This is the second part of the upgrades and mods to my Interceptor 830, which was painfully detailed (sorry) in a thread over at ss.org:
Interceptor 830 Bench Review & M8 Install (LONG:40 pics) - Sevenstring.org
My main complaints with the 830 was the weak break angle at the bridge saddles, which was corrected by shimming the neck. The next problem was with the neck's "boat" carve profile, I hated the 'shoulders' and wanted to shave these off to a thinner profile much like the RG2228's Wizard neck.
As my shop has pretty much everything except finishing/spraybooth facilities, I had my friend and fellow tech/luthier Eric Bickerton do the spraying for me, and did a fantastic job!
Along with the reshaping, I thought it would be nice to stain the neck darker to match the body color closer, and then seal it with clear gloss poly, which I much prefer to satin. Also getting the boot were the slightly sloppy chinese Grovers with the annoying mini buttons, and in place went a set of Hipshot Open-gear tuners, which are now my favorite tuners going - very smooth and no backlash slop - very tight and precise. Look cool too.
And lastly, to make good use of those nice tuners, as I like mess about with various tunings and don't use the trem, I wanted to do away with the ugly, impractical and somewhat dead-sounding (on the plain strings) lock nut.
Ok, enough babbling, here's how it turned out.....
Here shows the stain and clear coating, and you can see how much thinner the neck is now compared to the previous pics in the other thread.
And it sure feels great. I call the shade of honey-brown "Stradivari Brown", which is what it seems closest to.
As the original Agile logo was of course sanded off, Eric glued a maple overlay..
Here's a shot showing the new Hipshot open-gear tuners..
And as the original Agile s/n decal from the top of the headstock was sanded off as well, we stamped the s/n into the wood, as this is much more secure than decal s/n's. Here you can also see clearly the amount of overhang of the now oversized lock nut, due to the amount of material that was removed during the shaving process. The nut width was changed from the original 2 1/4" down to the Ibanez 8 standard of 2 3/16".
Now onto the new nut.
I used my usual source for nut and saddle materials, Graphtech, and ordered the usual large black Tusq (tremnut) blank to fit 8-string guitars, as I make these occasionally for customer's 8's as well:
Products&Ordering - Graph Tech
After removing the exisiting lock nut, we can see the large 'shelf' route that we need to contend with in making a nice, new nut from scratch.
I will omit the initial basic pic of a rectangular slab of black Tusq, which originally measured 2 1/2" x 7/16" x 1/4". Cut to length and given an starting bevel on a disk sander...
The slot spacing is marked out..
The slots are now carefully cut/marked through the tape a little bit, using razor saws of various gauges.
The front of the nut is contoured a little more
Now the nut is lightly glued in place, let dry, string it up, and then the actual slotting proper is performed, using nut files, razor saws and feeler guages. I start at the high E, and work downwards....there's no room for error with cutting nut slots - literally one stroke too many can cut the slot too low, meaning a drop-fill and recut. That's how it is with the art of good nut making: a couple thou of an inch can mean the difference between buzz on the open position, 'sitaring', string pinch, stiff 1st fret play, etc. The nut is critical to good play and tone.
Keep going all the way across...wait a minute...as you can see, we're going to end up having about 3/16" of bare wood in between the front of the nut and the back of the truss rod cover, well, that won't do. I believe in doing things right, so we need to cover that up somehow....so I made a small sliver of B/W/B plastic (from an old funky LP Custom pickguard actually) to glue in place for asthetics...
And then when the slots are all finished and the guitar is playing great, we remove the nut again for final shaping and polishing. All pieces are glued back into place, the guitar is strung up again, and we're all done. It now plays, feels and sounds AMAZING!
Now the very last mod I'm going to make to this axe is to get rid of the meh barrel jack, and install the Mercedes of output jacks: a Neutrik locking jack.
No full body pics?