Dark Lord: Yamaha Studio Lord Rescue

Meet “Dark Lord”, a brutally beautiful Yamaha Studio Lord Rescue Guitar (most likely a 1980 SL400) returned from the dead.

When it came to me there were blisters in the clear coat (like pimples) where someone had tried to fix a ding and moisture seems to have gotten into the clear coat and blistered (I think). There was also water damage (see the black stain lines in the grain) around the posts, which were rusted in (hence the black staining I think. It had no nut, no truss rod nut, no electronics… no hope for a future.

What did the rescue include?

This one sat for quite a while. I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do with this Yamaha Studio Lord Rescue. When I finally got around to attacking this, there was no plan… other than to get that blistered paint off. And the following happened:

  • Sanded down the clear coat where the pimples are. The scar on the bottom is all that really remains and here are some small blisters at the bottom strap button.
  • Filled dings with (reasonably colour matched) gluboost
  • Drilled out the left post of the bridge and plugged with large dowel, redrilled and fitted new post. The right was drilled for the new post, but no dowel needed there.
  • Finished over the dowel and colour matched (reasonably close) with gluboost again.
  • New bridge and tail piece – I am 90% sure they’re from an ESP project I disassembled a while ago, but are relatively new. These are the only two pieces in the guitar which would be considered “relic’d” – they have some rub n buff gold on them.
  • Added silver top witches hat knobs
  • I sanded the areas that had been filled, drilled or pimple removed, then buffed.
  • New truss rod nut was added (it was missing one and now works well)
  • Frets were levelled and crowned + fingerboard was conditioned (there is really good life in these frets (probably about 70%)
  • I hand built a truss rod cover – yep, covid = time on my hands
  • Pick guard mount holes = filled with dowel and finished over with gluboost
  • There was no neck plate, so I have filled and redrilled a plastic one.
  • The electronics covers are mismatched white and cream – easy fix if you care.
  • Built a new bone nut for it
  • Genuine vintage Grover tuners (perfect fit)
  • installed Added a simple Korean pre-fab wiring harness. It has an epiphone 3 way toggle, 4 x Alpha 500k pots and 0.022 caps + new jack.
  • The jack cover is a simple thin black plastic (again, easy fix if you care) Vintage Japanese PAF humbucker in the bridge sourced from Leddin Vintage Guitars. “Vintage MIJ PAF 8k Alnico 49.2mm 4 Conductor lead”
  • The Neck has a higher output of 9k – hence the Dark Lord name… it’s a great sludge / stoner rock guitar and that neck PUP really cranks.
  • Set up. Played. Set up again.

When I finished this old Yamaha I couldn’t believe how well it played. Solid. Fat. Loud. Lovely. Good news is that is has found a new home… and is currently being belted through a Peavy 5150.

A very proud rescuer.

See Tone Test Here

See Finished Guitar Here

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