new here-electromatic refinishing project

Discussion in 'Electromatic Gretsch Forum' started by JoshHeartless, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. JoshHeartless

    JoshHeartless Electromatic

    41
    Mar 21, 2012
    Michigan
    Hello all, I've been watching this site for a while and I've seen all of the mods people put into their 5120s and such and it's really pushed me to mod mine further.

    Mine originally was black-a 2008 model with the humbuckers. I quickly swapped out the tune-o-matic for an aluminum bridge. 2 years ago I had a friend who worked at a car shop paint the front of mine red like the old 5125s but I was never quite 100% happy with it.

    I also upgraded the electronics-put a tone selector for the neck pickup in (the bridge didn't seem to respond well with any changes on tone) and upgraded all my pots. Oh, and I also bought a TV Jones Classic Plus and a Magnatron.

    Anyways I've decided to strip it down and make it look real nice by giving it a nice cherry red stain. So far I've just sanded the back down which was done tonight and I'm curious to see how the stain will go over the orange stain that was under the black paint. I hope to keep anyone who is interested updated here as I undergo this project. I also plan on reshaping the f-holes and maybe a new headstock logo taken from a few hints I've gathered here.

    Included is a picture of the guitar a year ago and 2 pics of my work tonight.
     

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  2. JoshHeartless

    JoshHeartless Electromatic

    41
    Mar 21, 2012
    Michigan
    Oh, and one more thing I thought I'd ask while I'm on the subject of this guitar...even with the TV Jones pups the guitar is extremely dark sounding and has pretty rumbly lows. Is this common with the Electromatics or is the extra layers of paint I currently have gobbed on somehow affecting the tone? I've been thinking of putting a small bass-cut in the guitar to fix this but thought maybe there was a better solution since I've never heard of anyone else complaining of this. thanks.
     
  3. Opart68

    Opart68 Gretschie

    325
    Feb 14, 2011
    Australia
    Like the tone switch, I'm adding mine in the next few weeks.
     
  4. Jaybilly

    Jaybilly Electromatic

    6
    Oct 30, 2009
    Port Huron, MI
    Hey Josh! Jeff here (AKA Subourbon Son). Lookin' good, man! I'd rewire that bad boy like a Hot Rod model - should brighten it up a bit.
     
  5. HooDooPhonix

    HooDooPhonix Electromatic

    39
    Feb 13, 2012
    I have the same setup tv jones aluminum bridge, and mine sounds bright and snarly. so it may be the paint
     
  6. calvin lee

    calvin lee Country Gent

    Age:
    30
    Jan 5, 2011
    new york
    it would have been awesome if you left it like it is in the second pic, and just clear coated it.
     
  7. JoshHeartless

    JoshHeartless Electromatic

    41
    Mar 21, 2012
    Michigan
    Jeff! Great to see you on here bud! You gotta tell me how you did your mod to the headstock of yours man!
     
  8. Jaybilly

    Jaybilly Electromatic

    6
    Oct 30, 2009
    Port Huron, MI
    Will do, man - don't have time right now, but I'll clue you in tomorrow!
     
  9. SlinkyString

    SlinkyString Gretschie

    Age:
    29
    181
    May 3, 2011
    Sweden
    i think this will be awsome
     
  10. Jaybilly

    Jaybilly Electromatic

    6
    Oct 30, 2009
    Port Huron, MI
    Okay Josh, here is how I rubbed out the Electromatic logo:
    1. Remove tuners and truss rod cover. 2. Using white or yellow woodworkers glue, fill in the truss rod cover screws (I use a toothpick to apply the glue). I'll explain later why this is necessary. 3. Using wetsand paper and a 2" x 5" block of wood (padded with a scrap of t-shirt cloth, begin wetsanding the headstock as follows: 4. Start with 360 grit. This is the most time consuming part of the job. The goal here is to remove the clear coat and reach the silkscreened logo. Rinse out the sandpaper often, and above all, DRY OFF THE HEADSTOCK IMMEDIATELY! The excess water can get in the tuner holes and seep into the headstock - not good, trust me! As you are wetsanding, you'll see the logo sand away - it takes time and patience, and you want to remove ALL of the clearcoat off the headstock. 5. Now the hardest part is over. Continue wetsanding as follows: 600 grit, 800 grit, 1200 grit, 1500 grit, and 2000 grit (it goes faster than you'd think). 6. After wetsanding, I rubbed out the headstock with Meguire's fine scratch removal, and finish with Meguire's Swirl removal. Use very soft cloths and buff to a gloss. 7. Now go back and redrill the truss rod cover screw holes. It was necessary to fill them to prevent seepage into the headstock. Please note, the end result will not be perfect, you may have small swirl marks that don't polish out, but it still looks great in my opinion. FINAL DISCLAIMERS: a) this is a little risky: water seepage can get under the clear headstock laminate and and cause some discoloration, so proceed at your own risk. b) watch the water by the nut - keep it dry! c) this is how I did it - you may find a better way.
     
