CV 50s Tele grumble

kiwi blue

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I recently got a used lefty MII CV 50s Tele with the idea of tweaking it towards blackguard specs. It was soon pretty obvious that I'd be replacing the pickups but first I wanted to play around with the bridge and saddles, as I like to get a guitar humming physically first, then tweak the electronic to work with the acoustic sound of the guitar.

I had a thinner bridge plate I wanted to try as it's closer to 50s specs, and thinner apparently gives a bit more twang. Plus I will need to remove the bridge at some stage to replace the bridge pickup. It's just 4 little screws right? Five minute job. What could go wrong?

Well these sods were done up so tight in the factory that I could only remove the two inner screws and ended up stripping the two outer screws. Very soft metal. I can only think the factory just shoves them in with high speed drills on max torque without any thought for being able to remove them down the line.

So I learned about screw extractors (new to me), went out and bought a set and a cordless drill. Set to work trying to extract them. Also tried other tips I came across online. Nothing worked. In the end the screwheads were pretty mangled so I just broke them off by levering the bridge plate. I was then able to remove the plate. That left two screw shafts with a little bit poking above the wood. I gripped them with pliers and tried to turn them but the shafts just broke off. Now I had no option but to excavate wood. I drilled small holes around the screws and chiselled out the wood between them so I had a roughly circular space around the screw. I had to go down about half the length of the screw before I could turn them with pliers, and even then I had to do some vigorous wobbling to loosen them enough so that they would turn. Now I'm faced with filling and drilling the holes I made, so that will be the next episode of this saga.

Am I grumpy? I lost a most of long weekend to this bull and ended up with quite a bit of unplanned spending of money reserved for other things, like staying alive. You bet I'm grumpy.

To me this goes against Leo's whole ethos and a basic design principle of the Telecaster. Anything on a Tele should be fixable/replaceable at the side of a stage with nothing more than a screwdriver and a soldering iron.

I realise Squier/Fender doesn't care one bit about the modders put there, but a Tele should at least be repairable if a pickup shorts. This is sub-par manufacturing. Beware.

BTW the serial number indicates the guitar was made in the Samick factory as one of the earliest Indonesian CVs. From what I've read it seems most are made by Cort.

A shame really, because the guitar does have real potential.

On the positive side I guess the pine bodies aren't so soft as I sometimes hear. Or maybe they are soft so they glued the damn screws in?
 

kiwi blue

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Since it's used, are you sure that it was the "sods at the factory"? I've ran across a number of botched mod attempts on Squiers that were hidden or undisclosed, such as bad electronics mods.
Good point. By sods I meant the screws BTW, not any people. Thought I'd better make that clear! But the best explanation I can think of is power tools ramming them in hard.

The guitar doesn't show any signs of having been tinkered with and didn't have a mark on it. I bought it from a chap in his 80s. I didn't ask whether he was the original owner, but he probably is.
 

bgmacaw

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By sods I meant the screws BTW, not any people.

Regional variations in English can be tricky.

At about 7:45 in this video you can see the tool the Cort assemblers use. It looks like a pneumatic screwdriver with torque control that should insure consistency. Of course, an assembler could have it set wrong and the guitar could have slipped by QC. I would guess the Samick assemblers would use a similar manufacturing cell setup because it works so well.

 

Timbresmith1

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Good point. By sods I meant the screws BTW, not any people. Thought I'd better make that clear! But the best explanation I can think of is power tools ramming them in hard.

The guitar doesn't show any signs of having been tinkered with and didn't have a mark on it. I bought it from a chap in his 80s. I didn't ask whether he was the original owner, but he probably is.
Fender used a lot of case carbuerized hardware, iirc. Sounds like you got some flash plated soft stuff. It can help to heat them up with a soldering iron before removal.
 

jvin248

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.

Which screwdriver did you start the adventure with?

Using a #1 Phillips driver (that may be handy on the workbench) in a #2 Phillips screw head will strip it out fast. I've had that experience before.
Using a correct size but a mangled Phillips driver will strip out a screw head fast. This often happens after the first step.
Some Phillips drivers have poorly designed/cut flutes that cam out too easily and strip a screw head fast. I've had to carefully file a few to fix drivers before.

Sorry you had to go down the screw extraction procedures.





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kiwi blue

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.

Which screwdriver did you start the adventure with?

Using a #1 Phillips driver (that may be handy on the workbench) in a #2 Phillips screw head will strip it out fast. I've had that experience before.
Using a correct size but a mangled Phillips driver will strip out a screw head fast. This often happens after the first step.
Some Phillips drivers have poorly designed/cut flutes that cam out too easily and strip a screw head fast. I've had to carefully file a few to fix drivers before.

Sorry you had to go down the screw extraction procedures.





.

Yes I'm now realising I probably used the wrong screwdriver and contributed to my woes! I clearly have things to learn here. Thanks for the video link. I'll check that out.

Here is one of the screws that didn't get stripped

bridge screw.jpg



And this is the screwdriver

screwdriver.jpg


In close up like this, it looks a bit worn to my untrained eye.
 

kiwi blue

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On the positive side, a friend and I drilled and filled some hardwood dowel inserts and installed the thinner bridge plate I wanted. It does seem to sound better as a result although it's taken so long to sort out I can't make direct comparisons and memory is fickle.

But I do enjoy playing the guitar more, and it seems more alive.

The stock bridge plate measured .060" with digital calipers. The new one is an Allparts bridge and measures .050". I'm also using the Allparts unplated brass saddles instead of the stock plated brass. That was also an improvement to my ear. I did that swap before swapping bridge plates, so only changing one variable at a time.

I've also done a full set up. There was plenty of buzzing and choking of notes. I ended up having to do a full fret levelling job. Either they left the factory without being levelled or there has been some serious fret sprout.

I was then able to do a proper set up, including truss rod, bridge saddles, lowering nut slots, pickup adjustments. With all that and the bridge mods it sounds and plays much better now. I originally expected to swap the pickups but now I'm not so sure. I like the bridge pickup now that it's dialed in. The neck pickup had a nice jazzy tone with the brass cover. I don't use that tone much so I took the cover off for more treble bite.
 

mystichands

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You need to have screwdrivers that fit exactly right to avoid that kind of rounding on the screw heads. It happened to me a few times, then I got a StewMac guitar tool kit, in a little red metal box, that has every size of small driver head. I use it all the time now, and it was a good investment.
 

archetype

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Yes I'm now realising I probably used the wrong screwdriver and contributed to my woes! I clearly have things to learn here. Thanks for the video link. I'll check that out.

Here is one of the screws that didn't get stripped

View attachment 997814


And this is the screwdriver

View attachment 997815

In close up like this, it looks a bit worn to my untrained eye.

That screwdriver should be aimed at a trash can. Don't use less than perfect screwdrivers, as they will cause less than perfect hardware to fail.

It seems counterintuitive, but taking out overtorqued or stuck screws requires as much subtility as force. Feel what the hardware is doing. Downward force that keeps the bit seated fully is more important than rotational force in removing screws.
 




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