Custom Built Paul Reed Smith McCarty Standard

A friend of a friend had this beautiful Paul Reed Smith McCarty guitar refinished with an even more beautiful black finish. But, he encountered some difficulties putting it back together, and wanted me to look at his baby.

Everything had been buffed to better-than-new condition.  Some polishing compound remained as you can see here.

But some paint had dripped into the threaded bushings, and the owner was concerned that he would only damage the new finish more while trying to build this guitar.  So he called in The Unbrokenstring Crew!













We had a big bag of parts and a guitar body in a case.  Let’s get to work!

05CleanThreadsThe chip was touched up, then allowed to cure for a week.  Now, we’re protecting the finish of the guitar so that we can chase the threads in the insert.  I had considered just changing the inserts but didn’t want to take the risk at this point.

06TestThreadsAfter the threads were chased, a little bit of solvent was used to clear the bottom few threads.  Lots of protective, non-stick tape comes in handy when protecting a priceless guitar body!

07AjackThis is a nice shot of the new pre-wired jack, already attached to the jack plate.  The cabling was pulled all the way into the internal routed cavities of the guitar, where it would be attached to the selector switch.

07BjackOops, there I did it again.  A little Guitar Tech Porn!  This is a nice setup, regardless of whether you are a tech or not.

07CjackAll squared away.  On to the pickups.

08PolishPickupsOriginally, I thought that the hardware for this guitar was nickel.  However, these were used pickups, and had years of funk on them.  I made the executive decision that these should be shiny, because the rest of the guitar was shiny.

09PickupAssyYeah, that’s what I’m talking about!  By the way, treble pickups go closest to the bridge, and bass pickups go near the neck.  Which begs the question, what are the middle pickups in a three-pickup-guitar called?  Grand Staff?

10TempHoldThe pickups were temporarily held in place with this no-mar tape while the guitar was turned over to do soldering on the routed compartment on the back side.

11Wiring1The wiring diagram says that the taps go to the push-pull pot.  I added some heat shrinkable tubing to all the solder joints I made.  Too bad the factory doesn’t do this, because accidental shorts would be one less thing to worry about.

11Wiring2Here, the switch is wired up with the output leads from each pickup per the wiring diagram.

12FinalAssyWith everything wired up and working, the pickups could be fastened down.  See my earlier Jazzmaster posts about the method I use to check guitar wiring without any strings attached to the guitar.

13AssembleTuners1And now, off to the headstock.  These bushings were too tight to fit into the holes because of the additional layer of paint.  Each hole was hand-reamed until the bushings could be pressed into place.

13AssembleTuners2These tulip tuners give a Kluson vintage look to the guitar.  I just love the mahogany wood!

13AssembleTuners3More Guitar Tech porn.  We’re done with the headstock.

14BridgeThis TonePros bridge is an intelligent upgrade for wrap-around bridges.  Here, I’ve run the individual saddles to the far end of each string, so that the vibrating part of the string will always be straight and not deformed because it once was bent over a saddle.  We’re ready for strings!

15DoneThis guitar has a beautiful voice, and the owner was pleased with the results!  Oops, more Guitar Tech Porn!


Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom of this post!

David Latchaw