This is my second ever guitar and the first one I really modified. The original guitar is a Westfield SG copy. After constant playing, use and experimentation, inevitably things started to go. As this was my first attempt at this sort of work, I was working to a reasonably tight budget.
- Lots of play in the tuners
- Pickup selector snapped off (I’d actually replaced the selector before going into this)
- Bridge pickup stopped working completely
- Neck pickup got woolly
So I decided to have a go at fixing it up and going for a new look in the process.
Here is the best before shot I have for this guitar:
For this project, I went with:
- Bigsby B70 trem
- Roller bridge (unbranded)
- ’60s style knobs (actually swapped out for knurled black metal ones in the end)
- Gibson 500k pots
- Gibson 3 way pickup selector
- Larger pickguard
- Tonerider pickups
- Unbranded locking tuners
- “SG” truss rod cover
The first thing I did was strip everything off, hardware and electrics, then took the guitar to Tom Anfield at Tom Anfield Guitars for assistance prepping for the Bigsby.
He assisted in removing the bridge posts and filling the holes with dowels. He then brought the holes flush with a mix of superglue and mahogany sawdust.
Once that was done, I took the guitar home and started on reassembly.
I started with the tuners. I preferred the original buttons, so I switched those with the ones supplied on the locking tuners.
At this point, I punched and drilled the holes for the new pickguard before feeding the pickup wires through the body and screwing them and the pickguard down.
The next step was to fit the bridge – it just popped on over the existing posts.
Next, I fitted the Bigsby, using the strap pin to locate the back of the tailpiece, then fitting the two E strings, lined the trem up across the bridge and centre punched the two mounting holes. Flapping the trem out of the way, I drilled the locating holes, then screwed it down.
Finally I wired everything together and fixed the electrics to the body (setting the pickup selector on the diagonal as it makes more sense to me that way).
The current status
Since modifying this guitar, I fitted an “Axe balancer” guitar strap to prevent neck dive.
I’m not completely happy with the action, it’s ended up a little high at the bridge end, so that needs looking at, otherwise I’m very happy with this guitar. I played it for some time as my main Jazz guitar and the pickups sound stunning through a clean valve amp.