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One "last" project - a tele partscaster

Never thought this would be happening - I already have too many guitars, all of which I'm hopelessly in love with, and thus unable to sell :D But I think a year or two ago I bought most of an early 2000s Squier Standard tele (i.e. no pickups) on another forum, for £80. When it arrived, I remember thinking just I shouldn't have got it. The paint job on the body has some obvious cracking, and also is quite thick, and I've had trouble once before trying to strip paint from a guitar body (that one was, I believe, polyester - which is incredibly hard to get off - a heat gun doesn't work and produces nasty fumes, and impervious to paint stripper of any type). And the neck, although not too bad, had a very narrow (39mm) width at the nut, which I don't like. So the bits of the guitar have just sat around for a fair old time.

But now I'm thinking I finally have the energy to do something with this - the body is full-thickness Fender dimensions, and routed for a neck humbucker - I have a spare GFS Surf 90 pickup which could go in there, plus a nice handwound Mojo Broadcaster pickup I could put in the bridge slot. And the hardware that came with the guitar seems decent enough, so no need to buy any of that. I think I will get a new scratchplate though, as that doesn't seem quite the proper dimensions. I fancy re-spraying the body a nice vivid mid-blue (don't have a blue guitar), and I think I will buy a nicer neck from somewhere, rosewood fingerboard. The respray will just be a basic rattlecan job, doesn't have to be guitar show standard, as long as it looks presentable. I'm kind of justifying all this to myself by a) saying that as I already have most of the guitar anyhow, it's not a real increase in numbers, and b) the cost of the project should be fairly low compared to doing a partscaster from scratch.

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The damage you can see on the back is caused by me incidentally, testing with a heat gun to see how easily the finish can be removed - it seemed to work pretty well, so heat gun/scraper will probably be the first step, followed by sanding, filling any dints, then primer. :)

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Comments

  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member
    So - removed all the hardware from the body:

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    ...it has clearly seen a bit of life already, with some long cracks in the finish (hope it is just the finish!) and the upper control panel screw hole is very chewed up, and had a few matchstick stubs stuck in - but this can be sorted. Also I note that it might be possible to not use a scratchplate, and fit a humbucker surround for the neck pickup instead - probably not, but I'll consider it. Also note that the control rout is pretty narrow - mini pots were fitted - so rather than faff about, I'll stick with mini pots for my new wiring when I get to that, I have a few suitable ones in my spares box.

    Removing the string ferrules using a suitably sized narrow screwdriver - I know you're not supposed to use tools for things they weren't designed for, but it worked a treat, and I can re-fit the stock ferrules later, thus saving money.

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  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member
    A pile of removed bits I can re-fit, as it looks to be decent stuff, although I'll probably get a better selector switch.
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    The old, rather rubbish looking wiring, clearly showing signs of some previous modding work by someone.
    image

    The old pots were a 500K linear for the volume and 500K log for the tone, fascinatingly enough - so not in keeping with the "correct" Fender 250K values. But then, the guitar would have had a neck humbucker. I'll probably stick with 500K myself, it's always seemed to work for me.
    image

    The scratchplate, for what it's worth - looking a bit worn and uninspiring. And it didn't seem to line up with the body outline very well anyhow. So will be replaced probably - I quite fancy white pearloid which should look nice with my planned mid-blue respray.
    image

    Enough for today anyhow, except I think I'll get that rosewood board neck ordered from Northwest Guitars. :)
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,503Member, Moderator
    Interesting project, Megi. You have gained lots of knowledge and experience with your guitar builds and mods; I am impressed. I will enjoy following this topic.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member
    Lester said:

    Interesting project, Megi. You have gained lots of knowledge and experience with your guitar builds and mods; I am impressed. I will enjoy following this topic.

    Thank you Lester, nice of you to say so. So far I've only taken things apart so don't be too impressed yet! I suppose my previous builds and modding have given me a certain confidence, and I hope that's not misplaced. My previous partscasters were all made from lovely brand spanking new parts, which I actually feel is a lot easier in some respects.

