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Redoing An Archtop

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I know of a second-hand 'big' archtop hollowbody which I possibly can get to replace my dying acoustic. Anyways, being kinda old and...um..neglected, it has holes where there used to be two pickups and holes for the four knobs and 3-way switch (basically like a LP). I'd like to remove the paint, fill the holes and refinish it (I'm thinking violin varnish). Would it be worth the money of buying this to fix (it's inexpensive) or is the repairing process too difficult for a newbie like me? And if I could do it - what would I have to do?

Also, how does the whole thing about the binding on the edges of the instrument work? Can I chemically-remove/sand the paint without affecting it?

Some info:

'jumbo acoustic' size hollow archtop guitar, no labels, cutaway

very shiny lacquer/finish/whatever in sunburst (which is an odd shade of yellow)

Missing LP-style electronics (which I want to keep as missing and cover holes)

Quite recent, from the looks, construction and tuners (it's not one of those old/vintage ones)

Any help would be great,


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If you insist on filling the holes, then this will be very tough at your stage. To do a proper job, you'd need to remove the top and brace the pickup holes from the underneath-side of the top plate, then patch with pieces of wood, then sand to the contours of the arched top plate, then the grain won't match up so you'll see the patches, even behind a violin-type finish...yadda yadda yadda.

Better to fix up a flat-top acoustic or make one from scratch, if you really want to get into building.

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erik is correct about it being a bit of a job but if you decide to buy it i can show you a way to fix the pickup holes without having to remove the top...but...everything he said about mismatched grain, sanding to the contours of the top and all the rest is very true. there again, if it's cheap and you just want a good playing guitar i'd say go for it.

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