The makeover of PF15-BK – from Plain Jane to Sexy Alexi!

As it sits on my diwan!

As promised, here is the metamorphosis of the Ibanez PF15-BK, though a tad delayed. In my opinion, for its price, it is a good guitar with some excellent features.

One thing that I will say though for the instrument is that it is a dust and fingerprint magnet!

(For those who would like to read my review of the instrument, they can do so here:

Ibanez PF15-BK (from Bajaao) – an honest review

For all its ‘goodness’, it is also true that there is always room for improvement and to better things. With that thought I set about working on it and here are glimpses of the done piece.

The back of the guitar with the Kanji decal, ‘AI’, meaning Love

The biggest pain always is getting the equaliser installed, which in this case was not just one thing but a combination of four things: an under-saddle pick-up, the battery unit, the end-pin jack and the EQ itself.

For the end-pin jack, a proper-size hole had to be drilled first. And if any of you have tried this, getting the end-pin jack to come out through this hole, from inside the guitar…it’s like threading a needle with your hands tied behind your back!

Once it comes out, one has to dial in the right number of winds on the screw so that just enough of the jack peeks out for its cap to fit on. Let me explain this through a diagram.

Drilling the end block for the endpin jack

The under-the-saddle pick-up required two main things: holes to be drilled in the ends of the saddle slot in the bridge (for the piezo pick-up to come up through, and the other one to receive the end of the piezo pick-up – so that vibrations are picked up evenly, from all 6/12 strings), and shaving the saddle down to accommodate the piezo pick-up, ensuring that the action remains optimum.

Drilling the near end through which the piezo pick-up would be threaded from under the bridge
Drilling the far end to receive the end of the piezo pick-up

The battery unit and the EQ unit were simple enough, with stick-on attachments. I fixed the battery box to the heel block through the soundhole and the EQ unit to the very rim of the soundhole – for easy access. I must apologise, I didn’t take photos of those.

Then it was the turn of the hardware to be switched. Thankfully, the tuning machines sat perfectly and the holes did not need reaming. Also, the screw holes lined up perfectly.

As you admire the tuning machines, do take a look at the headstock decal

In the photo above, you can also catch a glimpse of the new bone nut that replaced the cheap, plastic factory-provided nut.

The wrongly placed strap button on the heel was removed, the hole was filled up and a new hole was drilled on the side of the heel to install a Schaller-style strap button.

The strap button is just one half of the unit. The other half gets screwed onto the belt itself.  Did you miss the decal on the left shoulder of the guitar?

The shoulders of the guitar got ivory-coloured vine decals. Above, you can see what the left shoulder looks like. Here is how the right one looks.

The bone saddle required some real elbow grease to get it to the right height, but after a few misses, I did get it right so that the action is right. I also replaced the plastic bridgepins with chrome-coloured brass pins, to go along with the rest of the chrome hardware. Do also notice the lily decals for the bridge wings.

Underneath the bridge, I also put a matching aged-ivory decal. Not a great photograph, though! 



For a closer look at all the parts I changed, go here:

Coming on the workbench…


For questions and clarifications, do get in touch with me through the comment section below.





Amit Newton

An experienced guitar tech with over 10 years of experience working on acoustic Gibsons and Martins in the Gulf region. There is nothing that cannot be repaired; the only consideration is the price at which it comes. And yet, if there is sentiment attached, no price is too high! WhatsApp/Call me: 7080475556 email me:

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