Guitar Shop Projects

Quality From Start To Finish

At the Second Row we refurbish old guitars as well as repairs, setups , and string changes. This page is to show the steps we take to bring the old to new and hopefully play better than new.

ibenez refurb6

Ibenez Duel Humbucker Hardtail

   I picked this Ibenez up at a pawn shop, and it was put through the ringer as you can tell from the first picture.  The hardware was rusty and the body was dinged up pretty bad.  So the first thing I dd was to take apart the hardware and put it into containers so I didn’t lose anything, and keep different items separated so I could get it back together.  Typically I remove the neck but on this particular guitar the neck is glued to the body as you can see in picture 4.

   I then started to sand… and sand… and sand, you get the picture. In between bouts of sanding I worked on drawing up a design. When the sanding was complete I drew the design on the guitar with pencil. I carefully used a wood burning iron and traced the outline of the design. Then I painted the design, in this case I used water colors so the grain of the wood shows through. I then finished it with wipe-on poly.

   While all that is going on I went through all the hardware and cleaned it up and replaced damaged items. Looking at the large finished picture you can see that the rust ate right through the plating to the brass (it looks like) so I left it. 

   I must say that when I put this guitar back together I didn’t need to do to much to the set up, and with the Duncan/Ibanez humbuckers that were stock with the guitar, it plays and sounds awesome. I’m keeping this one for a pub guitar, come on down and try it out.

Yamaha refurb1
Yamaha refurb2


Yamaha Bass Guitar

   I’ve been playing guitar since I was 12 years old, that’s like how many years, never mind, I don’t want to think about it. Anyway I’ve also been recording too, I would record songs and put the bass line down with a keyboard witch sounded OK but I could tell it wasn’t a bass guitar. So I bought this Yamaha Bass to be able to make my bass line more fluid. I owned it for 5 or so years and I was looking for a project to do so I used my bass.

   What was easy about doing this was that all I had to do was give it a light sanding and put the artwork on it. I did the same technique of pencil drawing, burning the outline, and painting in the design and give it a spray of poly and wa-la!  Since it was in nice shape (I take care of my instruments), I didn’t have to do anything to the hardware. Sorry, this baby was sold to a lucky customer.


first act refurb1
first act refurb2


First Act

   About 10 or 15 years ago First Act was an up and coming guitar manufacturer. I remember seeing artist’s signature series guitars and now it looks like they just sell kids guitars. Anyway, I bought this pawn shop special just to try my hand at a fancy paint job without ruining an expensive guitar. The first thing I decided was I needed to make it look better since to me it is an ugly shaped guitar. Once I figured out what I was going to do with it I took it apart and started up my jig saw. After I cut it up and sanded it I gave it a coat of Gray paint. Then I cut out shapes from clear contact paper and arranged them on the guitar. Picture 2 shows the guitar half done. Then I gave it a coat of Black paint and pealed the plastic shapes off. Picture 3 shows this. (the picture looks like black and white but it actually is black and gray). Then I cut out more shapes except they were the outside shape and had to cover the rest of the guitar with paper so I didn’t get White paint on the other colors. And finally a coat of clear sand and buff.

   For a one pickup guitar it plays and sound really good. On Sale Now For $100.00

Ibanez G10

   I don’t have any in progress photos for this guitar, but basically this was a painted black guitar, not horrible shape. So I sanded the paint off which I will never do again. I sanded through the paint, then there was a coating of I don’t know what, probably a smoother sealer of some type. Once the guitar was sanded I used Black and Turquoise Ink of varying concentrations and rubbed it out until I had the color I wanted. I then put a polyurethane finish. This guitar is also sold to another happy customer.

Sam Ash

   This is the first guitar I refinished, It was black when I started. I picked it up at the Brimfield Fair in Massachusetts, If your ever in the area you should check it out, it’s a huge place. There was / is ( I’m not sure if there is anymore) a Sam Ash music store and they had this guitar produced for them. It is a cheap guitar, the body isn’t even wood, It’s very dense particle board. I wanted to paint it a solid color so I looked on youtube and I was finding all these artists painting all kinds of things with awesome designs. So I figured, what the heck, I can do that. Or at least I can try. So this is what I came up with. Not bad for my first try. This guitar is also sold to a lucky customer.