Other Guitars

52 blackguard build project


Howdy gretschters, I've finished my latest project, a '52 blackguard tele replica, aged accordingly. IMHO a blackguard is just about the coolest guitar ever, why do it on a gretsch site & not a fender one? I hear you ask, well I like the people on this site & I've made some good friends so there:D Here's my starting point, a nice big flamey neck & a period correct body, both from Musikraft.:Photobucket


I did a squier 51 project last year, mainly to learn stuff on a cheapo & I shall be referring to that project so if you missed it here's a link; http://gretschpages.com/for... After that one I said I'd get a pro with the right equipment to do the spraying & finishing. I don't mind doing it myself but it's a hell of a lot of sanding & cutting.


The first problem to rear it's ugly head was the neck didn't fit into the body pocket 8-o the neck was about 1.5mm bigger the the pocket & I didn't want to force it & split the body. I could understand if I got the neck & body from different suppliers, don't Musikraft check these things? Right, it will need routing out to make it fit. I have a good router & I have experience in making jigs but I chickened out of doing it myself. One slip & I would be cursing, so I took it to Bill Puplett, luthier to the stars & Bill did a fine job as ever.


The only part of this guitar that is original 50s is the decal. A mate of mine has a supply of original fender decals so that's what I used.Photobucket


Here's the headstock alongside another one I'm doing which I lacquered myself (I'm doing a double bound custom tele next)Photobucket


Rear of headstocks, nice flame :P All of the hardwear except the pups was supplied by my good buddy Chris Roosen of fender geeks in Georgia. Chris goes out of his way to put a package together for me including other bits from the states which I have mailed to him (including a TV Jones pup8-)) Everything is genuine USA made fender branded (so much cheaper than in UK) Chris is a stand-up guy & 100% trustworthy.Photobucket


OK ageing fender hardwear. It seems to fall into 2 categories, chrome (bridge, neckplate & control plate) & some sort of alloy plated (strap buttons, screws, tuners & bushings, & string ferrules) The alloy plated stuff is easy to age just dipping into ferric chloride (etching solution) for 10 seconds, give it a rinse in water & if it needs more give it another 10 seconds. With the tuners I didn't want to immerse them & get etching solution in the gears, so I brushed it on (a little washing up liquid in the etchant helps it go on smoothly) Then I splattered on some shellac with a stiff brush to get that mottled look. Etching solution doesn't touch chrome so I use hydrochloric acid fumes in a tupperwear sandwich box. This is dodgy stuff, so if you are going to try it you need ventilation, gloves & a mask. My starting point doing chrome is to put the pieces in a box with a load of nuts & bolts, then give it a good shake.


Here's the bridge after the acid fumes, I always give it a going over with wire wool to get a more authentic looking wear. I made a cardboard pick-guard cos later on I will be bashing the body up & don't want to bash up the bakelite pick-guard to the same extent. Also, I was leaving the body in what little sun we get in London to get a bit of fade going with the contrast you see under the pick-guard.Photobucket


Note the correct slot-head pick-guard screws.


Love it. Teles and Gretschs are my favorites. I too am partial to the blackguard. Keep the photos comin'!


really nice wood choice for the neck - quite a bit flamier than my '53 blackguard -


That looks well fingered Spike. Yes, I think teles & gretsches go together perfectly.


that tele is looking good so far. cant wait to see it done and cant wait to see the double bound tele:D


OK, let's get to work on this lovely ash body. Any relicer will tell you have to start with an as new shiny body. My first step is to wire wool (finest grade 00000, german made) the shine off, then wax it & polish it & it looks older straight away. Here, I've done a bit of work on the buckle rash.Photobucket


I try to be authentic, so at the risk of my trousers falling down, I took my belt off & rubbed & gouged in the appropriate position.


My first step on relicing the body is to put it in a cardboard box with the contents of my socket set & shake it about. This gets rid of the "flatness" of a new finish. I kept the cardboard pick-guard on as there are no dings underneath the guard on a genuine vintage tele.Photobucket


My first step on relicing the body is to put it in a cardboard box with the contents of my socket set & shake it about

Awesome idea, and it looks great. I always wanted to do that with my first wife, but she came reliced already.

there are no dings underneath the guard on a genuine vintage tele.

usually, just a big fat humbucker route...:D


I kept the bridge & control plate on for the same reason. Next up, I put a load of nuts & bolts, nothing too sharp mind, in a sock & belted the body in areas that would normally get dinged. It helps if you have seen/owned a few vintage teles to know what you are aiming for. I then sanded the edges which get the most wear.Photobucket


Oh, don't you just hate that?


I wasn't happy with my sanded edges, they looked a bit too contrived, so I scraped the appropriate edges over some uneven concrete flooring in my warehouse. This looked much more natural.Photobucket


To age the exposed ash I used a technique I stumbled upon from an antique clock restorer. It's a 2 part process, firstly make some strong black tea & paint it on the exposed wood. Step 2, dissolve some wire wool in white vinegar overnight then wipe that solution over the tea-treated areas. It takes on an almost "greyish" tint that looks very authentic. I treated the buckle-rash the same way. I came across this method when I was doing my squier 51 project & after testing it on some scraps I used it on the fingerboard wear & it looked terrible, too patchy, I had to scrape it all off, so it works on some parts not all.


You know what that thing needs, IMHO?

A pair of Bare Knuckle Blackguard flat '52 pickups. 8-)


My pup choice will be revealed soon Ratrod.


Right, similar treatment to the neck/headstock. A bit of scraping & light bashing plus a bit of rubbing on the decal with a scotchbrite pad to get some slight wear.Photobucket

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