Those of you who read this blog, and especially those who follow me on soc media, may notice my recent interest in guitar makeovers. I don’t profess to know much about guitar maintenance, but with some clear guidance, I can do a relatively decent job to sort things out. I have a few ongoing projects at the mo’, most of which upgrading the guitars to specs inspired by, the original guitars I am trying to emulate. I have called this endeavour the MENTE SHOP (previously known as MENTAL SHOP) a subset of my マースピャル activities[1].

There will be more posts regarding MENTE SHOP stuff soon, so watch this space.

One of the projects that I am currently on, albeit rather slowly, is doing up my first ever electric guitar that I bought as a first year med school student in 1990. This is the late 80s/early 90s Epiphone 435i which I alluded to in a recent post I did on the LTD KH-25 I acquired recently.

Initially, the idea was to replace the laminated alder body[2] with a solid one. Last summer, the local guitar store near my house were selling some bodies for a tenner. They were solid wood (prolly basswood) and I bought a black Strat-styled body with cavities that could easily do an H-S-S pickup config as the original 435i.

However, the original Epi neck could not fit onto the new body unless some routing work is done to slightly widen the neck pocket. Then it also occurred to me the scale length has to be correct – the new body has six screws at the bridge which means that if a simple trem replacement using the same holes may not give the correct scale length (the Epi neck has a locking nut, and the new body was likely a standard non-Floyd set up).

After much thought, I decided to put the neck back onto the original Epi body, laminated or not. It is the guitar I want to rejuvenate – so what if it is plywood. I bought an OEM Floyd Rose (better than the ones sold by China sellers as these are made to spec) from a UK eBay seller for about GBP24 and it seems pretty robust – the tightening bolts and fine tuners were fine. Interestingly, the original holes fit the replacement bridge studs.

The issue now is that the routed cavity for the original Epiphone Bennder[3] (Floyd Rose licensed, or so they claimed) trem, whilst wide enough for the new FR trem, is not wide enough at the whammy bar side. It does look that all is needed is a shave of the cavity at that end. Will need to look at some tips on YouTube for this.

If all fails, I’d prolly need help from Steve Robinson as I will be bringing my two LTD KHs for set ups/mods soon after the gomen lifts the lockdown in Greater Manchester!

Watch this space!
[1]Yup, that takoyaki/ramen/Japanese music shop in Ipoh dream is still alive.
[2]Posh term for plywood.
[3]The first thing that goes in a Bennder trem is the block cracks, which was what happened to mine. Cheap materials used is the likeliest cause, and a good reason not to look for a chop shop Bendder, not that they are easily found anyway.