I bought this baritone in 2016 because it was affordable and I happened to have the exact amount of money in my PayPal account after selling a dumb Star Wars collectible lightsaber on Ebay that I had won in a Subway contest (I’d say ‘long story,’ but that is essentially the entire story). This guitar prominently features the much-maligned Antigua finish. And rightfully maligned, I say. It’s weird as hell. It can seem all right in certain lighting conditions, but in general it looks like baby puke mixed with burnt baby puke. (Side note: I think the only time I’ve ever seen an Antigua finish instrument in popular culture is Horatio Sanz’s bass in the More Cowbell sketch.) Anyway, it’s a fine instrument: good sound and a nice beefy neck. As a former bass player, I approve.
I’ve decided to mess around a bit and do some visual upgrades. Nothing too crazy.
DEC 2018 — Sanded the Antigua finish off the pickguard. Surprisingly easy and clean! Used a sander and then by hand, all the way down to some really high sandpaper grit. 1600? 2000? Looks all right. I also swapped out the metal knobs for some old-style witch hat Fender knobs. These simple tweaks are an immense improvement.
*BUT* I’m not really a fan of white pickguards. So I tried a tip I’d read on a forum to ‘relic’ it — not in a cheesy ‘roadworn, played a thousand gigs’ way, I just wanted to knock the BRIGHT WHITE vibe down a notch or two. The internet advice: Let ‘er soak in a container of coffee grounds and hot water for a few hours. Okay, sure! The result? OH WAIT THE PLASTIC WARPED AND SHRUNK IN THE HOT WATER AND NOW IT’S USELESS THANKS INTERNET ADVICE
“Hey Tom cool knobs. Oh hey your pickguard doesn’t look screwed down. What do you mean the holes don’t line up anymore? What’s wrong with you, Tom?”
Yeah, yeah. Lesson learned there. I don’t normally make mistakes like this, but when I do, boy oh boy they’re TEACHABLE MOMENTS. So LEARN FROM THAT, KIDS.
That’s kind of okay though, because this fucking around with the pickguard was intended to be a stopgap measure. My true goal is to refinish the body in Fender Vintage Cream and match it with a red tortoiseshell pickguard.
(visual reference / goals / vision board / whatever)
JAN 2019 — I decided to buy a new pickguard now instead of later. Red tortoiseshell, purchased from an eBay seller who did a really nice job. Look how cool this looks. COME ON.
(Note: This Instagram filter is making the Antigua paint job look nicer than it actually looks.)
This guitar is not a popular offering in the pick guard world, so I was glad I found a guy with a template. Pretty spot-on match, other than a few screw holes that don’t line up, but I was assuming that would happen anyway. I will leave ’em empty for now and deal with it in the spring… when I PAINT.
I’ve got my Vintage Cream nitrocellulose lacquer from Guitar Reranch ready and waiting. I’m highly judgmental of the font they use on the can, but otherwise they seem to be a fine, reputable company. Ha. Anyway, it’s the dead cold of winter and I need a work space with better ventilation. Nitrocellulose takes a long-ass time to dry/set. I’ve got a recording session in March. So I guess maybe this is all on hold til spring.
MARCH 2020 — Thirteen months later, as a pandemic swoops upon our land, I figure it’s time to get back around to this project, because clearly it is a priority. Well, it’s at least a thing to do. Disassembly!
“To be continued.”