Fender Bullet Owners Club

jays0n

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Posts
2,102
Location
San Francisco, CA
Hi everyone, I'm back with the "Driftwood Fender Bullet" that washed up on Virginia Beach. I worked on this project on and off since I got it back in September 2020 (original post on p.125) , up until the end of last summer. Here's my documentation of some of the steps I did to fix it up:

Before shot:
(still blows my mind the chances of that)
View attachment 973773

After taking the guitar apart, I decided to check on the truss rod. Turns out it was totally functional, after getting the rust off, so I put it right back in.
View attachment 973758

The new fretboard is a rosewood one I bought from stewmac. I cut off the excess with a bandsaw, aligned it with a couple nails, and strapped it on to glue with some bike inner-tube strips.
View attachment 973759
It took a little while to get the edge of the neck and fretboard flush with woodfiller, since the edge of the neck got rounded over in the ocean

After a lot of inefficient and uneven sanding of the fretboard, I finally had the idea for this simple jig:
View attachment 973761

For some reason, I chose to use stainless steel frets for my first ever full fret job, definitely a challenge :) Also, the "clay" fret dots are made with some store-bought wood filler paste.
View attachment 973762

A few more things: I saw a post from I think it was jays0n showing the conversion of the pickguard/bridge for tele saddles, and I tried it out. (thanks jays0n!) Then I sanded off all that wonderful tetanus-inducing rust down to the bare metal. And for the pickups, unfortunately the bridge pickup was dead, but the neck pickup still works miraculously!
View attachment 973763

Final result:
View attachment 973780
View attachment 973781

Of course, the number of hours I've put into this guitar doesn't compare to the value of it, but I don't mind. I'm new to guitar repair, and this whole project has been an amazing learning experience. And now I've got an awesome guitar to play! Since I finished it last summer, I've been playing it nonstop at home and jamming with friends. It plays great, sounds great, and really holds its own especially considering where it came from!

By the way, the guitar doesn't have an official nickname yet, so suggestions are welcome :) (Beach Bullet, Atlantic Axe, Bullet of the Seas. . .?)
That’s amazing!!! Well done! Saved!

Glad the 3 saddle idea worked out for you. I still have mine like that and feel it is better than with the 6 individual saddles.

Thanks for sharing your story and process. What a cool Bullet.
 

jays0n

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Posts
2,102
Location
San Francisco, CA
BTW, for those just joining, that do not want to look back at a million pages, there is a lot of room in the metal pickguard to drill 3 new holes for 3 saddle Tele saddles. This shows where I drilled mine:

7C6A8664-CBBB-4977-8429-84E05FF60092.jpeg



I had a chipped/scratched guard to do it to though, and a back up nicer one put away in case I want to put it back. Not recommending everyone to modify any nice Bullet pickguards. But I like the stability of the two strings on each. With the Top-Load design, there isn’t a lot pushing the saddles down.
 

jays0n

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Posts
2,102
Location
San Francisco, CA
I’ve got the neck off ready to shim it the only additional numbers are on the neck back plate and rubber seating .. any knowledge on these ? The truss rod seems to work but it was on its tightest adjustment.. I’m not sure on a plastic or cardboard half shim or to make a full size wedge one out of wood which I believe gives better contact and sound.. any advice appreciated View attachment 971168 View attachment 971170 View attachment 971171 View attachment 971172 View attachment 971171 View attachment 971170
Instead of shimming, had you thought of buying a “Bullet Deluxe” pick-guard and a hard tail strat type bridge like the Deluxe had and making more Fender Bullet like? Here is a pickguard on the bay:

 

Cam-eleon76

TDPRI Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2020
Posts
50
Location
North Carolina
That’s amazing!!! Well done! Saved!

Glad the 3 saddle idea worked out for you. I still have mine like that and feel it is better than with the 6 individual saddles.

Thanks for sharing your story and process. What a cool Bullet.
Thank you! I appreciate it!

And the 3 saddles are working great, thanks for the idea. The originals were completely seized from rust so I decided why not?
 

jays0n

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Posts
2,102
Location
San Francisco, CA
BTW ya’ll, Mr. John Page still has NOS Bullet saddles for sale on his site:

Sets:

Singles:
 

ScubaGeek

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Posts
383
Location
Someplace called Ohio
Of course, the number of hours I've put into this guitar doesn't compare to the value of it, but I don't mind. I'm new to guitar repair, and this whole project has been an amazing learning experience. And now I've got an awesome guitar to play! Since I finished it last summer, I've been playing it nonstop at home and jamming with friends. It plays great, sounds great, and really holds its own especially considering where it came from!

