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Charvel 650XL guitar restoration

by Robert Veldhoven

A 1990 Charvel 650XL brought back to life

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Original Charvel 650XL from the 1989 Charvel Import catalogue. List price at the introduction in 1988 was circa $1100.

  • Charvel 650XL

Charvel toothpaste logo painted over by the previous owner.

  • Charvel 650XL

Original logo partially visible after sanding.

  • Charvel 650XL

Original logo saved!

  • Charvel 650XL

The original, but filled single coil routes emerging.

  • Charvel 650XL

Original holes for potentiometers and switch blade coming through.

  • Charvel 650XL

Restoring the original single coil routes, but adding a lip to make the SD Hotrails fit.

  • Charvel 650XL

The backside almost blue again.

  • Charvel 650XL

Faraday cage.

  • Charvel 650XL

The clearcoat between both J-200's is gone...

  • Charvel 650XL

Blue... but not satisfied with the result.

  • Charvel 650XL

Upper horn sand through by previous owner. Restoring the original paint is now impossible. Repaint necessary.

As you can see it started off as an unplayable and neglected guitar. It had a terrible paintjob - they even painted the headstock including the Charvel toothpaste logo.

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Serial C002233.
This is before - unoriginal white paintjob with painted-over head stock, covering the Charvel toothpaste logo. Holes for knobs and pickups have been filled and covered up too.

Back to original paint

My challenge was to restore it without losing the original logo and paint. All turned out just fine......I thought. No problems with the headstock, but the guitar body was seriously damaged. The original paint on the upper horn was sanded away, bare wood was visible, I guess they didn't know how to use a sanding machine.....

Repaint

After finishing stripping the white paint, I reassembled the guitar to see how things turned out. The frets and the backbow of the neck needed some attention, nothing major, but I could not live with the appearance. A repaint was in place, so I did.

Refitting the single coils

A pair of Seymour Duncan Hotrails could give the guitar a boost since the JE-1200 was missing and would make a good match with the X2N that came with the guitar. I had to reroute the pickup cavities to get the SD's in, they are the newer model which need a wider cavity than the original 200's. It turned out to be a awesome guitar, looks great, plays like a dream, low action and great sound.

Charvel 650XL

Finished! Serial C002233.

More pictures of the finished guitar

Charvel 650XL Charvel 650XL Charvel 650XL Charvel 650XL
Charvel 650XL

Finished. Saved logo with original blue paint.

About the author

Article and pictures by Robert Veldhoven

Visit his homepage www.finnemans.nl

The owner of this 650 is Arjen Rijpma who lives in the Netherlands.

Charvel toothpaste logo painted over by the previous owner.
Original logo partially visible after sanding.
Original logo saved!
The original, but filled single coil routes emerging.
Original holes for potentiometers and switch blade coming through.
Restoring the original single coil routes, but adding a lip to make the SD Hotrails fit.
The backside almost blue again.
The clearcoat between both J-200's is gone...
Blue... but not satisfied with the result.
Faraday cage.
Upper horn sanded through by previous owner. Restoring the original paint is now impossible. Repaint necessary.
The backside looks great too.
Rerouted pickup cavities loaded with SD's.
Finished. Saved logo with original blue paint
Another view of the Hotrails.
Schaller Floyd in perfect working order (JT-590).

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