One "last" project - a tele partscaster

2

Comments

  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 616Member
    Maybe I'm a magpie.

    I just got an Axesrus Classic 50s Alnico III humbucker, one of the last remaining foreign made ones, and put in the neck of my Tele type thing. It's killer! £25 and it fits beautifully. Not too boomy, more single coil thanks to the A3, and suits the tele down to the ground. Get em while you can.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    I think I will end up getting one of those classic 50s in - I'll try the GFS surf 90 first for this tele project, but it would always be nice to have the option of putting in a PAF humbucker type in the neck slot. Might stretch to some new steel saddles for the bridge as well.

    Anyhow, second-time lucky with the neck situation I'm hoping - the one-piece maple 21 fret quarter-sawn natural gloss 9.5" radius neck I exchanged the faulty rosewood board one for arrives today. Really hope I get a good 'un this time. Photos to come, assuming that is the case... :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    And... about to unbox neck purchase attempt number 2 - I suppose one plus is that at least I've had 2 retail therapy moments for the price of one. :D
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    edited June 21
    Incredibly annoying, but there is a fatal fault with the new neck I've just received, in that the hole to access the truss rod is so badly cut, I can't properly get a hex tool in the bolt to adjust it. Really sad, as it's otherwise a gorgeous neck, with lovely flamed quarter sawn maple, and otherwise well-made and very pretty to look at. But it's going to have to go back for a refund now, and I'll have to seriously look at what options I do have to get a decent neck for not too much money. I will give up and cut my losses if it comes to it, but I hope that won't be necessary. :(
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 616Member
    Oh good grief, that is terrible. Sorry to hear about ANOTHER return, Graham. I really dislike returning things too.
    Is it possible to fix it, rather than return? Would that save you some headaches and time?
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    Cheers Nick, I was quite prepared to accept the odd minor flaw and less than perfection, knowing how these things tend to be. As long as I have a decent, workable neck really.

    Anyhow, I did look carefully at the neck to see if there was any way I could see to just do
    a bit of fettling myself and get it working OK - but it would need wood removing to enlarge the truss access hole on one side, and with the truss rod already in place, I just can't see how I could safely do that without causing damage and keeping it cosmetically OK. I guess the factory cuts the access hole before fitting the truss rod, and it just needs to be in the right place. If the 2 don't line up when the neck's made, then trouble! It's otherwise a great neck, and would actually give any project build some real class and distinction, but an unsolvable issue is an unsolvable issue. Unless you've ever had a similar thing, and have any ideas?
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 616Member
    I stripped a truss rod once and removed the fingerboard, replaced the truss rod and glued the fingerboard back on. It was actually a lot easier than it sounds. But if you can return the neck and get a better one I'd do that first.
    Basically, you place an iron on the frets and wait for the glue to soften, then pry off the fingerboard with thin knives. I used some painting knives. If you remove two dot makers and put in two pins or small nails first of all, you can use them to relocate the fingerboard accurately. Then just glue and clamp. Peasy!
    But then I think any job is easy if I'm petrified to death first and then it woks out ok in the end.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    edited June 21
    Cheers Nick - not even a fingerboard to remove on this one, as it's a one-piece maple neck. But I'm not even going close to doing any such major work on the neck, it's defective and going back for a full refund. I'm doing my best not to dis the retailer concerned, and they seem like decent people, but really I think they should at least inspect the necks they post out a bit more carefully themselves, and insist on better quality control from their suppliers also. Won't be going back to them for a guitar neck again.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    Good news, a change of heart - looked at the maple tele neck one last time this morning, and found, although the access hole is badly cut, that I can safely adjust the truss rod. It's less than perfect, but cosmetically, the neck is good, and I never said I was expecting perfection, just a nice neck that will work and look good for my build. So sent a nice email to Northwest Guitars explaining (hope they don't think I'm one of those pain in the bum customers) and all is good. It is a very pretty neck, which I did really like apart from the issue/worry with the truss access, so I'm happy I can use it. One weird thing is that the adjustment seems to work the other way round from usual - i.e. turning the bolt clockwise increases the neck relief, which is odd, unless I'm having a confused day. Maybe it's down to it being a dual-action 2-way truss rod, which I don't think I've had before?

