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Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:07 pm
by will
I haven't done any restoring projects for a while, and I saw this awful Jazzmaster body up for sale. It looked like a challenge, so I figured that I'd give it a whirl.

It seemed like the parts of the body that hadn't been modified were close to stock, so maybe I could graft on some horns and get the body back in order?

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While I was waiting for it to arrive in the mail, I put together an overlay in photoshop to try and figure out what was going on under all of the mods.

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It felt kinda heavy for such a mangled body, so I put it on the scale:

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Huh - that's a whoooooooole lotta plastic wood!

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...at least the putty popped out of the rhythm control cavity without too much fuss. The putty is incredibly dense! And, it looks like wood, since the p.o. added it in several layers to properly mess up the Jazzmaster.

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I used an old brass shield to see about where the wood might be, if any wood was to be found under the putty.

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...made some marker lines...

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...and it's all pretty much crude dowels and putty...

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It looks like some sort of primitive mud-and-stick construction method.

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Almost all of the putty is gone, and we've lost quite a bit of weight!

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No paint, and a few ounces less.

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Nothing to see here, just a couple nails sticking out the side of a guitar body.

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Tomorrow I'll try and clean up this carcass and make some spaces to glue some alder rectangles onto

Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:12 pm
by higgsblossom
Love it, subscribed!

Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:30 am
by Singlebladepickup
I feel the love in this labor. That thing was basically trashed.

Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 5:16 am
by PJazzmaster
wow! brave 8)

Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:20 am
by mgeek
I was wrong when I posted that this just needed the finish sanding off to burn make it burn nicely...that filler would have kicked out a right stink! ;D

Look forward to see this take shape!

Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:22 am
by Telemnemonics
Wow, you're brave!
And presumably have plenty of free time...

I'm always attracted to abominable guitar mods and have patched back together a bunch of them, but this one I think I'd skip, maybe I'm just gettin' old. Is there a neck and hardware with the corpse?

One Strat I rebuilt came to me as a body from 1965, with (presumably) magic mushroom decoupage art, a huge rout that went around and behind the bridge, two clear bobbin HBs with 11 wires per coil and enough switches for all the taps and coil combinations to provide 624 switched sounds.
Basically every one of the sounds sucked, so I filled all the routed areas straight out the butt, and made it stock again.
Ended up my favorite Strat until I lost it in a pawn shop several times, and finally didn't get it back.

Bought the carcass from the repair shop in the Berklee music school complex.
The seller wouldn't give me the name of the owner who left it there, but said the guy was a well known band member inventor who went to MIT.
Seemed obvious who...

I'll be interested to see how you cut and replace wood!
Personally I'd avoid any butt joints in favor of 45 degree or longer scarf joints, and probably glue in two pieces on the lower bout rather than trying to make a single glue up. This will help keep the joints accurate and tight as well as minimizing the amount of wood removed.
Maybe you have done lots of this sort of repair, in which case never mind, just sharing my view...
It'll take some strategy, look forward to seeing it!

Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:49 am
by will
Telemnemonics wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:22 am
I'm always attracted to abominable guitar mods and have patched back together a bunch of them, but this one I think I'd skip, maybe I'm just gettin' old. Is there a neck and hardware with the corpse?
Actually, I just picked up a really ugly Coronado to supply a neck (and my un-parted-out Coronado will finally have the right tailpiece!) The Coronado has been refinished, so I'm hoping to do a matching-color headstock

Telemnemonics wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:22 am
One Strat I rebuilt came to me as a body from 1965, with (presumably) magic mushroom decoupage art, a huge rout that went around and behind the bridge, two clear bobbin HBs with 11 wires per coil and enough switches for all the taps and coil combinations to provide 624 switched sounds.
Basically every one of the sounds sucked, so I filled all the routed areas straight out the butt, and made it stock again.
Guitars are such interesting electrical/mechanical challenges! Sometimes people ask themselves "can I do this?" instead of "should I do this?" Coincidentally, this guitar will be getting some weird S-1 / 4PDT switch & wiring I hooked up a while back (though it still fits in stock routs!)

