Facedown Black & Blue

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!

John and his new guitar!

Punisher Guitar

After posting photos of Vicious SID and Katsuki Bakugo guitars I had a few different friends ask me about creating other superhero guitars, and this led to the idea behind Old Glory – which was originally designed to have a Captain America shield mounted in the body behind the bridge. During that project, I brainstormed an Ironman-themed Stark Strat and Punisher.

Who SHOOTS a Guitar?

The basic design of Punisher was pretty simple – just custom paint on an Epiphone Les Paul Jr. after a quick sanding and satin black spray. Although it would be pretty cool, that’s just not a Punk Daddy Guitar build unless we do something crazy.

We tried a 9mm and .38 caliber, the 9 did too much damage to our test guitar body (lucky we had a broken Epi LP JR in the shop!) while the .38 with a wadcutter round created the perfect sized hole and both the entry and exit holes were pretty clean. Brad only had one shot to put it in the right spot and he nailed it.

Patching the “Wound”, Paint, & Finish

Once I got back to the shop to check out the (intentional) damage, I cleaned up some small fragments (note: not enough!) and painted the front and back of the gunshot with red. I’ll admit, it looked a little too realistic before I applied the epoxy and set in a fresh 9mm slug. Yes, I know it’s a .38 caliber hole, but the wadcutter was silver and I wanted a brass slug. The epoxy set way faster than I expected, and positioning the bullet was a huge hassle, leading to more air bubbles than I’d hoped for. There was still some small fragments of wood inside the hole that floated down to block the hole while it was drying, really ruining the look. Luckily, I had always planned to drill it out from the front to keep an actual hole. The fragments, bubbles, and castoff from the drill bit made the epoxy less clear than I wanted, these things happen and I’ve learned to create and adjust.

Once that was set I took to painting the front, splattering some red paint, and creating a few little neat elements. I chose a humbucker pickup I had used in my Nightmare Les Paul build and covered the sealed top with vinyl, a few sprinkles of red paint, and covered with a mist of satin clear. The bridge was chrome and I really wanted to make it look old & worn like a pipe Frank would pick up and use in a fight, and that consisted of sanding down the chrome, self-etching primer, ceramic gray, and hammered metal paint with a few drops of red and flat black.

The final pieces I loved to add were the shotgun shell knobs and shotgun shell hull for the output jack cover along with a bullet casing for the truss rod cover.

All-in-all it was a blast to create (pun intended), and it sounds and plays like a hot rodded Epiphone Les Paul Jr with a ton of Frank Castle’s attitude.

Currently Available For Purchase

While I created this from feedback from friends, it was not commissioned for a specific buyer and is now available for purchase.

Also, it should be noted that this is a one-of-a-kind guitar, I will not be making any other guitars with this same design. Although I’m leaving the door open slightly that I may do some variation of a Punisher theme on a future build, it will absolutely not be the same as this one.

Punisher Guitar

$349+ Shipping


#OCRGivesBack FrankenStrat “If EVH Did OCR”

Most projects that come into PDG are almost a dare: “Do you think you can (enter stupid thing here) in a guitar?” As you can see from our gallery, we don’t say “no” all that often – usually we up the ante: “Cool, but what if I (insert even stupider idea here) and we auction it off for charity?”

The #OCRGivesBack FrankenStrat was the perfect opportunity to blend two of my worlds – as race director and one of the “founding four” of OCR World Championships I was present for the launch of OCR Gives Back in Oregonia, OH back in 2014, and my passion of building guitars to support charities.

Steve McCollum from OCR Gives Back / Back2Back Ministries has been a Punk Daddy Guitars supporter since day 1, and the EVH theme was all his idea – I just cranked it up a little bit!