    Some pictures for you anyhow:

    image
    image
    imageimageimage
    image
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,519Member, Moderator
    edited June 23
    Indeed, beautifully flamed maple. I wonder how thorough MS is in his inspections.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    Lester said:

    Indeed, beautifully flamed maple. I wonder how thorough MS is in his inspections.

    It will look good with a nice deep sky blue spray job on the body, and the white pearl scratchplate I'm planning. The flame is a definite bonus. "MS" does seem to have overlooked the truss access issue - one does have to be careful to get the hex key properly inserted, and it's a bit trickier than it should be. And when I got the neck, there was some gunk/excess finish covering the bolt, which I had to carefully remove. So I guess just a cursory check was done at the factory.

    But I'm the type of chap who prefers to make something work if at all possible, and I've found I can get what I want from this neck, so I see it as a good thing that I don't have to send it back now. :)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 616Member
    Phew that's a relief (no pun intended). It does look pretty though. That flame is great! I just love flamed necks.
    You definitely sound like an upstanding chap who knows the difference between expecting good service and whining because it's not perfect. I'm glad you named the vendor once you had decided to keep it -very classy- so now I know who to order necks from in the future.
    Onwards and upwards!
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member

    Phew that's a relief (no pun intended). It does look pretty though. That flame is great! I just love flamed necks.
    You definitely sound like an upstanding chap who knows the difference between expecting good service and whining because it's not perfect. I'm glad you named the vendor once you had decided to keep it -very classy- so now I know who to order necks from in the future.
    Onwards and upwards!

    :D lol re unintended pun. Thanks Nick - the more I look at the neck (and I suspected this even before ordering), the more I think it was almost certainly made at the same factory (Korean?) that used to make necks for Axesrus - there are too many similarities otherwise - headstock shape, fretting, finish, profile is about spot on the same as my other tele's neck. In which case, perhaps their QC has dropped a bit, at least regarding cutting of the truss access hole!, but I also recognize the same general high build quality - which is why I wanted to be able to use the neck if at all possible.

    I certainly don't wish to dis Northwest Guitars at all, and they do seem to sell a well-chosen and useful range of guitar parts and accessories, so really I'm glad they're there.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 616Member
    Cool! It's interesting to see how many things are made in the same factory. And the more you look the more you see.

    I noticed Northwest carry Tonerider pickups. I've always wanted to try one or two of those.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    I noticed the Tonerider pups as well - I did once have an alnico 4 humbucker that I found underwhelming, but I suspect that was just badly suited to the guitar and what I was after. And I tried a tele hot classics set that didn't seem right, but I now believe that was almost certainly not the pickups fault, more the wiring circuit I used with them i.e. with a Fender style TBX tone control, which I later read is a bad idea with standard passive pickups. So really I should give them another shot some time, although for not much more there are people like Mr Fletcher which tends to tempt me away. :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    edited June 26
    Inspiration! - always an important thing for me with a build, and although I do always have ideas about the kind of sound I'm going for, I admit to being a bit shallow in that I become more obsessed about how the guitar is going to look.

    And so for this build, as usual I go searching for visual inspiration with Google images, and here are a few pictures showing where my thoughts are for this build. We are talking a deep sky blue (I think I am going to have to attempt a metallic), white pearloid, the light maple neck, chrome, the black pickups providing some accent, maybe black chrome control knobs also for a bit of contrast against the chrome control panel:

    imageimageimage

    And I was going with standard classic tele appearance, but now find myself attracted to the idea of a different scratch plate shape, for a bit of a custom look - perhaps your influence Nick! :D

    image

    OK, not quite this blue, and pearl rather than tortoise for the scratch plate, but a cool look I feel, and it would solve, i.e. remove, any issues of getting the scratch plate to line up with even spacing to the edge of the body.