    With this project, I've got the job of stripping the old finish and then using a spray re-finish, which I've not done before. And also, as can be seen above, there are a few minor issues to fix as well. The aim though, is not to make a stunningly beautiful, perfect guitar, but to produce a nice, practical playing and sounding instrument, which looks good without having to be perfect. We'll see how things go... :)



  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member
    Just ordered what I hope will be a very nice neck for my project - a rosewood fingerboard and quarter-sawn maple, 9.5" radius, 21 medium jumbo frets, from Northwest Guitars (via the bay). Feeling a bit guilty about this, but also happy with the decision at the same time. Should arrive on Wednesday. :)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 464Member
    Interesting project :) I refinished a Squier tele a few years ago and had to use a heatgun and scraper. I never got it to bare wood because of the filler underneath. I think I would have spent more on sandpaper than the guitar was worth if I kept going! It was really tough. But respraying was easy enough.
    If you're using spray cans, you have to make sure the colour coat is fully cured (about 2 months) before spraying the clear. Spraying 3 coats of the colour, 20 mins apart and then waiting 24 hours worked well for me.
    I'm actually in the process of spraying a strat body, so I'll let you know how the clear goes on that. Actually, I suppose I could start a post myself... :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member
    Thanks Nick - 2 months! that will be a tough wait to do, and then how long does the clear coat take to cure after that? :open_mouth: But if that's what it takes I guess, and your advice born of experience is much appreciated. Can I ask what kind of spray paint you've used in the past, and for your current strat body job?
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 464Member
    Yup, 2 months is a bit nuts. Stupid paint...
    The clear goes on and cures pretty quickly, so same sort of schedule as before, then wait a day or two and you should be ready to wet sand and polish. I use Meguiars polish that makes it nice and shiney!

    I tried car paint. Hated it. Nitro lacquer is pretty toxic, so I won't use that again either. The stuff I've had best results from has been the kind of stuff you get at Wilko, the acrylic lacquer.

    Now, I'm still a bit of a pilgrim on this finishing journey too, and am by no means an expert, but the deal is to wait until the colour is hard so that the clear coat doesn't dry quicker and pull at the colour, making it wrinkle. It took me months of anguish and must have read hundreds of forum posts on the subject. Everyone's mileage varies so I'm convinced that it's something in the hand, how you apply it, the temperature, humidity and goodness knows what else. Some people swear by one kind of paint while others swear at it.
    Ideally, you also want to stick to the same kinds of paint. People report all kinds of hell when they mix paints (that is, use one kind of clear over a different kind of colour). Some work, some don't.

    In an ideal world, I would always use wipe on poly (just thinned polyurethane wiped on with a rag). I've used it over stain and plain wood to great effect. It goes nice and smooth and shiny.


    My current job is a Wilko job. I used a primer over the wood - primer is always a good idea - about three coats. Then applied a light top coat every 20 mins, waited about two hours then another 3. That's how I heard someone else had done it in a review on their website. I did that about four or five times. And now I wait!
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  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member
    Cheers for that Nick - I was actually thinking I might try acrylic car paint, as I'd read things from people who reckon that's alright on the web. But we'll see, and I will have a look at the colours available for the Wilko stuff. I have to stress, I'm not going for anything of guitar show immaculate standard - just a result that looks decent and serviceable, in a colour I like.

    In my ideal scenario, I'd be starting with a nice new body, probably from Guitarbuild.co.uk, and finishing with Tru Oil, which is a proceedure I know how to get right, and have got good results from before. But in this case, I'm sure sanding down to bare wood would be a pain in the bum, and the woods might not be all that attractive anyhow. So seems better to strip then just sand smooth, primer and spray can paint job. If I can get a nice neck for the project, then I do have the option to completely replace the body at a later date, when I'm feeling a bit more flush. I'll see how the current plan turns out though. :)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 464Member
    MMm tru oil. I've seen some amazing finishes done that stuff.
    If you just want a decent finish, you might even skip the clear coat. Unless you're tilting the thing in the light and showing it off to all your friends on the interwebs, a colour coat can look pretty decent. Or just skip wet sanding and buffing the clear.
    Or just relic it ;-)
    I don't suppose you're planning on upgrading the pickups are you? I know a chap who does a fab job of tele pickups ;-)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 464Member
    If you're planning on putting decals on the headstock , I got pretty good results from some ink jet sheets I got off eBay. You just print, spray with lacquer (one coat), soak in water for a minute or so and slide em on. I wanted to see how delicate I had to be, so I took one and treated it like a rabbid dog with a postman's leg and it survived rather well. Before sticking it on a guitar, I should add. They don't quite look factory but I'd say pretty darn good for a cheap job. I give them 9/10.
    I'll take some pics if you're interested.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 464Member
    Ok ok, but only cos you asked nicely.

    This is my Westone (no kidding), my first guitar which I've now had for thirty years.
    Yes, I started playing before I could talk...

    Westone decals
    Westone decals



  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,185Member
    It's been a while since one of your projects Graham - they're always fascinating to watch and I can now do so safe in the knowledge it's very unlikely to spark GAS or GBS.

