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10pizza

New Customizing Project: Ibanez JS Satriani style (x2)

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Time to start a new topic after finally finishing my Aria/Mosrite project last year.

This one comes with a story.

A long, long time ago somewhere in the lowlands I got my hands on an Ibanez JS10th guitar, aka Chromeboy. I'm a big Satriani fan and really like the chrome finish. It also played like a dream. Really great neck, great versatile sound and the Edge trem setup was superb as well.

However, I somehow don't feel comfortable to play very expensive guitars like that so a few years back I got the idea to build/customize my own JS type guitar to keep it relatively cheap and ofcourse have fun doing it! 

To that purpose, I've picked up 2 Ibanez R440 models. Which are almost identical in shape to the JS body and also made of basswood. 

The goal is to create 2 JS type guitars out of these: 1 Custom art JS2400 style JS and 1 JS10th style in chrome.

To that effect there's some work to be done:

  • Changing radius of fretboard and refret with 6105 fretwire
  • Filling up and routing of one body for HH-setup and one for HS - setup

I already started with some of it, which I'll post below. 

As I've had this idea for a long time, I've had some time to collect hardware needed:

  • Dimarzio ProTrack and MoJoe pickups for the custom art JS
  • Dimarzio PafJoe and PafPro for the chrome JS
  • Push pull pots and electronics
  • 'New' used Edge as one of the two I had was not in the best shape anymore
  • Fretwire 

 

440R catalog.jpg

Js10th.jpg

js2400.jpg

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As said, I've been working on this already for a while, so here's where we are right now.

One body has been stripped and is now with my dear friend who also finished my Mosrite for me. He's going to paint it white, after which it will go to another friend of mine and artist who makes/designs clothes/belts and stuff (see pic). She'll make a nice custom art finish on top of it, after which it will go back for lacquering.

the other body is still to be stripped and prepared for finishing. I've found a company in Holland that do chroming of wooden objects, so I'll give that a try.

One neck has been stripped from frets and thanks again to the tutorial on this site I've created a 250mm radius sanding block and sanded the radius of the neck to 250mm. I'm going to wait with the other neck until I've done one guitar. It might be that I want to make changes.

Also with help from this forum I've created a fretpress.  I've made a 250mm caul out of stainless steel. And based on a video on youtube my dad created a nice fret-bending tool, it's in the same picture as the fretpress.

some pics attached.

 

ibanez-radius.jpg

56ab625b5e8fa_Fretpressandbender.thumb.j

bijkleentjes.jpg

 

fret press.jpg

Edited by 10pizza
other picture

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A request for advice:

what do you use to fill up pickup-cavity holes and why? 

I'll need to fill a single-coil sized hole in one of the bodies. 

thanks for sharing!

 

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I'd use a block of the same wood the body is built from and fill the gaps if any with something like Bondo that doesn't shrink and telegraph through the paint. The why is that is what would be there in the first place had it not been routed for a pick-up, and you want something in the gaps that will not shrink and show through the paint over time. Auto body putty is made to fill voids smoothly and then be painted.

SR

 

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thanks Scott

would you make the piece of wood to fill the cavity level with the body or maybe a bit higher and then sand it back down after putting in putty/bondo in the gaps?

 

 

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I would make it slightly higher---- no more than you want to sand off, and sand it level first, then putty the gaps and sand them level.

 Try to make your wood plug as close to the cavity shape as possible so you are not filling large gaps. You don't want to apply the bondo much more than 1/8 inch or 3mm at a time, so deeper fills would need to be done in layers. Ideally you would only have narrow seems to fill and you'd just force the putty in as deep as you can let it dry and sand it level.

SR

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I'll find me some basswood then to fill it up.

Started today with removing the paint using a hot air blower. Not very effective. I'll get some paint-remover tomorrow. See if that makes the job easier.

 

thx for the advise scott.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Guitaraxz said:

That's a great fret-press jig you made

thanks Raxz! based on an example I found here. Cheap as well: only 30 EUR for the press and the rest for free. Needed to stabilize the caul a bit but after that it works great!

 

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Try this tutorial:
http://www.projectguitar.com/tutorials/instrument-building/trem-to-hardtail-conversion-r42/

I converted an Ibanez Sabre body from trem to TOM and it worked out great. As @ScottR says, it is difficult to prevent any joins from telegraphing through the final finish. You can fill them out with epoxy or whatever, but different materials (even different cuts of the same wood) will react differently to relative humidity. Some auto body fillers can shrink back from the wood with repeated expansion/contraction. It's pretty much unavoidable unless you want to seal the body in some kind of thick pre-cat urethane death casket!

Careful you don't crush the frets into the fretboard using that arbor! Those can press fit bushings into metal, so wood has little chance if you get a bit "spirited"!

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Thanks @Prostheta, that's a great tutorial for woodfilling anything on the guitar.

I've got some supplies today, hope to get working on filling it up soon. First however I need to remove umpteen coats of paint/lacquer.

the Ibanez guys in Japan weren't cheap when it comes to paint. Also it looks like a previous owner added his own finish on top, so even more layers!

and yes, the arbor can easily break the neck if handled incorrectly. Maybe I can customize it with some heavy springs to counter that.......

 

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You should be okay with it....just don't get too excited or jazzed on caffeine before fretting. :D

Under the paint will be sealer....that stuff is next to impossible to remove, so don't try. Remove the paint down to the sealer and use that as your base. Going down to the wood will invariably involve the shape of the instrument ending up altered. This is the source of bad times!

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some places the underlying sealer came off as well I'm afraid :( so I'll just strip it. Using a heater it works pretty well.

 

 

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It's not a deal breaker by any means. Sealer is very difficult to remove (it depends on what they were using back then of course). As long as the work isn't causing the wood to change shape, it's all good.  I had a nightmare stripping my Mahogany Sabre body back to raw. So much so, there is still sealer in the base wood. I just couldn't get it all off without sanding deeply into the wood. Not too important though, since it was (is) a solid black finish.

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slow, slow progress. hell of a job.

I might follow @mjrbuzz 's example and make myself a body in stead of refinishing and just reuse the neck and hardware.

I'll see if I can come up with a design and woodchoices while I continue stripping...

 

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If you're thinking of copying the Radius/JS style, you're in for an adventure! The constantly-shifting radii around the body are a challenge. I've seen plans however, but beyond that it is how you can interpret them into a workpiece.

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11 hours ago, Prostheta said:

If you're thinking of copying the Radius/JS style, you're in for an adventure! The constantly-shifting radii around the body are a challenge. I've seen plans however, but beyond that it is how you can interpret them into a workpiece.

actually I'm thinking about a Tele-style body as I am really inspired by @demonx 'Darkhorse' and I used to own an Ibanez Tele-style guitar (580T) which featured an edge trem and 2 humbuckers which I really liked. 

Are there any freely accessible Tele-style build-plans available?

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Oh, plenty of them. It depends on how anal you want to get about them though. Fender enthusiasts argue over minor details whilst missing the big picture (for the most part). Personally I would draw one from scratch, or adapt a new design from an existing Tele plan. How Tele do you want it? ;-)

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might be something like this. Thinking about Zebrano-wood top with a metal 'Zemaitis' style pickguard B-)

not good at sketching btw

Tele sketch.jpg

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allright. Ordered some mahogany and Zebrano. I'll start a new thread on this as it has now changed into my first real build

 

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