This is a project that started a bit different from what I normally do. When I have a project in mind, I start looking for the parts and a usable neck. While I was surfing the eBay Items, I found this neck and because I really loved the inlay from this neck, I did some bidding and I won. (10-Mrt-2008) Still I had no idea where I would use it for, but I know that there would be a project some day.
While I was doing some of my “update website paper work”, I found this list of “to build” guitars. And a custom build Flying V was still listed on that list, so the neck ended up using for a Flying V project.
That same week I had some tickets for the Megadeth concert in Amsterdam, and Dave Mustaine was playing this amazing Dean V Dave Mustaine pro series guitar. And the color from that guitar had the same idea like the head of my eBay neck. So from there the new project was born. I had to build a custom Dave Mustaine V guitar. So the idea was there, now I needed the plans to build one.
Ibanez RGR521EX1 Metallic barb-wire Korina / Tiger striped Mahogany Medium frets Seymour Duncan LW-Must None Seymour Duncan LW-Must 3-way toggle switch Gold V Shape Tailpiece Black plastic
For the Signature Dave Mustaine Seymour Duncan Pickups there is a 9v battry block in the battery holder in the back of the body.
Now I had the idea to build this guitar, all I needed to start with the building plans. For this I started to look for a use-able picture from the Dean Guitar website. Once I had found a nice one, I started to edit this in Adobe Photoshop so I would have a nice symmetrical body to build the template first.
The edit picture was printed with a program called Ace Poster. With the program I made a 1:1 sized print out, with the program settings on 53,00 Width and 43,71 Height. The printed Parts where cut-out and taped together so I could draw it's shape in a piece of MDF wood to make me the template I needed for building this guitar.
The body is made from two pieces of wood plus a two layer top wood, meaning that the bottom layer is a 3.5 cm thick Korina wood and the top is a 1 cm thick Tiger striped plane-tree Mahogany wood. Since I run into some problems with my wood supplier, I started to look for someone else for the order on my wood. I got to this website of a company in Amsterdam called “fijnhout”. Those people had a little department in there warehouse specially made for music instruments for the custom builders, I told them what I was looking for, and they told me what I needed to make this body and they offered me those great pieces. The Korina was 5cm thick, so I needed to bring it down to 3,5cm I did this with my router, since I had no other tool that enabled me to do this the right way.
For this I started with 1 layer which was some cm deep, and then I did the second layer leaving 3 mm for sanding so I could bring it to the right thickness. You maybe wonder why I did this in two layers, well…..like I said before I had to find a way for the wiring of my jack in the upper V horn. That was the mean reason why I did it in two layers. Now I could route a little line from the jack space into the electronics space, so when I would glue the top layer on it, there would still be some space left for the wire.
The second reason was that I liked the Tiger stripes in the wood of my top layer. So once it was stained, all the strips would stand out a little more. This won’t be the same if I did the body I just one piece, in the end the stripes would be much less in the body.
Now the 4 pieces where all glued together and from here I could start with the routing and shaping of the body. At this time, the neck was still on it’s shipping way to me, so I didn’t knew for sure how it would fit the body heal, so for this I left some extra wood on the body so that I could route the shape later on. To clean the side of the body, I ordered the Rabo-Sanders from the Stewart MacDonald site. This works really great on the cleaning part for the body, and this way I could also sand it down a bit so the edges were are all clear with an even smoothness. For this I had the 1”x2” inch Rabo-sander wheel with the 50-grit sleeve, which worked really fine. This made both the V horns perfect symmetric.
Once the body edges were all sanded down a bit, I started on the end tail of the body end. For this, I drew 2 lines from the middle of the body 3 cm into the body up until 17cm down the horn. From here, I took the rasp-tool to take off the wood to make a even “turn around” edge to the end of the V horns. This was done in a few minutes, and now I started to do the side edge on the guitar body. Because on the original body, there where some arrow kind of shape also going in a “turn around shape” down onto the V horns. For this I did a 2 cm line into the body, and down 30 cm, this shape was perfect all ready but later on I re-shaped it a little so I could start from 2 cm into 3 cm’s because I liked the look of this so much better. All I needed to do was cleaning out, both the tail and the arrow sides.
The neck arrived, so now I could start on routing the neck pocked into the body. For this I took my Jem template, so I had the correct shape and size. Once this was routed, I drilled the screw holes into the body, and at the back the holes for the buzz neck rings.
For the neck-heal of the guitar, I took the rasp-tool and I started to shape the neck-heal in a bold-round shape. So this would have the same feel like any other all excess neck. At this time, the pickups arrived and I could start on drawing the shapes on the body, which I needed for routing those out of the body. Again, I used the Jem template to draw those on the body and at the same time I could draw body of the holes of the bridge, which would be installed at 23,5 cm from the 12th fret. The pickups had a perfect fit for any standard Ibanez pickup ring, so I used those as my guide-line for routing the pickups. For the cavity hole, I had to keep in mind that I had to install a 9 volt battery to power up the pickups. Which I could place into the cavity hole, or I could route a battery holder later on. If I would add it in the cavity, I had to keep in mind that the routed hole had to be bigger that what I wanted to be.
