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DIY Blues, Pt. 1: Reviving a Dead Guitar

12 Aug Posted by in Tips | 2 comments
DIY Blues, Pt. 1: Reviving a Dead Guitar

Disclaimer: The author claims no authority or expertise in the matters discussed here within. Quite the opposite. He welcomes corrections, advice and scathingly negative commentary where appropriate. Hopefully, this odyssey will inspire other timid souls to delve into the realm of guitar repair.

As the stock market sinks further and further, it’s hard to justify sinking hundreds and hundreds of dollars (or more) into a new guitar and/or repairs. However, after years of writing and performing solely with an acoustic guitar, I knew it was time to make like Bob Dylan and plug in. What I had at my immediate disposal was a run down Epiphone Les Paul, the tone of which I had never been happy with.

In addition to its infamously muddy signature tone, this ELP tended to cut out when toggling between the bridge and neck pickups. Even worse, it suffered from a missing tuning peg and buzzing strings, the action low enough that the three remaining strings were lightly touching the first fret.

Having no experience working on guitars, my options seemed to be to pawn it off and buy a new guitar (to the tune of at least $500) or take it in for repairs of an unknown cost and quality. Therefore, I decided to seize the moment and educate myself. As soon as I cracked open the rear panel and heated up an ancient soldering iron, I knew I had made the right decision.

Up next:

DIY Blues, Pt 2: Something Busted, Something Used
Faced with a mess of wires, an over sized soldering iron and no experience to his name, the author must install a used pickup of dubious quality while avoiding a catastrophic meltdown. But first, he seeks some assistance from the good folks at The Trading Musician.

Christian Nelson
Christian Nelson is a songwriter living in Seattle, Washington. When not struggling in vain to teach himself trumpet and piano, he works as a youth counselor at Friends of Youth (, an Eastside-based social services provider. Christian recently completed his debut demo effort, the Infinite Mortality EP, under the nom de guerre Broken By Clouds: Broken By Clouds can also be found and "liked" on Facebook:
  1. Zoran08-12-11

    wow that things got a wicked bridge on it, totally worth salvaging! good article

  2. Christian08-12-11

    Thanks, Zoran! I sure hope I can figure things out. My first attempt was far from a complete success. More to follow.

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