We started researching Eddie Van Halen’s FrankenStrat and quickly realized building this homage with one of the average Fender Squier Strats we have here in the shop was not going to work – we needed to search a little harder for the “right” guitar. Eddie used a factory second Charvel neck and body and wired up a single humbucker – the mangled 5-way switch and neck pickup are just for show, neither worked! That combination wouldn’t have worked for our build as those components have become quite rare and pricy – and we were thrilled to stumble across an early 90’s (late 80’s?) Korean-made Fender Squier with the absolute right neck and body style – the same headstock shape and a HSS body both in road-worn shape. We purchased it immediately, the hardest part of this project was waiting for it to arrive at PDG in Phoenix!

Right out of the box it played great and sounded nasty – someone had swapped in much hotter pickups at some point in the last 30+ years, but I’d already chosen the humbucker and (unplugged) single coil for the build. Those single coils are going to find their way into another shop guitar soon.

After a quick teardown, the body got a deep scuff and some additional distressing, then marked for the 3.5″ hole for a 2014 OCRWC medal I just happened to have on my office wall. As with Eddie’s Frankie, the black body got some fat masking tape lines and a white spray, followed by another tape job and we switched to green to match the OCRWC color scheme. After a few passes of green paint, we stripped off the vinyl mask and sealed it with around 8 coats of dead flat clear.

The (awesome) neck didn’t need a ton of attention, after sanding down the headstock I tried to make some marks reminiscent of Eddie’s cigarette burns and evened out a few frets with a sanding block.

For electronics, I had a hot Epiphone Les Paul humbucker that I paired up with a new 500k pot and connected to the original jack after shopping up a standard Strat pickguard. Even though the neck pickup is not connected, I decided to use one from Vivi’s first guitar, and then made up a concoction in the center pickup spot where Eddie threw in a mangled 5-way switch. I still happened to have a walkie-talkie from the 2014 & 2015 event, so there’s a chunk of those electronics in a few different spots alongwith a piece of our earlier Vicious SID build as well.

Finally, the time came to drop in the 2014 OCRWC medal, and it just so happened that Kristen had pulled a damaged one out of the medal pile back in ’15 and still had it! We figured this guitar deserved the gritty one, so I ground off the lanyard connector and used some 2-part epoxy to fix it in-place. There was some debate about whether the medal should have the correct orientation when playing or hanging on a wall – I chose the rock ‘n roll position.

Tuesday, June 30 at noon PT, the #OCR Gives Back FrankenStrat goes up for auction on Punk Daddy Guitars’ Facebook Page with 100% of the proceeds going to OCR Gives Back / Back2Back Ministries – so the winner will be making a difference in the lives of kids worldwide AND get this great guitar too!

Old Glory

Me: “Wouldn’t it be cool to find three red, white, and blue Strats and then rip them into strips and reassemble as one?”

Multiple friends: “Why don’t you just paint it instead of driving yourself crazy trying to find the right color?”

Also Me: “What if I just buy new ones and cut them up?”

We purchased three complete strat-style Glarry guitars, did a little math to create a sled/template, and then cut ’em up, glued & screwed to reassemble, and created three multi-color red, white, and blue guitars!

Since Punk Daddy is known for distressing guitars, we gave ’em some rough love with the sander and even scalloped the lower cutaway a little bit for additional playability. A dozen coats of satin laquer to finish the body off and we’re ready to reassemble for clients!

Available For Purchase

Additional customization is always available – change up the electronics, hardware, or neck to your liking – add a logo, design, or whatever it takes to make this your own!

All guitars come fully assembled, tweaked and tuned to play as awesome as they look. Each is distressed to give it that raw, rock ‘n roll “relic” look as if it spent a few years on the road with the Stones. Body and headstock are sealed with a satin finish.

  • Maple 22 fret neck
  • Three single-coil pickups with 5-way switch, one volume, and 2 tone controls
  • White or black pickguard
  • Standard “strat-style” tremolo
  • Lightweight gig bag, strap, and cord

(Available 6/22/20) Red, White, Blue: $350

(Available 6/24/20) Blue, Red, White: $300

(Available 6/26/20) White, Red, Blue: $300

Shipping and handling $65, local pickup is always free!