***A Close Look At An SX***

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Jack Wells, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    ***A Close Look At An SX Telecaster Copy***

    I definitely didn't need this but after all the talk about the SX Telecaster copies from Rondo, my curiosity finally got the best of me and I order the blue one. I didn't have a Telecaster in that color. Here it is........

    ......[​IMG]

    Here's a look at the control plate. Just what you would expect.

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    Here's a closeup of the headstock. As you can see, it's "Custom Hand Made" [​IMG]

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    Last edited: Apr 20, 2009
  2. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The back of the headstock. The gold stickers say "TWO WAY TRUSS ROD" and "MADE IN CHINA". The sealed cast tuners are better quality than I expected to find on a $109 guitar.

    ......[​IMG]

    The guitar is string through. Here are the non-flush ferrules.

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    In this picture we see that it has a two ply pickguard and that it is routed for a neck humbucker.

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    It's got the ole football jack plate.

    ......[​IMG]
     
  3. Strat62

    Strat62 Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, well they are handmade-check out how straight the screws into the neckplate are. No machine could have done that, lol! The wiring looks typical-my daughter's Strat looked worse, and it didn't work either w/o some fiddling with the grounds. Tuners work, but not well. Great neck, tho, and usually decent sounding pups; good finish.
     
  4. Cleeve

    Cleeve Tele-Holic

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    How is the fret dress where the frets end at the edges of the fingerboard-any metal flash where the frets are cut?
    On some cheaper guitars, and some not so cheap I've seen the clear finish sanded or buffed through to the wood at the edges of the fingerboard, is the finish sound on the fingerboard edges?
     
  5. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Here's the headstock stripped down. It's got the larger tuner holes so you would need conversion bushings if you wanted to put vintage style tuners on it.

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    The corners of the neck heel have a smaller radius than Fenders. It's probably something like 1/8 to 3/16 in.

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    The floor of the neck pocket on mine isn't really flat. This picture may not show that very well. Although advertised as solid alder, it sure looks and feels like basswood to me........ or some other tree that grows in China.

    ......[​IMG]

    The only unmounted Fender spec neck I have available is this one from a Squier '51. I've aligned it with the treble side fo the neck pocket. As you can see, there's about a 1/16 in. gap on the base side.

    ......[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2009
  6. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Here's the neck heel alongside the Squier. As you can see the SX has the same neck mounting hole pattern. The screws appears to be a larger diameter than those found on American and Mexican Fender. Fender Japan also uses a larger neck mounting screw.

    ......[​IMG]

    Another shot of the heels. That is a real skunk strip. No anchor hole as seen on the Squier but the SX has a two way truss rod so you wouldn't have an anchor.

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    This should answer some question about whether the headstock can be reshaped. I've laid my neck template on the back of the SX neck. Plenty of wood in all the right places.

    ......[​IMG]

    This is the only place where there isn't enough wood and no one would ever notice.

    ......[​IMG]
     
  7. jkingma

    jkingma Super Moderator Staff Member

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    For 109 clams its still a pretty decent guitar though, isn't it?
     
  8. TelZilla

    TelZilla Friend of Leo's

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    Interesting stuff, Jack. Any qualitative judgements?

    Also, how's the nut? I have a $99 SX strat and my only real complaint is that when strung with 11s (my preferred gague), I get a little binding on the unwound strings. And I don't have any nut files. And I am a cheapskate. A set of files would almost cost more than the guitar.

    I actually love the neck- I used to have a mid 90's Am Std, and the neck on the SX is much fatter and more to my liking. I think the finish on the neck os too orange, though (yours looks the same).

    I wonder whether string binding at the nut is the source of some of the complaints about the tuners on these.
     
  9. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Here's a color comparison with a Fender in Daphne Blue. The SX is a little more vivid.

    ......[​IMG]

    The string through holes are 11/64 in diameter and are centered 7 3/8 in. (7.375 in.) from the neck pocket as compared to 7.690 for a vintage bridge Tele. That puts them 0.315 in. closer to the neck pocket.

    ......[​IMG]

    Here I've mounted the pickup in a vintage style bridge and pushed it as far forward as possible . The string holes in the bridge are just behind the holes in the body. It wouldn't take much to fix that. You could rout the pickup cavity just a little on the front side so the bridge could move toward the neck a little. You could do a little Dremmel carving on the back side of the string through holes. Or you could do little of each.

    ......[​IMG]

    As you can see a vintage style bridge would leave the three original mounting holes visible. The easiest fix for that would probably be to countersink the holes and install the original mounting screws ............ Call them 'Tone Enhancing Screws'.

    I'm going to reshape that headstock which will remove most of the decal on the front and will require removing the finish from the face of the headstock. I'll see if I can match up that very orange color with what I have at hand and see if I can find my Ferden decals.
     
  10. Will Chen

    Will Chen Tele-Holic

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    Great technical rundown! In my opinion, SX is unrivaled at that price point and make excellent platforms for modding.
     
  11. 91xlntS-3

    91xlntS-3 Tele-Afflicted

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    So Jack, did you plug her in and play her before you took her apart? Just wondering what you thought of the guitar as is? Playability, action, set up, you know, the nuts & bolts stuff...
     