    I can appreciate your instinct to stick with mini pots and avoid the hassle of extra routing - if the pots are decent enough then you don't lose anything by it. I have had a build that involved extra routing in the cavities and it was a pain. I also very much agree with your description of worn and uninspiring for the stratchplate, and would suggest you've been very lenient in that appraisal.

    You're right in saying that building from new parts is easier. I was amazed how difficult it was to verify compatibility when trying a used parts build - there are so many different specifications for different models of essentially the same guitar and they often don't fit together right. Good luck with stripping the finish off things - a very intimidating process I felt back in the day.

    The process of spray painting and the time needed for curing put me off the idea, along with not having anywhere indoors that was really suitable. It'll be interesting to see how you get on. Like you, when I was doing builds I found Tru Oil was the best route for maximising quality without needing specialist skills and gear.

    Good luck with it all anyway.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member
    Thanks for your posts Nick - nice job on that Westone. I'm not sure about the decal thing - I've never done it on a previous build, as I could never come up with any name or design I liked more than the bare headstock lol. Well, OK I did try something with my "wave guitar" but didn't like the result, and ended up sanding back to the bare wood, re-finishing, and leaving it blank again. :D I've sometimes thought something like a small metal plaque with my initials might be not be too bad, and would be distinctive. Anyhow, main task is to get a nice guitar, then I'll think about decals, possibly!

    I'm not really a relic type person, just not my thing. I guess time will tell how much trouble I'm prepared to go to over the finish. Perhaps I'll surprise myself, we'll see. :)

    And thanks for you post Mark, always nice to hear from you. I'm glad I won't be tempting you into any rash GAS/building projects - to be honest, I wouldn't even be looking at this one myself if I didn't already have the body to use. I'm thinking, re the new scratchplate, and body colour, that I may take inspiration from nature - so an ivory pearloid scratchplate maybe, and a vivid light to mid-blue body colour, like yellow-tinted clouds against a pure blue sky in the evening, if you will... :D OK, I'm being arty farty I know...

    There were a couple of issues with the rosewood board neck I ordered when it arrived, so I've arranged return and sent it back, and am planning to switch to a natural gloss finish one piece maple tele neck from the same seller, which I think will look good with the planned colour scheme. Also, I've been playing my existing tele partscaster, which has a one piece maple neck, and that really is a bit of a belter of a guitar, and I really think the maple necks do add a certain distinctive something. Rosewood is nice too of course, but...
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 464Member
    Thanks Graham. Know what you mean about a suitable design. I just went with plain text! Except for the Westone, where I just sort of remade how it was before I refinished the neck.

    I was kidding about the relic, but it's an easy way to make any finish suitable! Yea, I dont do relics either. Silly idea!
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member
    How did I not pick up that you were joking about the relic idea?? I can be strangely dense about such things on occasion :D

    Still waiting to get the neck exchange business resolved (Northwest Guitars should received the returned neck today or tomorrow) and until I do, I feel a bit that I can't move forward with the project. It's certainly a bit harder to get of hold of satisfactory strat/tele necks for partscaster projects these days - the Northwest Guitars neck I had to send back was clearly nice apart from specific faults, so I'm hopeful they will be able to sort me with a good neck in the end. But if I do get this one done, and a nice tele type guitar as a result, I really really do think that will be the last such project.

    I've been playing my walnut-body, one-piece maple neck strat partscaster with a pop/soul kind of band. It really is a fabulous guitar to use for this, and for the first time, I'm really appreciating how useful all the different pickup selection settings on a strat can be for this kind of music. It sounds wonderful with effects also, as the clean, bright, crystalline sound really sparkles and has a lot of clarity. So that's one parts build I'm very glad I did anyhow.

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    I had the pickups made for the guitar - flat profile pole heights, alnico 2 magnets, and the coils tapped so I can select either vintage (5.6 to 6.4K ish) or "hot" (7.2 to 8.5K) outputs. Even playing clean, with effects, I find for me the "hot" output is generally the way to go, the sound is just a bit fuller and with more body, and retains all that strat distinctive sound quality no problem.
  • BryBry Posts: 590Member
    Must be something in the air... Just as I'm thinking maybe I could do another build :smile:
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member
    Bry mate! Lovely to have you back with us :) Something in the air it could be. Since you're here, can you tell me what the filler material was you used for sorting holes damage to guitar bodies - Isopon P38 or something else? Cheers!
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 464Member
    Megi said:

    How did I not pick up that you were joking about the relic idea?? I can be strangely dense about such things on occasion :D

    Hahah nah it's ok. I dont think it was that obvious!

