Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread--on indefinite hiatus



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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby Dandolin » Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:12 pm

yeah, you go - I'm with that....
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby dubkitty » Wed Sep 30, 2020 12:30 pm

when i asked about pickguards on the Gretsch Pages, someone offered me a free Duo Jet pickguard cut for Filters which i gratefully accepted. i decided that it was OK to have a bit of visual differentiation between the two black Gretsch Jets; after all, it still has ELECTROMATIC on the headstock in, to quote a Joshua Tree outtake, LARGE CAPITAL LETTERS. the one argument for pro-line Jet pickguards other than aesthetics is that they cover the right side of the pickup rings, but i've never had a problem with my pick getting stuck in the gap between the guard and the Dynas on the singlecut Jet because my right hand is generally located somewhere between the middle pickup on a Strat and resting it on the bridge/palm-muting.
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby dubkitty » Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:04 pm

Alvarez update:

as promised, pictures of the latest little thing that does a lot. the bridge in its original state was solid, but the wood was quite rough. i think it's a typical indication of whether you're getting an inexpensive guitar or not, because that kind of fine handwork costs real money. so i decided to have a little abrasives party featuring me, Alvy, some 600 and 1500-grit sandpaper, seasoned with blue painter's tape to protect the top finish from errant sanding.

alvabridge.jpg


the result after a couple of hours of dry sanding with 600->dry sanding with 1500->wet sanding with 1500 until the sandpaper squeaks like clean wet hair.

alvabridgedone.jpg


if you compare to the shot from a week or 2 ago, i think you'll agree that this makes the guitar look much nicer and of higher overall quality. two and a half hours, and i'm quite pleased with the result. really, i should have done the fingerboard as well, but i just wasn't up for 3 or 4 more hours of work. i'll probably do it the next time i change strings. parenthetically, i'm pleased to note that D'Addario, whose strings i usually avoid but which were the only light-gauge acoustic 12-string set in the shop, finally figured out that an .010 is not suitable for the high G octave string. for years i've had to buy an electric .009 or .008 with the set because the .010 invariably breaks before you can tune it to pitch. they supply an .009, and in the timeless words of Max Yasgur, "i god bless them for that."

join us tomorrow for another installment of Low-Rent Lutherie here on CBS, the Cannabidiol Broadcasting System.
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby dubkitty » Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:06 pm

i realize this isn't as exciting as new guitars magically appearing from eBay's Parts auctions; sometimes the production values on this show cut into the entertainment factor. but fucking hell, i need for someone to care. i work and work on this shit, and nobody else in the whole wide world seems to give a flying fuck at a rolling donut.
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby dubkitty » Mon Oct 05, 2020 5:50 pm

the Dyna Pro Jet is sorted. the major problem was grounding the pickup covers for which i found an explanation for via Google, using a small piece of copper shielding tape to connect the cover to the pickup's ground wire. it worked like a charm. naturally, i added a couple of additional pieces connected to the first for the sake of redundancy...believe it or not, it really isn't all that much fun to actually do the work and thus i prefer not to do it twice. other issues included the pickup mounts and some stripped holes at the end pin. i originally installed the pickups by cutting a shelf from the underside of the top around the pickup routs approximately 1/4" high and 1/8" wide which allows the pickup cover flanges room to get the pickups at a standard Dynasonic distance to the strings. without this alteration the pickups couldn't get close enough to the strings (they fit in the routs more or less, but attaching them at the bottom of the routs left them far too distant for decent output and surface mounting was impossible due to mounting height vs. neck angle). i added more foam under the pickups (which used the foam from the original mini-hum pickup mounts) and used longer mounting screws to reach the bottom of the routs without shifting the pickup downward from the surface. the mounting holes for the Bigsby and strap button were also drilled/doweled/redrilled; all these had been problematic in the past. i used longer screws for the Bigsby which came from the 335 in wait of repair, and are easily 3 times longer than the ones which came with the Bigsby. those motherfuckers will not strip out again. it's nice to have one of these things sorted.

i'm now waiting for the dowels i drill/glued into the Strat bridge mounting screws to dry so i can get that mounted and done. i'm stuck in a holding pattern right now: the parts for the Double Jet haven't arrived, and i'm waiting for my next paycheck so i can order parts for the Hopf and the Kondor. it's going to take some time to get the Hopf parts sorted; they're available, but rare and commensurately dear. i kind of want to get the current inventory sorted before taking on additional work. Other than a Strat with the tremolo set to float, none of the other project stuff is of overwhelming importance though i would very much like to get the Strat-oid with the Hofner staple pickups happening, but really i need the Squier VVJM and Mustang bass on my list more.

i'm also planning to get the huge project that's hung like a millstone round my neck for 30 years dealt with. it's a 1968 ES-335 with a broken neck of a particularly painful sort; it was my first electric guitar and my Number One until it fell off a guitar stand, landed on the nut, and shattered the wood at the headstock join. i never dealt with it due to the presumed expense, but realized recently that if i had managed to afford a Rickenbacker 360 that cost $1650 there's really no excuse for leaving Big Red unrepaired.
Last edited by dubkitty on Mon Oct 05, 2020 6:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby Dandolin » Mon Oct 05, 2020 6:03 pm

