This is the story of a Blazer.
It started as a somewhat worn out light blue 1982 Ibanez Blazer that I found on eBay. I had been looking for an early Roadstar to buy, as I remember liking the way they looked before they turned into the pointy heavy metal guitars of the later 80's. The early Roadstars have an almost cartoonish or balloony look to the shape of the body and headstock that I found appealing.
The Roadstars and Blazers were almost the same guitar, so I thought that I might be able to combine some different parts and come out with something I really liked. The light blue body on this one was in very nice shape, with only minor scratches and dings. The neck had some problems with the finish and a crack by one of the tuners, but I planned on replacing it anyway.
I had bought the neck on eBay before actually buying the guitar, as it was in nearly new condition and had the larger headstock I like. A lot of the older guitars out there have a lot of wear on the neck and frets, which can be a big headache to fix. With this, if I found a guitar I liked with a worn out neck, I could just swap them and fix any of those problems all at once.
I liked the "80's version of the 50's" look that the light blue body and maple neck created. The neck came with a really nice set of chrome tuners and a chrome truss rod nut, so I decided to change over the rest of the brass and gold colored hardware to chrome to match.
I completely disassembled the guitar and took the tuners off of the neck, and gave both a good cleaning with naphtha. Then I polished them with Scratch-X and waxed them with Zymol. This took off most of the little surface scratches and haze, leaving a nice clean and shiny, but old-looking, finish.
The Roadstar neck, with one more fret, has an overhang on the end that goes over the pickguard, and the Roadstars had thinner pickguards (that tended to crack around the output jack), so I sanded the bottom of the overhang to fit over the thicker Blazer pickguard. The tremolo block made a nice flat sanding block for this job. With some new stainless steel neck mounting screws, I attached the neck to the body.
The rest of the chrome parts that went on at this time were - big strap buttons, pickguard screws, metric humbucker screws, blade switch screws, knobs, and washers and nuts for the jack and mini switch. I found the washers and nuts at Radio Shack. I had to buy a cheap jack and mini switch to get them, but I wasn't able to find the parts at any of the guitar parts suppliers I used.
This just left the bridge to deal with. The tremolo block had a broken off screw inside of it, and it needed to match the other chrome hardware. I was going to get the tremolo parts chromed and get the bad screw drilled out and re-tapped, but I got lucky and got another Blazer (the BL550) with the chrome tremolo parts I needed. It had originally come with a brass tremolo bridge, which had been replaced with one from a different guitar with the same bridge in chrome. So I switched them, and ended up with the chrome bridge I was looking for to put on the light blue guitar and the plain brass bridge that the dark blue guitar needed. The bridges themselves have the spacing of a vintage Fender six hole tremolo, but they are made somewhat differently, so they can't be replaced by one.
I bought new stainless steel bridge height screws, intonation screws and tremolo block screws to replace the corroded old ones and some new tremolo springs. After putting the bridge back together and on the guitar, I took the guitar in to a local shop to get it set up and have a new nut installed.
The specs for the two guitars and the neck.
1982 Ibanez Blazer BL470 SB (sky blue)
basswood & birch body
brass tremolo bridge
volume, tone, 3-way switch and phase switch
1981 Ibanez Blazer BL550 RB (regal blue)
Super Tap 6 pickups
brass tremolo bridge
volume, tone, 5 way switch, phase switch, coil tap switch
Ibanez Roadstar neck
"fat head" style, probably from 1984
Here are pictures of the guitar back from The Repair Zone, where it got a full setup, had a new hand-carved bone nut installed, and had a broken solder joint in the wiring harness repaired.
An amazing stroke of luck. When I got this regal blue 1981 BL550, I found that someone had previously swapped the original brass bridge plate and saddles for a set that were already factory chrome plated from a different Blazer or a 1983 Roadstar.
I swapped the bridges between the two guitars. This saved the cost and hassle of getting the other bridge parts chromed, and the brass bridge from the other guitar put this one back to stock. Bought by my wife for my birthday from Kiernan Music in Hawaii.
Kiernan Music - www.kiernanmusic.com