    That's a loverley walnut strat you have there. Are they a Fletcher. Pickups by any chance?
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member

    Megi said:

    How did I not pick up that you were joking about the relic idea?? I can be strangely dense about such things on occasion :D

    Hahah nah it's ok. I dont think it was that obvious!

    That's a loverley walnut strat you have there. Are they a Fletcher. Pickups by any chance?
    Thank you! I certainly think it's lovely I have to admit.

    Those are not actually Fletcher Pickups (I had yet to discover those) - they were made to order by Chris Hernandez in the USA, who makes pickups under the name "Wound4Sound". I more or less asked him to copy the Klein "Dallas Blues" set but with the added coil taps and flat pole profile.

    http://www.kleinpickups.com/p-82-dallas-blues-stratocaster-pickups.aspx

    Just put the link in to the Klein site FWIW. Chris also made a set of humbuckers for one of my Shine SIL-510 guitars, and yet another set, including middle strat type pickup, for my partscaster tele. And they are really really great pickups - the alnico 3 PAF in the neck of Shine is an absolute belter (with almost a single-coil kind of thing going on), as is the set in the walnut strat, and indeed the set in the tele are lovely too. I originally found him advertising on ebay, which he still does, when I was looking for the best pickups I could afford for the tele build (could not stretch to Bare Knuckles or any of the pricey brands). If honest, I don't think there's anything lacking about either maker's pickups, and they both have friendly prices as well, and are nice chaps to boot. :)

    https://www.facebook.com/Wound-4-sound-custom-hand-wound-pickups-Chris-Hernandez--218915574880565/

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/chrisher!/m.html?item=292121090376&hash=item4403c61948:g:IpIAAMXQfFJRNBGn&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2562
  • BryBry Posts: 590Member
    Megi said:

    Isopon P38 or something else? Cheers!

    That's the one.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/U-POL-P38-250ml-Body-Filler/dp/B000TVM8L4
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 464Member
    Thanks for the links, Graham. Even with shipping his prices are pretty good -£86 for a single coil set, your specs. That's amazing. And he seems to have a slew of customer testimonials too.
    Do you notice a marked difference with the coil tap? Is 2k enough of a difference?
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member

    Thanks for the links, Graham. Even with shipping his prices are pretty good -£86 for a single coil set, your specs. That's amazing. And he seems to have a slew of customer testimonials too.
    Do you notice a marked difference with the coil tap? Is 2k enough of a difference?

    Cheers Nick - yes, I certainly do notice a difference, it maybe could just about be described as subtle-ish, but I would think fairly obvious to anyone with a decent set of ears to be honest. So yes, 2K is enough - actually I think I got the resistance values, including for the coil taps, about right, although I also think 1.5K would still be a worthwhile difference as well. But I chose to go pretty low wind for the tap values to make an obvious change, and to increase the tonal range overall. And of course, the tone control can always be used to take a shade of top end off the tone anyhow.

    The 8.5K bridge pickup, when it arrived, was absolutely wound to the max with 42 gauge wire, to the extent I have to be very careful if taking the cover on/off. If you wanted any more winds on there, you'd have to go to 43 gauge. Even the other two pickups have pretty fat-looking coils on them. But they all sound great, which is the main thing - I think the choice of alnico 2 magnets was a total success as well, at least for my taste.

    image

    I think this is either the neck or middle pickup, and you can still see that the windings are very close to the edge of the bobbin top. I asked for plain enamel winding wire like the Klein Dallas Blues set - if nothing else, I rather like the purpley-brown colour! :D
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member
    Found this pic as well, which also shows the exact wind resistance values - my memory turns out not to be perfect, not that it matters. It all worked great anyhow, which is the main thing.

    image
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member
    Bry said:

    Megi said:

    Isopon P38 or something else? Cheers!

    That's the one.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/U-POL-P38-250ml-Body-Filler/dp/B000TVM8L4
    Thanks Bry - thought it was, but couldn't be sure. :)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 464Member
    Megi said:


    Cheers Nick - yes, I certainly do notice a difference, it maybe could just about be described as subtle-ish, but I would think fairly obvious to anyone with a decent set of ears to be honest. So yes, 2K is enough - actually I think I got the resistance values, including for the coil taps, about right, although I also think 1.5K would still be a worthwhile difference as well. But I chose to go pretty low wind for the tap values to make an obvious change, and to increase the tonal range overall. And of course, the tone control can always be used to take a shade of top end off the tone anyhow.