Telemnemonics wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:22 am
I'll be interested to see how you cut and replace wood!
Personally I'd avoid any butt joints in favor of 45 degree or longer scarf joints, and probably glue in two pieces on the lower bout rather than trying to make a single glue up. This will help keep the joints accurate and tight as well as minimizing the amount of wood removed.
Maybe you have done lots of this sort of repair, in which case never mind, just sharing my view...
It'll take some strategy, look forward to seeing it!
On the bright side, the butchering was at enough of an angle where I think I can make some decent glue joints once I clean up the edges. ...though I will need to bust out the Japanese saw and measure twice cut once.

Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:56 am
by Squirrel
will wrote:
Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:07 pm
The putty is incredibly dense!
...Much like the previous owner. Seriously though good luck with this, it's great that this thing is actually getting rescued.

Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:14 am
by will
Looking like an ugly puppy in the rain with all of the paint and putty removed.

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Luckily there is another Jazzmaster around to see what I'm missing.

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Pulling out finish nails can be messy business, but I didn't want to send any nails through a table saw. There were five nails holding the weakened part of the body together. (..along with the dowels.) The cut line next to the drawn line was so that I didn't accidentally create splinters in the wood that is on the "keep" side of the cut line.

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I plotted out the lines for where my patches will go. I'm going up to one of the original seams in the body, so that the ends of the patches have better grain contact.

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I've had this chunk of wood kicking around for a few years, giving up a chunk of alder whenever I needed to make a patch. It looks like someone was going to make an alder Les Paul, but made a mistake when running it through a saw to make an archtop, so only the center of the board is full thickness. I was really hoping that there was enough left to get my Jazzmaster horny again.

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I roughly estimated how large the grafts will need to be:

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They'll fit. Hooray!

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Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:44 am
by Telemnemonics
Looks like a good plan to me!
I've actually knowingly run nails through the table saw when the results were worth possibly damaging a not brand new blade.
Crazy somebody putting nails in a guitar though.
I like the little scarfs at the ends, that's basically what I was thinking along the lines of.
On the lower bout I'd be considering cutting off part of the neck pocket like your template, rather than adding a second angle like in your sketch on the body. A judgement call though, could go either way I guess.
Nice that you have some long dried alder on hand.
This is moving pretty quickly!

I had an early '60s Firebird with both horns and half the headstock cut off.
I ran outta balls on that one and let somebody else deal with it.
Partly because that mahogany would have been hard to match.
So much butchery...

Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:55 am
by Gavanti
Love this. It’s like the Stumpy project several times over, and a Coro neck sounds like the perfect way to cap it off.

Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:06 am
by will
Gavanti wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:55 am
Love this. It’s like the Stumpy project several times over, and a Coro neck sounds like the perfect way to cap it off.
Alternate project page titles included:

"Super Stumpy"

"Why did I do this? Why did I do this to myself?"

"Stop crying, teardrop"

Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:09 am
by will
Telemnemonics wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:44 am
On the lower bout I'd be considering cutting off part of the neck pocket like your template, rather than adding a second angle like in your sketch on the body.
I'm going to try and keep the neck pocket bit attached - but If things don't line up, I'll do it as a separate piece. I'm hoping that I can keep things precise enough so that it lines up.

...I used to have a butchered non-reverse Firebird. I ended up passing it on to my brother though because it was routed for a third pickup and someone had rounded-over every edge that could possibly be rounded!

Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:16 am
by Telemnemonics
will wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 11:09 am


...I used to have a butchered non-reverse Firebird. I ended up passing it on to my brother though because it was routed for a third pickup and someone had rounded-over every edge that could possibly be rounded!
Haha I'd ask if you got it in Brooklyn but yours was non reverse.
So alternate universe doppelgangerguitars...

Re: Un-Voxing a butchered 1961 Jazzmaster project

Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:46 am
by PorkyPrimeCut
I love these kind of threads!!

You're absolutely mad for doing this but I eagerly await your next update!!