This started as a discarded POS. My goal was to make it playable and presentable and learn a lot along the way about rebuilding guitars.
I refinished the neck and headstock leaving it to look a bit aged. The tuners were replaced and the nut upgraded to a real bone nut.
The frets were badly worn and should have been replaced. Instead, I wanted to work on the frets myself, so I leveled, crowned, and polished them. I oiled and rubbed out the fretboard to make it all look good.
The body and all the components needed a good cleaning and buffing. It has some nicks and scratches that help give it a cool patina. The tremolo claw was tight against the cavity so it needed to be reset and adjusted for the new #9 strings.
After setup, the neck was straight, the action low, and intonation good. It plays great with a fast satin-finish neck. Tremendous tone and sustain that is surprising. I reach for this guitar to play often over my more expensive guitar.
Although I learned what I wanted by working on the frets, the next time I will just re-fret a guitar this worn. And I will remember to polish the frets before I put the strings on! The headstock tuner holes are 9mm, so that limited the replacement tuner selection somewhat. If doing a project like this in the future I would ream the holes to 10mm and have more tuner choices to work with. This kind of project doesn’t need to be 100% vintage correct.
I decided to relic it a bit shown in the second photo. It really looks good. Now it needs to find a good home with the new string trees and aged tremolo bar installed.