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> Restoring Cheap Old Guitar, Is it worth it?
Madfish
post Oct 17 2018, 06:47 PM
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I have an old Epiphone Korina Explorer. It's from late 90s. It's in an OK overall condition. Obviously, there are issues. It was not a high-end guitar to begin with. I am seriously considering giving it a new life though.

Things that bother me most:
  • neck - It has a gloss finish, which becomes quite sticky after a while.
  • sustain - The nut definitely needs to go. Possibly the bridge too.
  • electronics - Pickups are OK. I swapped them already. Pots need a change, since they crack a bit.
  • tuners - Stock old Epiphone tuners. It's a no-brainer. Some good quality locking tuners are needed.


Do you think it's event worth the effort/money? Should I rather ditch it and look for a better instrument instead?


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Mertay
post Oct 17 2018, 07:28 PM
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Even if you decide to sell it, cause of bad condition guitar will really go for low. You'll need to find a luthier and ask him cost effective solutions;

Neck; Painted necks feel great when lightly sanded (very gently) but I don't know if that works for gloss.
Nut-bridge; Nut being not a problem, the bridge is worth a web search as they can be very expensive.
Pots/tuners; Even the cheapest tuners these days last very long.

Luthiers also keep used but not so bad parts from previous guitars they worked on. Say someone came with an ibanez prestige for full upgrade, the pots from such a guitar for example can be very cheap and last long. He might even find you a good bridge too.

This post has been edited by Mertay: Oct 17 2018, 07:29 PM


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klasaine
post Oct 17 2018, 08:25 PM
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In good to excellent condition those sell for between $300 and $500.
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Kristofer Dahl
post Oct 18 2018, 07:00 AM
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If you have a personal affection to the instrument, you will find that the cost balance might no longer be a priority.

I can't tell you how much I regret selling my first electric (a korean or Japanese Squier).


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Madfish
post Oct 18 2018, 08:10 PM
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Very valuable input. Thanks everyone! I bought this guitar second hand, while in high school. Obviously, I have some feelings for her wink.gif
I guess I'll give it a go. Let's see what the luthier has to say.
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Todd Simpson
post Oct 18 2018, 08:39 PM
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As has been mentioned, if you plan on keeping it, then sure, customize away! If you ever might sell it, your custom tweaks may make it harder to sell and you'll probably not be able to recoup the costs. Quite often, any upgrades in a guitar don't translate very well to after market sales. There are exceptions of course, which is what makes it a rule. I used to work in a music store, and we paid the same amount of money for a given brand/model/condition guitar no matter what upgrades had ben added. Private sales can be a bit different, but usually folks don't wanna pay for others tweaks for some reason.

So if it's a keeper, spend away smile.gif I let a Dean that I put custom wound pickups and a customized neck profile go and I shoulda just kept it. Same for a BC rich gunslinger. Really, I should have kept them all. I was in to buying and selling guitars for a while. Shoulda just kept em all smile.gif

Todd
QUOTE (Madfish @ Oct 17 2018, 01:47 PM) *
I have an old Epiphone Korina Explorer. It's from late 90s. It's in an OK overall condition. Obviously, there are issues. It was not a high-end guitar to begin with. I am seriously considering giving it a new life though.

Things that bother me most:
  • neck - It has a gloss finish, which becomes quite sticky after a while.
  • sustain - The nut definitely needs to go. Possibly the bridge too.
  • electronics - Pickups are OK. I swapped them already. Pots need a change, since they crack a bit.
  • tuners - Stock old Epiphone tuners. It's a no-brainer. Some good quality locking tuners are needed.


Do you think it's event worth the effort/money? Should I rather ditch it and look for a better instrument instead?
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Madfish
post Oct 18 2018, 11:05 PM
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"I have too many guitars - said noone ever"

I totally agree. Spending money on upgrades makes sense only if I keep it.

You customized the neck profile on your guitar? That's interesting. How did you go about that?

QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Oct 18 2018, 07:39 PM) *
As has been mentioned, if you plan on keeping it, then sure, customize away! If you ever might sell it, your custom tweaks may make it harder to sell and you'll probably not be able to recoup the costs. Quite often, any upgrades in a guitar don't translate very well to after market sales. There are exceptions of course, which is what makes it a rule. I used to work in a music store, and we paid the same amount of money for a given brand/model/condition guitar no matter what upgrades had ben added. Private sales can be a bit different, but usually folks don't wanna pay for others tweaks for some reason.

