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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 5:26 pm 
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan


The stunning X260n stands out in the already unique and unusual Electra product line. It took me almost a year to pull the trigger on the Blondie I eventually bought in the above video. Not a cream-puff, but totally original (including a Rene Lopez setup sticker) which as you found is sometimes tough to find on a 35 year old Japanese guitar these days.

The two things I would consider changing if starting with a solid project like yours would be to rewire it with 2 volumes and 1 tone (instead of the 1 volume 2 tones it came stock with), and making the coil-tap function only on the Neck pickup, as I rarely use the Bridge pickup as a single-coil. This brightens up the Neck pickup and gives you a noticeable volume boost when switching over to the Bridge pickup.

As far as finish, I'm with you, the color is what sets these guys apart. The finish isn't a super thick slathering of poly, almost a matte finish on these. I find that some of those super shiny necks feel a bit 'Sticky' too, so keep that in mind when you get ready to spray. Best of luck, Mike.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 8:38 pm 
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Just my tuppence worth on the neck finish...

... my rat guitar, although being coated with a 2 pack clear is having a naked neck as I found when I sanded it down that I just loved the feel of the wood under my hand.

Now, the problem with that is that sweat and other junk will get into the wood fibres necessitating sanding back on a regular basis so a little research into this uncovered the skill of premium gun stock oiling which is what I shall do with the Avengers neck; problem solved and feel of the wood still there!!

Sidetrack over... carry on!!

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:25 pm 
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Sorry, haven't been online in a while. In the last week or so, Mrs. Retsacnal was in the hospital for six days, and then another day a couple after checking out. Needless to say, I haven't done any work on the guitar either.

Thanks for the video link, proendorser. I'd come across that one before, and helped to really sell me on the guitar.

Corsair, yeah, I've considered oiling the neck as well. Like you, I really like the feel of wood, but, yeah, you can't just leave it untreated...

During this time, I've sort of gone full circle and then some on the finish. I'd come back around to just leaving it natural and sealing it up. But then, from the straight on front view, to me it looks a little odd with the fret board retaining a slight tan color, and the body being nearly white. So, I'm still not sure.

Also, I'm still really wondering about the frets. My conscience is saying pull and replace 'em. That would give me a chance to sand the fret board a bit more, which might "solve" the problem of the slight color difference. I don't even mind that they're different...I just don't want the fret board being darker than the body. Am I being neurotic about that?

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:D X260n Blonde Invicta! (1980)
:) Gibson Les Paul Studio (2007, walnut with black hardware, active EMGs)
:) Alvarez Yairi (1992)
:) Art & Lutherie 12 String


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2016 7:04 pm 
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I hope your good lady is coming right, buddy!

Yeah... pull the frets and be damned; may as well seeing as the things in bits anyway! Put in some jumbos; I dislike the narrow frets some of these Matts come with and replace the frets at the drop of a hat!!

With the finish, bear in mind that if you don't like it once it's done, you can always re-strip and re-do it - no major, but yeah; getting right first time is preferable. The natural finish sounds good, and a lightly sanded board is likely to enhance that; go hard!!

:up: :D

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:15 pm 
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Well, once again I need to apologize for a long absence! My wife's condition has been up and down. We've made a couple more trips to the hospital, and just got home from a three-day stay. Thanks for the kind words in this regard. In spite of some issues, she's still improving a bit each day, getting stronger, etc.

Anyway, I've decided to pull the frets, and do it right from start to finish! Naturally, I don't have the right tools--been a long time since I did any fret work--so I'm gonna order some fret working tools. Stewmac seems to the be the only place online where I can find them. I've ordered things from there before, and like them ok, but, just out of curiosity, does anyone know of other sources? I do like to comparison shop when I can.

So, once I pull the frets I'll be able to better sand the fret board too. If it lightens up a bit, then I'll probably just finish it aux naturale. If it doesn't lighten the fret board, then I'll probably put a hint of color on it, probably yellow.

Does anyone know if the original logo was painted on? It mostly came off with the stripper, and the rest sanded away. I know there are some places to source custom decals, and I'll probably go that route because I don't think I can paint the logo accurately enough.

