This has been a few weeks in the making, but it's finally done!
A while ago I decided I need an Explorer in my life. I deeply regret selling my Thunderhorse, and have wanted to grab another one ever since.
Not often having the funds free for a Gibson, I thought I'd bide my time and grab a Korean-made Epiphone, since I can't stand what they're knocking out of China at the moment.
The idea was to grab a black/white Korina, and Les-Paul-Custom the shit out of it (I've always dug the black/gold colour scheme on short scale guitars).
Low and behold, I found a 2000 MiK at a great price on eBay, as it was a little battered, and in a terrible state....
Rust and tarnishing everywhere, on most of the hardware
Particularly the fretboard/frets, it was in a disgusting state....
^ This thing can fuck right off (I've always hated white pickguards on black bodies). You would not believe how difficult it is to find an off-the-shelf pickguard for an Explorer, it's nuts! I had to find a custom shop, send my guard off, and have it custom cut. There are guards out there, but they're mainly for the Gibson '76 shape, which has a slightly pointier lower horn, and a shallower angle coming away from the pickups.
More gross hardware ^
^ Black knobs are off, Gold ones on their way
Now that the fretboard has been de-gunked and lightly sanded down, it's time to dye it!
Not to completely "ebonize" it per se, but just to give the dehydrated and mistreated rosewood some more depth, richness, and altogether darken it.
Day one ^ after some drying time and wiping off with a cloth
Day two ^ more wiping
Day 3 ^ (post fret-dress too, nice shiny frets!) No more ebony dye coming off the cloth. Safe to restring.
^Pickups back in. I went back and forth on whether to put a gold cover on that SH6 in the bridge, but at this point I thought I'd leave it open.
Now, this is hilarious but, the custom shop where I was getting my guard cut had been experiencing some big delays thanks to their router-bit shitting the bed, and them having to order a new one.
I couldn't wait any longer as the guitar was practically ready to play, and I just wanted to get on with it, so I took a plastic Chinese take-away container and cut a triangle out of it to mount the 3-way selector switch on
but fuck it, it worked well enough for me to take it to rehearsal!
Then I changed my mind about the bridge pickup. I just thought to myself - you can get away with that look on a Les Paul, but on the Explorer it just didn't look right. So I ordered one...
^ STILL waiting for the pickguard to arrive at this point. It had been like two weeks since I received the guitar and sent the original guard off.
AND THEN ...