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An Ibanez fixer upper Les Paul...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Blazer, Apr 5, 2009.


  1. Blazer

    Blazer

    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    Last week attended a vintage guitar fair where I bought a rather unfortunate victim of eighties "let's make it look metal" ethic. Believe it or not but this WAS an early seventies Ibanez Les Paul Custom copy with the lawsuit "open book" headstock. It has three dimarzio pickups and again was fitted with "Everything-and-the-kitchen-sink-is-also-included" switching options. But for 75 Euro's I didn't consider it a bad deal, there's a lot of usable parts on this one.
    100_1003.
    100_1004.

    Well I removed that Junk from the Ibanez' top revealing THIS.
    100_1008.

    As you can see it had a couple of home applied (rattle can) re-finishes which also covered the body bindings. Also, as I suspected, the middle pickup is not original and the hole is rather crudely made.

    Here's pictures I took when I started the stripping.
    100_1010.

    You guys wouldn't believe me if I tell you that I came across four colors, note also that there's no Mahogany anywhere to be found...
    100_1012.

    There's some of the original finish still left within the cutaway, the previous owner apparently couldn't remove it from that spot.
    100_1011.

    The previous owner glued in the neck using two component resin, the same stuff used to restore cars with, as a result it sat way too high in the pocket, but chopping away that junk rectified that.
    100_1014.
    Nice snug join, just as intended.

    And here's what the guitar looks like today.

    100_1017.
    I routed out the space between the pickups and filled it with a solid piece of maple that I carved to match the carving of the body, I then routed the whole thing for two humbuckers.
    100_1017-2.
    I know, it doesn't look like much but when the humbuckers are in you don't see the mismatching pickup routs.
    100_1017-3.
    And I also filled the holes where the mini switches sat. and sanded the whole thing smooth, you won't see the things after the guitar is finished in black.

    100_1015.
    And here's a little preview on what it will look like finished.
     
  2. robert43

    robert43

    Jun 5, 2007
    Australia
    Looks good nice work. Will be watching this 1
     
  3. synaesthesia

    synaesthesia

    Apr 13, 2004
    UK
    Nice clean up so far. FWIW, my '82 Ibanez AS200 still has additional switches like this one had, and I still use the single coil tap 90% of the time, - I use the bridge pickup in single coil mode but it is usually the coil away from the bridge - it is my moneymaker sound. The phase switch I added i don't really use - suppose that was part of the 80's vibe that BC Rich sprung on me....and sprung on the custom agent model you have there....

    That mid pickup route insert is seamless to my eye... great work.
     
  4. bhagiti

    bhagiti

    Mar 10, 2005
    NW Ohio
    Agreed - great work! However, it's not a Custom Agent. The CA had fancy body inlays with an odd pickguard and a Gibson F5 mandolin-inspired headstock:

    http://www.vintageinstruments.com/photos/inst26/custmagent2ful.jpg
     
  5. that is the mosts metal thing ive ever seens

    skwigelf1.
     
  6. Blazer

    Blazer

    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
  7. Blazer

    Blazer

    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    In this case however the switches shouldn't have been there in the first place. Here's how a similar guitar from exactly the same model looks in pristine condition.
    [​IMG]
    Mine however is a pre-lawsuit with the Gibson style headstock and those fetch high prices, so when the refurbishment is done I should be able to sell it for a handsome sum.
     
  8. Blazer

    Blazer

    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    Well I put it together to test the pickups and to check if I need to lower the neck in the pocket.

    100_1020.
    The Pickups work flawlessly but the string spacing of the bridge is a little too narrow.

    100_1019.
    And this picture shows that I have to set the neck in lower, because the bridge needs to be extremely high to make this guitar playable.

    100_1018.
    So now it's ready to be primed and painted.
     
  9. Blazer

    Blazer

    Nov 27, 2003
    The Netherlands
    Rogue luthier employed at Knooren Handcrafted bass guitars
    Well with the body being painted there was not really much I could do on this project, so I started to look around for replacement tuners, seeing as how the guitar came with a mish-mash of Schallers which didn't exactly made the guitar look good.

    So I went to my local store and was scouting their pile of spare parts when all of a sudden a box caught my eye...
    100_1034.
    Okay, new old stock thirty year old Ibanez Tuners, and I need tuners for a 33 year old Ibanez, it didn't take me long to put two and two together. And when I opened the box my smile got even wider.

    100_1035.
    They were in the color I was looking for, how perfect do you want destiny to become?

    100_1036.
    I still have to do some repairs on chipping and flaking of the finish of the headstock but the tuners make a perfect fit here.
     

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