By the way, the guitar doesn't have an official nickname yet, so suggestions are welcome :) (Beach Bullet, Atlantic Axe, Bullet of the Seas. . .?)
I like Beach Bullet. Good alliterative name there.
 

jeffrotan1

TDPRI Member
Joined
May 13, 2022
Posts
22
Age
57
Location
Raleigh, North Carolina USA
Hi everyone, I'm back with the "Driftwood Fender Bullet" that washed up on Virginia Beach. I worked on this project on and off since I got it back in September 2020 (original post on p.125) , up until the end of last summer. Here's my documentation of some of the steps I did to fix it up:

Before shot:
(still blows my mind the chances of that)
View attachment 973773

After taking the guitar apart, I decided to check on the truss rod. Turns out it was totally functional, after getting the rust off, so I put it right back in.
View attachment 973758

The new fretboard is a rosewood one I bought from stewmac. I cut off the excess with a bandsaw, aligned it with a couple nails, and strapped it on to glue with some bike inner-tube strips.
View attachment 973759
It took a little while to get the edge of the neck and fretboard flush with woodfiller, since the edge of the neck got rounded over in the ocean

After a lot of inefficient and uneven sanding of the fretboard, I finally had the idea for this simple jig:
View attachment 973761

For some reason, I chose to use stainless steel frets for my first ever full fret job, definitely a challenge :) Also, the "clay" fret dots are made with some store-bought wood filler paste.
View attachment 973762

A few more things: I saw a post from I think it was jays0n showing the conversion of the pickguard/bridge for tele saddles, and I tried it out. (thanks jays0n!) Then I sanded off all that wonderful tetanus-inducing rust down to the bare metal. And for the pickups, unfortunately the bridge pickup was dead, but the neck pickup still works miraculously!
View attachment 973763

Final result:
View attachment 973780
View attachment 973781

Of course, the number of hours I've put into this guitar doesn't compare to the value of it, but I don't mind. I'm new to guitar repair, and this whole project has been an amazing learning experience. And now I've got an awesome guitar to play! Since I finished it last summer, I've been playing it nonstop at home and jamming with friends. It plays great, sounds great, and really holds its own especially considering where it came from!

By the way, the guitar doesn't have an official nickname yet, so suggestions are welcome :) (Beach Bullet, Atlantic Axe, Bullet of the Seas. . .?)
I thought of a metal song titled Reclamation while reading your post, so "Reclamation Bullet" possibly? Killer project with the emphasis on it being a labor of love.
 

jeffrotan1

TDPRI Member
Joined
May 13, 2022
Posts
22
Age
57
Location
Raleigh, North Carolina USA
Hello, just registered today. Been reading posts here on the Fender Bullet Owners Club forum for a few months now.

Have learned a lot about these guitars thanks to you all. And as earlier mentioned, finally joined in on the fun today!

Picked up this Fender Bullet with the original hardcase and a Dean Markley K-50 ss-amp for a few hundred bucks in the mid-90's from my manager where I worked at the time. Didn't know anything about it or really what to look for when buying a guitar and still don't. Just knew that after playing it for all of 3 minutes through that amp I'd fork over the cash and bring it home.
20220513_120056.jpg
20220513_120109.jpg
20220513_120130.jpg
20220513_120740.jpg
20220513_121429.jpg
20220513_120838.jpg


There's a ding and dent here and there, but it plays good and those imperfections give it some personality, IMO. I'm planning to have it looked over by a pro soon. D-string has a buzz and I'm pretty sure the nut is needing some attention there. Anyone ever use nut dust and super glue to repair one? Saw someone on Stewart Mac using it to build up the existing nut to be filed to shape. Might be better to simply replace the nut.

20220513_121043.jpg
20220513_121129.jpg
 

jays0n

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Posts
2,102
Location
San Francisco, CA
Hello, just registered today. Been reading posts here on the Fender Bullet Owners Club forum for a few months now.

Have learned a lot about these guitars thanks to you all. And as earlier mentioned, finally joined in on the fun today!

Picked up this Fender Bullet with the original hardcase and a Dean Markley K-50 ss-amp for a few hundred bucks in the mid-90's from my manager where I worked at the time. Didn't know anything about it or really what to look for when buying a guitar and still don't. Just knew that after playing it for all of 3 minutes through that amp I'd fork over the cash and bring it home. View attachment 983020 View attachment 983021 View attachment 983022 View attachment 983023 View attachment 983024 View attachment 983025

There's a ding and dent here and there, but it plays good and those imperfections give it some personality, IMO. I'm planning to have it looked over by a pro soon. D-string has a buzz and I'm pretty sure the nut is needing some attention there. Anyone ever use nut dust and super glue to repair one? Saw someone on Stewart Mac using it to build up the existing nut to be filed to shape. Might be better to simply replace the nut.

View attachment 983032 View attachment 983033
Welcome. That looks amazing and appears to be in great condition. I like the wear it has, makes it real. These 80s guitars are not gettin any younger. As I said in the Welcome Wagon post, I think you got a good deal on this, for the condition. For the nut … I have used baking soda or similar and CA Glue to fill in a nut slot and re-file. It works but does not look wonderful if ya get close. But works in a pinch.