Alvy lookin' pretty fine :)*
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby dubkitty » Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:13 am

i might be able to get away with doing the fingerboard using a lemon-oil soak and some inspired buffing with a soft cloth. which wouldn't be a bad idea for several of the other guitars. it's Strat drilling and tremolo remounting day today. gradually working through the essentials, which is to say the Strat and the Filter Double Jet, before i get back into the fits-'n'-bits stuff which in the case of the Hopf requires about €400 of rare parts. i wonder why i care so much other than its potential.
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby dubkitty » Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:07 pm

the Strat is now sorted, just waiting for new strings. despite taking due care, some of the new holes still came out askew so i had to redrill two of them them using the next largest size bit with the vibrato partially mounted so i could get the trem to sit straight. curious to see if getting the trem block out of contact with the front of the cavity will help the oddly metallic edge i sometimes hear which is inapropos for a 54-56 style Strat. so that's TWO big projects down.
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby Dandolin » Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:11 pm

I don't know about tonal changes, but when I did that to a cheapo partscaster it vastly improved tuning stability....
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby dubkitty » Tue Oct 06, 2020 2:14 pm

the thing is still about 1/32" cock-eyed, but fuck it. i only have one life to mess with this stuff. you really need a drill press for this kind of drilling, which is obviously far beyond my financial capability and available space. i never promised perfection, though too many people expect it of me.
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby dubkitty » Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:17 pm

well, the bridge relocation seems to have totally eliminated the odd clangy quality which i'm now convinced was caused by the tremolo block being hard up against the front edge of the cavity. tain't perfect, but it will have to do. naturally, i can't optimize the action because i can't find that obnoxiously tiny Allen key for the saddle height screws.
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby dubkitty » Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:28 pm

upon further examination the bridge is askew enough that the block still touches on the treble side, so i'm filling the holes to redrill again. imagine my joy. if i don't get it right this time i'm just going to order a new body with the bridge screw holes already drilled. bad day, bad result, take a Klonopin and try again tomorrow.
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby dubkitty » Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:01 am

well, on the third try i managed to get the two end holes drilled so the bridge lines up. i remembered the tactic i used driling holes decades ago: drill a shallow hole with a bit a couple of sizes smaller and use it as a pilot hole to keep the holes straight up-and-down. taking a smoke break and then finishing up. if i hadn't fixed it, my anal-retentive Germanic temperament would have nagged me forever.

it'll be another week + before i can finish the Double Jet, which is next on the list...the old Bigsby is a B6, which is too long for a Gretsch Jet, and i won't have the cash till 10/15.
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby dubkitty » Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:03 am

so the Double Jet is temporarily on hold. turns out that the switches on the harness are too short to reach through the fairly thick top. fortunately there's an adapter nut available to save the day, but that of course has to be ordered. i also need to get a proper reamer as different to a round file; making the hole for the tone switch has been an absolute bear because my WalMart drill only handles bits up to 3/8" and i need 1/2" holes. i decided to use the B6 after all when i realized that it will give me a livable string break over the bar bridge and an easier reach to the handle, and also mostly cover up the holes and weird pressed lines in the top left over from the B50. so i have to finish the drilling, fit the pickups, do the wiring, then hook up the pickups to the harness, and finally reinstall the pickups.

and now there's the Jazzmaster.

jazzmaster before sized.jpg


as far as i can tell it's a 2018 Squier Classic Vibe Jazzmaster with some aftermarket cosmetic modifications, which i got as part of the deal where i traded in the Rickenbacker for the Guild Aristocrat. The original CAR CVJMs had all white plastics, which were changed here to tortoise guard/black plastics. i spent the better part of two days going over it and tweaking the million little things you have to do with a $300 used guitar. setting up the bridge was an adventure. Fender bridges are usually a terrible pain to adjust, but this went to new heights. the previous owner had subbed in the Mustang bridge, but it was still an endless process getting the string height optimized between bottoming out on the front edge of the bridge plate and bottoming out on the end of the saddle length adjustment screw, pitched up so the string wil clear the bridge. i'm not here to say it was fun.

when i took the bridge off to figure out the height adjustment i found the bridge posts had been wrapped in electrical tape, presumably to immobilize the bridge. don't do this. when i removed it the resonance improved by 180%, from feeling like a relatively dead, heavy Strat to being alive. in terms of other functional issues, the controls needed help. everything got a good spray-out with contact cleaner. the volume knob was wonky, but that just needed the nut tightened. the tone roller knob was scraping on the pickguard which is fairly warped--i suspect it's an aftermarket guard that doesn't precisely fit the Squier screw pattern--and had tilted the control bracket to where the roller rubbed. it needed a spacer, and what do we do when we need a spacer? that's right, surgical tubing! a little ring between the bracket and the pickguard, and we're sorted.

i decided to swap out the black plastics for aged white. i think the black doesn't really work with the finish or the tortoise pickguard, whose color washes out against all that black. i trawled through the parts box and found Strat knobs, a tremolo arm knob, and a toggle switch cap that more or less match, and just ordered pickup covers to suit. the one other thing i want to do is a wiring mod i found online which allows you to use the rhythm circuit for all 3 pickup switch positions. i've found that the rhythm circuit is fuzz's long-lost BFF, and think that weird mid-cut would be great with the huge treble pickup sound. i don't see the percentage in doing value-added mods at this time...i don't really need the tremolo lock, so there's no point in changing the tailpiece, the pickups are fine and dandy, and though the wiring is typical East Asian factory junk the pots are 1M mini Alphas and the switches are good. i don't think there's that much capacitance in a JM circuit to gain anything from redoing the cable runs other than marginally.
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Re: Dub's Wacky Project Guitars Thread

Postby Dandolin » Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:46 pm

so Dubs, how's that M-75? :snax:
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