Got a "test subject" guitar you experiment on? Join the club!

Discussion in 'Guitar Owners Clubs' started by hellopike, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

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    I'd like to start a thread about all the guitars folks tinker on endlessly. The guitars that you try out out experiments on, for good or ill... Maybe they're beaters, or partscasters or guitars of questionable make... But you get a crazy mod idea in your head and you turn to THAT guitar.. ("What if I install a bass pickup across just the three unwound strings??" or something, thats just an example.)

    Surely there's more out then just me who has one, right? I'd like to see the results.

    Here's mine. It's a Squier partscaster Tele. It currently has the body of a 1999 Squier standard, the Neck of a Squier Strat SE, a GFS Dream 180 pickup in the neck and a MIM Standard bridge pickup. It had the 6 barrel style saddles which I didn't like so I changed them to block type... But just the saddles, not the bridgeplate. This mean the string holes where they sit on the saddle aren't inline anymore (because of the way the orignal barrel saddles were offset slightly) I flipped the control (which I'm not terribly fond of, but I'm not quite ready to redo the wiring just yet) and today I installed a Sanwa arcade button killswitch ala Buckethead. I think I disrupted the lousy shielding job I did because where there once was no hum there is suddenly a lot. I may buy some of that shielding paint in the future and go to town on the insides (and fix the horrible route job I did at the neck pickup cavity). But the killswitch works. I made the plate out of plastic nameplate material because it was available and easy to work. I left some room for a togggle switch of some sort in case I want to install a coil split. The Neck came from a $40 Squier Strat I also bought on CL which I attempted to refinish but didn't like, so the neck was donated to this guitar.



    testsubject1.jpg testsubject2.jpg I've got a few other mad scientist type of ideas for guitars, and this will ultimately be the test bed for those ideas. The body was chipped and beat and "home reliced with a belt sander" when I got it, so I've never felt the need to keep it in pristine condition. I have two oddball extra start pickups floating around, I may install them in this guitar at some point, each over only three strings with individual on/off switches to boost just the treble or bass as I see fit... Just to see what it sounds like. :)

    full.jpg
    (This is how it looked when I bought it last year on CL. The neck and pickups and original electronics went on my CV50s Vintage Blonde body and became my Go-To Telecaster.)

    So there's mine- lets see your crazy modded guitars!
     
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  2. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

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    OH. and I forgot to mention: Failed mods are good to- Maybe you tried installing a B-bender and it didn't work out so you covered the holes with plastic from a Frisbee! I wanna see it! I just want to see those guitars that are hacked, and chopped and heavily modded and will continue to be modified whenever a crazy new idea pops in your head. Any kind of condition too- whether its Piece of Junk like mine, or done super nice and clean (I'm thinking of @Asmith 's wild partscaster with 2 dozen switchs and knobs) post it here.
     
  3. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had a couple but my youthful experimenting process eventually destroyed them both. Have to hunt through negatives and start up the old darkroom to find a pic though.

    A great tokai strat I carved up with a chisel for a humbucker and a locking trem and drilled for various switches. It was my no.1 for a decade though.

    A Les Paul I swapped pickups and most parts and badly re-profiled frets with a hand file to point it was unplayable though.

    Except for some 60's originals, most guitars eventually get modest pot and pickup mods.

    I like the arcade button kills switch... Want to do that. A small push to break could fit between pots on my tele.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  4. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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    Something I've not seen for 20 odd years were locking saddles for strats with thumb wheel fine tuners. Like a poor mans Floyd rose. Used same block, springs and trem plate. Those and a locking nut were fun.
     
  5. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

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    The two you mentioned sound like they had interesting lives as far as guitars go! I just love seeing stuff out of the norm.

    The arcade button works pretty good, although when playing anything less then high gain, or distorted or overdriven I'm getting a noticable pop when it's depressed. I ran a 1meg resistor between the lugs, but I didn't notice much of a change. Its a Sanwa button, which is what professional video game players (I'm serious) use on their joysticks. The microswitch is spec'd for 1,000,000 presses and is ultra fine for the quickest response and switching. It was $5 or so shipped on ebay. You can get them in 24mm or 30mm diameters. I went with 24mm, although the 30mm has a larger color selection.
     
