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Introducing the Fender DG-60 Rescue Project

It’s time to start a new Rescue project, and I found one that I’m really excited about. I picked up a Fender DG-60 at a Wimpey’s Pawn Shop in Azusa, CA that was in danger of being abandoned to the scrap heap. You know I never like to see a good instrument die, and when I picked this one up, I couldn’t help but see its potential.

Good Bones

So let’s start with an introduction to the DG-60. I would call this a high-end starter guitar. No, not a high-end guitar, but I think the term starter-guitar implies a low level of quality that would be unfair to saddle this guitar with. In economic terms, I’d call this an upper-middle class guitar.

The DG-60 has a solid Spruce top and laminated Mahogany back and sides, and this one is in the Sunburst finish. The neck is Nato ( also known as Mora), and the fingerboard and bridge are Sonokeling (sometimes called Indonesian Rosewood). It has a dual action truss rod, chrome-plated, die-cast machine tuners, scalloped x-bracing and a plastic (urea) nut and compensated saddle.

User and retailer reviews of the DG-60 are almost universally good, complementing the sound, playability and looks of the guitar that is manufactured by Fender USA in Indonesia. The label on this instrument indicates it is a model DG-60 SB-DS-V2, serial number IPS1405599. The DG is short for Dreadnought Guitar, and the SB is for Sunburst finish. I don’t actually know what any of the other codes mean. Fender no longer sells the DG-60 as it has been replaced by the CD-60, which appears to be exactly the same with the exception that the urea nut and saddle were replaced with something called Graph Tech NuBone.

What I’m Up Against

So, while the DG-60 provides a great foundation to start from, there is some work to do to fix a couple things on this particular instrument, and to add some things that I think will bump this guitar up a level in quality, playability and value.

There is not a single mark on the top or pickguard that would indicate that this guitar has been played. At the same time, though, the fingerboard looks like it has seen its share of greasy fingers. On top of that, I’m not a big fan of the stock frets. They are a little thinner than I prefer, and could at least have used a good dressing. The other thing I’m not a big fan of is the tiny fingerboard marker dots. They just look a little anemic on what I think is otherwise a great looking guitar. I think what I’m going to do is pull the frets so I can really clean up and treat the fretboard. With the frets off, I might replace the existing marker dots with something a little bigger, and then refret it with a good leveling and dressing to top it off.

While there are no real marks on the front, there is an area on the back where the finish is very noticeably marred in a spot where it looks like it might have rubbed on a belt buckle. It doesn’t seems scratched, like it rubbed on a metal buckle – more like it was rubbing on something hard but not sharp. I don’t think the damage goes through the clear poly, so I should be able to repair and buff that out pretty close to new.

The nut and saddle are probably fine, but they are plastic (actually urea), and I’d just rather have bone in those spots, so I’ll probably replace those. While I’m doing the saddle, I’ll go ahead and drop in an under-saddle piezo pickup, and then top off the set up with a 5-band EQ preamp with electronic tuner, and both 1/4 inch and XLR output.

So it looks like a fun project that shouldn’t take too long to finish. Hope you'll enjoy the process as well.

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