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:D X260n Blonde Invicta! (1980)
:) Gibson Les Paul Studio (2007, walnut with black hardware, active EMGs)
:) Alvarez Yairi (1992)
:) Art & Lutherie 12 String


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 1:30 am 
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You can make your own decals, you know; I've done it a few times now with good results. Buy some decal paper from a craft shop and do the artwork/script in a word processing programme, then print it out; follow the instructions that come with the decal paper!
You then seal it with several light coats of a lacquer and wait for it to dry properly. Then cut it out with a very sharp craft knife and soak it in lukewarm water until the carrier film starts to come off the backing paper. Remove from the water and apply to your guitar - I use a decal setting solution to help with positioning and setting - and when its completely and utterly dry, a couple of thin clear lacquer coats over the lot and you're done!

No, sorry.... Stewmacs pretty much where I'd buy kit, even here in Australia! Bear in mind, it's relatively expensive stuff especially if it's only going to be used once! I have made my own radiused fretboad sanding blocks - 12" and 91/2" - and my own freboard levels. I ground down a pair of nippers to make fret pulling pliers at a fraction of the cost of proper fret pliers....
I use a set of needle files to do fret ends etc., but needed to buy a proper crowning file; the tools are only half the battle... I found knowing how to use them was the major issue and made quite a few errors before I sort-of got "the knack"! :lol:

Glad your wife's coming right, buddy; without our health, we have nothing, eh!

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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 8:04 pm 
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Thanks again for the kind words. She's been in the hospital 8 of the last 10 days, but home last night, finally, and they seem to have figured out and resolved a couple of problems!

I was looking over the tools on StewMac, and was tempted to order their fretting kit, but was pretty sure that I don't want some of the tools, or the book. You save a little buying the kit, but if you don't want all the pieces you likely come out ahead by ordering a la carte. Anyway, then I thought I'd just order the fret puller/cutters, but then I realized if I order things one at a time I'm gonna end up paying way too much for shipping. So I splurged on their "club" ($39) which gives free shipping, so I can just order whatever whenever. It came out about the same as three shipments, which I'm likely to do, or even exceed. I also ordered the under-string fretboard radius gauge, just because I'm not sure about the neck radius, and once I know it I'll order a sanding block (kudos to corsair for making his own, but for a one-off, I think it'd just be easier to order just the proper size).

I worked in a shop for a while when I was a kid, so I know how to use the tools--I just don't have them. I know buying them for one guitar is probably not cost effective (probably cheaper to pay for a re-fret), but I want to do it myself. The fret cutters are 29 bucks, but I'd otherwise have to buy some nippers and grind them down, and I don't have access to a grinder. So, $29's ok too.

Anyway, I don't mind stocking up on some proper tools, because for my next project I'm getting a hankering to build a guitar from scratch... :no:

Also, I think re-fretting was the right answer, because I was looking closely at the frets again tonight, and realized that not only is there wear, but they've been redressed multiple times already, because frets between about 3 through 7 not only have grooves worn into them, but they've been filed down quite a bit already!

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:D X260n Blonde Invicta! (1980)
:) Gibson Les Paul Studio (2007, walnut with black hardware, active EMGs)
:) Alvarez Yairi (1992)
:) Art & Lutherie 12 String


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PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 8:11 pm 
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corsair wrote:
You can make your own decals, you know; I've done it a few times now with good results. Buy some decal paper from a craft shop and do the artwork/script in a word processing programme, then print it out; follow the instructions that come with the decal paper!
You then seal it with several light coats of a lacquer and wait for it to dry properly. Then cut it out with a very sharp craft knife and soak it in lukewarm water until the carrier film starts to come off the backing paper. Remove from the water and apply to your guitar - I use a decal setting solution to help with positioning and setting - and when its completely and utterly dry, a couple of thin clear lacquer coats over the lot and you're done!


This sounds interesting. Finishing is something that I don't know a lot about. I've refinished some furniture in the past. And refinished hardwood floors.

I've been leaning towards a urethane finish, because I've read that it darkens the wood less. Can lacquer and poly coexist? Meaning, can I use a decal made with lacquer with poly?

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:D X260n Blonde Invicta! (1980)
:) Gibson Les Paul Studio (2007, walnut with black hardware, active EMGs)
:) Alvarez Yairi (1992)
:) Art & Lutherie 12 String


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PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 1:51 am 
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See, I handoff the painting to an expert and he uses a 2 pack automotive clear on my guitars after painting which, when cured, is as hard as nails and a beautiful glossy clear. This has gone on fine over decals I have applied and there has been no crazing or cracking, whereas when I've clear coated a project headstock with home made decals, I had some issues with crazing; I was using a rattle can clear of some stripe - most likely polyurethane - so I try to box clever these days and hand the whole painting/finishing to my paint guru! I hasten to add, these are guitars with far more complex artwork than I could ever, ever do and getting the Paintdoctor in Maryborough to do it is much cheaper in the long run, and a qulity job to boot!! Check out his website... The Paintdoctor.

