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Restoring an UN-loved Syn Gates Custom (original model) and key model differences!

Grandroid828

Full Member
Jul 28, 2020
10
10
5
Hey guys!

I've owned and played some version(s) of Syn Gates Customs since about 09 or so. Quit playing guitar (got lazy and busy with life and business) for about the last 7 years. Quarantine seemed like an excellent opportunity to rekindle

Recently, i got a great deal trading my black and silver stripe 09 custom ,with damage and missing parts, for a new old stock 2017 Custom - S, black and silver stripe.

There are a TON of things i like about the new models. Alot of folks dont realize how different the Syn gates customs have been over the years. This entire thread is completely ignoring any custom shop models - thats just too much to get into. Ignoring pickup differences as theyre obvious.

A few "new" key differences between the original invader customs and the "new" Customs that have syns pickups or the sustainiac:

-lighter body
-MUCH Thinner neck profile, while still being on the thicc side at the lower frets.
-No coil tapping (though it IS possible to wire a sustainiac or syn gates schecter pickup for coil splitting)
-cut in the top, rolling off the edge slightly where your forearm rests
-1500 series floyd rose instead of a 1000 series. Im not extremely well read on this but i do believe the 1500 has more steel than zinc. The 1000 is fairly close to a floyd rose "special" if im not mistaken.
-body is 1/8 inch thinner - again, less weight. And im certainly no tonewood expert at all but this virtually has to contribute to resonance and sustain, of which i certainly get less on my custom-s than the old one
- SS frets - if you know you know - if you dont, this is hands down the single biggest advantage the newer models have in my opinion.

purely cosmetic differences:

-Syn $ logo on headstock on the new, old ones have the top hat skull
-Tremolo cover plate has screwdriver slots - so it need not be removed to adjust springs. old models are a full covered plate. *history lesson* Ironically, the whole origination of these trem cover plates (way back when the first strats came to be) was to be a dust cover. The screwdriver slots, completely void the whole point of the dust cover lol. That being said i do like them because it just looks more clean and neat, with the springs and ground wire and such covered up.
- all old models had MOP inlays. Regardless of body color scheme. New models have a gold inlay if its the white/gold, or satin gold burst. Personally - i do not like the color on them. But thats just my opinion, I absolutely LOVE The satin gold burst otherwise

All of this to say -these are NOT all the same guitar. Make careful note if you are buying one pre owned. Things like neck thickness, Fret, and weight are far from minor details when it comes to how a guitar feels or plays.

I didnt know, any of this, when i traded my old one and got the new custom-S

I love the Custom-s. And want to stress that the sustainiac is not at all the "toy" i thought i would use a few times, and then never turn on. its useful. very happy to have it. Plus, so far away, amirite? kinda requisite if you are into playing a ton of avenged stuff.

That being said - i like heavy guitars. I dont gig, you dont want to hear me play standing up, im just a basement guitar hero (in my own head). I also FAR prefer the thickerneck on the older models. thats against the mentality of thin= speed. Which isnt wrong. but im more concerned with what I ENJOY - not what im supposed to like or use, based on what music im trying to play. Go back and read that sentence again. Answer that question with your own ears and hands.

So this had me very sorely missing my old one

The gent whom i traded it to, had it for sale in his shop for 500, which is a very fair price.

I considered purchasing it, and restoring it.

Then i had an idea.

It made way more sense to buy an older model white/gold, in lieu of buying my black/silver back and restoring it. Seemed frivolous to have 2 virtually identical guitars cosmetically.

I had ALWAYS wanted the white/gold model of this guitar. They made only 48 of them with a invader/sustainiac by the way, so if you own that, i hate you. Even the dual invader loaded models were fairly scarcely produced. Ebay has 4 or 5 total, of any period white gold models, at the time of my writing this. 1 of which has the sus on it, at a (ridiculous, sorry) price of 5000. the others are all in the 1000-1500 dollar range, some with case some not, none of which are mint. There were literally none on reverb, 3 weeks ago. Obviously not a guitar that pops up alot, as there are hundreds if not thousands of used black/silver stripes for sale from various years. and rightfully so, OG is OG.

But then there was one on reverb popped up. down in florida (orlando area). 400 bucks, local pickup (im a nashvillian, but disney is my second home so i was totally about to fly there and get this thing).

Did this guy hate guitars. This thing was trashed.
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tarnished hardware. All of it.

He (or someone) had the idea to steel wool the frets. Which in and of itself is OK, but not when you dont cover the pickups first. Magnets, love steel. So these invaders were looking more like the wooly willy edition. Do you know how you get tiny pieces of metal to come off a magnet? Lots of drinking and cursin. (Jk - masking tape, still tedious as hell though)

A bad drop occurred at some point, not only chipping finish off the back, but swelling the wood, and cracking one of the horns on the headstock (to the point it was just about entirely removed)

This thing had been put through the ringer. It was a total mess.

I considered flying down. but ultimately decided id order and have shipped to him a schecter SGR 2A case (avenger/SG models), if he would throw it in that and eat the shipping cost to me. Made way more sense on my end, to pay for a case that i can use or sell, instead of useless cardboard and shipping costs.

He agreed, and i hit ebay.

New EVERYTHING for it. except pickups.

