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mihcmac

Explorers, DIY, BYO Epiphone Style

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This is my Epiphone based DIY Custom African Mahogany Explorer with P-90's that I built.. Lots and lots and lots of lacquer. :blink:

I replaced the pickups and wiring harness that were labeled Epiphone and used a roller bridge. I also put in 500k pots..So I replaced most of the hardware The tuners felt good so I kept them.

The Explorer kit came routed out for humbuckers so I used Humbucker sized P-90's.

It was a lot of fun to build, even with all my screw-ups it still came out , the neck is fantastic and sounds really great!

I'm interested if anyone is willing to show their Epiphone style BYO or DIY builds.... Edited by mihcmac

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It was a kit that had Epiphone hardware. After examining how the body and neck were shaped it looked more like an Epiphone than a Gibson. Gluing the neck in place was scary because if I didn't do it right the Explorer would have been toast. I was very anxious to start the finishing process.

There are a lot of different guitar kits out there. The ones with set necks are the most difficult. The bolt-on neck kits are easier because you can work on the neck and body separately. Like two separate projects. Edited by mihcmac

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Lots and lots of lacquer. Not something I would want to do again with my environment for painting.. I think I got severe brain damage..

[scared]


The trick finish is "Nitro" like Gibson uses, or Resin is faster which is what Epiphone uses I think..

The basic process is sand it, stain it, sand it, seal it, sand it, finish, sanding in between coats, then sand sand sand and polish out.. Edited by mihcmac

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Explorers are very fun to play, they are very long guitars but extremely well balanced. Gibson released them in 1958 and took a big dive on them. Not realizing they had designed one of the greatest future shock guitars that everyone and their brother would copy, due to lapse in Gibsons judgment and patent. Any Explorer, that follows the Gibson design closely, that is well made no matter who makes it, holds its value, it is truly an iconic design.

I have recently added a Duesenberg Trem II Tremolo to mine, it requires no mods to the guitar just takes the place of the stop bar. Edited by mihcmac

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I asked about the finish as I'm considering trying to do it myself. I have a USACG strat at the moment which is going to go to a finisher because I'm not set up for it yet. Kudos for doing it, I had heard it's a lot of work. Looks like it came out well.

And I do like Explorers, they appeal to the Glam rocker in me, having been an early fan of Sweet and Slade and the like, but now that I'm an old blues noodler I can't really justify one.

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These finishes are all very toxic and a well ventilated spray booth is the best. In addition you need a respirator. Way more toxic than using spay enamel which will not setup into a hard finish like lacquers.

Lacquer dries really fast but requires lots of coats to achieve a finish thick enough to be sanded smooth and rubbed out.

Nitrocellulose lacquer also dries very quickly and builds up a very hard thick finish faster than lacquer. But with age you may see the spider web cracking that you see typically on old Gibsons.

Polyurethane builds up nice finish quickly and sets up in a few hours in between coats. But takes much longer to cure into a hard finish.

I used lacquer in a covered wide open space that had a mild consistent breeze, I was always up wind of my guitar, but that was not enough even applying very quick thin coats. I had to get a respirator.

It would be easier to finish a bolt on style body that you can lay down flat to get a good flood coats. :rolleyes: Edited by mihcmac

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that thing does appear to be most excellent , to me :) yes , that is what I do think about that :) hey where did you obtain the kit ? I hope you do not mind me asking that :) nice indeed :) peace :) [img]http://forum.gibson.com/public/style_emoticons/default/msp_thumbup.gif[/img]

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[quote name='crust' timestamp='1517614752' post='1914440']
that thing does appear to be most excellent , to me :) yes , that is what I do think about that :) hey where did you obtain the kit ? I hope you do not mind me asking that :) nice indeed :) peace :) [img]http://forum.gibson.com/public/style_emoticons/default/msp_thumbup.gif[/img]
[/quote]

Mine came from BYOGUITAR at the following link. note that kits with bolton neck kits are usually a little easier to build than set necks..

[url="http://www.byoguitar.com/Guitar_Kits/Guitar-Kits.aspx"]http://www.byoguitar...uitar-Kits.aspx[/url]

eBay also has Lots of DIY kits..

[url="https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1311.R4.TR12.TRC2.A0.H0.XDIY+.TRS0&_nkw=diy+guitar+kit&_sacat=0"]https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1311.R4.TR12.TRC2.A0.H0.XDIY+.TRS0&_nkw=diy+guitar+kit&_sacat=0[/url]



Edited by mihcmac

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A better shot of my custom built Explorer..

[img]https://i.imgur.com/O8ahq9e.jpg[/img]

added left hand Duesenberg Les Trem II....

[img]https://i.imgur.com/WIA0zQr.jpg[/img]


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How do you like the Duesenberg tremolo? How well does it hold tune and how much range can you get? Can you do dive bombs with it? I want to put a tremolo system on one of my Explorers and have been thinking about a Floyd Rose FRX.

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that looks great!

about the trem, they are really more like Bigsby units.. so I don't think the "Dive bomb" thing is happenin here.

There was a demo that I found a few weeks ago, the tuning stability was quite good, excellent infact. I think it's on YouTube..

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[quote name='Megafrog' timestamp='1530268302' post='1943073']
How do you like the Duesenberg tremolo? How well does it hold tune and how much range can you get? Can you do dive bombs with it? I want to put a tremolo system on one of my Explorers and have been thinking about a Floyd Rose FRX.
[/quote]

The Duesenberg Les Trem II works really well, very solid piece of German hardware, they are designed to replace the stop bar without any additional mounting screws. I wanted a left hand tremolo on my right handed Explorer, kind of Stevie Ray style. The first time I Installed it, replacing the stop bar, the left handed tremolo spring was a bit too close to the bridge, but it worked fine. So, I added 2 threaded inserts so I could mount farther away from the bridge and used my stop bar to make better angle for my strings on the bridge.