I would probably replace the nut, set the relief, and do a light level n crown on the frets. It’s worth putting the effort into that vintage beaut. It’s gonna outlive us. Might as well do it in style.

Thanks for sharing.
 

ScubaGeek

Tele-Meister
Joined
Jan 22, 2016
Posts
383
Location
Someplace called Ohio
Hello, just registered today. Been reading posts here on the Fender Bullet Owners Club forum for a few months now.

Have learned a lot about these guitars thanks to you all. And as earlier mentioned, finally joined in on the fun today!

Picked up this Fender Bullet with the original hardcase and a Dean Markley K-50 ss-amp for a few hundred bucks in the mid-90's from my manager where I worked at the time. Didn't know anything about it or really what to look for when buying a guitar and still don't. Just knew that after playing it for all of 3 minutes through that amp I'd fork over the cash and bring it home. View attachment 983020 View attachment 983021 View attachment 983022 View attachment 983023 View attachment 983024 View attachment 983025

There's a ding and dent here and there, but it plays good and those imperfections give it some personality, IMO. I'm planning to have it looked over by a pro soon. D-string has a buzz and I'm pretty sure the nut is needing some attention there. Anyone ever use nut dust and super glue to repair one? Saw someone on Stewart Mac using it to build up the existing nut to be filed to shape. Might be better to simply replace the nut.

View attachment 983032 View attachment 983033
Very nice! I've been looking for one of the H-2 models for awhile now.
 

cuscus

Tele-Meister
Gold Supporter
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Posts
467
Location
United Kingdom
Hello, just registered today. Been reading posts here on the Fender Bullet Owners Club forum for a few months now.

Have learned a lot about these guitars thanks to you all. And as earlier mentioned, finally joined in on the fun today!

Picked up this Fender Bullet with the original hardcase and a Dean Markley K-50 ss-amp for a few hundred bucks in the mid-90's from my manager where I worked at the time. Didn't know anything about it or really what to look for when buying a guitar and still don't. Just knew that after playing it for all of 3 minutes through that amp I'd fork over the cash and bring it home. There's a ding and dent here and there, but it plays good and those imperfections give it some personality, IMO. I'm planning to have it looked over by a pro soon. D-string has a buzz and I'm pretty sure the nut is needing some attention there. Anyone ever use nut dust and super glue to repair one? Saw someone on Stewart Mac using it to build up the existing nut to be filed to shape. Might be better to simply replace the nut.
Hello @jeffrotan1, welcome to the club, that is a very nice guitar, I have never tried the nut repair myself, but worth a go in my opinion, always worth getting the experience of working on guitars & if it does not work, then get a new nut.
let us know how you get on.
 

jays0n

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Posts
2,102
Location
San Francisco, CA
I decided I really like my DIY Tenor Bullet, so I made a better nut for it. The first time around, I rushed and got the spacing wrong and … well it was just sloppy. I think it came out pretty good.

I like it because, the 4 strings forces me to learn inversions of chords I know, in order to play anything. It also has very heavy (E,A,D,G off a set of 11s or 12s) flat wound strings, so playin it is very different from my other guitars. It sort of motivates me when I am not motivated to play.

Here are some photos after completing the update and some maintenance:
45FC0C70-B630-4B57-9D36-CFEAD270E724.jpeg


09387D30-D970-4EB6-B6A2-D7738136B154.jpeg
75CFF9AD-6F37-4795-9506-F613D8816E55.jpeg
 

Johnnygdub

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2022
Posts
40
Location
Dublin
Hi Folks. Just spotted this thread.

I bought my 1981 bullet brand new in Ireland 41 years ago this month. Serial E104816

I'm about to get it refreted and a new nut etc.

The scratch plate has never been lifted on it so I will be sure to get pics inside.

It still sounds great. It has been ignored a bit in the last few years as I bought a few other guitars and it's a bit buzzy so I've been less inclined to pick it up.

I'll never sell it. (Story behind that) as all the marks on it remind me of various times in my youth.
P_20220619_145927.jpg
 

JJUSA

TDPRI Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2019
Posts
55
Age
63
Location
Salem Oregon USA
Hi Folks. Just spotted this thread.

I bought my 1981 bullet brand new in Ireland 41 years ago this month. Serial E104816

I'm about to get it refreted and a new nut etc.

The scratch plate has never been lifted on it so I will be sure to get pics inside.

It still sounds great. It has been ignored a bit in the last few years as I bought a few other guitars and it's a bit buzzy so I've been less inclined to pick it up.

I'll never sell it. (Story behind that) as all the marks on it remind me of various times in my youth. View attachment 995517
Beautiful!
 




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