While the general vibe of Punk Daddy Guitars is to take a decent guitar, do somethign a little crazy, and them make sure it plays great – we usually at least start with a working guitar, new or gently used pieces to craft your unique instrument. Never before have we used pieces that were so thrashed they looked like rejects from a scrap heap that we put together – ‘Rat Rod’ style – to make a pretty kickass statement guitar. Facedown Black & Blue was that guitar.
A buddy Matt sent me a text with the above photo “This might make a great Punk Daddy build” and I was hooked – I had to have this super-weathered, rough-sanded, bondo-filled mess of a Les Paul style body (no clue on the actual manufacturer) and make it into something.
Even prior to Matt stumbling onto a random neck in his garage, I had the exact project in mind for John Morris who’d supported PDG from the very beginning, donating the Ibanez that became the Super Nice Club Snickel Shooter and the ESP that became CANDOR ALPHA. John used to manage bands under Facedown Entertainment, and I knew his logo would be perfect on a super-duper-distressed guitar, and all I needed to do was figure out how to make these components work together for a valid instrument.
After a few coats of sealing primer, I sperayed the body with 6 coats of blue paint in 3 different colors ranging from bright blue (from the SNC Snickel Shooter), metallic blue from my old Jeep, satin Navy blue (originally the color of Pure Michigan guitar before I swapped to black) and then splattered in some white to make sure the logo would pop. Once it dried, I cut the Facedown logo out of vinyl and applied over the blue, then sprayed with satin black on the front, navy blue on the back. Once that layer of paint was pretty close to dry, I pulled the vinyl mask off to expose the blue and then took a wad of duct tape to rip off some layers of the blue to expose the other color underneath.
From there I used some 400 grit paper across most of the body and made sure to knock the paint completely off and expose the wood in a few areas. This is right about the time I hit the humbucker cover a few times with a hammer to make sure it looked as nasty as the rest of the guitar. 2-3 more coats of satin clear followed with some light scotchbrite cleanup in-between to make sure the coverage was even and not too shiny. Even satin finish has the tendency to get too glossy when applied too heavily.
The Les Paul body wasn’t done with surprises though and after the painting and finishing was complete, I started drilling for the new wraparound bridge mounting points and found one of the previous studs was cut off and buried within the body – just 1/8″ from where I needed to place my new stud… so, I improvised and installed an 84mm bridge using one of the 73.5mm posts – meaning my one-piece bridge & tailpiece would be askew. Luckily, this was a “rat rod” guitar, so I knew we were dealing with a “F.I.F.O” situation, so a little filing to create a notch in the bridge and I was able to “effin’ figure it out” and get the strings int he proper position and play… er, kinda OK.
The neck was another challenge altogether as the neck pocket was pretty well thrashed and most likely had a totally different neck installed whenever it was played last. After measuring up the scale of the Punisher, I set this neck at 24.75, trued, clamped, and screwed. It only took one glance to figure out the neck needed to be shimmed severely, so I cut up my 2017 USA Triathlon membership card to set the pitch. (remember – this is a Rat Rod and should be using whatever is on-hand!)
Finally, the electronics were a snap – that’s always the easy part! I knew I wanted a single coil in the neck because the overhang of the fretboard was into the neck rout for the humbucker, so I came up with a floating mount for it (see above) that left the rest of that nasty opening show, and came up with some unique padding underneath the bashed-in humbucker to get it somewhat close to level, then screwed it in-place. The 3-way switch was relocated down to the normal treble knob position and a single volume knob topped it off.
On the back, the blue side got a $1 Luxor poker chip from 2001 to cover the now-empty switch chamber, and a rough cut clear lexan cover to show off the simple wiring of the volume and switch – like any good rat rod you need to see some of the mechanical elements!
Overall, it was a wild project that came together really quickly even though pretty much every piece of it was mis-matched. I love it and was thrilled to give back to John who supported Punk Daddy Guitars from the beginning!