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I figured with the extra indefinite down time I now have, it's time to fully restore an old electric guitar that's been sitting around and never worked well. Something I picked up from a roommate years ago in college. Anyway, from my research, it looks like a Japanese Vantage VS696 (that's a funny looking nine in this font). Apparently, Vantage had some well made guitars in the 80's but they are no longer in production. The electronics, including toggle switches, are pretty much shot so I gutted the whole thing. From my research, it has two volume and one tone knob; a three-way toggle at the top; and two switches under the first two knobs (one for coil split, the other phase switch). 

Now that I've taken the electronics out and I realize I will have some more time on my hands, I'd like to do as much as I can: refinish the frets, full set up etc. Also, there are lots of dings and scratches I'd like to touch up without refinishing the whole thing (refinishing doesn't seem plausible in the tiny condo.) I'll be ordering all new electronics, including pickups (likely Fralin Unbuckers). 

Anyway, now that I've convinced myself to restore this thing, I have no idea where to start but I imagine the body is the best place to begin. Any guidance, links, online tutorials, etc. that you could point me to or offer? Any clear coat finishing touch up options that you may know of? How about for work on the body, neck, frets, etc? Especially, any guidance on electronics would be helpful (I couldn't find any online schematics for this guitar) What necessary tools and supplies do I need at a minimum? 

Any advice on how to tackle this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

 

Vantage.pdf

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well, I think you could refinish that in a condo... assuming zip strip or other would work on it.  It'd be a lot of work tho... without a sander.  looks like that finish it pretty thick too.  you might just take it to a furniture stripper and have them strip it... been a while since I've been to one but it wasn't that expensive to do a table years ago.  that said... I don't know how delicately they treat the wood and if it's set neck... might not be the best idea. 

I would start with the frets because you don't want to risk finish flaws due to fretwork.  any body work you are going to do... you want to do next.  you could try to just wet sand it and do some spot filling.  lord knows an ibanez finish has plenty of thickness to work with. 

afa electronics... break it into simple systems.  for instance, if you find a drawing with 1v, 1t, 3-way... start there... before you wire the pickups into it... you wire the pickup to the live/ground to the phase switch, then from there to wherever they go on the drawing (3-way).  then wire both pickups series link (the two wires that get twisted together) to the ctr lug on the other dpdt / split switch.  one of the outter lugs to ground.  voilla.   

hope that helps.

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If the finish hasn't cracked off giving it a touch-up can easily be done without sacrificing the living comfort. Minor damage can also be addressed with minimal tools.

Now that you've taken the electronics out I'd start with a thorough cleaning. You may even want to take the neck apart for better access to the narrowest gaps. A damp microfiber cloth will remove most of the gunk, revealing the spots where more aggressive methods are required. After cleaning you can better see the real issues on the finish.

If there's dings where the wood may be bruised all you'd need is a damp (not dripping but wet) cloth or tissue and a soldering iron. Simply put the cloth over the ding and heat it with the iron. The steam should raise the fibres. Just don't let the tissue dry let alone burn!

For scratches some abrasive compound from an automotive store is often sufficient. Deeper scratches may need to be sanded level with wet sandpaper.

For cleaning the fretboard a toothbrush can be very useful! If there's tons of gunk a single edge razor blade can be used as a scraper.

All in all, the tools and ingredients you'd need aren't too fancy or messy.

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Welcome! :)

Yes - I agree with @Bizman62 - I think touch-up repair is a much better idea than a full refinish.  The basic finish looks absolutely sound (and will be a devil to get off without risking more damage).   Even the bigger chips can, with a bit of care, be pretty much 'invisibly mended' without the need for any major equipment or facilities.

And I also agree with @Bizman62 that the best place to start is a good clean so that you can see what you are dealing with.

 

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On 4/25/2020 at 2:31 AM, Andyjr1515 said:

Welcome! :)

Yes - I agree with @Bizman62 - I think touch-up repair is a much better idea than a full refinish.  The basic finish looks absolutely sound (and will be a devil to get off without risking more damage).   Even the bigger chips can, with a bit of care, be pretty much 'invisibly mended' without the need for any major equipment or facilities.

And I also agree with @Bizman62 that the best place to start is a good clean so that you can see what you are dealing with.

 

that guy is a maniac... and that oak... wowsa.

 

EDIT: I was wondering where this post went!  wrong tab!  must have come off kinda funny, meant to reply to bizman post regarding gentleman who does an entire build with hand tools.  doh.  anywho.

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