  11. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    34
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    Josh. What's your wiring harness like? The TV's should not be dark sounding and I dont think it would be the paint.

    What kind of pots have you used, what kind of tone cap. BTW Simply wiring it up light a hot-rod might make it overly-bright and I would hope your amp had a decent EQ if you did.
     
  12. HooDooPhonix

    HooDooPhonix Electromatic

    39
    Feb 13, 2012
    good points I have replaced my harness and pots.
     
  13. JoshHeartless

    JoshHeartless Electromatic

    41
    Mar 21, 2012
    Michigan
    Well, I replaced everything besides the individual 500k pickup volume pots, which will be replaced before I put everything back together. I have .01 and a .0047 caps in the tone switch, which I love, and a 500k CTS pot for the master volume.

    I play out of a 1962 'Twilighter 213', which is a true copy of a Magnatone 213. For the longest time I thought it was the amp making it sound dark (which the amp is a little dark) but when I play my Fender AVRI Jag or Strat through it they sound great-not as good as the Gretsch per se but more balanced and the low end is crisp. I know I'm dealing with the differences between single coil and the filters, but still.

    Thanks for trying to help me out though, guys.
     
  14. JoshHeartless

    JoshHeartless Electromatic

    41
    Mar 21, 2012
    Michigan
    might do this to my headstock. I probably won't do the faux binding on the headstock and the re-shaped f-holes though...

    By the way, Jeff, we'll have to get something hooked up soon. I want to set up a one-off to play some damn rockabilly with some backing band. The Aces are on hiatus right now as it's hard to book shows when your drummer lives 2000 miles away. So if you know some boss musicians looking for a one-nighter let me know. I'd love to play in Port Huron again.
     
  15. Jaybilly

    Jaybilly Electromatic

    6
    Oct 30, 2009
    Port Huron, MI
    You got it Josh - it sucks that you guys aren't playing - I seriously considered your band the best rockabilly band in Michigan. I'd love to get you back here. Hey, quick question - how did you sand the finish off your 5120? I have an idea for a ratrod model that I want to completely sand and paint with a thin coat of satin black lacquer.
     
  16. JoshHeartless

    JoshHeartless Electromatic

    41
    Mar 21, 2012
    Michigan
    aw geez man, thank you. That means a lot, seriously. I miss playing with them terribly-Nick was one of those drummers that just stuck to playing the song and didn't fill excessivly.

    Anyways I started off with 100 grit sandpaper going with the grain of the wood, and once it was all down to the orange I used 120 then 150. I would almost suggest getting one of those sanding sponges because they provide more even pressure-that's what I'm using right now. Be really careful at the edges because I went down a bit too far and now I'll have to stain it orange before going over it with the red. I used down to 60 to get that paint off the front because there was such a thick layer of clearcoat.
     
  17. JoshHeartless

    JoshHeartless Electromatic

    41
    Mar 21, 2012
    Michigan
    Got a lot done today. Here's photos from the past few days. First pic is the end of day #2, the next one is day #4, and the last two are from tonight, the latter showing my re-shaped f-holes. I'm very pleased so far. However, I will need to stain the parts that I sanded down a bit too far orange before I can lay the red on top.
     

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  18. Markc

    Markc Gretschie

    127
    Jan 20, 2012
    Casa Grande, AZ
    Josh,

    I'm like you. My motto is "do it yourself, or die trying", so I like what you are trying to do. But I gotta tell you, my experience with previously finished wood is that it is hard to stain - or at least stain evenly. I hope the cherry stain works well for you. I'll be watching for your next posts to see how it all works out. Good luck making your own very unique 5120.
     
  19. JoshHeartless

    JoshHeartless Electromatic

    41
    Mar 21, 2012
    Michigan
    Thank you for the advice but I hope that's not the case with this. I suppose if anything else I can strip the orange down to bare wood and do it that way if the cherry doesn't go well over it.
     
  20. nicko10_5

    nicko10_5 Synchromatic

    Age:
    56
    625
    Sep 19, 2009
    Nottingham
    Loving the project, won't the orange affect the staining process?
    Slightly off topic has anyone painted a 5*** in pastel green on here. I would like to see that.
     
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