Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nostalgia is just what it used to be

So a while back I was thinking about picking up a 70s Columbus Les Paul copy like my first guitar and it was only a matter of time before I did.

This one was more in the price range I expected for such a piece of old tat than what they normally seemed to go for, thanks to a slightly rubbish eBay listing and a neck pocket crack.

Having arrived I've given it my usual clean and check over. It was absolutely minging with the sort of pitch black corroded strings I associate with teenage ownership. I did play it briefly and it seemed to all be working apart from crackly pots and a loose jack but frankly it was too vile to handle for very long.

Looking it over carefully, taking a pickup out and having the covers off I've discovered it appears to be 100% original right down to all the electrics with solder unbroken.

At some point the neck volume pot has come loose and spun, yanking the wire off the tone pot. So I quickly resoldered that. I removed all the pots (which had all spun round and been retightened), unwound the cabling so it wasn't taut then put it back as it should be.

The pickups are odd. I'd seen comment online that they were actually single coils under a humbucker cover and that would seem to be correct. It's not clear from the photo but where the 'slug' bobbin should be there's just a space. What I don't quite get is that when I played it with the gain right up on my HT-1R there really wasn't very much unwanted electrical noise.

The body is ply of some kind but it looks like instead of taking a big lump then drilling/routing cavities they actually made a sandwich of three bits of ply with bits already routed out. So the channel from the toggle switch back to the main control cavity is a big square one, not a drilled hole. Very odd.

It's obviously had 'one careful owner, ten not so careful' and is covered in small scratches/dings but none of these are terrible, the neck is seemingly straight-ish and none of the hardware is butchered. Which is good going for a 30+ year old cheap guitar.

The only obvious bad thing so far is the nut. Somebody has cut this, probably using the same not so small needle file for all the strings. So apart from bottom E they lurk in huge ugly slots. It played OK but I can't leave it like this.

So I'm going to fit and slot a new nut. Once this is done I'll post my usual five pictures of the guitar in ready to play state.

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