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Fixing junk and making a few pennies


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About a month ago I bought 5 guitars for $20. I had no idea WHY, as all were cheap to begin with, had been stripped of anything that could have been unscrewed or pried off, and they all had some damage besides. I dragged them home and wondered what to do...


L to R:


1980s Korean Hohner 00-000 style, missing everything, electronics installed then removed, leaving a big hole.


Circa 2000 Epiphone PR350CE or something like that. Bridge and a good piece of the top ripped out, fingerboard peeled off, truss rod removed, all parts stripped.


Esteban GSO (guitar shaped object)


Stagg 90s style electric acoustic cutaway, horribly repaired and then gutted


Texarkana dreadnaught, made in Thailand....Thailand, mind you!




I had some tuners, a nut, pickguard, etc, and I got the Esteban up and running, sold it for $40.




Ditto for the Texarkana, $40 sale.




The Hohner was probably the one with the most real potential but I did not have one of those metal insert adjustable saddles on hand and I also didn't want to have to fill in where the EQ controls had been torn out, so I sold it as a husk on ebay for $20.


The Epiphone was too far gone for ANYTHING so I ran the neck through the bandsaw and sold the headstock for $10 on ebay.


The only one left is the Stagg. I had thought about piecing it together just enough to make it playable and then making an El Kabong video for youtube. I thought about hanging it up outside on the wall of one of my sheds and taking a picture of it every day for a year just to see what the time lapse would look like, being exposed to the elements. I still may DO that, especially with January 1st coming up, but maybe with some other guitar.


Someone "fixed" the bridge. It must have come off and someone "fixed" it. I can't find the words to describe the carnage. Other than that, it's rock solid, the neck is spot on, the neck angle is textbook perfect, all that. So what to do with it? It's not worth restoring.


So when a guitar is so far gone it's not worth restoring but hasn't yet gotten to the birdhouse stage, then let's do something freaky.


Remember in the 80s when ZZ Top had those Deans covered in white fur? The body of this Stagg needs to be covered in lime green Moon Goon fur. Or zebra stripe. Something. I CAN'T FIND ANY FAKE FUR IN ANY LOCAL STORE.


Lime green, hot pink, maybe BOTH. We need to get weird.


If not that, then upstairs in the barn I have some plastic material from the 60s(?), looks like drum wrap. I think it IS drum wrap. I have some Ringo-esque pearly stuff, some silver sparkle, some ORANGE sparkle, maybe some red. I thought about putting a veneer of this stuff on the top (only). Maybe two tone in a D-35 back fashion.


It'll hurt the tone, you say? How much tone did this guitar ever have? Maybe I'll find a UST and preamp to put in and it won't much matter!


I'm losing my mind. That is a fact. But I save the reprobates.



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Very cool.


If you put ONE cheap playable guitar into the hand of a kid who learns to love playing the guitar you have done a good thing.


And YOU, my friend, have done that MANY, MANY times and for that you are to be commended.



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Yeah I pondered that too. But when I went up overhead in the barn to dig it out I found some weirdness. The strips were laying flat with some asphalt shingles holding them flat and there were two large spots that were almost bleaching out the color and sparkle. hard to describe but there was something odd going on, almost like a form of outgassing that started in one spot and damaged anything in direct contact. So the useable pieces are somewhat smaller.

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Not positive these two went to kids, but beginners for sure.


If they served as a stepping stone for a couple months then they've done their job and the fact a breath of life was forced into them against most anyone's better judgement makes me feel good.


This reminds me, did you ever do anything with that Korean Fender acoustic I sent you? That one could be turned into a player for sure, but I just didn't have the skill to do the fretwork it needed.

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Yes, I'm pretty sure that was one that went to the local music store after it was fixed....whatever I did to it. I don't remember. My memory is going fast. Seems like there was something funky on the finish on the back too. I don't recall the details but I try to make sure Chris has a couple of used acoustics in the $50-60 range. It works out for everyone, actually. I make a few bucks (sometimes), the consumer gets something on the cheap that I can guarantee is playable, Chris might have a regular student at whatever he charges for a half hour lesson and after a few months they may decide to buy a new Seagull or Yamaha off the rack.

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I know it isn't a poll but I vote for the hanging on the side of the shed time lapse. I think in theory it's a great idea. In practice it may be a little disappointing. Like putting a Twinkie on a fence post, come back a year later and there is no noticeable difference.


BTW good job on the others!

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At the moment I don't have a sacrificial acoustic. Not a complete one anyway. Easy enough to find but....it's a foregone conclusion that an acoustic sitting outside for a year would likely lose all structural integrity and implode (if strung) or just pop apart, period.


Now a solid body electric....


Back in the 80s I had a big wooden sign out on the lawn, "Englund's Guitar Shop" (what else!). I took an old Teisco/Checkmate thing, painted it white, drilled it for dowels and mounted it atop the sign suspended on the dowels and in a playing position. No pics, unfortunately. It was there many months until one night some teens snapped it off and stole it as a prank. Oh well. I was a teenage idiot once too.


That guitar was exposed to the elements for a few months and many of the metal parts were rusted hardcore but might have only been a spritz of WD-40 away from functioning again.


Makes me want to hang out an electric, do the time lapse, and then when done, try to make it playable again.

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Here's an update on the black Stagg. It's not done, but it's taking shape.


First I created a template so I could trace, cut out, mock up as needed. I also scraped away any roughness around the awful bridge repair and hit the top with a sander real quick like.




I got a few pieces of the old ratty drum wrap material out of the loft. It's rapidly deteriorating so any place I can use it, I will! It's celluloid and deadly flammable.




And here's the 'creation' so far. I used Duco cement, which was good for ensuring a nice tight seam (it melts the celluloid) but it also made for a very rough and bumpy surface (it melts the celluloid!). Last night I brushed a liberal amount of acetone onto the top and by morning it had leveled the sparkle material out a LOT.




I still have much to do of course, trimming the edges, not to mention getting the REST of the guitar up and running. I'd almost like to have a thin ring around the sound hole, like an Ovation but much thinner, just to accent it.


My inspiration for the design? An "anti" design. No symmetry, no harmony with the shape or other parts, just a random design. And if you think for one minute it was easy to cut, file and sand these pieces to fit on the guitar top AND with each other....sometimes the simplest things are the most difficult.

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