So if it's a keeper, spend away smile.gif I let a Dean that I put custom wound pickups and a customized neck profile go and I shoulda just kept it. Same for a BC rich gunslinger. Really, I should have kept them all. I was in to buying and selling guitars for a while. Shoulda just kept em all smile.gif

Todd

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Todd Simpson
post Oct 20 2018, 07:42 PM
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It was easy smile.gif I took it to my local luthier and said "THIS NECK IS LIKE A BOAT OAR!!!" and asked him to reprofile it. Bascially he just sanded it down with a belt sander. the neck was unfinished so it didn't remove any lacquer or anything. Just made the thing WAY more playable. It only cost about $75 and it really made the instrument in to a much better bit of kit.
Todd
QUOTE (Madfish @ Oct 18 2018, 06:05 PM) *
"I have too many guitars - said noone ever"

I totally agree. Spending money on upgrades makes sense only if I keep it.

You customized the neck profile on your guitar? That's interesting. How did you go about that?
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AK Rich
post Oct 20 2018, 07:58 PM
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QUOTE (Madfish @ Oct 17 2018, 09:47 AM) *
I have an old Epiphone Korina Explorer. It's from late 90s. It's in an OK overall condition. Obviously, there are issues. It was not a high-end guitar to begin with. I am seriously considering giving it a new life though.

Things that bother me most:
[list]
[*]neck - It has a gloss finish, which becomes quite sticky after a while.


A green Scotchbrite or 3M abrassive pad is what I use to free up my finished necks.There might already be one in your kitchen for washing dishes or other cleaning. smile.gif Just a few passes along the back of the neck will do to slicken it right up.

This post has been edited by AK Rich: Oct 20 2018, 08:00 PM
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Todd Simpson
post Oct 21 2018, 02:39 AM
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Getting rid of the sticky finish on a neck can make it way more comfy indeed. A luthier can do a very fine job of this typically for about $100. If you are careful, you can do it yourself. If you botch it, you may end up with a neck that either needs to be replaced or taken to the luthier either way. But if it bothers you, then either give it a shot or take it to someone you trust. If you do it yourself, just be careful and methodical about it. smile.gif

Todd

QUOTE (AK Rich @ Oct 20 2018, 02:58 PM) *
A green Scotchbrite or 3M abrassive pad is what I use to free up my finished necks.There might already be one in your kitchen for washing dishes or other cleaning. smile.gif Just a few passes along the back of the neck will do to slicken it right up.

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AK Rich
post Oct 21 2018, 05:52 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Oct 20 2018, 05:39 PM) *
Getting rid of the sticky finish on a neck can make it way more comfy indeed. A luthier can do a very fine job of this typically for about $100. If you are careful, you can do it yourself. If you botch it, you may end up with a neck that either needs to be replaced or taken to the luthier either way. But if it bothers you, then either give it a shot or take it to someone you trust. If you do it yourself, just be careful and methodical about it. smile.gif

Todd


I have been doing this to my necks for over a decade and have never botched anything. Using that fine grit abrasive pad barely takes anything off of the neck and in fact over time the neck will gloss back up and get sticky again at which time you just hit it again real fast with the pad. I usually don't sand half as much as this guy does, just a few passes and it's slick.
But sure, you could go spend a $100 at the shop to have the same thing done that I have suggested you could do yourself for practically nothing or you could do it yourself and spend that $100 on some hardware upgrades.



This post has been edited by AK Rich: Oct 21 2018, 06:13 AM
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Todd Simpson
post Oct 22 2018, 02:11 AM
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What I paid for at the shop, was NOT what you are suggesting here, to be clear. I had my neck "Re-Profiled" which is quite a bit different from just hitting it with some sand paper to take off a layer of sticky stuff. If he just wants to give it a quick hand sand, should be fine smile.gif If he want's to have it re profiled, then yeah, I'd say take it to a professional. Trying to reprofile ones own neck, for the first time, never having done it before, probably not a great idea. But it's really up to him smile.gif



QUOTE (AK Rich @ Oct 21 2018, 12:52 AM) *
I have been doing this to my necks for over a decade and have never botched anything. Using that fine grit abrasive pad barely takes anything off of the neck and in fact over time the neck will gloss back up and get sticky again at which time you just hit it again real fast with the pad. I usually don't sand half as much as this guy does, just a few passes and it's slick.
But sure, you could go spend a $100 at the shop to have the same thing done that I have suggested you could do yourself for practically nothing or you could do it yourself and spend that $100 on some hardware upgrades.


