i have slowly been working this project over the past few years and it is very close to its final stage. some of you may remember this one and with recent re-work on it i figured it was time for an update.
i had originally stained a darker walnut finish and a low-gloss tung-oil but it was too dark and you lost the look of the beautiful grain. so i re-sanded, tung-oiled and have now added a generous coat of clear gloss laquer (foam brushed on Minwax Polyester Clear Gloss). this is my first attempt at a clear coat and i couldn't have asked for a better result! i didn't buff, sand or anything on the final finish and i really like the grain patterns in the gloss - amazing to see this guitar in person (which noone except my gf has since i reworked it until now). the clear makes it look 3D when you tilt it in the light which it didn't do before i lightened the finish and added the clear gloss - you can see the grain in the pic of the back of the body and get an idea of what i mean.
F.Falbo (jemsiter extrodinaire) made the mahogany 2pc body and Harper Guitars made the maple and ebony neck (Dr.Vai signed the headstock for me). i took hardware and electronics from a new RG570 (the parts were new when they went on it over 2yrs ago), added a Double Whammy Dimarzio (crm/blk) in the bridge and a PAF Dimarzio in the neck w/ a micro switch to get bridge, bridge neck (sweet stratty tone!) and neck combo's respectively. the tone knob is there for looks only. this body was converted from being a hardtail Tele style to an edge route; also hence the micro switch over a blade 3 way type as it was intended to have EMG's.
here's some pics of the before an after look with the lighter grain and gloss:
i still need to sand the headstock a little and clear it. when i change the strings again, i'll take care of that and probably clear the signature as well (if it isn't going to mess up the ink?)
i LOVE the pup combo! the DW bridge pup is perfect for this wood and was specifically designed to enhance tone on tremmed guitars (that tend to loose tone with the lack of contact to the body woods - so i'm told). the PAF sounds fat, clean and clear and when both pups are on i get that awesome Stratty tone! i'm in heaven! it plays great, sounds great and you can be the judge of how it looks! i put different colored knobs on it as i misplaced the cosmo knobs when i started to put it back together. i found them but i liked the mis-matched look so much i plan to keep it this way. i considered a clear guard but can't bring myself to drill holes to mount it.
besides the headstock gloss, the only thing left to do is to resolve the tiny abalone side dots issue i have: i can't see them on a dark stage! i need to have pearl dots put in place of the abalone - which i am to afraid to even attempt myself.
i will play it at a local club this weekend for it's "new" maiden voyage since i added the new pups and finish (they have great lighting, nice and bright).
i am besides myself with the tone and feel of my "new" axe! big thanks to all who had a hand in helping me along!
this custom Jem has yet to be named...ideas?