  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 616Member
    I can imagine an A4 humbucker can seem underwhelming. I have one and happen to love it, but then I was looking for something less bright and more versatile. If you're hearing an A5 in your head and an A4 steps up, it won't impress. It's not used much, and I can see why, but do think they could be used more. For a lot of people it's about replicating a classic sound or the sound of their heroes and new sounds or methods will never do that, and I think you can count A4 as more 'new' than vintage, or at least modern. That's how they sound to me, anyway.
    Interesting results you had, though. Toneriders are amazingly popular, for reasons as of yet unknown but as you said, Mr Fletcher lives in the same country and he deserves the business :)

    Being an influence is quite flattering, thank you, but I hope I haven't made more work for you! LOL It's funny how one little thing can have such a bearing on a design. I do spend a lot of time adjusting curves on things, and it's not always for the best, but if it makes me regret less, I'm happy.
    Oh, i'm SO obsessed with the visuals on guitars, it's pathetic. But I don't that's shallow - for anyone else, anyway! You have to like the look of a guitar or you won't pick it up.

    Those are some great blues there. I think I prefer the lefty Musicman, and the notquitethis blue tele.

    How about these blues?

    246524blue-tele
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    edited June 26
    Those are nice blues Nick! but I think I'm more trying to get that vivid deep sky blue of a sunny day, just the merest hint of haze in there, but a little darker than those - can you tell I've been thinking about this quite a bit? :dizzy: Re the colours, I think that 5 string bass is about my favourite.

    Re a4 humbuckers, the Tonerider that didn't work out for me was in the neck position. I should say that Mr Fletcher made me an amazing humbucker set for my trans-black Shine, including a 10.5K hot-wound A4 "Elysium" bridge which is utterly fabulous, probably my favourite bridge pickup. Coil splits beautifully, bags of output, smooth but not muddy, lovely for sustained lead tones. The A2 7K "Heaven" neck pickup is also a monster, and he was only charging £25 a pickup then! I so should have ordered at least a couple more sets at that bonkers price, but he has wisely put his prices up a bit since, totally justified and still a bargain.
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 616Member
    You have. I can. LOL I can relate. And my wife will roll her eyes as she tells the story!

    The way you describe the Fletcher A4 it sounds ideal! I found hotter humbuckers split well anyway, so I'm sure Ben would help with whatever it takes to make it sound so single coil like.
    Whoa, £25 each. That IS a bit cheap! I saw that he had put up his prices and gulped, but as you said, they're still a bargain. I'm waiting for a paycheck so I can get a couple at the moment.

    Oh yea, that 5 string blue will look gorgeous too. So how are you going to apply this blue? Are you getting it custom mixed?
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    edited June 27
    Thanks Nick, nice to know someone out there understands!

    I've been doing a bit of paint stripping yesterday and today - and removed I guess about a third of the finish off the back of the guitar, using a small paint/wallpaper scraper and heat gun. I think it's basically paint on top of a fairly thick layer of some kind of sprayed on epoxy stuff. There are some fumes, but it seems OK working near a fully open window - certainly not the horrible acrid fumes I once noted when trying to remove a polyester finish. A fair bit of heat is needed but then the epoxy tends to pop off fairly cleanly, with the odd bit of encouragement. The exposed wood does tend to look a bit scorched, but I guess basically sound.

    Anyhow - perhaps I'm just at a bit of a low with this, but I'm wondering to myself if it's worth it. If I do get all the finish off, then I will be looking at filling the odd dent and scratch, which I seem to be inevitably causing, sanding smooth, and applying primer, and then hopefully the body would be in a fit state to spray finish. The wood the body is made from is probably nothing particularly good - it seems a bit soft maybe. I find myself wondering if this is a lot of effort for possibly mediocre results.