  12. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The action was high when it arrived. I found the truss rod was completely lax ..... it would turn with almost no effort. With a few turns of the ajustment nut the string came down to a more comfortable level. I just played it for a short time. I'll put it back together after I deal with the headstock and have more to report at that time.

    My initial conclusion ...... probably the best Telecaster copy you could buy new for under $200. Anyone considering buying a Saga Tele kit, do yourself a favor and buy the SX instead.
     
  13. Stuco

    Stuco Poster Extraordinaire

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    Another way to "fix" the holes behind the bridge is to get some small abalone or MOP inlay dots and inlay them into the holes.
     
  14. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    That's a good idea for hiding those holes. I've also thought about putting a small polished aluminum plate over them.

    Onward to the headstock. I traced my template onto some card stock, cut it out and outlined in on the face of the headstock. I then rough cut it on the scroll saw.

    ......[​IMG]

    Normally I would use the router table but this time I thought I'd try the Robo-Sander in the drill press. Not overly impressed with the Robo-Sander.

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    The 1 in. diameter Robo-Sander has too large a radius to get into the small inside radius below the B tuner hole so I used the spindle sander with a small diameter drum to carefully sand close to the template. Here's the new shape.

    ......[​IMG]

    I usually contour the back of the headstock like Telecasters from Fender Japan. That would require removing the finish from the back and blending the new finish into the neck. I think I'll wait and see how well I can color match the front fo the headstock.

    ......[​IMG]

    Next step is to sand off the finish on the face and try to match the color.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2009
  15. cotecj

    cotecj Tele-Holic

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    Fantastic job Jack! I would appreciate it if you would dissect some more guitars in a similar manner, say one per week. You could do the new MIM standard Tele next week, then maybe a Roadworn, a Nocaster, Hahn, Nash, etc. :rolleyes:

    Seriously though, this is awesome. Up until now, there was no knowing what you might get from Rondo.
     
  16. sean79

    sean79 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Is it just the way the photo looks on my monitor, or is that a glued-on maple fingerboard?
     
  17. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    cotecj........... I'd be more than happy to disect any of those guitars that you would be willing to donate ......... to me.

    Sean .......... you're right. I should have mentioned that. It does have a separate maple fingerboard.

    Here's something interesting. I had a gallon of Kleen-Strip KS-3 Premium paint stripper that I've been using on my John Deere B. I dabbed a little on the headstock and walked away for a few minutes. When went back it had started to bubble and scraped right off. You know............. someone could probably strip all of that orange off without a tremedous amount of work. The amber is a bit over the top. The fretboard wouldn't be fun though. Got to think about that.

    ......[​IMG]
     
  18. 930vet

    930vet Tele-Meister

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    A couple of questions based on my mini-SX experience:

    Is the front of the neck pocket shaped like this, u-u, with a sort of curved routing gouge in each corner? It looks that way in one of the pictures you posted.

    My impression was that trying to push the bridge forward was not going to work, but I'm going to go back and check again. Of course, the mini is 24" scale so they are routed differently, but it's worth double checking. Will the setup be intonatable with the bridge that far forward? I believe that in the stock bridge the strings drop into the string holes just after they cross the bridge; seems like you would have to cut off half of the screws, but that should work. Will saddle height screws rest on top of the mounting screws?

    If you have that issue on the neck pocket, tidying the route would seem to push the intonation point back even farther so that the vintage bridge would be outside intonation range if you drop into the old string holes instead of slanting new holes to the existing ones. I don't know about the full size but the 3/4 pocket is noticeably sloppy when assembled- I hope to fix it by cleaning up the route because that's a lot easier than trying to fill the gouges, even if it requires filling and redrilling the neck screw holes. Even if the front of the pocket must be filled it would probably be better to even out the route first and fill it with an even thickness shim.

    Citristrip easily took the orange color off the fretboard, just required a little scrubbing around the frets to get the goo off. The hard part is not getting the orange off, it's replacing it with some other kind of finish, although it does leave some kind of impervious poly sealant. You have to go through that to get the decal off, so then you have the problem of how to finish and/or tint unfinished wood and refinished wood at the same time. And the maple fretboard is whiter than the rest of the neck.
     
  19. ChicknPickn

    ChicknPickn Tele-Holic

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    I don't know why, but I almost feel sorry for this poor little guitar. But, then, I have to remember that it's going to a better place.

    ;)
     
  20. Jack Wells

    Jack Wells Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Yes it does have the U-U in the neck pocket corners. Here's a picture. This picture shows the unevenness of the pocket floor I mentioned earlier.

    ......[​IMG]

    That is done so the neck will fit into the corners without having to make sure the neck pocket corners and neck heel corners are the same radius. I've seen it on Fenders too. It also allows them to use a larger router bit .... like 3/4 in diameter rather than 1/2 in. diameter. There's no reason to try to eliminate the U-U in the corners.

    Here's the headstock with just some Deft Clear Gloss sprayed on. The picture doesn't show the true color very well but it's actually a pretty nice tone. I started to try to match the color using Behlens Fruitwood lacquer interlaced with Guitar Reranch 'Fender Neck Amber' which is known for its yellow turning to orange as you add more. I got it too dark and had to wipe it off with acetone and start over.

    ......[​IMG]

    I haven't dealt with the intonation. I don't want to invest a lot in this guitar. I may install the Winkinson bridge just as an exercise but may then put the original bridge back on and sell the guitar.
     
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