Vintage Restoration 1986 Ibanez PL2550GP Repair and Rebuild


I’ve learned a ton just by doing this single video, yes there are a lot of bare bones production values going on in this first episode and after watching it for a few weeks and looking at lots of other similar content channels, I decided that it sucked really bad and needs to be completely redone and it will be.

I’ve decided that it was great fun to put up that first very rough video but I want to be able to live with myself and I simply must do a better job with episode one. It has been deleted and will be redone with all the things I’ve learned and hopefully I’ll do a good enough job that I’ll actually be able to leave it up on YouTube.

Fingers crossed.


Episode 1. Start.

This piece is going to project number one, I’ve been dragging this guitar around since the late 90’s and I had an artist friend paint it in 2004 and it looks cool to me and now it needs to sound cool and get it’s guts reinstalled.

I showed it to “The Viking” who is an amazing Guitar Tech, and a good friend who taught me how to properly wrench on guitars. He has dubbed the guitar “Charlie Brown” and the name has stuck.

She (that’s a girl Charlie) got a good cleaning tonight and I got video of that process, I’m going to get that edited and onto the you tube channel soon, Going to see the Guitar tech tomorrow who triages all my finds, more on that tomorrow.

OK, she went to the tech aka “The Viking” on Monday afternoon before the March 14, 2017 Nor’easter snow here in NYC, we’ve got to preserve the artwork first so we’re going to clear coat the art and since it’s acrylic we can use a poly-acrylic or off the shelf “clear gloss” rattle can and light spray it.

I have to think about going the route that would yield the best result for the finish,and that would be crazy but just for your edification here’s that option:

Set up the guitar in a situation where it can be laid on a stand clamp in a leveled and stationary position for probably the better part of a month. One would fit in the low lying valleys in the artists work because you want to fill in the uneven surfaces of the artwork which was brush painted in layers with acrylic paint leaving hills and valleys on the top surface of the guitar. So you’re filling the valleys with the clear coat. once that’s done you still haven’t covered the highest parts of the art work, now that the surface is level you should keep going with more layers of clear coat and now they can be rubbed or buffed to a mirror shine with each additional layer, my dad once did the dashboard of his triumph TR-6 with 30 layers of hand rubbed lacquer. That to me was such a beautiful result but it took the better part of a month to execute, and today the car is a pile of rust somewhere but that dash is still perfect and stunning. Guitars are mostly wood and cars are mostly metal so the argument is spending a month rubbing lacquer on a guitar is worth it. But we’re not gonna do it, because life is short. And I’ve already put a ding in one of her cheeks. I’m bad. She lived outside of a case or bag for at least a decade after the painting was put on. No respect, I know. better late than never, Respect – Sean. (artist)

The cleaning went well. here’s some before and after. this is clearly before

and after.

mmmmmmmmm, delicious.

So let me try to re-establish my train of thought. quick and dirty rattle can clear-gloss. as many coats as 1 can and decent weather committing no more than one day can give me.

dig out the hum bucker for the bridge and the jap-strat single coils for the neck old 3 position switch from the old strat case. OK, – I found everything except the nut for the fulcrum between the the fretboard and the machines. I have located all three original pickups I hope they sound good and we use those. Otherwise, I have a DiMarzio hot hot hot hum bucker, or a 1999 Gibson USA Humbucker from my SG special that I switched out for P’s SG standard hum buckers he gave me after he upgraded to Iomi’s. And the strat single coils are hanging around too, I found that theres enough wood to put an SG type stop tail and that the posts for the old edge tremolo could be the bridge, the position is correct. We’ll see what the Viking feels like doing.

dig out the locking nut from the parts box. – It wasn’t there, I think I dreamt having one because I tore the whole house apart looking for it, Nada, it’s like $15 anyway, We’ll just buy one

The neck is going to get a couple dowels thru the old neck bolts and I’m not sure how the locking nut without the locks is going to attach but I’m sure the Viking has a plan.

Look down along the edge of the neck. Remember how straight this is, when you shop for a guitar look at the neck from this angle and with some luck this is what you’ll see. At any rate it is certainly what you want to see. Now that’s a straight neck, so worth saving.

Big chunky frets, totally an 80’s metal beater. Funny that her first record will be “Do Right Woman”.

Ok, It’s now April 4th, 2017 and the shitty weather finally allowed me to clear coat lacquer the guitar last wednesday March 29th, 2017. I shot it and edited it and now I’m having technical issues with that video at present, note to self, never turn off Final Cut Pro 6 while compressor is rendering, it won’t reopen now and it’s very pissed off at me. oops. Video is done and up on YouTube now see the link at the top of this article.

So the great news is that she’s back at the Scam Cash workshop and The Viking is gonna wave his magic wand over it. He did, Charlie’s done.

Here She Is!!

the final reveal photo of front and back because I’m so happy how she came together after 19 years. There’s certainly more cosmetic touches yet to execute.

However, This is as done as she’s getting for the moment, the pickups sound really good and are not showing any signs of corrosion under the covers they look quite new and very clean. “The Viking” Slapped a Floyd rose type tremolo on this guitar, we had discussed putting a stop tail and really going frankenstein’s monster with a Japanese Stratocaster single coil at the neck and a Gibson SG Standard Humbucker at the bridge leaving the center pickup cavity blank and running a three way switch. This is my wife’s first electric and I’m so jealous now, but I did get my Stratocaster back out of the deal.

Now she is fairly restored to original condition, original pickups, very similar tremolo and locking nut. Note the repair on the back of the neck headstock joint has been fully jammed with epoxy, wood glue and dowel rods. I’m not sure how the nut was attached. oh yeah, if you got the back covers please, email me, I’ll buy ’em.


Now if you zoom in on the underside you’ll see the “you can’t pull it sharp block” that was glued to the tremolo block to prevent my wife from having to deal with those fun Joe Satriani trill noises. That block essentially turns it into a stop tail that you can dive the whammy bar with but you can’t pull it sharp, a very interesting hybrid operation for a floyd-type. This total refit came in under $320. The guitar plays like a very well put together instrument and the tonal variety rivals the H-S-S Stratocasters. Total Win.

I can’t decide wether to remove the brown paint on the back of the guitar so the back is all gold again, or if that would really be a bad idea, cause you can’t unring that bell. And who sees the back anyway, maybe lacquer and buffing will shine it up a bit. Super happy with the outcome. Now I should get in touch with my video guru to help me tame the pissed off compressor app in my old final cut software.

Thank you so much for reading and I’ll have more soon enough.

End of Episode 1.

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