I purchased this cheap Rogue guitar for my son roughly 5 years ago at a garage sale or something of the like. Guitar must not have been his thing, because he tore it up pretty good. My goal with this project was to restore or fix the guitar and take it from its beat-up state to a decent and playable condition.
I was lucky enough that all of the guts (or electrical components) were in decent shape, so those didn’t need replaced. The only parts I did need to replace were a bridge saddle and one knob, which I just replaced both knobs so they matched.
This was kind of test-of-my-skills kind of project, just to see if I could do it. It was a fun project and a great learning experience since my ultimate goal is to soon build a guitar of my own from scratch. Guitar repair and restorations seems like a good avenue to get to that point.
I hope you can get something from this project like I did.
Check out the guitar repair video
Guitar repair image gallery
Overview and Removing the Back
The main issues with this guitar repair were a loose wire on the jack, a missing knob and a missing bridge saddle. The switch arm was bent as well, but was easily bent back. Also, as you can tell from the images, the back was covered with this ridiculously sticky tape. I’m not sure what kind of tape it was, but it was on there. It was on both the back of the body and the back of the neck.
To kick things off, already having removed the strings, I removed the back covers that hide the components.
Removing Components – switch, jack and bridge
The first component I removed was the switch. This is held in place by two screws that enter through the front of the body and screw into the switch itself. This remained wire to the rest of the components.
Next, I removed the one pot that was still attached. This is held in place with a nut and washer. You could use pliers or a small wrench to remove them. I used a pair of pointy vice grips. These too remain attached to the rest of the wire cluster in the back.
I also removed the jack, which is attached with two screws through the plate and fastened to the body. The jack itself is attached to the plate with a nut resembling that of the nut used to attach the pot to the body. This can remain attached to the rest of the wire too. Unfortunately, when I removed the one on this guitar the one wire had come loose from the solder. That’s an easy fix though. When I reinstalled, I just soldered it back in place.
The last thing removed in this step was the bridge. This is held in place in two different places. There are six screws in the front that screw directly into the body and then there are some things on the back that will need to be removed to free it up and completely remove it. This would be a good time to make sure you have all of the saddles present and in tact on the bridge. As you can see, I am missing one. Luckily our local guitar repair shop had a similar one.
Removing Components cont. – tremolo block, pickups, wiring
The bridge will be freed up once you release the tension on the tremolo block that is attached to the underside of the bridge. On this guitar that was done by backing out the screws that tension the springs. These are driven through a plate with hooks into the body. Once these are loosened, both the bridge and tremolo block are easily removed. This is also a good time to release the soldered ground wire; the white one that is attached to the plate. Either break the wire free from the solder or heat the solder and remove it.
The pickups are fairly easy to understand as far as their removal. Each of the single coil pickups are attached with two screws. There are springs under each screw, so be careful not to lose them. The humbucker has four screws. The two screws in the middle need not be removed.
I snipped all of the wires running to the pickups, leaving enough of each that they could be stripped and reattached with solder. If you’re not sure how to rewire these, now would be a good time to take pictures of your own setup for future reference when reinstalling.
Removing the neck
The neck on this guitar repair project was attached with 4 decent sized screws that ran through a plate, through the body and into the neck. There was no truss rod or anything like that.
Removing the Neck Hardware
The tuners are attached with small screws on the back and nuts and washers on the front. These are extremely easy to remove and should only take a few minutes.
Refinishing the Neck
Chances are you don’t have leftover tape residue on the back of your guitar’s neck. If you do, a simple sanding with a random orbital sander will take it right off. I decided to sand the whole thing expect for the fret board at this time.
I cleaned up the fret board and the rest of the neck after sanding with mineral spirits to remove any dust and grime.
I tape off the fret board with painter’s tape and then coated the exposed wood with an enamel clear coat. After a few coats and light sanding, I reattached all of the hardware and sat the neck to the side so I could get busy on the body.
Removing the Old Finish
Removing the old finish is fairly easy. I must recommend you wear a mask though. I’m not 100% sure what they finish these guitars with, but boy does it stink. I am assuming it is some kind of plastic-type coating, but who knows. I was careful not to sand too deep and really just tried to remove the minimal amount. A Dremel or similar tool was needed to get into the cutouts up near where the neck attaches.
Painting the Body
Obviously you can paint the body however you like. I chose to paint mine first, with a flat black, then with a light grey colored hammered paint. The hammered effect didn’t come through too well, so I decided to speckle it. I speckled it with both silver and black. This was done by taping the top of the paint nozzle with the cap from the can. It worked surprisingly well.
I wasn’t satisfied with the initial paint scheme and there were some self-induced blemishes on the bottom, so I decided to fade some black from the bottom up into the center of the body and then do the speckle technique again, this time with just the silver.
The body was then coated several times with the same enamel spray I had used on the neck.
I didn’t shoot video or take pictures of reinstalling everything, because it is pretty much the reverse of how I took it all apart. Attaching the new knobs will depend on the brand you order and replacing the bridge saddle is pretty self-explanatory.
I am pretty satisfied with how it turned out and I learned a whole lot from the process. I did play it a little bit in the video so anyone that is interested could hear how it sounds. If you check out the video, you will hear the guitar being played through a DAW called Reaper. In Reaper I have a plugin called FreeAmp running distortion and amp modelling with some reverb and chorus.
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