My Highly-Modified 360W

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My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (Hunchiepunker) » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:29 pm

Hello!

I just want to share some info about my 360w, which has been modified in several ways which I'm very pleased about.

This instrument was produced in February of 2014, and I bought it that summer. It had some fit and finish issues which I have addressed in other posts on this forum. I quickly realized that while I really enjoyed certain aspects of this instrument, there were other features which didn't work out for me or what I was going for. Instead of sending the instrument back, and continuing the search for 'my thing,' I decided to keep with it and gradually make some modifications over the coming years. I'm very glad that I did, as the guitar has taken on these changes very well, and I'm really very pleased with the end result.

First, some pics:

Front All.jpg


Front Close.jpg


Back All.jpg


Back Close.jpg


The most striking and apparent thing here should be that I have had the instrument refinished in high gloss. The work took a long time, as the refinisher painstakingly removed the original tung oil, in order to prevent any future fogging under the gloss. I live in a humid place in San Francisco, and so the choice to gloss the finish was largely to normalize the playing experience--in the past the humidity changes in the places I play paid a huge toll on the playability of the guitar. Sometimes it would be comfortable, and sometimes it felt like I was playing a piece of wet cardboard. I'm also quite hard on instruments, so now I feel that the guitar will stand up a little better to my constant gigbagging about town. Plus it's a Ric! I've always associated Rics with quality gloss finishes.

Other conspicuous changes include the longer Winfield tailpiece, mostly for string tension; the Mastery bridge, which I love so much; and the Creamery humbucking pickups. Less visually obvious changes: stainless steel frets, and a treble bleed cap on the fifth knob.

Anyway, I've been so happy with the outcome from these changes that I couldn't help but share this with the forum. I mostly play jazz on this guitar. It has enough of a unique voice to keep me motivated and inspired to play new things.

Best to you all,
JEC
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Re: My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (sloop_john_b) » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:23 pm

It looks really nice in that high-gloss finish!
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Re: My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (Tommy) » Tue Nov 13, 2018 12:56 am

I'd have kept the R tailpiece on her, but that gloss finish is fantastic. Wow. Makes one think that the guitars should have come that way.
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Re: My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (chronictown) » Tue Nov 13, 2018 2:46 pm

Tommy wrote:Makes one think that the guitars should have come that way.


+1. Gorgeous!
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Re: My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (jdogric12) » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:54 pm

Walnut has a wide open grain that is much harder to fill for spraying clearcoat onto.
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Re: My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (Hunchiepunker) » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:10 am

chronictown wrote:
Tommy wrote:Makes one think that the guitars should have come that way.


+1. Gorgeous!


Thanks! I agree about that.
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Re: My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (Hunchiepunker) » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:19 am

jdogric12 wrote:Walnut has a wide open grain that is much harder to fill for spraying clearcoat onto.


... and this is probably why they didn't do it from the factory. However, I'll never understand why Ric ships maple fretboard instruments with only oil finishes. More than anything, the instrument above is much improved by the hard seal on the maple neck, front and back.
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Re: My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (jdogric12) » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:36 pm

Doesnt the Colorado have cleared maple fb?
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Re: My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (Hunchiepunker) » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:55 pm

jdogric12 wrote:Doesnt the Colorado have cleared maple fb?


Guess I don't rightly know. I've never seen one in the flesh.
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Re: My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (Sotakoira Musti) » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:32 pm

jdogric12 wrote:Walnut has a wide open grain that is much harder to fill for spraying clearcoat onto.


I agree. I took my 2014 360W to my luthier for setup, cleaning and oiling. This was done 2017, so 2,5 years of playing had made the wood dry up a bit. The body took 3 or 4 layers of oil until it was done. And thus it took a while to get the guitar back, just waiting oil to dry to be coated with another layer.
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Re: My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (Sotakoira Musti) » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:35 pm

About those mods: everybody has his/her own taste, but I would have kept it as it is. I personally like the smooth and silky feeling. It´s just like a nice piece of plain wood in you hands. I´ve got enough high gloss lacquer experience in my 360/12C63.

