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Pleshrocket

Bc Rich Warlock Rehab Project

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I have an early 90's B.C. Rich Warlock NJ series that is in need of some serious help. When it was new(ish) this guitar played absolutely amazing and sounded downright mean through my 5150 after I put an EMG ZW set in.

My only complaints were the flat clean sound and it could use a bit more sustain.

Guitar has a flat-sawn bolt- on maple neck w/ Ebony board, I think the body is Maple but have heard of Poplar being used on these guitars as well so I guess I will find out when I sand it down.

Anywho, I plan on doing the following:

  • Build a new neck to replace the current, warped one. I would like to match the profile of the original (kinda like wizard thickness with Gibson string spacing) but more stable. I would also like to improve the balance if possible, this thing has a tendency to neckdive...
  • Reshape the neck joint for better access to the higher frets.
  • Sand & Refinish the body.
  • Replace the worn out crap trem with a Gotoh Floyd and Floydupgrades.com brass sustain block.
  • Maybe change out the pickups or at least wire them for 18V.

I was hoping to get some suggestions on neck and fretboard woods that might improve the sound and provide better stability, as well as ways to improve the overall balance of the guitar.

Pickup suggestions are also very much welcome.

This will be my first neck build so I need all the help I can get!

Thanks!

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Just a thought here.

It sounds like you plan to replace everything on the guitar except the body, and even that you want to sand down and refinish. And it might just be poplar anyway.

Building that kind of body isn't that difficult. The neck is much more difficult that the body, in most cases. So why not just buy some wood and build a whole new guitar? Then you'll have two.

Otherwise, go forth and conquer.

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You're not going to find many fretboards that are stiffer than a well seasoned piece of ebony. That doesn't mean you can't do quite a bit to build a stiffer neck, such as:

  • use thicker fretboard
  • quartersawn wood
  • laminated neck (whether it's from the same board w/ the grain direction flipped, or if you decide to add stripes of a harder wood like ebony or rosewood)
  • CF reinforcements

Balance is a harder issue to conquer (although getting a 3" leather strap often gets rids of that problem). Since you're planning on refinishing anyway you can add fishing weights to the body (or your strap for that much), or you can experiment with moving the strap buttons around. In the end if none of that works you're down to building another body out of a heavier wood.

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i'd remove the old fretboard and use it on the new neck. Make sure you use dry wood, and try to use quartersawn maple. The recommendations giver by Yetzer Harah and DPM99 are very valid too.

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And welcome to the forum!

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Now that I think about it my RG7420 has a quartersawn maple neck and is probably the most stable in my collection, even with the extra string tension. So I'm thinking the quartersawn maple with ebony board might be just the ticket...

I'd like to keep the body since it has sentimental value (this was my first guitar that didn't come from Sam's Club) but I plan on building several more guitars in the future. Next up is a mahogany/walnut tele--the wood is currently drying in my garage...

Thanks everyone for the advice!

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My advice is similar to above. Just start from scratch. It's easier a lot of the time to start again than to fix.

With the maple neck, if you want stability, maple is good, 3pc maple is awesome. I like 3pc necks as they always seem much more solid than one or two piece.

As far as reusing the board, the time it takes to remove the board "carefully" enough that its reusable (I have done this) you're better off just making a new one. At least the new one you can choose the board and do custom inlay if that floats your boat.

I've built myself a warlock before based on my old stage guitar, a USA neckthru warlock and this is my advice. Start from scratch, you'll be more proud of the finished product.

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I'm going to add another vote for start from scratch and build a new one. Especially since this one has sentimental value, leave it as is so you have no chance of it getting ruined. If you try to repair/rebuild it there is a very big chance it could get damaged severely. Starting from scratch does not take much more work and preserves the original. Plus, you could build a new neck and do all of the upgrades and find out that it is just the body that is robbing the sustain and tone you are looking to achieve.

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