    It seems very tempting now to contact Phil at Guitarbuild, and maybe order a thinline tele body, with custom rout for a neck humbucker - a walnut top on ash maybe... :D (you can see that idea has been brewing in some corner of my brain for a while). With the nice maple neck, I bet that would make a belter of a guitar. True oil finish, nice new machine heads and I'd inevitably buy a new Wilkinson vintage style bridge unit. But then I've effectively abandoned using any of the cheap Squier for the build at all and also been drawn into spending time and a fair bit of dosh on yet another guitar for my collection, which I was trying to avoid. I'll sell the original Squier neck for £25 or so I guess, and not sure what a bodged about Squier tele body would fetch - not a lot one suspects! Hopeless lol!

    So - hmm... :expressionless:


  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    Oh, I don't know, I probably just need to plough on with the current plan, and just focus on the bit that's next rather than worrying about the final result too much. If I can get the body into a filled, smoothed and primed state that looks like it can be part of a nice guitar then that ought to inspire some confidence.

    Nick, you asked about how I would apply the spray finish, and custom mixed and all that. I suppose there hangs another tale - I admit I was just thinking I could buy suitable rattle cans from Halfords, and there would be a decent enough range of blues to find the right one. But I nipped in to have a look yesterday, and this is not the case - either too light or too dark. Plus I've read various things saying car spray can be tough to use for guitars, needing a lot of coats and time. So now I'm thinking maybe it's better to accept some limitations, and just go for a result that I will like well enough, rather than having a detailed dream of how the guitar will look, and insisting on that. So with that in mind, I read people saying that the kind of acryllic spray you've talked about is a good choice for an easy job - and there is this one available:

    http://www.homebase.co.uk/en/homebaseuk/rust-oleum-blue-metallic---spray---400ml-232272

    Maybe a bit darker than I thought, but I'm sure I would find the colour nice enough.

    Also this one is perhaps a bit brighter, if I don't mind non-metallic:

    http://www.homebase.co.uk/en/homebaseuk/rust-oleum-gloss-spray-paint---brilliant-blue---400ml-798604

    ...and there are others out there also. For that matter, I'd probably not object to plain white, which would look alright with the pearloid scratch plate. I remind myself that on previous builds, a key thing for me had been to go for a scheme that would look good but also be reasonably easy for me to achieve, and choose from options that stay within those requirements - a bit of compromise in fact. :)
  • nicholaspaulnicholaspaul Posts: 616Member
    Yea, we have to stick together or we'll all lose our minds:-)
    I like the thinking out loud. Again, I go through this a zillion times so it's not you. You're quite sane. He says....
    The satisfaction alone of finishing the job yourself is enough to keep going. That has to be worth more than just having another guitar.

    That blue acrylic looks great. I've used that Rustoleum too and it works well. I also find the acrylic fumes less toxic than the car paints. My office is a converted section of the garage so fumes leak through and I suffered a lot more nasty headaches with the car paint.

    Looking forward to seeing that body!
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    Thanks Nick - this is the sort of thing where a bit of forum support from those who have trod the same path can help, appreciated. Actually, the Rust Oleum stuff does not appear to be far from my deep sky blue ideal anyhow:

    imageimage

    The cap on the can is a darker blue, but those are the two images Rust Oleum provide, and going by them, it's right in the ball park - not too greeny/yellowy/turquoise kind of blue, and not too light or dark either. Just a nice pure mid to light-toned blue.

    I'll probably attempt a bit more of the finish stripping today, and promise to post some pics - it's not pretty due to the charring from the heat gun, but once sanded and filled, of course that won't be an issue. If I was going for some sort of natural/stained wood look, I'd be throwing in the towel at this point though :D
  • BryBry Posts: 642Member
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    edited June 28
    Thanks Bry! The Crimson guitars chap never disappoints, I like their style, and good to know I have options, and can always just go the burnt look if nothing else is working. Although with this build, I really would like to evoke the feeling of soaring through a clear blue sky, i.e. under the sun, and not in it... :D
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,226Member

    Cool! It's interesting to see how many things are made in the same factory. And the more you look the more you see.