But it´s nice that we have people who are willing to do bold things. That one looks cool! (as long it´s not mine :D )
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Re: My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (jps) » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:20 pm

jdogric12 wrote:Walnut has a wide open grain that is much harder to fill for spraying clearcoat onto.

Here are the backs of my Martin Keith Elfin basses.

Back-CU-600_0332.jpg


Body-Back-1200_0324.jpg
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Re: My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (teb) » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:45 am

A couple of related things.

Grain filling:
One of the ways that you can fill grain on woods like walnut is to use clear epoxy resin. You mix it and scrape it over the surface using a piece of plastic similar in stiffness to a credit card. You are not trying to leave epoxy on the surface, but instead you are working it down into the pores of the grain. Once hardened, the surface is cleaned up with a light sanding. If needed, the process can then be repeated before the new finish is sprayed on. There is also a water based clear gel pore filler ( available from Luthier's Mercantile, as is epoxy) for those wanting something easier to work with.This technique works well for developing a smooth finish on any open grained wood and there are currently some luthiers using it.

Oil finishing:
If you use the right product and do the job properly you can apply a baby-butt smooth, silky oil finish which can be used the next day without being sticky or oily enough to come off on your hands, clothing, etc. I use it on walnut rifle stocks which have been completely stripped down to bare wood and then sanded smooth (usually to 320 grit). Most folks are familiar with the term "hand rubbed" with regard to oil finishes, but few have ever actually done it. You don't just rub some oil on with a rag and wait a few days hoping it will dry so that you can do it again.

Here is the real deal: You start with your bare and sanded wood. If desired, you can stain it with oil-based stain and if needed, you can raise the grain first with a water wipe down, then drying, and another fine sanding to knock the fuzz down. Repeat the process as needed. Next you wipe on a fairly light coat of an oil product like Watco Oil. One of the main functions of this first coat is to be able to make sure that the oil is being evenly absorbed, with no spots repelling the oil. Give it an hour or so to soak in.

Next, you give it a heavy coat of oil, usually with a brush and heavy enough to be dripping. Give this coat 30-60 minutes or so to dry. We want it to start getting stiff and sticky. Once it reaches that state, you take a scrap of soft cloth like flannel and start rubbing the excess off. At first, it should seem like a really dumb idea, trying to rub that gummy stuff off, but you keep rubbing, exposing clean cloth to pick up oil. If it is coming off easily, you didn't give it enough drying time. It should seem like a real battle at first, but it will gradually get easier. Sometimes it may take me a half hour do rub out a gun stock. A guitar body might take an hour or more of hard rubbing. Just keep rubbing and turning the cloth until the surface is no longer sticky and let it dry overnight. Oil soaked rags are a spontaneous combustion hazard, so dispose of them properly. Occasional maintenance, if needed, can be done by putting on a reasonably light coat of oil, giving it some time to dry and rubbing it out. It will be a substantially easier rub down than the initial one was.
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Re: My Highly-Modified 360W

Postby (Hunchiepunker) » Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:47 am

This is all really interesting continued discussion of the gloss finish on my guitar above, and filling walnut in general.

I have to admit that the previous oil finish was really great, but I had to make this change for the longevity and comfort of my instrument. I live pretty close to the San Francisco Bay waterfront, and the humidity and occasional salt air were really taking a toll on the feel of the guitar.

It will be interesting to see and hear how it matures with the gloss finish. The gloss is not thick, but it's durable. I play jazz and classical on it, with flatwound strings usually. The finish change did make a difference in how it sounds and plays--it seems more taught and sprung like a snare drum. For the most part, however, the change only seems to effect the attack transients of the notes... if you rap a knuckle on the back, it rings the same tone it did before the refinish.
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