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Projects: various 2022 projects

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Bartolini 20V
This Bartolini 20V was a 'high-end' guitar made in Italy as manufacturers turned from piano accordions to guitars. It has a plastic sparkle finish on the body, a clear plastic over pearloid fingerboard and multiple push buttons to control the four pickups. "All in the best possible taste", as Kenny Everett used to say ...

I restored it for a well-known writer and collector. The pickups all worked OK, but the electrics needed a lot of work to replace corroded wiring and free up the switches. Unfortunately I couldn't do much about the high action - a neck reset on something like this would be a nightmare! So it's great for slide work but otherwise more of a collection item than a player.

1964 Bartolini 20V

1964 Bartolini 20V

1964 Bartolini 20V

1964 Bartolini 20V

Hopf Saturn 63
This German-built Hopf Saturn 63 is another 1960s oddity - dating from 1963, as the name suggests. Dieter Hopf is better known for acoustic and jazz instruments. This one has a multi-laminate neck, metal-bound soundholes and edge 'binding' and is the only guitar I've seen for a long time with a DIN socket for the lead. Fortunately I had a suitable metal DIN plug in my spares box and could make up a cable.

I had to sort out a lot of corrosion on the metal parts, smarten up the electrics and rewind the bridge pickup. Getting it apart was a very slow job as I've never seen such enthusiastic soldering of the pickup cover. Usually there's just couple of small blobs - this one was soldered all the way round. Once all that was done it actually set up and played pretty well - although the tuners were somewhat past their best and the tremolo had to be used sparingly.

Hopf Saturn 63

Sunburst Les Paul
Here's something a bit more mainstream - a Les Paul, but one with a maple neck. Maple rather than mahogany was used from late 1975 until the early 1980s. Although it doesn't seem "right", it did make the guitars much less prone to headstock breaks and allowed for some fancy sunbursts, as here. As can be seen, this one has sunbursting up the sides of the neck and around the sides and back of the headstock.

Unfortunately some of the lacquer had worn away badly and there were some nasty dings, so the task was to redo the burst where necessary and match the original. These pics show it after sunbursting but before spraying the top gloss coats and cutting back/buffing. I was pleased with the result, although it was a slow job - I had to use an airbrush and what custom car finishers call a "jamb gun" (a small spray gun used for the inside of car doors, etc.)

Sunburst Les Paul

Sunburst Les Paul

Ibanez George Benson
This is an early Ibanez GB10 George Benson, dating from 1978. First introduced in 1977, the early models were built by FujiGen Gakki in Japan. It's an smallish, single cutaway, full hollow body design with a spruce top, a raised tortoise pickguard and gold plated hardware. Fitted with Super 70 pickups, they are very sought after.

Unfortunately, the pickguards "gas off" really badly, and can cause extensive damage. On this example the pickguard had virtually disintegrated and all the gold plated hardware was corroded and bright green. In addition, the braided wire from the pickups was completely rotted away, nearly all the screws were rusted solid and the volume and tone pots were destroyed as well. Although the edge binding was OK, the heel plate was also disintegrating - it turned to dust once I started working on it - and needed replacing.

This was a pretty major rebuild. Dismantling the hardware was very time-consuming because nearly all the screws were rotted away or snapped off and I had to use screw extractors and plug the holes. The pickups had to be removed from their covers and although they didn't need rewinding the connecting wires had to be replaced, which was a pretty fiddly job. The remains of the old heel plate had to be chiselled off and a new one fitted. Then all the metalwork had to be stripped down to bare metal and gold plated anew, a new pickguard fitted and all the electrics re-done before the guitar could be reassembled and set up.

Ibanez GB10

1954 Ibanez GB10

Ibanez GB10

Ibanez GB10

Ibanez GB10

Ibanez GB10

Ibanez GB10

Ibanez GB10