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AK Rich
post Oct 22 2018, 03:43 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Oct 21 2018, 05:11 PM) *
What I paid for at the shop, was NOT what you are suggesting here, to be clear. I had my neck "Re-Profiled" which is quite a bit different from just hitting it with some sand paper to take off a layer of sticky stuff. If he just wants to give it a quick hand sand, should be fine smile.gif If he want's to have it re profiled, then yeah, I'd say take it to a professional. Trying to reprofile ones own neck, for the first time, never having done it before, probably not a great idea. But it's really up to him smile.gif

I was never commenting on re-profiling a neck. Only a fix for a finished neck that is sticky which I and lots of other people do all the time. Look at my post again and you will see I was responding to Madfishes original post and not your post about re-profiling which is not actually a fix for a sticky finish on the back of your neck anyway. Re profiling is a different matter completely. I was never commenting on what you posted, you commented about my post and nowhere in that post did I say anything about re-profiling a neck and I certainly didn't suggest anyone try it themselves.
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Todd Simpson
post Oct 22 2018, 06:06 AM
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Glad we cleared that up then smile.gif Certainly, just a bit of sand paper and elbow grease can get rid of a sticky finish. It's quick, easy, and is a very "do it yourself" kinda job. I did make a post about re profiling which is a much more involved thing and what I was talking about paying $100 for. When you mentioned that one could pay that or spend the money on gear, that's where it gets confusing imho. I was suggesting the $100 for profiling the neck, not suggesting paying someone $100 for just using a bit of sandpaper to get rid of the finish on the top layer of wood. Best to be clear after all lest we confuse the GMCer that we are trying to help.



QUOTE (AK Rich @ Oct 21 2018, 10:43 PM) *
I was never commenting on re-profiling a neck. Only a fix for a finished neck that is sticky which I and lots of other people do all the time. Look at my post again and you will see I was responding to Madfishes original post and not your post about re-profiling which is not actually a fix for a sticky finish on the back of your neck anyway. Re profiling is a different matter completely. I was never commenting on what you posted, you commented about my post and nowhere in that post did I say anything about re-profiling a neck and I certainly didn't suggest anyone try it themselves.
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AK Rich
post Oct 22 2018, 07:26 AM
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QUOTE (Todd Simpson @ Oct 21 2018, 09:06 PM) *
Glad we cleared that up then smile.gif Certainly, just a bit of sand paper and elbow grease can get rid of a sticky finish. It's quick, easy, and is a very "do it yourself" kinda job. I did make a post about re profiling which is a much more involved thing and what I was talking about paying $100 for. When you mentioned that one could pay that or spend the money on gear, that's where it gets confusing imho. I was suggesting the $100 for profiling the neck, not suggesting paying someone $100 for just using a bit of sandpaper to get rid of the finish on the top layer of wood. Best to be clear after all lest we confuse the GMCer that we are trying to help.

Apparently it's not clear yet.
Firstly. Check post #9. I said abrasive pad and not sandpaper. The abrasive pad I use is equivalent to about a 400 grit sandpaper.

Secondly. Check post #8. Looking back at your post about re-profiling. You stated it cost about $75.

Thirdly. Check post #10. The $100 price for running an abrasive pad on the back of a guitar neck to slicken it up was out of your head , not mine. I was simply using your figure in my response (post #11).

I don't don't know of a tech that would charge anything at all for that little trick. They would either do it for you at no charge or tell you how to do it yourself just like I have here. Maybe your tech is different , I don't know.

At any rate, I don't see how it was I that was being confusing.
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Todd Simpson
post Oct 23 2018, 01:53 AM
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Much better smile.gif To the Original Poster, please do let us know how it goes!! To be clear, don't pay $100 for a gentle sanding, you can just do that yourself. But if you have it reprofiled, somewhere around $100 is what I've paid in the past.


Todd
QUOTE (AK Rich @ Oct 22 2018, 02:26 AM) *
Apparently it's not clear yet.
Firstly. Check post #9. I said abrasive pad and not sandpaper. The abrasive pad I use is equivalent to about a 400 grit sandpaper.

Secondly. Check post #8. Looking back at your post about re-profiling. You stated it cost about $75.

Thirdly. Check post #10. The $100 price for running an abrasive pad on the back of a guitar neck to slicken it up was out of your head , not mine. I was simply using your figure in my response (post #11).

I don't don't know of a tech that would charge anything at all for that little trick. They would either do it for you at no charge or tell you how to do it yourself just like I have here. Maybe your tech is different , I don't know.

At any rate, I don't see how it was I that was being confusing.
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