While I was searching for the pickups, I couldn't find the diagram for the way I wanted to use them. On the original, there are 2 volume and 1 tone pots, I don’t like that, and I want 1 volume knob. So I asked the people of Seymour Duncan for this diagram, and a few days later they send me a picture of the diagram I needed. So now I could start on the shape for the cavity hole.
For the battery, I decided to go for a battery box routed into the body for this set. I think this is very handy and this looks really nice. The battery box wasn’t included in the pickup set, so I needed to wait on the routing for this because I needed to order a box. And for the ground wire, I did the same on this guitar like I did on the Paul Stanley crack mirror guitar. I also drilled a hole to the bridge hole to hook up the ground wire to the bridge. The wire diagram didn’t tell me if I needed it or not, but I wanted to be save then sorry. For the strings, I drilled the 6 holes from the back to front.
From the back to front was important because they had to be in line 100%. And sometimes when you drill the holes, your drill bit could be a mm off line and when you drill from the front to the back…….all the holes could be off.
And since there would be a gold V stop tail at the front of the body, I didn’t mind about that cause I could cover it up with this stop tail.
I think that you can guessed it by now, I found most of the parts on eBay. And 90% of this project I ordered the parts from the Southeast Music seller on eBay. (http://stores.ebay.nl/SOUTHEAST-MUSIC) The main reason that I ordered the parts from him was because I found some really nice tuning machines heads.
At first I wanted to use something special on this project and when I found this set of tuning head from this seller, I asked him to make me a deal on a mix of two set’s that he was selling. Since I found two really nice sets in his listing, and I asked the seller if he could make a mix of both in 1 for me. What the idea was, that I had the 3x3 set and the 6 left-handed set. I liked the pearl heads from then 3x3 set, and I hoped that he could install them on the 6 left-handed set for me.
This was fine with the seller, so once I had the green light…..I started to look for the remaining items that I needed for this guitar. And I happened to end up with almost everything; the funny thing is…..I never installed the machine heads since it became an over kill of color on the guitar. I tried some Gold set and this added a overall nicer look to the guitar. So, I dismounted the pearl head and changed them in the Gold head and installed them on the guitar.
I had to wait on the order for the pickup rings, because at the time I was looking for these parts, I didn’t had the pickups and I wasn’t sure if they would fit those rings that I wanted to use. The bridge is an old style tune-o-magic Gibson les Paul Bridge that I also got from this seller. The nice thing about this bridge is the saddles on it. They are little wheels that rotate if the string tension would change while bending the strings. This was new to me, but I would love to try this system so it ended up on this guitar. For the stop tail part, I used the Gold Flying V tailpiece bridge, and for the back end I had the 6 string ferrules saddles so it would be all tied up at the end part. Along with a gold set of neck ferrules bushing rings with gold screws. And the last part needed was the Gold Jack, for this I needed to keep in mind that I don’t want to use a hole in the back, so I needed a jack that I could bold on with some small screws. And the one I found worked really fine.
At the time that I was working on my Paul Stanley Ibanez cracked mirror custom guitar, I ordered a same acryl mirror gold plate from the guy who is always selling me the pickguard that I need for my Jem projects. I ordered this pickguard, because I wanted to re-build the Prince Symbol guitar and I wanted the pick guard’s to be in real acryl gold. I know I would have some left-over material from that project, which I could use to make the truss-rod cover. For this I made a copy of the cover on my Original Ibanez PGM500Ca guitar because this guitar was also with the reversed-head and nut, so I know I would have the right size for this neck.
And for the Electronic cavity I used some black left-over pickguard material, which I shaped by drawing the shape of the cavity hole first on a piece of paper. So I could tape it to the pickguard and route it into the correct shape. I also tried this with the same Gold Acryl plate, but this was an overkill of Gold at the back, so I kept it black. For the Truss rod cover I had some small screws also in gold.
For the Electronics, I know I needed some Gold Knobs and a Gold 3-way Les Paul switch. At the time I was ordering all my parts, I wasn’t sure what configuration I would end up using, 1 volume and 2 tone, 2 volume and 1 tone, 1 volume and 1 tone so I just did some bidding on 3 Gold Dome Knobs just to be sure. If I would end up with only 1 volume and 1 tone, I could still add one as a dummy for the looks. The Gibson 3-way switch is also in Gold with a black cap which looks amazing with the wood color.
Its 18 day’s in progress now, on the Seymour Duncan site, it said that the set is complete with the battery clip. But since there was no picture added, I had no clue if they where talking about a battery clip like I used in my custom Ibanez PS10 cracked mirror, or a real battery container which I have to route into the body. Once I had to set, there was no clip or box so I needed to order a separated one.
So that is still a part that I have to keep on hold. And this means, that I still have to wait with the routing in the back of the body. I will know for sure over 3 weeks because I have ordered the box just now and its on back-order. So from there I can start doing the back routing.
For the configuration, I had again some options that I have to think about. In the diagram there are 2 volume knobs and 1 tone. I don’t really like this kind of configuration, because of the “confusion” on the knobs. I mean, I use my volume knob a lot in the solo’s I do. To give the solo a better feel in the recording, I wanna kill the sound at the end of the solo. If there are 2 volume knobs, I can’t do this my way.