  6. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    I'll add mine since you mentioned my Rat. :p

    So it was my first electric guitar (it was awful) present from my mum (I didn't choose it)

    [​IMG]

    Then I reworked the body because the graphic and about everything else repulsed me and so I ended up with this, :D

    [​IMG]WP_20150806_14_49_16_Pro by ashleyjsmith1996, on Flickr

    Got some new electronics and made a pickguard and I got this, I actually think this version looks the prettiest but it had issues such as the pole spacing didn't fit, the push pull pots felt awful to use as switches and knobs. :oops:

    [​IMG]WP_20150817_15_07_24_Pro by ashleyjsmith1996, on Flickr

    So to fix these issues I angles the neck and middle pickup and changed the pots to standards and I also put in some toggle switches. I also changed the neck as the previous one was too thin for comfortable play and the truss rod was broken. I also got a maple fretboard, I think the rosewood looks better but I don't like the feel when not using tall frets. (This version is in my signature) :rolleyes:

    [​IMG]DSC01971 by ashleyjsmith1996, on Flickr

    Then I ran into more issues, I now started hitting the toggle switches when playing so I had to rethink the layout and ended up with this. Actually I missed a stage, I had it without the metal control plate for a while as I ordered it from across the pond and had some issues with shipping (I got an empty parcel) :mad: The switches were in the same place and when I got the metal plate I just cut that bit of the guard out and dropped that in. (This is my avatar)

    [​IMG]DSC01981 by ashleyjsmith1996, on Flickr

    And the final version that I have not pics of at the moment and it's still at my old flat looks pretty much like the previous picture. The knobs have been moved in to a strat like setup but not as close to the bridge pup as there wasn't a lot of finger room for twiddling with the knobs.
     
  7. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

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    I love seeing the progression of your guitar so much @Asmith it's really something else. Thanks for adding it!
     
  8. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    I'll contribute even though my mods are not as radical as you guys!

    This is a thrift shop prize. You know how in pawn shops, thrift shops, flea markets they have tons of cheap strat copies always and I usually ignore them and pass them by without a second glance. Not sure why but this one caught my eye---all the parts were there except a couple of strings missing and it had a $20. price tag, so I thought at that price, how could I go wrong. Name on it was "ION" I found out from research on the net that it has a Maple body.

    So I got it home, cleaned it up, set it up to my taste and the electronics worked and the pickups weren't half bad for ceramics. The neck felt pretty good. It was intact but everything was loose and had to be tightened up. Two main problems the whammy bar was broke off in the block and also it had two hair line cracks in the body. I must of played it as a beater a year and a half as is. I deliberated on rather I wanted to put time and money in it or not while it hang around. Finally I decided I liked it well enough to see what I could do with it.
    Devin's Grad--May 2013 043.jpg
    This was the original string trees that were binding even being lubed causing tuning problems.
    IMG_20160210_131050.jpg
    I installed these Dynaguide String Trees made in the Netherlands, problem solved.
    Guitar Parts for E-Bay 002.jpg
    These are the old ceramic PU with block magnets.
    I installed a set of used used Fender Strat Highway 1 Alnico V pickups. I don't have any pictures of those. I left the existing 5 way switch, Installed telecaster CTS 250K pots for vol and neck tone and left the existing midi 250K tone pot for the middle PU and rewired it for the Bridge PU. rewired with all new wires.
    ION Upgrade 006.jpg
    The two hairline cracks that's almost impossible to see in this pix ran from inside lower horn cut out to Trem spring routing and the other ran from just below the rear strap pin to Trem spring routing. To small of a crack to inject glue, so I drilled a small pilot hold from the outside edge of guitar body through each crack at about a 45 degree angle and also drilled a larger hole right at the entrance of the pilot hole just big enough to hide the head of a deck screw in. So I screwed the two deck screws in coated with wood glue through each crack and tightened up the screw until it pulled the crack taught/together. The deck screw head was about 1/8" below the surface of the guitar's edge. I filled in that space with carpenters putty and when it dried, sanded it off and painted it with black paint to match adjacent paint. Now you probably couldn't see where the cracks are unless I showed you.

    I tired several times to dirll out the stuck piece of trem arm but was never successful. I determined that the outside hole spacing on the existing trem was 2 1/16" and ordered and new Affinity Squire Trem assembly and installed it. It fit very well and I set it up floating as I do all my strats. No pictures on this.
    ION Upgrade 005.jpg
    Here is the finished product. I did give it a slight neck adjustment to take out a little relief to get the action a little lower. The telecaster type pots was not knurled type shafts that regular strat knobs will fit, so I installed a tele knob for volume and chicken heads on the tones. The tuners work good, so I left them alone.