Oh.... and my homemade fretboard radius sanding block consisted of a stout plastic bag filled with dry cement powder; it conforms beautifully to the contours of the board and does a wondrous job, providing you do your job properly i.e. sanding with a reasonably light touch... no bad thing in any case!! :lol:

I have all kinds of fun finding alternate ways to do things that seem to require expensive tools, eh; some work, some don't!! :)

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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 4:28 pm 
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Progress Report: :D

Honestly, I haven't made much progress, but the fret cutters arrived and I've removed the frets (see picture below). I also did a little sanding, and the fret board lightened up some, so I'm inclined to just keep the finish natural, especially if it lightens up even more (probably do a brush on poly).

I didn't want to sand too aggressively without a radiused block to keep me out of trouble. Speaking of which, does anyone know what radius these fretboards are meant to have? I measured 9.5" at the nut, 10" at the body joint, and close to either one in the middle. I'd be surprised if they truly had a compound radius, and doubt anyone would go to that trouble for only .5" difference.

Anyway, I'm thinking natural for the finish, and maybe gold hardware and ivory pups. Any thoughts? Would gold hardware be too much on a natural finish?

Image

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:D X260n Blonde Invicta! (1980)
:) Gibson Les Paul Studio (2007, walnut with black hardware, active EMGs)
:) Alvarez Yairi (1992)
:) Art & Lutherie 12 String


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 9:55 pm 
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Hmmmmm.... perhaps a set of cream P90s in there might look and sound just excellent... my cream ones look mega, eh

Image

More of that project later...

Maybe a light sanding was all the board needed?? That's going to look very, very cool when its finished!! And no; the board is probably not a compound radius! :D

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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2016 6:00 am 
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:love:

I say GOLD!

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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 9:06 am 
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The Chad wrote:
:love:

I say GOLD!


I like how you think! ;)

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:D X260n Blonde Invicta! (1980)
:) Gibson Les Paul Studio (2007, walnut with black hardware, active EMGs)
:) Alvarez Yairi (1992)
:) Art & Lutherie 12 String


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 1:14 pm 
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corsair wrote:
Hmmmmm.... perhaps a set of cream P90s in there might look and sound just excellent... my cream ones look mega, eh


Those do look good! But I want a humbucker, and preferably with split coil capabilities. I'm partial to EMGs, so I was thinking of something like this: EMG 89

But maybe something from DiMarzio to look more original. In fact, what I pulled out of the bridge position is an old DiMarzio super distortion.

Generally I'm not a big fan of having a zillion different settings, but I want to try to use the original holes (3 knobs and 1 switch on the lower bout, and 1 on the upper bout). I want to re-wire it so that it has two volumes, and one tone, rather than two tone and one volume. I generally just leave everything wide open though, and rely on the amp and effects for tone.

Anyway, as I shop for pups, and consider wiring implications, I'm realizing that this is a strange combination of knobs and switches... any suggestions?

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:D X260n Blonde Invicta! (1980)
:) Gibson Les Paul Studio (2007, walnut with black hardware, active EMGs)
:) Alvarez Yairi (1992)
:) Art & Lutherie 12 String


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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 1:41 pm 
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Any 3 or 4 wire pickup will be capable of coil splitting, so the world's your oyster!! The DiMarzio you took out may have been OEM; I know quite a few top end Matsumokus used SDs, and, in fact, the MMK45 was Matsumokus shot at an SD style pickup!

I have a set of MMK45s here going spare if you're interested; PM me if so.....

I've never been a fan of EMGs; they sound brittle and a little thin to my - admittedly old!- ears and need gobs of outboard EQ to sweeten 'em up... YMMV of course! I hanker after the wherewithal to purchase a set of Bareknuckle pickups ..... I've played a couple of guitars so equipped and they are just mega, but the price is also pretty epic and I've run out of enthusiasm for mucking about with guitars, so, that's not going to happen! Besides, the price of a pair of Bareknuckles puts me well on the way to a new carbon fibre croquet mallet from New Zealand!! :lol:

As for your control layout; well, you're setting this up to your preferences so I say make it you own!! There's pros and cons for all control lyouts, but it's your guitar, buddy, and it's going to be a beauty!!

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