Been a few weeks faffing and experimenting with the headstock on the Bullet. One of my first decisions when I started the project was to colour code the headstock - its kind of a subtle OEM mod if you were to steal a term from car culture. This is easier said than done with UV aged poly on the body, but there are ways and means!
The other aspect was the logo. I was keen to get a bit of authentic Fender sparkle on the logo so have experimented with a few different techniques to achieve a gold logo.
Gold? Yes, gold!
As this is a factory style modded guitar and most of Fenders logos are gold, I thought this would be a subtle upgrade and it also contrasts the white headstock better than original silver.
The process for making and applying headstock logo’s is quite well documented over the internet and basically consists of buying inkjet waterslide decal paper, creating logo on something like Photoshop, print, seal with lacquer, cut out, dip in water, transfer to guitar and lacquer over. In a nutshell.
But we don’t like things too easy so there‘s Some experimenting in there!
We start in Photoshop, a place where I’m quite happy with ‘ctrl Z’ being a much cheaper way to rectify any mistakes. I took a combination of Telecaster logo’s downloaded from Google and some pics of early Bullet headstocks and tweaked and nudged and overdrew to get to a place I was happy with. I think the Fender script is a 70’s vintage and wasn’t easily found on Google so that had to be drawn around in Photoshop and tweaked until it matched a photo. The other subtle mod is the Custom logo which sprouted some butterfly wings as a little nod to one if my favourite bands.
To get the gold onto the logo you basically reverse the logo in Photoshop and print backwards on the decal paper. Then fill in the gaps with gold.
Real gold is not particularly easy to come by, so my first attempt was with a selection of gold paint pens from Uni. The nibs and a little to big for some of the finer areas and you tend to push a bubble of ink around until it covers fully... but the results weren’t as pleasing as I’d hoped and the gold wasn’t particularly close a match to my Jaguar headstock.
My next attempt was using a gold calligraphy ink. This was a tip stolen from YouTube and is a slightly different skill set to what I’m used to as well. The nibs and holder were picked up on a day trip to London and the gold ink can be found in Hobbycraft. The result was better but I found it difficult to get a consistent finish. The gold particles are in suspension in a clear ink and you have to keep shaking the bottle to get good coverage. Overall it still had some lumpy spots which I was worried would be tricky to hide under the lacquer.
I did try transferring all of these tests onto a piece of off-cut scratch plate, but again wasn’t happy with the results. I think in hindsight that the decal paper also benefits a little from the glue residue on the paper side when transferring, but mainly, the gold ink always ended up a bit lumpy!
So back to trusty old Photoshop. A few clicks and a very slight orange to yellow gradient creates a predictable, repeatable, stable gold. There’s no sparkle, but the lacquer should create a deep gloss once complete.
Now I just need some paint.