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ES355 upgrade (look away if you have a nervous disposition!)

posted Apr 26, 2014 17:14:35 by GsxJones
This is the latest guitar to the collection,and it needs to be modified to make it my own.


The headstock is horrible.
(just my opinion)


Im tempted to stay with the diamond inlay or go ES347 and fit a crown inlay??
Correct size inlay next to the chibson inlay.
[Last edited May 02, 2014 17:38:35]
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71 replies
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GsxJones said Apr 26, 2014 17:25:13
My thoughts today are to strip it down,flatten the paint finish,respray in a solid cherry red as I dont like the translucsent finish.
Im not keen on the gold hardware so that needs to go. Id like aged relic'd nickel parts.
As mentioned I'd like to re-do all the "inlays" on the headstock. Im torn between new diamond custom inlays,to make the guitar a 355 look-a-like,or to be different crown inlay to make it look like an ES347.
Im also looking to see if the tuner's need to be repositioned? Im not sure if they are in the wrong position on the headstock for this type of guitar?
Im changing all the electrics to something a bit more worth while.
The nut is horrible too. The high E string slips off the neck when you detune to mess with the bridge.
The guitar had dead note's,but Ive tweeked the bridge heigt and adjusted the truss rod.
Im thinking it will be a nice project guitar because it was very cheap.
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GsxJones said Apr 26, 2014 17:52:10
Im going ES355 look. Ive just placed an order for a new diamond inlay and a new Gibson logo. It's a start!
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kaarel804 said Apr 26, 2014 18:27:46
One thing that I've learned on this forum is that every single chinese seller positions the tuners wrong. They all leave a big gap between the D string tuner and the ,,G'' in the logo, but there should be almost no gap. That's one thing why REG is above all the others.
Try searching for real Gibson headstock shapes on Google and you see that the tuners are remarkably better positioned. I think I could recognise any Chibson by its headstock shape, although some sellers are getting better.

Still, that's a purely cosmetic flaw and should not change the playability of the instrument :)
Enjoy your guitar!
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GsxJones said Apr 26, 2014 20:00:15
Thank you Kaarel for the comment. Im thinking when I do some real inlays,I might fit dowels to the tuner hole's to allow me to move them to the correct fitment place.
I need to find all the part's needed before I can start. Im now looking for cherry red paint of the correct colour for a respray. This will let me paint any dowels that would be visible from the rear.
If I lived in the USA I could buy the correct paint's easily. In the UK it's a bit more tricky. I do have nitro cellulose clearcoat,so Im part way there.
One aged nicely relic'd semi coming soon!
I wouldnt dare do this to a £*000 guitar!
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GsxJones said Apr 26, 2014 20:22:30
Ive also ordered new inlays for the fingerboard.
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GsxJones said Apr 27, 2014 10:56:14
Part's ordered.




Ive ordered some Milliput black epoxy filler resin too.
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GsxJones said Apr 27, 2014 11:03:42
Im busy at the moment experimenting with muriatic acid and a brand new ABR-1 nickel plated bridge,to see if I can age the finish? It it work's alright i need to decide if Im sticking with gold hardware or silver? Im not especially a fan of gold stuff,but it kind of fit's the look of the guitar nicely. We'll see.

The reason I ordered black epoxy resin is that it makes doing inlay work a lot easier than any other method I've tried.
I'll need to do pics etc when I fit the inlay's,but it should be a million times easier than these ones I made a bit of a mess of. Finished they are cool,but I made an awful lot of work for myself with the way I did it.

[Last edited Apr 27, 2014 11:04:05]
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GsxJones said Apr 28, 2014 21:44:09
The paint has now been faded to get rid of the horrible poly shine. The guitar in my eye's looks much better dull. Ive aged the stop bar tailpiece in muriatic acid,along with a new ABR-1 tune-o-matic bridge(also aged) The guitar is coming along nicely. For speed,Im tempted to just do the inlay's and then rather than a full paintjob,just shoot the guitar with clear nitro with a small amount of amber dye to make the white binding yellow. I'll then once the paint hardened of,place the guitar in the freezer. lol. The a very hot room. The clear coat will crack and check like a true vintage guitar. Much better than the Murphy method with a knife. lol. (it work's,but I prefer the natural unpredictable checking). Pics tomorrow in natural daylight.
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GsxJones said May 01, 2014 19:54:03
The inlays arrived today,and as ever look very good. Ive never done fingerboard inlays,and Im not sure what filler (if needed)to use?? Time for a look on the interweb.
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GrandSpector said May 01, 2014 20:10:14
for the fingerboard I usually use clear epoxy mixed with sawdust from the fingerboard
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GsxJones said May 01, 2014 20:14:58
Thank you GrandSpector,my only problem there is I wont have any spare wood to make sawdust from? I plan on trying an ebony wood dye for the board when the fret's are out,so saw dust from another source could be tried??
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GsxJones said May 01, 2014 20:16:06
The black epoxy also arrived today!
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GrandSpector said May 01, 2014 20:29:54
So you only want to swap out inlays to the same type?
as the epoxy-sawdust is only used to fill existing gaps I don't think it's a problem if you use some similar colored wood, dye it and then sand it to create some sawdust.

But if you want to dye the fingerboard to a a darker tone anyways, then the black epoxy might be fine as well. The gaps might be too narrow to notice a real difference anyways.

Just try it out beforehand on some scrap wood and compare to your fingerboard! :)
[Last edited May 01, 2014 20:31:43]
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GsxJones said May 02, 2014 12:46:00
Thank you GrandSpector,I'll try some experimentation.
Here's a few pics to show the new inlay's for comparison.


The new inlay's have a more vintage vibe to the silver plastic rubbish fitted. lol.
Headstock inlay's loosely positioned.


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GsxJones said May 02, 2014 12:48:53
Ive seen a way of sanding the radius of the neck inlays inside a plastic bucket,so need to do some research before I decide to attack the guitar.

Im not at all nervous about doing the headstock inlay's,but slighty worried about the neck one's. If I mess the headstock,so what,it wont kill the guitar,but the neck inlay's could have a negative result if done wrongly. My thinking cap is on.
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