    I noticed Northwest carry Tonerider pickups. I've always wanted to try one or two of those.

    I put a set of Tonerider Vintage style P90s (Alnico 2) on a PRS SE Soapbar in place of the stock pickups. Turned the guitar from one that was annoying the hell out of me for it's sound to being a favourite guitar and 7 years later it still sounds as good. They were great value pickups for the money too.
  • Mark PMark P Posts: 2,226Member
    Megi said:

    Phew that's a relief (no pun intended). It does look pretty though. That flame is great! I just love flamed necks.
    You definitely sound like an upstanding chap who knows the difference between expecting good service and whining because it's not perfect. I'm glad you named the vendor once you had decided to keep it -very classy- so now I know who to order necks from in the future.
    Onwards and upwards!

    :D lol re unintended pun. Thanks Nick - the more I look at the neck (and I suspected this even before ordering), the more I think it was almost certainly made at the same factory (Korean?) that used to make necks for Axesrus - there are too many similarities otherwise - headstock shape, fretting, finish, profile is about spot on the same as my other tele's neck. In which case, perhaps their QC has dropped a bit, at least regarding cutting of the truss access hole!, but I also recognize the same general high build quality - which is why I wanted to be able to use the neck if at all possible.

    I certainly don't wish to dis Northwest Guitars at all, and they do seem to sell a well-chosen and useful range of guitar parts and accessories, so really I'm glad they're there.
    It looks very much to me like the maple necks that AxesRUs used to have. Very similar to the one I had for my Strat project 7(!) years ago. Lovely finish on it and very smooth for playing. If the one you got is anything like that I can understand how you might want to keep it despite it's one flaw.

    It's a shame that providers of bodies, necks and parts have been so intimidated by the likes of Fender for providing the sort of shapes that many of the bigger guitar manufacturers also get away with. I guess it's a case that the big guys who have the money to fight these cases get left alone, and those with less money who supply a small scale niche market get smacked in the face.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    Thanks Mark - I'm now certain it's the same factory as the Axesrus ones we remember - I put it side by side with the neck on my existing tele partscaster, and the headstock shape is spot on, also the exact same fret wire, and the finish is the same look also - i.e thin but very smooth and glossy. The profile is the same too, although the new neck is just slightly less deep at the nut end, and a tad deeper at the body end - but so close that it looks and feels very familiar.

    Instead of stripping more of the body, yesterday I fixed the truss access hole, improving both the access to the bolt, and the appearance. Took about an hour or 2, using nothing more that a couple of small bits of 250 sandpaper, rolled into a tube so I could sand the sides of the hole. :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    edited June 29
    Just some pics showing work I've done on the neck's truss rod access, the first I've already posted, but it shows how it looked to start with - notice that the access hole is visibly off-centre both in respect of the neck and the walnut insert:

    image

    So, don't like how that looks, and also the hole doesn't line up properly with the hex bolt on the truss rod. What I did is to just carefully work for an hour (possibly two!) with rolled up bits of 250 grit sandpaper, enlarging the hole so that it looks central, and also gives better access to the bolt. I'm a bit surprised this worked, but it does seem to have done the trick. The pics below show the improved appearance, and I've put the neck next to the one on my existing tele partscaster (made in 2011, my first project build) to show the similarity - I'm sure it's the same factory.

    imageimage

    Also I've managed to remove the nut, which although bone, isn't made particularly well, so I'll probably fit another of my choosing. Without the nut there, you can see that the truss access hole was also cut a bit high, as well as to one side, and the factory has ended up cutting into the bottom of the nut slot as a result. I'm certain it won't matter once there is a well fitted nut in place though. :)
  • MegiMegi Posts: 6,792Member
    Should have added - the newly widened truss hole looks a bit dry with the sanded sides, but I'll wipe on a little Tru Oil with a cotton bud, and then it will be a near invisible job.
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