Modifying F-Holes On A 5120

Teledriver

Country Gent
Feb 12, 2011
1,050
Iowa City, IA
I had no idea main-stream/non-Electromatic Gretsches had squared F's.
Maybe I can change mine back?

🤔


Naw, I wouldn't have done it if I was happy with squared F's. Glad I did it.
(BTW, I do sort of remember there was a slight flaw in the finish on one of the F's, like it was too thin of a color coat or something. Edges for finishes can be tricky, and with a hollow or semi-hollow body you need to stuff something in there or else the back inside will have the color/finish from over-spray. Pull the stuffing out too early and you mar that edge on the F)
 

Gregor

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 17, 2018
1,477
New Brunswick, Canada
I got the idea from a post on here, from maybe 2009 or 2010 about a conversion project of a 5120 into a 6120, done full-bore (except pickup placement I think). I recently deleted that like from my 'Favorites', unfortunately, or else I'd link to it. Can't even remember the thread's author, but it ran several pages.
Maybe this is it?

 

Teledriver

Country Gent
Feb 12, 2011
1,050
Iowa City, IA
@Gregor Yup! Nice catch, that's the one! That thread was posted about a year before I got my 2010 5120 Electromatic, and I had stumbled upon it doing some pre-buying research (my 2010-made Gretsch was bought in early 2011).
 

Gregor

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 17, 2018
1,477
New Brunswick, Canada
Initially I was interested in just painting the f holes because of the poorly finished stain on the edges.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0021.JPG
    IMG_0021.JPG
    84.2 KB · Views: 7
  • IMG_0022.JPG
    IMG_0022.JPG
    93.6 KB · Views: 7
  • IMG_0025.JPG
    IMG_0025.JPG
    87.8 KB · Views: 7
Last edited:

Gregor

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 17, 2018
1,477
New Brunswick, Canada
Then I decided I wanted to point the f holes instead of leaving them squared off as in the left pic.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0006.JPG
    IMG_0006.JPG
    141.7 KB · Views: 9
  • IMG_0016.JPG
    IMG_0016.JPG
    122.5 KB · Views: 9

Gregor

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 17, 2018
1,477
New Brunswick, Canada
Here's the final result.

Overall I’m happy as a clam in high water! It’s certainly not the equivalent of real binding but I felt that was beyond my capabilities.
Let me know if you're interested in the details of the procedure.

Thanks to all for your posts, both encouraging and discouraging as it helped me in making the decision to forge ahead.

Now I just have to learn to play without a pickguard lol!!!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0018.JPG
    IMG_0018.JPG
    149.7 KB · Views: 19
  • IMG_0012.JPG
    IMG_0012.JPG
    107.6 KB · Views: 20
  • IMG_0011.JPG
    IMG_0011.JPG
    101.5 KB · Views: 18
  • IMG_0015.JPG
    IMG_0015.JPG
    178.8 KB · Views: 20
  • IMG_0019.JPG
    IMG_0019.JPG
    147.8 KB · Views: 20
Last edited:

CheapGretschLover

Gretschie
Dec 2, 2019
176
Portland Oregon
Here's the final result.

Overall I’m happy as a clam in high water! It’s certainly not the equivalent of real binding but I felt that was beyond my capabilities.
Let me know if you're interested in the details of the procedure.

Thanks to all for your posts, both encouraging and discouraging as it helped me in making the decision to forge ahead.

Now I just have to learn to play without a pickguard lol!!!
Great job! Im definitely interested in the details as I want to do the same thing to my 5120.
 