So the alternatives were simple, loose 1 volume knob and just stay with the 1 volume and 1 tone knob in the configuration, or I had to find a wire diagram which has 1 volume knob and 2 tone knobs.
The second configuration was my goal, so I contacted the people from the Seymour Duncan company, since this needed wire diagram wasn’t listed on there website. Within a few days, they wrote me a very friendly reply with the needed wire diagram, and they also listed it on there website.
For the stain I had to face another problem, since this was the first time that I had to finish a guitar like the original Dean guitar. I have stained a guitar before like the Jem7bsb, but this was a bit different. On the Jem I did the darker aria with a heat gun, burning the wood and from there I stained it. For this I needed to get those Tiger stripes out of the top. I asked around on the net for the perfect stain to use, but didn’t really find anything that I could use.
From there I would add a purple ecoline-ink type, to give the body its finishing color. I used a brown type water base paint for the back of the body. I added a little bit of black to give the brown a darker feel to it. I also used the thinner to remove most of the left over paint, and added another layer of the same paint mix.
While I was doing this, I found out that the color wasn’t anywhere near the color I wanted it to be. So I tried something else for this, I took some Chestnut ink from the War hammer paint that I have also used on the Jem7PAW guitar Once this was added to the back of the body, the body immediately looked so much better. This added some 3D effect to the body, and because the back turned out to be this great, I added some to the front of the body. This turned out to be really nice. Once this was dry, I could sand down the back and front just a little with a p2000 waterproof sandpaper to make it all ready and cleaned out to go to my painter so he could add the clear coat to it.
Once the body was back from the painter I could start with the shielding of the pickup holes, and electronic cavity. For this I started with both of the pickup spaces. I did some drawing on a black paper, which I applied to the metallic shielding tape. For the inside “walls” I used a 3 cm thick piece of shielding tape and added this first. I over-lapped it to the bottom so once I added the bottom layer I would look like one piece.
I handled the electronic cavity space the same why. The only difference was I needed to add a top ring of shielding tape first, I pulled the edge down and glues the second “wall” and over-lapped this to the bottom of the cavity and then I could apply the last “ground” layer. And now this was also done and worked really amazing. From there I needed to cut out the little holes for my Volume, tone knobs and 3 way switch and the pickups wire holes. And I had to keep in mind there was a hole to the bridge for the ground wire. At the Jack side, I added a little piece of shielding tape, just to be sure that if there was some ground hum signal……it was shield from there. So now this was all ready and done, so I could start on adding all the electronics.
I just got the neck, this is an original Ibanez RGR521EX1 neck, which has a dark swirled head. For this I wanted to try two things on the decal part. I wanted to see if I was able to make this a Dave Mustaine signature with the Megadeth Font and the Dean wings. For this I started to look on the internet, and I found some good use-able pictures. I started to edit them in Photoshop, starting with the Dave Mustaine signature from a pack of GHS strings.
For this I wanted to get this in a new handwriting shape, so I had to re-shape the D in Dave his name, and the E in both first and last name where a bit off. So once I re-shaped this, I started on the Dean wings. In the Original Dean guitar, there was normal shaped head and the wings fitted perfect on this. For my project I wanted to use a reversed head, and because of this the original shape didn’t fit my head.
Again in Photoshop I edit this into the right shape. What I did was, I made a picture of my Original Ibanez PGm500ca and opened it with Photoshop. And I cut and passed the dean wing over this picture, and starting the reshape this so it would fit the head along with the Dave Mustaine signature. I contacted the people of Best-Decals again, and asked them if they where able to make this for me in a Mirror Gold Decal. They needed some time for this, to see if there would get it as close as they could. Once this was done, they offered me the decals….and this worked really great.
To add the decal to the neck, I had to remove the original Ibanez logo. Since I really like the color on the body, I took the original logo and paint off so I would have a black head. For this I used the same mix and color, starting with black. Thinner was used again to clean out most of the color, and from there I could start with the mix of purple/red/yellow. When this was added, the head color started to get the shape and form. I wanted to get some more of the “flame-effects” so from here I added the first layer of chestnut ink on the color, cleaned it again with some thinner, and added again some color. This time I used a mix of the chestnut ink with a mix of ¼ Purple, ¼ red 2/4 of yellow. Once this was dried out, I added little black flames and covered those again in the chestnut ink. This turned out to be great, all I had to do was cleaning the edges of the head and then the neck was also ready and done to be coated by my painter. I rapped the body in some foam, and along with the decal and neck this was sent to my painter.
While building this project, I was joking around with a friend of me. We were just fooling around. And every time I had to answer a question he asked me, I answered with “oh, Straight Up!” This had nothing to do with what he asked of me, I just replied with it every time.
Because of this, I wanted to do some recording with this great guitar, and that became the Paula Abdul song Straight up, but I sang the vocal myself in the Dave Mustaine kind of way like he did on the “sweating bullets” song of the “Countdown to extinction” record. For the recoding I used the new guitar, so you would have an idea on its sound. I think again, I ended up with a very cool custom build guitar in my collection.