Project Hollow body Part 1

Epiphone_5102TI recently rebuilt and 99% finished a Vintage Epiphone hollow body. Over the next few posts I will be showing what I did and how I did it.

A small bit of history, in the late 60s early 70s, at the height of the “lawsuit era” Aria (Matsumoku) made many different Gibson copies. This and the Aria EA-250 were a mixture of both the Epiphone Casino and the Gibson ES339. This is a fully hollow archtop semi acoustic with a floating bridge.







This Christmas my brother decided that as a present he would give me his, I’ll call it fixer upper, 1971 Epiphone 5102T.

Epiphone 5102T


This was what I was given. You can probably see its a little sparse. It was bought off eBay with a case quite cheap and lets say not very honestly.

When I stripped it down I found that it had strange pots and the bridge pickup was changed to a P90 that didn’t work.

At the time we stripped it down and put a price together for rebuilding it. That way it stayed until I decided at the end of last year that I wanted to find a hollow body and well the rest is obvious.







As you can see in the pictures of the original, the 5102t has an odd sized humbucker, something that was quite common on the lawsuits, but upon some closer inspection I found that someone had already had a go at trying to get something fitted. This is evident by the cut out for the dog ear p90 and the extra screw holes for the pickup rings.

After some searching I decided that getting this sorted will be a bit of a lost cause so I sat down with some measurements and sketched out a few ideas.



IMG-20141215-WA0001After finding a company in Germany who make custom pickup rings I send them some details and they said they can make metal rings that will fill the pickups and decided this would be the best bet. You can also see me test fitting a standard humbucker pickup mounting ring. (see left)



The next decision was the bridge. It had a cheap bigsby trem copy originally that I didn’t like and really don’t trust on an old hollow body like this so made the decision to use a trapeze tailpiece . Got that ordered and the floating bridge and decided to test fit it.





One of the unique features of this model is the bolt on neck or “Steel adjustable neck” and after test fitting it the action was really high so at which point I thought it might be an idea to shim the neck. This was where I discovered the next bodge. Someone had tried to glue the neck down.


After unscrewing the neck bolts and trying to pull I was having no luck. So a quick trip to the local pound shop a got some of these filling blades (see left) One of the sizes fitted the neck pocket perfectly. IMG-20141228-WA0002After some shimmying This happened. A small shim at the neck end of the pocket later and the alignment of the neck was better. It still required a bit more of a


Hot Buzz!! – My Fender Telecaster Sheilding guide!

I own a Fender Telecaster, as you may or may not know, can be a little noisy at times.

They tend to pick up the 60hz mains electricity hum, plus no end of other interference from TV’s and computers too.

This being the case I decided after getting a new Seymour Duncan Hot rails pickup I would do a proper job of Sheilding the guitar so that I can cut down on as much unessisary hum and noise as I could.

First thing I did was go to my 1 stop guitar parts shop, the brilliant and ordered some self adhesive aluminium sheilding for under £5.

Then I stripped as much of the guitar down as I could without removing any electronics (bar the pickup as I was changing that anyway). It ended up looking all naked. like this!

As you can see it overlaps slighty onto the face of the guitar. I trimmed this back once the bridge and controls were back on. I had a large 2 foot by 1 foot sheet so I cut them into peices and let it overlap with each other untill all wood colour was gone.

I then put some on the reverse of the pickguard as well. I soldered the earth to the sheilding itself rather than on the back of the bridge, as I found that it would come loose from the bridge very easily. Make sure as always, but especially with earths, that the solder joints are nice and shiny. This ensures that its a good clean joint.

After soldering up the pickup I re-assembled it and bang it looked like this.

I plugged it into an old marshall 12 practise amp, as I know there are no fancy noise gates and was sounding great. Nice and punchy but with good lows too. Great pickup the Hot Rails. And I know its a humbucking pickup but, but I plugged in my guitar with EMG81/85 combo, which are active pickups well known for being quiet and you can barely tell any difference.

So all in all very impressed!!