Gregor

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 17, 2018
1,477
New Brunswick, Canada
Great job! Im definitely interested in the details as I want to do the same thing to my 5120.
Thanks. I gained a lot of good info from the posts above and added a bit of my own.
I first pointed the f-holes with an Xacto knife and yes, you can use it effectively... just take small slices off the inside, outside and then the middle until you have the result you want. I removed material from both the top and bottom, eyeballing everything.
I then used a wood scraper and sandpaper to remove the poly, beveling the front edge for more reveal. This was probably the most difficult part as the poly is very tough(which normally is a good thing except when you want to remove it). Just be patient and persevere.
Three coats of acrylic craft paint brushed on to match the color of the binding and don't worry if some gets beyond the bevel as you can easily wipe it off right to where your bevel is as it's water based. Very lightly sand all coats with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper. I found that a small craft brush worked best.
Four coats of satin finish wipe on polyurethane(homemade) actually brushed on lightly sanding between coats but not the final coat. I got a smoother finish with the wipe on poly than otherwise. First two coats of a 50/50 mix of poly and thinner followed by two coats of 3/4 poly and 1/4 thinner. Do a section at a time as the working time will be short. Wipe off any mix that gets beyond the bevel and any that doesn't come off immediately can be removed when it dries with an auto swirl remover ie Turtle Wax Swirl Remover. It won't hurt the guitar finish.
Best of luck and let me know if you have any questions.
Be sure to let us know how you make out.
 
Last edited:

CheapGretschLover

Gretschie
Dec 2, 2019
176
Portland Oregon
Thanks. I gained a lot of good info from the posts above and added a bit of my own.
I first pointed the f-holes with an Xacto knife and yes, you can use it effectively... just take small slices off the inside, outside and then the middle until you have the result you want. I removed material from both the top and bottom, eyeballing everything.
I then used a wood scraper and sandpaper to remove the poly, beveling the front edge for more reveal. This was probably the most difficult part as the poly is very tough(which normally is a good thing except when you want to remove it). Just be patient and persevere.
Three coats of acrylic craft paint brushed on to match the color of the binding and don't worry if some gets beyond the bevel as you can easily wipe it off right to where your bevel is as it's water based. Very lightly sand all coats with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper. I found that a small craft brush worked best.
Four coats of matte wipe on polyurethane(homemade) actually brushed on lightly sanding between coats but not the final coat. I got a smoother finish with the wipe on poly than otherwise. First two coats of a 50/50 mix of poly and thinner followed by two coats of 3/4 poly and 1/4 thinner. Do a section at a time as the working time will be short. Wipe off any mix that gets beyond the bevel and any that doesn't come off immediately can be removed when it dries with an auto swirl remover ie Turtle Wax Swirl Remover. It won't hurt the guitar finish.
Best of luck and let me know if you have any questions.
Be sure to let us know how you make out.
Thanks for the detailed reply! For the wipe-on Poly, what brand did you use and did yiu just use a brush?
 

Teledriver

Country Gent
Feb 12, 2011
1,050
Iowa City, IA
Boy, miss a few days and you miss alot! Looks better than mine on that bevel- shows more color whereas mine is more subtle. Great job!

For anyone else tuning in, putting a few layers of poly over the (craft) paint is important, as that paint will most likely either wear off here and there, or else be removed by guitar polish (!!!). Don't skip this step!
 

Gregor

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 17, 2018
1,477
New Brunswick, Canada
Thanks for the detailed reply! For the wipe-on Poly, what brand did you use and did yiu just use a brush?
Minwax satin finish. I started by wiping it on with a piece of cotton t-shirt but soon found out that I had better control with a craft brush (from Michael's which is where I got the acrylic paint as well).
...and don't forget to put a cloth or at least some paper towel in the f-holes to catch any drips which should be minimal since you don't want to load the brush very much.
 

Gregor

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 17, 2018
1,477
New Brunswick, Canada
Boy, miss a few days and you miss alot! Looks better than mine on that bevel- shows more color whereas mine is more subtle. Great job!

For anyone else tuning in, putting a few layers of poly over the (craft) paint is important, as that paint will most likely either wear off here and there, or else be removed by guitar polish (!!!). Don't skip this step!
Thanks Teledriver. Yes the bevel is a matter of personal preference and thanks for your advice as well.
Absolutely have to coat the acrylic paint with the poly as it has no wear resistance whatsoever. Good point!!!
 


Latest posts

Top