Monday, June 25, 2018

Another project roughly put together.

This bathtub routed Indie Strat was going to be an HSH conversion along the lines of the classic Dave Murray, but like a couple of my other projects I no longer have the time for I've decided to make them functional and gift them to friends.

I had made a start at refinishing this black, but only a rough blow over coat to show up the imperfections after sanding.

Getting it perfect would mean a load more work, but the satin look kind of works with the white scratchplate and maple board.

Otherwise it's just the standard electrics and hardware put back in. I need to let it settle then set it up.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Farewall, crusty Explorer

Another one going out of the door as I need to reclaim some space. This Goth Explorer is actually a really nice playing example but had been butchered when I bought it.

It got partially stripped of the awful paint finish and I really liked the way the black back and sides provided a strong contrast to the quite attractive top. Which in reality is just the remnants of the grain filler/undercoat but is like a slightly open pore finish. There are a couple of stains on the surface where paint dust has soaked into the top and if I was actually going to keep it I would have refinished it in this vein. Maybe with a Trussart-esque inset metal scratchplate.

As it is though, it looks cool from a distance and I'm gifting it to a mate so it's up to them if they want to flatten the surface down and apply oil or something.

Most of the neck is sanded to a nice matt finish, so again it looks rough as hell but actually plays really well. I very quickly wired it all up with some new pots and the Kent Armstrong Super Distortions make for a heavy rock monster. Somebody did a lovely job of setting this up before covering it in cruddy spray paint.

Now it's together, part of me wants to keep it but the whole point of the exercise was giving it away so somebody else has the pleasure of it.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Long time no see

Wow has it been five years since I've touched this blog. That's kind of scary.

Recently a friend reached out to me asking if I had any guitar stuff I would donate to a community music project he works at. It's pretty obvious that given I've barely touched my guitars in the last 3-5 years that I don't need all of them. So I thought what the hell I'd dig him something out to have.

It's at this point that I had to make a choice and that became kind of hard.

I suffer from collecting mania, which is why I've quite a few guitars, and the flipside of this is you don't want to get rid of them. I had a few project guitars left unfinished but putting one back together would delay my having something for him massively.

Finally I've settled on this 70s Columbus 'lawsuit era' Les Paul copy. It's the exact same model as the first guitar I ever owned, although the actual first guitar was sold off years ago so this holds no real attachment for me. I bought it in a fit of nostalgia cleaned it up slightly then did little with it.

Better examples of these Japanese copies are slowly morphing from 'firewood' to 'collectible' but this isn't the latter. With a plywood body and numerous finish chips and scrapes it's just old.

Nonetheless it plays pleasantly and nobody will miss it if it gets trashed so it's a good donor instrument.

One thing that does suck about it however is the pickups. Unlike the better copies this has quite basic single coils stuck on a humbucker baseplate and fitted with a cover under which it's 50% air. There's no vintage mojo, just cheap old pickups that sound grotty especially once you up the gain.

From my guitar modding days I've got a ton of pickups sitting in boxes including some taken from an Indie Les Paul so I've quickly swapped these over this evening. Indie fitted quite decent Korean made hardware and these Alnico magnet medium output pickups have transformed the old Columbus. The pots are still scratchy but it's 40 years old, what do you expect. If I thought I could get the original witch-hat knobs off without breaking them I'd swap them too.

There may be the odd bit of guitar fettling in the near future, I can hear those unfinished projects calling to me.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kinda shameful Mr Juszkiewicz

Here it is, the aforementioned shonky Gibson gig bag. This really is a shameful piece of tat, the only one I have worse than this is a black vinyl thing from the 80s that came with something I bought.

I know that SG studios are cheap but they'd be better not giving you anything in my opinion.

It's a real contrast with the Gibson hard cases which are pretty nice. I've noticed that it's been two months since I updated my blog and that's because I've just been too busy to mess around with guitars. I've been stretching my playing a bit but not messing about with them. Now we're in the rundown to Christmas things will be quieter for me and I may actually get to do some fiddling.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gibson #3 - SG Raw Power

The polar opposite of my Gothic SG, light vs dark.

Maple body, neck and fretboard, classic '57 pickups, Klusons etc. etc. vs Mahogany body and neck with ebony fretboard, EMGs, Grovers and so on.

Unusually for a Gibson it's a three piece neck and being maple this should really be tough as old boots. So less worry about the classic SG headstock disaster.

The only thing I don't like about it is the weird dark smoke scratchplate which you can just about see through in the light. I'd have preferred a bog standard 3-ply black one.

Plays very nicely, does the usual twin humbucker Gibson thing, but with a much brighter more airy tone.

What I don't quite understand is how Gibson can get away with the gig bag it came in. The flimsiest piece of tat I've seen for ages. You wouldn't expect to get this with anything but a real cheapie.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


So, I used the jig I made ages ago for the Mockingbird and ground down the nut shelf on the RS10V. Nothing very exciting to look at but it's made the guitar much nicer to play.

I may need to go back later and shave it a little more but it'll do for now.

It's still very 'tinny' sounding though.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A little wobble

So I made myself a deep, oversize routing template for the RS10V by moving the acrylic one I had around. Annoyingly, the router chattered and put a little wobble in the front edge but I figured I could just manually skip it.

With this fixed to the front of the guitar using double sided tape I worked at getting it done. Sadly I failed to keep the router out of the wobble and ended up with a little wobble in the guitar body.

It's been done to two different levels, lower at the back so that the tremolo has a serious upwards and downwards range.

With it all back together it looks OK and the wobble isn't too obvious. Maybe I won't start on that custom guitar project just yet though.

It's now properly playable although the nut is still high and the nut shelf needs routing. As expected the combo of carbolite fretboard, Floyd Rose and odd EMG Selects means it has a very 'thin' sound. I may stick some Duncan Blackouts in it to compensate, although I've also got a JB/Jazz combo lurking in a box.

I'm still not sure what to do about the finish. It looks great in the photos with flash but is very dark and muddy in real life. It's scratched but not broken through and could probably be polished up OK. This would save me a refinish of the body but when I cut the end of the neck off I simply can't help but have to reshape the end. Which may lead to taking the finish off at least the neck.