester my 1977 Ibanez ST55 had - it's very hard indeed to remove and is immune to normal paint removers) and is probably reasonably thick, so it really needs to be stripped back to bare wood and started again, otherwise you'll end up with an even thicker finish and may lose a lot of that resonance. Sanding, rather than paint stripper (if it works), is the best way. Power tools are fine for the flat surfaces, but can be rather aggressive on curves, so only use finer grits on those to minimise any excessive removal. If in doubt, hand sand.

You can make a new pickguard yourself with the right tools using the old one as a template (a Dremel tool with a router bit and router table is enough to do it). However if you don't want to try that and can't find a direct replacement on-line, there should be several people out there offering to make one based on the old pickguard.

Note that Ibanez's own pickups of the '70s and '80s had a three screw fixing (I wish everyone's did), though I believe they also have a central hole on the two-screw side that can be used if you get a pickguard with the more standard 2-screw fixing arrangement. So I'd put together a new wiring harness first and use that with the old scratchplate before deciding whether you want to change the pickups or not, and so whether you need a 3-hole or 2-hole arrangement on the new pickguard.

If you can take the pickguard off and look at the pots, you should be able to get an idea of their values. If they are 250k or 300k, then switching to 500k pots will give a brighter tone. If they are already 500k pots, then there may be another reason the pickups sound dull - tarnished connectors or a damaged pot. It is still worth making up a new wiring harness, as any other replacement humbuckers will need 500k pots.

If you feel up to it, I suggest you post a 're-build diary' here, with photos. Then we can see how you are progressing and answer any questions you may have in context. We can also point out any possible errors you might have made or are just about too. Plus we can give you some much-needed support.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:38 pm

Man, I really appreciate having you guys to back me up on this as I go.


I am really not sure if what I am hearing out of this guitar is even a proper signal. The contacts are so flaky and the pots and switches so unreliable that I only occasionally get a sound out of it at all.

So I ordered a pre-wired 2 Humbucker harness. It has one volume, one tone, a three-way pickup selector and an output jack. I had to realize that for this guitar, I am looking for "Les Paul" style wire harness. It seems that when looking for parts you are either doing a "Srat" or a "Les Paul". Now that I know I am doing a "Les Paul" the choices are less confusing.

I don't like the 'Phase Reverse' switch so I want eliminate that. Just something else to break. I have a real American Strat to use when I want that sound and don't need an approximation of it from this guitar. So the new wire harness doesn't have the phase switch.



Sorry to the purists, but I am going to paint this yellow! I have always wanted a yellow guitar like the Frank Gambale model, but when I play the yellow guitars I can find, they are sort of dead and lifeless. The body and neck don't resonate and they sound just OK. This old Blazer really vibrates and when I hold my ear up to the body I can hear that it has a nice natural tone to it. So I want to combine its sound with my Yellow Guitar dream and make something unique. But I take your warning of don't wreck it to heart. I mainly don't want to change its natural resonance and sound because that is the only reason I am starting with this piece of wood.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:54 pm

Changing the paint job will have no effect on the plugged-in sound whatsoever. Go for it.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby Wonks » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:55 pm

The only problem with pre-wired harnesses is that if the wires are nice and short as they should be, then they might not fit the spacing of your pickguard holes.

If the wires are longer, then you have more leeway in positioning them, but will be more prone to picking up noise. So I'd also get some copper shielding tape (make sure it's tape with conductive adhesive) and screen the cavity and the back of the pickguard as well. It's easy to do and can make things a lot less noisy.

Whilst the guitar is apart, I'd also check that your pickups still have electrical continuity. They're around 37 years old and if they've ever been stored is damp conditions (hopefully not but it happens) then I've found (on other people's guitars) the insulation can fail or the pickup simply stops working properly. Put a multimeter across the pickup hot and ground wires and you should read a DC resistance of somewhere between 6k and 9k ohms, with the bridge having a higher resistance than the neck pickup. I'd also check that there's enough magnet power left for the two pickups to repel or attract each other when placed poles to poles. Just a simple check before you wire them into the new harness that they are likely to work.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby Wonks » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:56 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:Changing the paint job will have no effect on the plugged-in sound whatsoever. Go for it.

If it's really thick, it could do.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby mashedmitten » Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:18 pm

Wonks wrote: So I'd also get some copper shielding tape (make sure it's tape with conductive adhesive) and screen the cavity and the back of the pickguard as well. .

Thanks Wonks, I've been intending to do this for a long time to my guitars that aren't already equipped. Problem is, I always forget to purchase the copper when placing other orders. I say I'll get it next time only to forget again when the time comes. Just added it to the list for the next order, won't forget now.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby Wonks » Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:49 pm

I've only just started doing this again (I did it once in the past on a Gibson LP DC Special as the P90s were hum-monsters), but the tape now is thinner and easier to apply (though a bit prone to breaking in corners - though that's easy to patch up). I don't think the old tape had conductive adhesive either so I had to solder up all the joins. I ordered a 50 yard reel of it from eBay and it was really cheap.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby Kwackman » Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:03 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:if WD40 doesn't get the rusted screws freed up Plus Gas might manage it.
Plus Gas would be my first choice for rusty bits too.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby mashedmitten » Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:09 pm

Yes. Another important point is to sand down the cavities really well so you have a perfectly smooth mating surface for the tape. I've seen guitars where it looks like a hatchet were employed during manufacture or a hedge hog took up residence. I've used paring chisels in the past just to get it ready for sanding. I apply a non- oil based sealer if I've had to remove any inside paint/ finish. Maybe overkill, that last bit, but I learned better to a job right the first time instead of doing over and over.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby mashedmitten » Sun Mar 26, 2017 4:11 pm

Kwackman wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:if WD40 doesn't get the rusted screws freed up Plus Gas might manage it.
Plus Gas would be my first choice for rusty bits too.