Had a really cool idea of putting some white plastic covers (think EMG's) over the invaders, and white mounting rings. The invader poles were gold on this model. They dont sell the poles separately, and they dont sell the pickup at all with gold poles, so i had no way to fix this. Automotive paint wouldnt work as it had metal in it, this would affect the magnetic field (very minutely, but it certainly would). Unfortunately i couldnt find any that fit, as the seymour duncan spec sheet for invaders is actually wrong. The pickups dimensions are X - but the wraps around it actually protrude further than that, so the covers dont work.

Lined up with glaser instruments in nashville for the headstock and body damage repair. I can repair wood just fine, but not finish.

picked it back up yesterday

Pickups - notice how ive cleaned the two top right magnets here (and the space underneath them).
How did they even get this dirty? were they being licked?!
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All shiny, much better looking now. BIG shoutout to Seymour Duncan who advised me the proper way to clean them. going one pole at a time. slow but successful.
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Next - frets. If you plan to use steel wool ANYWHERE near a guitar, and it doesnt look like this - stop it. The bag is taped shut very well behind the guitar. As a fail safe, take some tape and put over the pickups securely first (not just the poles, the whole thing). Should metal somehow make it in the bag the pickup will grab it, but itll be on the tape. Magnets are your friend when cleaning up. Magnet, Vacuum, repeat. Make sure you dont have other guitars nearby, or a fan blowing, things like that. Long story short -buy some micro mesh and dont deal with any of this. i forgot to do that so...

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After frets (and adjusting the truss for a very small amount of relief) I cleaned it well with cleaning polish (everything i used here is the simple dunlop 65 system) then waxed it all over (easier to do this while its naked, dont have to worry about avoiding hardware or getting a poor wax job around the hardware)

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Next was hardware. had to use wood filler on the strap buttons, as someone used like, deck screws, for the old ones. Not really a concern since i never play standing, just want new ones for aesthetics. knobs, jack plate, switch and washer, pickup mount screws.

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headstock. tuners, string retainer, nut
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now the floyd. put a piece of reasonably soft foam in your springs by the way. cuts a ton of noise that youre probably immune to since its so constant with floyd springs.

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This is now in a much more loving home, and is practically new out of the box really.

Ready for strings, truss adjustment, bridge float, action, and intonation

All said and done ive got about 1100 here. Including case. that is skewed by a few of the choices i made with hardware. floyd is an upgrade from stock for sure.

Is it worth it to me? you betcha! Im thrilled to have something i wanted since i was a teenager.

Im more thrilled to have an "old" model, with the weight and thick neck that i enjoy so much. I learned pretty much all my guitar playing on my old SG model, so i think it sucked to not have that "feel" anymore.

Hope this helped someone. Work on your own guitars. buy what you like and want, F the price and F the status quo. Play as much as you can.
 

Nickstib

Full Member
Jun 15, 2020
5
35
Pa
Damn beautiful job and now you have a sweet story to go with it! I’ve been searching for a white and gold also you’re not lying when you say they’re few and far between.
 

Grandroid828

Full Member
Jul 28, 2020
10
10
5
Damn beautiful job and now you have a sweet story to go with it! I’ve been searching for a white and gold also you’re not lying when you say they’re few and far between.
Thank you sir. Yeah theyre really hard to find honestly. I mean theyre out there but most of em look like this one did (minus the wood damage) but cost more than they did brand new at retail. I was heavily urged to buy the one here on the site, but again its the new model thing so it completely defeated my purpose in the first place.

Just check reverb and ebay every few days, a deal will eventually pop up.
 

Ed Seith

Supreme Galactic Overlord
Staff member
Legend
  • Nov 11, 2019
    2,392
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    Marana, AZ USA
    35
    This is an AMAZING post, and I devoured it. It's funny, every single thing you mentioned about changes in the new models addresses issues I had with the first one I played, probably back in 09 or 10. I will *definitely* have to try out a new model. I remain definitely NOT A FAN of artist models, especially when they have distinctive artist features (for instance, I'd buy a PRS Tremonti, because as far as artist models go, that's not much different than a Les Paul), but it would still be great to see where Syn's preferences have gone, and who knows? Maybe I would want to add one to the stable. I'd keep it in Drop D, naturally.

    Thanks so much for this! You did a killer job on the resto! Enjoy her!
     

    Grandroid828

    Full Member
    Jul 28, 2020
    10
    10
    5
    This is an AMAZING post, and I devoured it. It's funny, every single thing you mentioned about changes in the new models addresses issues I had with the first one I played, probably back in 09 or 10. I will *definitely* have to try out a new model. I remain definitely NOT A FAN of artist models, especially when they have distinctive artist features (for instance, I'd buy a PRS Tremonti, because as far as artist models go, that's not much different than a Les Paul), but it would still be great to see where Syn's preferences have gone, and who knows? Maybe I would want to add one to the stable. I'd keep it in Drop D, naturally.

    Thanks so much for this! You did a killer job on the resto! Enjoy her!

    Thanks so much for the kind words Ed. Yeah man i totally get that. Especially with artist models like this, i mean theyre fan boy level 100 lol. But yes theyve changed dramatically, definitely worth a try. Im curious if the avengers schecter now produces are to these specs, too. The hellraiser avenger, at the time, wa
     
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