CK Custom Guitars

Ibanez StageStar

About the same time as I picked up the StageStar, I also found this litle number. It's a 2000 Ibanez GAX 70 that's been pretty heavily modified. I thought it would be a nice challenge to put it back to more or less original form but to keep the gold theme.

The Ad Said; "Red ibanez GAx70.. upgraded tuners and bridge pickup. bridge is an expensive schaller bridge.. no neck pickup installed right now.. all wiring is there though.. was a good backup when playing live.. headstock has been sanded on front so there is no name on it..
with a gig bag.

Ibanez StageStar
The Headstock had been stripped of it's original black finish and Ibanez Logo. The truss rod cover was not original and had some alignment issues with the original holes.


What have we here? When the original bridge was replaced, the person doing the job had to dowel the original bridge posts and relocate them. They elected at the time to leave the tail piece post holes unfilled.

Also, what was advertised as an "Upgraded" pickup in the bridge position actually turned out to be an Epiphone Humbucker. Not knowing where or what it came off, and because I was going for the gold I pulled the Epi in preparation for new pickups.

The problem with the Schallar bridge was that it wasn't firmly anchored to the body and with some room to move it started breaking the finish. Fortunately I was able to use superglue to hold it in place.

tuner apart
I've got a new set of 500k pots, .022 uf caps, gold selector switch, coil tap switch and output jack all wired up using a cardboard template matching the holes in the body. Droobling molten solder on the finish would definitely ruin my day.

I'm not sure if you notice'd but I had grounded everything to the lug on the center of the pickup selector switch. This would come back to haunt me later. Insulated though it is from the conductors, it still provided a slight path to ground making one side of the switch much quieter than the other. In the final assembly I ended up picking the bridge pickup volume control for my main ground source.

Here I've made some progress. Or have I? I picked up a Badass Bridge and standard stop bar. The Badass bridge has the same pole spacing as the Schallar meaning I didn't have to do much woodwork.

Once I got everything in place I realized that the bridge stood a bit too tall for the original neck angle, leaving no room to lower the bridge in order to set the action where I wanted it.

My only real option was to countersink the bridge posts until the bridge was low enough for proper adjustment.
Here's the refinished headstock, it really complements the black details on the body, and the gold tuners stand out a lot better.
ready to go back together
Here's the finished product. The bridge is nice and low, the action is light and intonation spot on.
While I had everything apart I leveled the frets then gave them a nice polish.
In keeping with the gold motif I made a new control cover out of some anodized aluminum. (Solid gold was out of the question cost wise)
clean jackplate
The replacement tuners were the same mounting style as the ones that Ibanez had put on in the first place. This was a nice surprise as I didn't want to have to blend in dowels to hide extra screw holes.
All in all this was a really nice project. The replacement bridge is tightly fit into the body, the guitar stays in tune and is a really nice player. The gold humbuckers from GFS make my Epi Valve Standard break up nicely with a vintage bluesy crunch that I like.

The Finished product in all her glory


Gotta love the effect of the gold an black against the vibrant red finish


Anyone want a "Stealth Ibanez"?


Simply Beautiful