In the States, we have PB Blaster for rusted bits. Works better than Coca-Cola. When using rust cutters, always test on a minor or hidden bit to see what the plating does.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:22 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:In the immortal words...here's one I made earlier. This was a natural finish Pacifica 120 originally, like your Blazer. Then I stained it Orange a la Gretsch, before settling on yellow. Excellent choice of colour. I had a black scratchplate on it originally too. Great minds etc!

Image

That's a beauty. I love the color. Lots of different yellows in the world, and you got the right one I think! I want to do something like that. Perhaps your orange under the yellow is the key. It gives it that darker yellow. I am going to try to get that color. Thanks for the tip!
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:49 pm

Wonks wrote:The Ibanez Blazer was introduced in 1980, so it can't be any older than that. http://s93105080.onlinehome.us/Ibanez-Catalogs/file.php_n=1980-3&p=&y=1980.html. Yours is the Blazer BL-200 and has two Ibanez Super 70 pickups (and they are pretty well thought of and quite PAF-like). I'd try them through a new wiring harness first before swapping them out for replacements.

My serial number is: G800609

https://www.dropbox.com/s/8seig5s6xkfar ... l.JPG?dl=0


I just got the wiring harness and am going to try and replace the old wiring with the new. Here is the old guts under the scratchgaurd: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5ctarzyunr0cq ... 5.JPG?dl=0
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby mashedmitten » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:55 pm

Tell the last guy that removed the pups the rogue spring he couldn't find was adhered to the underside of the bridge pup.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:10 pm

mashedmitten wrote:Tell the last guy that removed the pups the rogue spring he couldn't find was adhered to the underside of the bridge pup.

So that's why the pickup was always flapping around in there!

These pickups were always loose and move around a lot and changed the tone of the guitar. That was the third scratchgaurd that this guitar had and was made out of cheap plastic from the drug store. It really was not strong enough to hold the pickups in place anyway.

One thing I hated about this guitar was the way the output jack was on the scratchguard. It would always snap and break the scratch guard.

I want a new plan. I don't want the output jack to be a cutout on the scratch guard. That is weak and will break (again).

Anybody have a recommendation on a new way to do the output jack so it is strong and wont crack the pick guard?
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:11 pm

Here is what comes with the new 'Les Paul' wire harness. No instruction included.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/avezpc2n8w4v4 ... s.JPG?dl=0

Hmmm
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:43 pm

These Super 70 pickups have ground/white wires for the neck position pickup, an ground/re/white wires for the bridge position.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jh1cbwtbwlhyt ... e.JPG?dl=0
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby mashedmitten » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:15 pm

Four ways you could go with the jack. You could re-enforce the new one with a large washer under the pick-guard to spread the load. May need pruning to get the largest possible area if one side or the other is closer to the body. Next would be an anodized metal guard. Third, the jack's already close to the place you'd mount a Les Paul style jack so that may be an option, depending on your skill set. One wrong move and it's swiss cheese. Like asking your girlfriend to even your sideburns, next thing you know you're bald. But they definitely are even. Last would be to use a Strat style jack. Again, requires drilling.

No instructions needed for the harness, only loose wire is the ground which should be soldered to a metal bit inside the cavity that contacts the strings in some fashion.

As to wiring the pups, I'll let others chime in. I just Google the set-up I'm dealing with and go from there.
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Re: Please help giving this old guitar a new life

Postby Wonks » Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:23 pm

So your guitar was the 609th model made by Ibanez in August 1980. The Blazers were made at the Dyna Gakki factory (most Ibanez guitars were made at the FujiGen Gakki factory).

Unfortunately, that new wiring harness is (frankly) rubbish. The tone pot is the one with the small capacitor on, so the volume pot (labelled B500k) is a linear, not an audio/log pot (it should be audio/log for smooth volume control). You'll probably find the tone pot has A500K on it (which is an Audio/log pot), so whoever did the soldering got it very wrong. It looks like it's designed (badly) for a Tele switchplate for a Tele with twin humbuckers. It's a cheap 3-way Tele switch which wouldn't last long before failing. So much needs replacing that I'd throw the whole thing away.

I take it that you can't solder/sodder (whichever word your part of the US uses), or you should be making your own wiring harness.

I don't blame you wanting to move the jack socket. It's easily done. Probably easiest to use a Les Paul type square jack socket mount which screws on to the outside of the body, which means you simply have to drill a big enough hole from the edge of the guitar to the control cavity to take a jack socket. Or you could fit an Electrosocket (Telecaster jack socket holder replacement) if you want a slightly inset socket. You may need to flatten a bit of the body edge to fit a flat LP type plate, but the Electrosocket style should be OK with a small bit of curved edge (but it needs a bigger hole drilled to mount it).

Otherwise a right-angled jack plug would reduce the bending moment that a straight jack plug applies to the socket and surrounding plastic when pulled or stepped on.

It's a nice looking ash body you've got there. Almost a shame to cover it up under a solid finish. I like ash bodies. I think they resonate so much better than other tone woods (especially if it's one of the lighter ash varieties). Probably the reason why you like the feel of the guitar.

The 3-wire bridge pickup is like that so the phase can be swapped. To convert it to a non-phase reversing pickup, the red wire and braid would be twisted together and connected to ground, the white wire would then be the signal wire (as with the neck pickup).
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