    The 8.5K bridge pickup, when it arrived, was absolutely wound to the max with 42 gauge wire, to the extent I have to be very careful if taking the cover on/off. If you wanted any more winds on there, you'd have to go to 43 gauge. Even the other two pickups have pretty fat-looking coils on them. But they all sound great, which is the main thing - I think the choice of alnico 2 magnets was a total success as well, at least for my taste.

    I think this is either the neck or middle pickup, and you can still see that the windings are very close to the edge of the bobbin top. I asked for plain enamel winding wire like the Klein Dallas Blues set - if nothing else, I rather like the purpley-brown colour! :D

    Oh I love pics of pickups! LOL Sad, I know....
    Interesting. I have a tele bridge that is pretty subtle when coil tapped. It goes from 7k to 9k. It could be me. It could be my wiring. Is it like more overdrive, with the right amp settings? Or perhaps a tad more midrange, when you flip to the higher setting?

    Wow, 8.5k is a lot of wire! I do love Alnico 2s.
    Axesrus make a set with red wire that look really stunning. If you could find covers with clear sides and opaque tops, they'd be great.

    It makes me want more strats just so I can have different pickups in each one. Or just make more scratchplates...
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,503Member, Moderator
    It sounds, Nick, like you could be heading in a Spinal Tap direction with a Strat!

    image
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member
    edited June 15



    Oh I love pics of pickups! LOL Sad, I know....
    Interesting. I have a tele bridge that is pretty subtle when coil tapped. It goes from 7k to 9k. It could be me. It could be my wiring. Is it like more overdrive, with the right amp settings? Or perhaps a tad more midrange, when you flip to the higher setting?

    Wow, 8.5k is a lot of wire! I do love Alnico 2s.
    Axesrus make a set with red wire that look really stunning. If you could find covers with clear sides and opaque tops, they'd be great.

    It makes me want more strats just so I can have different pickups in each one. Or just make more scratchplates...

    Love that guitar Lester, a new aquisition of yours by any chance? :D

    Nick, more strats sounds like a perfectly sensible, rational decision to me, go ahead I say!

    I know the red wire pickups at Axesrus you refer to, or at least I've looked at them online. I believe there is a chap in Hull who makes them for Axesrus, and I have seen him advertising similar pickups (and others) on ebay occasionally. An interesting one certainly though. I like pictures of pickups too, not to mention when I've ordered some and they arrive through the post - somehow they are objects of desire just on their own, without even being fitted to a guitar, at least for a pickup nerd such as myself. Ahem, perhaps I seem a bit odd :D but it's nice that there are safe places like this forum for people like me...



  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 464Member
    edited June 15
    Wow, what I wouldn't do for one of those, Lester! I'd love to know how the speedometer is wired:-)

    Thanks for the confirmation, G. More strats it is! I've finally come to the decision that they probably are the perfect guitar for me. I dig Teles, but didn't quite seem 'me'. I never really got on with Les Pauls, so Strats it is, out of the Holy Trinity of Guitars, that is. Other than that, my Rick 360 is a dream, that's in a league of its own. :-)


    That would be Craig Jackson in Hull, he runs or co-runs the place and winds a lot of the pickups. From what I can tell it's a family affair with everything coming from the one address. They do a ton of parts and other stuff too. A very useful resource. Nearly all of their pickups are handwound too. Fab customer service too.

    Oh yes I know what you mean! There is certainly something magical about pickups. There seems to be all that electrical potential wrapped up inside them. I have to admit I'm a sucker for chrome covers though.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,705Member
    edited June 18
    Interesting info re the Axesrus pickups - I did have a set of their "old version" Bourbon City alnico 2 'buckers in my red Shine for a while, which weren't at all bad, and IIRC were a modest £25 each. I guess when they went to making the current hand wound line up (some of which retain the same name, and similar specs), that was when the prices went up. Not that I blame them at all for going up-market, they have every right, but I do miss the days when they had an interesting selection of low-price offerings a bit. I think they still have a couple of the old range of humbuckers available in the bargain basement, which are probably really excellent for the money. The customer service has always been terrific I agree, and a couple of my partscasters (ash strat, ash tele) have necks I bought from them, which are brilliant. Miss being able to buy those too, should have got a couple more in when I had the chance.

    Chrome covers on pickups - weird, but I don't think that's really me, I tend to like having the bobbins on show, although I did go for gold covers on the last set from Ben Fletcher.
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