    It has a very classic strat tone. I installed the decal "Quack Master" because it has a very distinct outspoken quack tone. The neck and action have a very good feel. I like a soft feel on the trem where you don't have to fight it to get a bend so I got the springs pretty loose where the trem base has a slight tilt up in the back--kinda Jeff Beck style. It's a player and a keeper, never dreamed it would turn out this good. Glad I finally took the plunge :cool:Platefire
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
  9. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

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    That's an awesome story Platefire thanks for sharing. I love a good pawnshop cheapie that turns out to be a player story! And you're absolutely right, you don't need to go crazy with the mods to post here- It about that guitar that maybe isn't the shiniest, but it's the one you work on when you get an idea in your head and want t try it out with running any risk to your #1. And cheap pawnshop/CL finds that turn out to be players with a mod here or there fit just as much!
     
  10. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    It's strange, I once had a 65 strat in 1994 and sold it because I needed the money to buy a new truck. I really regretted that I did that after it was all said and done. It was one fine ax.

    Thing is this ION project guitar looks and performs very similar to the old 65. The old 65 was sunburst with a rosewood fingerboard just like the ION. The pickups sound like those 65 PU. The feel is very similar---so it's like I got my old 65 strat back:)
     
  11. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

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    That's good to hear PF that the ion fills in a hole left by the '65. So long as you enjoy it and it makes hoo sound to you that's all that matters, am I right?
     
  12. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Yup.
    My old (ex) #1 B bender Bill Giebitz T style.
    It's had two fingerboards (ebony to Brazilian rosewood), a headstock cut down (Strat to Tele),4 sets of tuners, 5 refrets, 5 neck pickups, 4 bridge pickups, 2 bridge plates, 4 saddle sets, 2 finishes (Kelly Green Metallic to Hippie Natural), 3 Hipshots, 2 sets of strap buttons, 2 selector switches, a selector switch relocation, 4 nuts, 1 string tree removal, 1 middle pickup removal, 5 pick guards, 6 necks (original back on), a neck joint modification, a tone control addition, a coil tap removal, countersinking of the Hipshot, and a phase switch addition.
    I have had the neck since 1984, the guitar since 1988.
    It's obviously an unending (so far) work in progress.
    I love the silly thing, though one might suggest I don't due to all the mods.
    It became my #2 guitar after I discovered a big ol' Gretsch Chet.
    It still goes to all my gigs, along with the Chet.
    The Chet gets mods too, but mostly minor cosmetic changes.
    I can't leave anything stock.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
  13. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    How about a pix of that tele?
     
  14. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
    OK.
     
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  15. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Cool, I like it! Like the big block markers on the neck.
    Wondering what that neck PU is. Good thing about being your own guitar tech, you can mod it to fit you to a T. Thanks, Platefire
     
  16. hellopike

    hellopike Tele-Afflicted

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    Ahh, I just added a Phase-Switch to my lab rat Tele... What are eye-opener! Man, the OOP tone is something else! And it's really interesting because on some things I play, the OOP tone enhances the it immensely, and on other bits... Wow, it really stinks! lol. I'm definitely happy I did it though, although I think I need to get a smaller rocker switch, as it's a little in the way when I strum right by the saddles. It sits right in front of the arcade killswitch:

    [​IMG]

    I'm running out of switches and modsto add to this beast! I still have series/parallel switching and coil splitting the neck though.... fortunately when I made the black plastic switch plate, I made a second longer one in case I needed more space. =)
     
  17. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Yelp, you got to make room for a possible more/estra!

    Is the Red thing a push button or what? hard to tell!
     
  18. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    I think he said it was a rocker switch, not sure what I'd put in it's place, it would have to be equally outlandish IMO but I can see that getting in the way of function.
     
  19. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    Of the six electrics (excluding lap steels for now) I currently have, two get a lot of tinkering, as opposed to occasional modding. but there is no clear distinction between the two;

    Mostly this comprises universal pickup routs and making pickguards to accommodate different pickup configurations.

    [​IMG]

    This is a Burny Lp Jr converted to Special with "P-bass"type controls, in 2*vol and tone. A few months ago I unsuccessfully tried making a "string-though"pickup for it:

    [​IMG]

    It currently has two GFS Brooklyn pickups, like the neck pickup in the top pic.

    [​IMG]

    The pic shows it with a Lollar Chicago in the bridge position. I've got a whole assortment of pickguards for this one, it is currently HSH with two GGS Memphis and a generic strat SC.
     
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  20. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's

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    The string through pickup idea sounds interesting, is it a coil underneath and then a magnet on top? Also I'd draw the line between modding and tinkering at the point where you're using something that isn't a direct drop in replacement (for me it's usually when the chisel comes out :p). I really do need to get a picture of the inside of my Ratocaster, it may as well be chambered, with the amount chiselled out. I also want to refinish it because it has too many scars and I miss the new look it once had (I was never really that happy with the finish anyway haha).
     
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