From behind the Iron Curtain...

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by crisscrosscrash, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. crisscrosscrash

    crisscrosscrash Tele-Meister

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    I thought so of you might enjoy a thread documenting my attempt to resurrect a 70's-era Eastern Bloc guitar for a friend. The guitar is a Defil Melodia 2 -- the owner says that back in the Soviet era, these would be pretty much the only electric guitars kids in Poland would be able to get their hands on. He knows it probably won't sound or play very well when it's done... but he wants to get it into playing shape for sentimental reasons (and as a conversation piece).

    Here's a vid of NOT the one I am working on -- just to see what it ought to look/sound like:


    The one on my bench is in pretty bad shape -- started working on it this weekend: the first real problem was the neck -- the fingerboard had a concave radius (!) - not sure if it always did, or if it warped over time. Anyhow, step one was pulling the frets and re-radiusing the board:
    IMG_2947.JPG

    Forgot to take a pic of the concavity -- here is the new 12" radius:
    IMG_2946.JPG

    Some things to note so far: it's a 3 piece laminated neck -- not sure what the center wood is, walnut maybe? No truss rod, though that said, the neck itself is quite straight. How the fingerboard got concave while the neck stayed straight is a mystery... Is it possible it was carved that way from the start? (That may sound crazy, but check the pic of the neck block at the end of this post -- it's VERY possible these guitars were thrown together in a factory with little quality control or knowledge of how guitars work -- perhaps the plant supervisor says "radius the fretboard to 12" but never mentioned what orientation the radius was meant to have???)

    The "inlays" are... I'm not sure... (painted wood?) But the blocks go right to the edge and are super thin, so I lost a bit on some from the re-radius. Not really sure what there is to do about that... The 12th fret has three dots that are totally sunken in, I will just top those up with epoxy to get them flush.

    IMG_2950.JPG IMG_2949.JPG

    Going to have to fill the tuner holes and redrill -- the sizes already drilled are not standard at all, and it's missing 3 of its original bushings. I will try to keep the metal tuner plates, though the screw holes will not match anything, probably. Some numbers stamped on the heel of the neck -- I can't figure out a date from that, and internet seems to know nothing about Defil serial numbering LOL.
    IMG_2948.JPG IMG_2945.JPG IMG_2944.JPG

    OK, next post will be about the body and electronics... oooh boy, it's going to be a treat to figure out how to re-outfit this thing.

    One last pic before we go for now: check out that neck block grain! (And the bolt pattern for that matter.) How did the East not win the Cold War???
    IMG_2922.JPG
     
  2. jimd

    jimd Friend of Leo's

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    Very cool! Now I want one.
     
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  3. john_cribbin

    john_cribbin Tele-Afflicted

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    Back in the day I used to collect Soviet era cameras and learnt a lot about Soviet production methods.

    Essentially, the factory had a requirement to produce X amount in the month to reach their target. QC didn't really enter the equation.

    Once they left the factory they went to the distributors who pretty much got them into a condition fit for sale.
     
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  4. trancedental

    trancedental Tele-Meister

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  5. crazydave911

    crazydave911 Poster Extraordinaire

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    :eek: LMFAO!!! :lol::lol:
     
  6. crisscrosscrash

    crisscrosscrash Tele-Meister

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    I finally got around to getting this Polish beast back into playing position -- it actually sounds alright!

    I spent some trying to parse the electronics -- first of all, have you every seen a switch like this? It looks like a power generating station...
    switch tower.JPG

    It has 3 buttons -- one master ON/OFF, and two pickup ON/OFF (well, in theory -- though wired up it's not totally clear what's happening...)

    The volume and tones are slider pots with dimensions that I could not match with new parts, but they work with just a touch of scratchiness, so that's OK. There were no tips, and of course the tab was too big for normal switch tips, but a little filing got some top hats to fit...
    electronics 3.JPG
    Just a couple pics to show some of the oddities and strange workmanship...
    The top is plywood -- and you can see inside it was pretty roughly cut!
    plywood.JPG

    Also, the F hole geometry is odd... It's not on a plane with itself at all, and as a result there is a pretty sharp raised edge right where your wrist is! Hard to capture in a picture -- but very uncomfortable...
    f hole .JPG


    The tuners were all missing -- and the holes were 7/16" so I filled and redrilled those to put a set of tulips in. Filing down the plugs without damaging the finish was a pain - I would've preferred to just sand and refinish the headstock, but I didn't want to destroy what's left of the decal...
    filled holes.JPG


    I had to reradius the fretboard (it was concave!) and refretted - that went without much incident, though I lost some of the micron thick inlay at the edges...

    I left the neck profile as is -- it is a VERY D shaped profile. Like, almost squared off. No thumb-over playing on this guitar...
    D profile.JPG

    Anyhow, after getting the neck sorted: a rosewood bridge, a new trapeze tailpiece, a new jack (fitted to another 7/16" hole), set that sucker up and it looks like a guitar again!

    done.JPG


    A fun and weird project -- I will post some video shortly - it actually sounds kind of nice -- especially with some fuzz. The clean sound is a bit anemic. It is surprisingly not buzzy at all. Iron curtain success.

    poland.JPG
     

    Attached Files:

  7. crisscrosscrash

    crisscrosscrash Tele-Meister

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    Finally got around to posting some video of this Polish beast to youtube... Clean sound is a bit anemic, but not unpleasant -- I quite like it with the gain cranked. (Played through a 15W Silvertone 4707)

     
  8. Dan German

    Dan German Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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  9. Dan German

    Dan German Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Personally, I find this fascinating. I love nothing better than a weird guitar. I assume the guitar is pretty bad, but is it Badenov?
     
  10. galaxiex

    galaxiex Tele-Afflicted

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    crisscrosscrash likes this.
  11. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Neato guitar! Thanks for doing the video.
     
  12. paulmarr

    paulmarr Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Nice thread ... hey it looks like the wraparound tailpiece is somehow mounted back to front when you compare it to the video you posted ... doesn’t look like the stings match the fretboard radius ...
     
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