Monday, June 28, 2010

Hot and sticky

Or at least I got it hot and I hope it's stuck.

The top photo shows how the wood has cracked due to the tension on the bush and then moved. So I stripped the guitar down to a bare body, pulled the other bush, clamped it back into place and then glued it. The last photo is after leaving it to dry for 24 hours.

As the crack is really fine and there's no way I could manually get glue in there I put a load in the hole then used a damp piece of cotton wool and soldering iron to steam the glue into the crack and surrounding wood. Glue and steam certainly seeped out of the crack.

This appears to have worked as beforehand simply clamping the body back into shape didn't work, it'd spring back when you took the clamp off. I have no illusion this will hold things under string tension this is merely so it's in the right place when I drill the larger holes and fit the lock down bar.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mercury II trem bushings

With the damage to the body at the trem studs on my two Mercury IIs, I need a solution that's going to hold things in place.

This 'lockdown bar' from AxesRus should do the trick but as you can see the bushes are much larger than the Takeuchi ones. There's about 2mm in it.

This means I'm going to have to drill the bodies which I'm not so keen on, but currently they're scrap anyway. It occurred to me that I could also put some small screws in the bottom of the bushes so they screw down into the body there, but the heads would need to be just the right size.

Washburn #7 - 'NX3 Nextar' natural

This is what happens when you hang around the Washburn forum too much.

Washburn have been making the Nuno Bettencourt signature models since 1990. Which is a long time for a signature association when the guitar itself is pretty much unique to the artist rather than just one of the companies normal models with some artist-specific bling. All those units shifted must mean something and it's not like Nuno is a hugely popular figure either.

The Nuno models tick a lot of my boxes as they're well specified twin humbucker superstrats that use the "Stephen's Extended Cutaway" neck joint found on my EC29s. The problem is that I really don't like the reverse headstock and have no interest in Nuno at all. Also, the majority of models are US made so out of my price range. There is the N2 which is very common but this is a budget N4 lookalike model with conventional neck joint.

There were a few 'import' models made with a decent spec. in the shape of the N3, N24 and N61. The N3 was rapidly discontinued, I suspect it cannibalised sales of the very similar US N4 models. The N61 messes the formula up with a scratchplate and single coils and I've never seen an N24 for sale in the UK. Even so these still have the reverse headstock and Nuno association which put me off them.

What I wasn't aware of until I hung around on the forum was that Washburn filed the serial numbers off the Nuno design, turned the headstock the right way up, fitted a tone control (omitted on Nunos) and push/pull coil tap then released this as the Korean made 'Nextar' or NX3.

So that's all the bits that appeal from the Nuno guitars minus all the things that don't. One came up on eBay at a sane price and I bought it.

It's in very good nick, plays nicely and the stock Washburn pickups which get a bit of a slagging at times seem pretty good to me. I really like the very plain satin finish and direct mounted pickups. The body is a 3-piece affair but joined very subtly so it looks almost like a one piece.

It's my first guitar with the Buzz Feiten Tuning System (tm). I am very sceptical about this as I don't like proprietary patented stuff like this that locks you into going to an 'authorised dealer' for servicing/setup. However you can find how to intonate the guitar according to BFTS on the Internet if you look for it. I can't say I noticed the BFTS making it sound any sweeter than I expected.

More on this when I come to do some setup work on it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A fit of overenthusiasm

I bought two Washburn Mercury IIs off eBay that have faults. The trem studs have crushed the wood and shifted forward on the treble side.

Ostensibly I've bought these to rob for spares but the satin finish one is quite nice, if I can save it I will.

Having quickly stripped one I can see what's happened, the body has cracked and a small piece separated from it between the stud and pickup cavity. My half formed plan before seeing this was to fit larger diameter bushes but this won't really work. AxesRUs do a 'trem lockdown' that screws into the body which I may try, they're only a fiver.