Step 10: Modify Your Guitar - Refinishing Part 1
- unusable as a regular guitar
- a cheap knockoff that you don't mind hacking to pieces
- not worth restoring as a regular guitar
- one of many guitars you've got lying around and you don't mind hacking up
Well, you get the idea. Once converted to a Prism Laser Guitar, it can never go back.
Start by removing all the hardware from the guitar - strings, pickups, jacks, knobs, pick guard (if there is one), etc. Strip it down until all that's left is wood and paint. But, do save the pieces because some of them may be reused (or at leased used as a reference).
The old bass I'm using appears to be a Gibson Explorer clone (a garage sale score, graciously donated by my best pal for this project). It was in pretty rough shape, with paint worn to the wood in some places and a lot of nicks on the fretboard. I decided to refinish it.
I started by removing the neck of the guitar. This wasn't an easy task - the previous owner (not my friend) glued it down with epoxy. I literally had to snap it off across my knee like a piece of kindling. Thank goodness the epoxy bond broke and not the neck! I chipped off the old epoxy with a chisel.
I then scraped off the old paint. This was far easier than I had anticipated - it literally flaked off in big chunks using nothing more than a sharp 1" wide chisel. No wonder it was worn so badly! All that was left was a layer of primer, which easily sanded off using an oscillating palm sander. If you use a palm sander for this task, wear breathing and eye protection because the paint dust gets everywhere! Do this outside as well, if you can.
Since the laser guitar has no strings, I filled in the holes where they used to pass on the back of the guitar by gluing in 3/8" dowels and planing them down to the same level as the body. I filled other holes, like those left by the thumb rest, with carpenter's putty and sanded them smooth.
I guess this was a fretless bass, since all it had were grooves cut into the fretboard, rather than raised metal frets. I decided to make it REALLY fretless, and filled in those grooves with putty as well. I sanded the fretboard as smooth as I could manage.