[quote name='kidblast' timestamp='1530288150' post='1943134']
that looks great!

about the trem, they are really more like Bigsby units.. so I don't think the "Dive bomb" thing is happenin here.

There was a demo that I found a few weeks ago, the tuning stability was quite good, excellent infact. I think it's on YouTube..
[/quote]

Below is a RH Les Trem II on my RH Les Paul (correct way to install it). Very easy to install just replacing the Stop bar. If you notice that the Dive Bar is round, angled and held in place with set screws. It is very versatile for placement allowing for pretty extreme attack. When the bar is set for maximum dive you can get almost an octave down. I have beat the hell out of my Les Trem II's and they always come back for more.

[img]https://i.imgur.com/BAvBWQ8.jpg[/img]

Notre the Duesenberg Les Trem II come with SAE and Metric mount screws, as well as spacer washers for mounting on a contoured surface. Edited by mihcmac

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I decided to move my new Les Trem II to my 56 LP Standard for a while..

[img]https://i.imgur.com/cTYjlbP.jpg[/img] Edited by mihcmac

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But I still like my unorthodox use of a Left hand tremolo on my Explorer.. While I could not recommend this type of install because it requires additional threaded inserts, it works really well.

[img]https://i.imgur.com/V7DbvdR.jpg[/img] Edited by mihcmac

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Nice job! Great looking little rocker. I have always liked Explorer style guitars but have to play them standing as sitting never worked out for me.

I'm a little surprised at your choice of lacquer for the finish considering what you have said about the finish on your Blueshawk checking. But I'm sure you had your reasons. Good looking guit anyway you cover it.

RAWK ON!!
D

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[quote name='dReit1' timestamp='1530980300' post='1944490']
Nice job! Great looking little rocker. I have always liked Explorer style guitars but have to play them standing as sitting never worked out for me.

I'm a little surprised at your choice of lacquer for the finish considering what you have said about the finish on your Blueshawk checking. But I'm sure you had your reasons. Good looking guit anyway you cover it.

RAWK ON!!
D
[/quote]
I have found Explorer's to be comfortable sitting on a couch with the lower notch resting on my knee, but I often use a bar stool as well.

I finished my Explorer before I got my Gibson Blueshawk and the finish started to fracture really bad. Although after applying lacquer to the Explorer the long exposure to fumes, even out doors, left me with quite a few less brain cells. If I finish another guitar I will use polyurethane like Epiphone so it will survive the high humidity here on the Island. Edited by mihcmac

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[quote name='mihcmac' timestamp='1530986533' post='1944502']
I have found Explorer's to be comfortable sitting on a couch with the lower notch resting on my knee, but I often use a bar stool as well.

I finished my Explorer before I got my Gibson Blueshawk and the finish started to fracture really bad. Although after applying lacquer to the Explorer the long exposure to fumes, even out doors, left me with quite a few less brain cells. If I finish another guitar I will use polyurethane like Epiphone so it will survive the high humidity here on the Island.
[/quote]

Never could get used to playing one sitting. Guess my arms are too short and I have trouble reaching the cowboy end of the neck. Balance well and play great standing though.


I understand the lacquer now. I didn't realize it was an older build. I just assumed this was something you had recently completed. 'Cause it looks new!

Great job anyway.

And I do like your Duesenberg Les Trem. I've been playing with one for about 6 months now and like it a lot. Of course mine is not upside down like yours but I would think they work about the same. And it gives the guitar an interesting look.

Rawk On!!
D

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[quote name='dReit1' timestamp='1531067441' post='1944627']
Never could get used to playing one sitting. Guess my arms are too short and I have trouble reaching the cowboy end of the neck. Balance well and play great standing though.


I understand the lacquer now. I didn't realize it was an older build. I just assumed this was something you had recently completed. 'Cause it looks new!

Great job anyway.

And I do like your Duesenberg Les Trem. I've been playing with one for about 6 months now and like it a lot. Of course mine is not upside down like yours but I would think they work about the same. And it gives the guitar an interesting look.

Rawk On!!
D
[/quote]
I finished my Explorer a little over a year ago and hasn't been effected by finish checking. I received my 20 year old Gibson Blueshawk at about Christmas time and checking started within the first couple of months. My Epiphone Blueshawk still looks almost as good as the day I got about 2 years ago. Photo taken when the Gibson first arrived and the Epiphone had been with me for a while..
[img]https://i.imgur.com/EXDCmyN.jpg[/img]
My 2nd Duesengerg Les Trem II landed on my 56 Les Paul Pro where its performing quite well..
[quote name='mihcmac' timestamp='1530381803' post='1943311']
I decided to move my new Les Trem II to my 56 LP Standard for a while..

[img]https://i.imgur.com/cTYjlbP.jpg[/img]
[/quote]
Both of my Les Trem II's are working quite well, I am quite hard on them and haven't noticed any deterioration of the spring on the older one on the Explorer..
[quote name='mihcmac' timestamp='1530906259' post='1944398']
But I still like my unorthodox use of a Left hand tremolo on my Explorer.. While I could not recommend this type of install because it requires additional threaded inserts, it works really well.
[img]https://i.imgur.com/V7DbvdR.jpg[/img]
[/quote] Edited by mihcmac

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I think Gibson liked my shot.. :)

 

V7DbvdR.jpg

 

Even though I got nothing Gibson in mine.. Thanks for the complement Gibson.... :)

 

2019-Promo-Banner-v3.jpg

Edited by mihcmac

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