Sunday, March 28, 2010

Making a scratchplate for the EC29 - part 1

As I've mentioned before, my red EC29 was butchered when I bought it and I made a half finished attempt to clean it up and sort it out. I'd been discussing the damage with JayGee and we'd thought it might be amusing to fit a very trad strat style scratchplate on such a ridiculous guitar, especially as it's essentially in Candy Apple red anyway.

I also suspected this would manage to hide the damage without me needing to get the guitar refinished too. So far this is looking promising although I may need to polish out some of the oversanding I did.

Today I chopped up an old strat scratchplate I had lying around and offered it up to the guitar to see how it would sit. It's very obvious from the first couple of photos that there's no way one is anywhere near the right shape. The whole thing needs to be shortened massively in the lower half to work.

The top half kind of looks right in the first photo but you have to subsume the route for the Floyd Rose and the bottom half is never going to be 100% right because of the control layout.

Anyway, after taping the guitar up to avoid yet more scratches and a bit of messing around with some stiff paper, scissors and a Stanley knife the third picture shows where I've got to.

I've transferred an outline of this template to a sheet of 3-ply scratchplate material I've bought for the job and in the next few days I'll try to cut it. I've got a Dremel and a cutter bit that seems to work OK on the material, but it's not going to be easy to do a clean job of it. I can see I'm going to have to do a rough shape then carefully scrape/sand it the rest of the way. The hardest part is going to be the pickup cutouts I reckon.

If I make a pigs ear of it I'll take the guitar and prototype scratchplate to TMT guitars in Orpington who specialise in making custom scratchplates and have them do it properly. I should probably skip straight to this step but I always like having a go at things myself.

When it comes to fitting to the guitar, if at all possible I'm going to avoid putting any holes in the top. I'll use the controls and pickup surround to hold the majority of it, perhaps with the help of some double sided tape near the cutaways.

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