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Old June 24th, 2013, 10:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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My customized EC Strat

Ok, I got an extraordinary deal on an EC Strat back around 2002/3. I was shopping at Mars and had a $100 gift certificate from a wedding gig that I had played. I stumbled onto a used pewter EC Strat. I noticed it was marked down to $800. So, I made an offer. I walked out paying $700 including tax. Then I applied my $100 gift card. It is a good thing I did, they announced bankruptcy the following week and voided all gift certs and layaways.

I customized that guitar with all chrome parts. I loved that guitar. But I sold it during my divorce a couple of years ago. I have not stopped thinking about it. But I cannot afford the $1599 price tag of a new EC Strat.

So, I decided to assemble one from eBay parts. I went down the same path of customizing. Except this time, I got a '57 RI maple V neck. I don't care for that pale anemic finish on the actual EC Strats. But I like the feel of the neck. I just finished the build on Friday.

Here are the specifications:
  • EC Pewter body
  • Vintage Klusion tuners
  • Blocked bridge
  • 25dB TBX midboost circuit
  • '57 RI maple neck - USA
  • Lace Chrome Dome pickups 6.0k, 6.0k, 13.2k
  • Telecaster chrome dome knobs
  • 8 hole pearloid pick guard
  • Vintage chrome saddle cover
  • Chrome switch tip
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Last edited by reverbbb; June 24th, 2013 at 11:32 AM.
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Old June 24th, 2013, 11:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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she's a looker, thats for sure,

so how does she play?
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Old June 24th, 2013, 12:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The feel is excellent. I have not had time to do a full setup with good string heights established.

The HOT bridge (13.2k) is spectacular. It cuts through and has a unique timbre. Due to the hotter pickups and gain circuits, the 2 & 4 are not as quack sounding as I am used to hearing. The extra gain also tends to muddy up the neck clarity as well. However, the saving grace is that you simply dial back the gain and volume and it begins to clean up.

The low E chimes and sustains like piano wire (a good thing to me). The high E and B seem to lack sustain. That is probably because I don't have everything setup correctly. I know that the pickups can dampen the string vibration/sustain if they are not set to the sweet spot. This may be what is going on here, especially with the chrome covers.

I need to try this guitar out on my Fender Blues Deluxe. My Marshall amps tend to depart from the Fender sound.
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Old June 24th, 2013, 12:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I should add, that I need to track down a problem with the middle pickup. When activated, it will emit a loud hum/buzz if I touch it with my finger. Additionally, if a string touches the middle pickup and another, the middle pickup will completely drop out until I release the string.

I am not sure what is happening. I think it may be a cold solder on the grounding wire of the middle pickup. Any suggestions on what to look for when I tear this thing apart again?
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Old June 25th, 2013, 08:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It sounds a lot like the hot lead of the pickup is connected to the cover. I'm assuming the pickup doesn't have three leads? In that case, the cover should be connected to the - (ground) lead of the pickup.
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Old June 25th, 2013, 09:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I was thinking the same thing. The fact that it cuts out when a string shorts two pickups together seems to be a good clue.

I guess I could send it back to Lace for $40 replacement/repair. I just sent the bridge back because the label showed 13.2k but I measured 5.9k. That was fairly obvious that they had mislabeled. They sent me another one that was correct. They didn't charge me for that replacement. But I got a feeling they will charge the flat rate on the next one I send in.

I won't know what is going on until I take it apart again. I just put new strings on, so I want to get at least a few weeks playing time. In the mean time, I am just being careful not to touch the middle pickup while I am playing. I also lowered the middle further away from the strings. Initially, I just threw them on without adjusting the height.

Any other ideas of what it could be or how to check it?

BTW, it does have three leads. Orange, White and Green. Green & White are tied to ground.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 06:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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As I understand it, you have your + (orange), - (white), and ground (green). Maybe you have a wiring mistake or short somewhere? If not, I'd proceed by disconnecting the pickup completely, and checking the leads with a multimeter. If the resistance between the orange and green leads is (nearly) zero, the pickup itself is faulty. In fact, I think you should be measuring infinite resistance between the + and ground AND the - and ground.

If you don't have a multimeter, try disconnecting just the ground lead. It won't fix it, but the symptoms should change. I think you should still be getting buzz, which touching the strings to the cover should fix.
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Old June 26th, 2013, 07:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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nice looker indeed
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 02:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Update:

I chatted with Don Mare. He felt that I was on the right track - hot is tied to casing. He suggested swapping the ground and hot leads and that should fix the problem.

So far, I am spell bound by the flexibility and sounds from this guitar. As I mentioned above, the low E just rings with all sorts of nice phasing vibe. I only know how to compare it with a heave gauge piano string that is sustaining forever. Beautiful tone to my ears.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 03:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That is gorgeous!

I hope this one is even more to your liking than its predecessor.
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