Saturday, July 31, 2010

Indie #24 - 'Custom shop IPR' satin blue

When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning or Nicks house?

Nicks house it is then. Back in 2008, Indie produced three 'custom shop' guitars around the same time, all were similar spec. with satin finishes.

First I picked up the black 'flying V'.

Then, the Les Paul style blue 'L shape'.

Now I've got the last of the three models, the PRS custom style 'IPR'.

As expected it's really well executed but as with my other 'custom shop' models only really one of Indie's standard models made with some extra care, upgrades and bling.

Oddly they don't seem to have done any custom shop 'Shape' models, perhaps this because of the existence of their 'Extreme' models which are kind of similar. These three certainly seem to share some features with my Extreme Plus.

Their 2010 'custom shop' output which has artwork by Inky Hollow doesn't really float my boat. I saw Tom's work at a guitar show and while it is beautifully done just not for me.

Again, there were only 16 made to the following spec...

Body: Solid Mahogany
Body Top: Solid Maple with Tiger Maple cap
Body Binding: Natural wood
Neck: Solid Mahogany, smooth satin finish
Neck Binding: Natural
Neck Construction: Set neck
Fingerboard: A-grade ebony
Fingerboard Inlay: Tree of Life Abalone
Headstock Binding: None
Machine Heads: Grover tuner
Top Nut: Graphite
Bridge: Deluxe two point tremolo
Hardware: Deluxe nickel chrome
Pickups: DV8 Humbuckers - High Output Indie Alnico Electrics 1 volume, 1 tone, 3-way toggle switch, Mini Switches for Active/Passive and Coil Tap
Truss Rod: 2-way dual action
Scale Length/Frets: 25.5"/24 frets
Finish: Satin Blue Burst Custom

...and it's rather nice even though the active circuit is underwhelming. I wish it were like the one in my Extreme Plus.

Indie #23 - 'Shape' custom double-cut semi-hollow blue/white stripe

This is a sister to my very first Indie, only in a metallic blue with a white stripe similar to my Two tone.

It's sort of been bought to modify, I like the idea of one of these with a humbucker at the bridge and I've got a vintage handwound Kent Armstrong PAF+ which is made in a P90 size and style ready to go in.

If that doesn't work out I can probably find some other mini humbucker that'll fit nicely.

Indie #22 - 'Shape' standard futuristic silver

It's a strat Jim, but not as we know it.

Three proper single coil pickups, middle RW/RP to cancel hum. -check
Five way switching. -check
Master volume, with neck & middle tone controls. -check
Traditional 6-screw fulcrum tremolo. -check
3-a-side headstock. -er, OK
Single cutaway mahogany body with carved top. -hang on
Set mahogany neck. -is this still the same guitar?

One of the more obscure ends of the Indie range, which is usually humbuckers and tune-o-matic based, this is like I say vaguely strat-esque.

The metallic silver finish is leaning towards tacky but is saved by the otherwise minimalist looks and black hardware. The flash has made the paint look more 'metallic' than it is in the flesh.

In play, I've not done a back to back comparison but it seems not quite as bright as a standard strat and definitely provides a contrast to the usual Indie fare.

Bought secondhand it's got one odd adjusting screw in the bridge but is otherwise in great condition.

I'm not a fan of vintage tremolos but this is a good quality badged up Wilkinson one with a really heavy solid steel block and well executed push in arm. It seems pretty stable in use but as it stands it's not like you can have a Kerry King moment.

Yet more of the same

So, having repaired the first broken Mercury II and it seeming to have held I've now done the second one.

This was exactly the same process as the first repair. The second and third photos show how little wood there is in the bridge area, it's broken through where I've drilled the holes for the bushes out.

It's not like these are huge bushes either, I was drilling a 10mm hole. While this is the 'large' size bush I've noticed in use it's just that, not super-extra-humungeous.

Once this was done, it was just a case of refit the neck, solder the electrics back up to the outlet and earth then set it up.

Sadly this one is probably going to need me to shim the neck. The 'lockdown bar' reduces the clearance between the tremolo base plate and guitar body and with even a slightly high action it was close enough to restrict movement.

Once together it plays nicely enough and I think I prefer the neck to the 'padauk' one even if they're ostensibly the same guitar.

None of this answers the question about what I'm going to do with these long term. I think I'm going to shed a few guitars and these might be going straight back out of the door.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

More of the same

Having finished up the repair on the 'padauk' MG440, I stripped the purple one. The neck is a really nice skunk stripe one-piece maple affair, but sadly the body is in some ways worse than the one I just fixed.

The one saving grace is that the crack doesn't extend below the bush, like on the other one. So, do I try and save it or do I just strip it like originally planned.

Some surgery on a quiet Sunday afternoon

Having dismantled the 'padauk' MG440 the other week and tried to glue the cracked section, I've had a go at finishing off the repair.

The 'lockdown bar' I bought to deal with the failure of the wood at the bridge stud needs larger holes drilling. I'm no luthier but the body is effectively scrap at the moment so I couldn't make it much worse.

There's no way I could ever drill the holes out accurately enough by hand so I clamped the body to my cheap Chinese pillar drill and lined it up using a 5/16 drill bit in the chuck. This was a perfect snug fit in the existing holes, so I got the body nicely centred on it then swapped bits to the 10mm one I needed.

I drilled very slowly and after about 2mm stopped to check it was still nicely centred. The first one went well so once finished I moved the body and did the same with the other hole.

With them both done, the 'lockdown bar' is a perfect fit. Sadly the drilling has broken through into the tremolo route, again emphasising that the design of this guitar really doesn't leave enough wood in the area.

Dropping the pickguard into the body showed that it should fit nicely and not need trimming down so I just reassembled and set up the guitar.

Once it was all back together the repair is hardly noticeable. The 'lockdown bar' is visible but it mates nicely with the pickguard so it almost looks like it should be there. Having strung it and played it a little, the repair has held. I'll use this as my practice guitar for a couple of weeks to make sure it stays that way.

Longer term I'm not quite sure what to do with this, I bought the pair to rob for parts (mostly the 600S tremolos) but thought fixing this one would be a fun project and it has been. However I don't really need another midrange Korean superstrat and if I leave it whole I'll still need to find a tremolo. I'm not sure I could sell it given the repair, even though I'd be upfront about it and this leads to me having yet another guitar.

Oh well, I guess there's still the other one to strip down.