Thinking of Performing Major Surgery on My Partscaster Esquire

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by stratguy23, Jul 29, 2017.

Should I mod my Esquire

  1. Yes seems like a cool idea, do all of it

    3 vote(s)
    27.3%
  2. Yes, but only do some of the mods to minimize routing

    2 vote(s)
    18.2%
  3. No, build a different guitar with this stuff

    6 vote(s)
    54.5%
  4. No, all those options seem like overkill, don't bother even doing a new guitar

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. stratguy23

    stratguy23 TDPRI Member

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    My first guitar project that I tackled myself that wasn't just set ups or pickup swaps in my guitars was a partscaster Esquire. I bought an unfinished ash body from USA Custom Guitars that was on clearance (that's actually why I bought it since it was so cheap), and a maple neck. I decided to teach myself how to finish the guitar and assemble it, not the most ambitious process compared to some of the amazing work you guys do here, but a nice start that got the itch of guitar building going. My original plan was for the guitar to be an Esquire with a piezo pickup (using the Graphtech Ghost system since again I found a great deal on eBay). I ended up scrapping the piezo when I built it and just put a Don Mare tapped pickup (it is wound to vintage hot/Broadcaster on the lower tap and his Twangzilla on the higher one which is P90'ish) in the bridge. However, recently I got the idea to make a crazy versatile T shaped guitar, so I wanted to come to you for advice if I should mod my current guitar to do this. For gigging, it can sometimes be difficult to change guitars between songs, especially if you have people dancing, so I like to be able to conjure up a lot of tones from my guitars to So, here is the plan:

    • Route the guitar for a neck humbucker and Strat middle pickup, which would give me four classic sounds with the tapped Don Mare.
    • Install the piezo bridge to get faux acoustic sounds
    • Install a Roland GK-3 pickup internally and get a GR-55 (I love the sounds they got doing this with a T style guitar on That Pedal Show, and it could replace several synth pedals I own and do the sounds better)

    What do you think of this? I would probably need at least another knob, so would it be better to use a stacked pot or drill a hole for a third knob? I'm fine not having a tone and just having volume for the magnetic pickups, piezo, and synth pickup, unless you can think of a creative way to add a fourth knob that looks okay (I like using TBX tone controls so can't stack that). I obviously would need to drill a new output for the MIDI cable, but I also need to fit the piezo and GK-3, so do you think it would be better to make a rear route or just route a large hole in the area under the pickguard to fit that stuff? Thanks for humoring this crazy idea.

    Part of the benefit of modding my existing guitar means I have to buy/make far less stuff (would only need to buy the GK-3 pickup and GR-55), and it doesn't add another guitar to the collection. My wife is pretty understanding, but she doesn't want the house taken over with guitar gear. It's not a hard and fast rule, but I generally try to get rid of something if I get something new, but that's harder with guitars, so I generally try to not up the collection by more than one a year without selling off something, and I'd rather like to add a 12-string, baritone or semi hollowbody before another 6 string Telecaster. I know there's no way of knowing, but my one hesitation of modding my guitar is I wonder how much the sound could change doing all these mods. If you read all this and have an opinion, I greatly appreciate it!
     
    waltschwarzkopf likes this.
  2. Chordophonic

    Chordophonic Tele-Meister

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    I went for the build another guitar option, my reasoning being, you have your first build still as you built it and I guess you like it, so I think you should keep it as it is, then, if the new one doesn't work out how you hope, then you still have it and no regrets.
    I still have my first Partscaster and am really glad I haven't modded it, it's getting on for 15 years old...part of the family now...
    The proposed build sounds interesting and will compliment the current model....whatever you do I would like to follow the process on here if possible please?
    Just my thoughts...good luck!
     
  3. stratguy23

    stratguy23 TDPRI Member

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    That's a very interesting point that I didn't think of because I'm not really the sentimental type in terms of keeping things preserved. Here's a long story about everything I did to my first guitar:

    My first guitar is a Fender American Deluxe Strat I saved up for a year to buy (my dad plays guitar, so I borrowed one of his to use until I could afford a guitar I really wanted). I wanted a black and white Strat that was HSS, which I got. It played great and stayed in tune really well, but it broke a lot of strings and had a locking bridge, so it was a pain to change strings, so I replaced the bridge. I also wasn't digging the humbucker in the bridge, so I changed it to a Seymour Duncan Parallel Axis Trembucker to get more output (also changed the pickguard too because I was really into black with tortoise at the time). I then wanted a traditional SSS layout, so I bought three new more traditional Strat singlecoils and replaced the humbucker and noiseless singlecoils. That lasted awhile, but I missed the bridge humbucker and got a Bare Knuckle Crawler. I had another Strat with three Custom Shop singlecoils, but it was too bright, so I swapped the pickups between the two guitars. So, that guitar has had three different neck and middle pickups, five bridge pickups, two bridges, and three different pickguards. It's kind of been my Strat test bed, and since it was my first and main guitar until I became a Tele guy, I always modded that one to suit my needs. I never really cared to keep it stock, I wanted it to work best for the style of music I was playing/band I was in.

    Since this is my main Tele style guitar, and my first guitar where I did much of the work, I kind of see it getting similar treatment as my first Strat, getting modded to suit my need otherwise it would probably get relegated to home guitar or backup because whatever guitar gets this treatment will instantly become my No. 1 because of the versatility, and I kind of what that to be this guitar since it is such a nice playing guitar. Still not fully decided though, but whatever I end up doing though, I will definitely do a thread!



    I have been researching this, I definitely think I need a rear route to fit all the circuit boards. The cables are short for both the GK-3 and Ghost system, so I need the boards to be close to the jack. I also figured for knobs, the GK-3 is a mini pot, so it should be easy to add an extra knob on the control plate, so I can either have three volume knobs, or do a stacked pot for the magnetic and piezo volume, so I could add a tone pot if I wanted.
     
  4. Chordophonic

    Chordophonic Tele-Meister

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    I think you just answered your own question!
    Looking forward to seeing progress....
     
  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Maybe a simplification for you, maybe not:
    Do your pickup HSS body routing, but use a pair of Strat coils for neck and middle, then hook those and your bridge pickup to a 5-way Strat blade switch all wired with the Dan Armstrong Blender mod. What this does is starts with a classic SSS arrangement that you blend to thicken up into HSH. Very intuitive to operate on stage at a gig and a huge amount of tones.

    You'll have the neck humbucker or Strat single this way (you obviously played Strat for a few years so you know how to use that pickup) plus you get the 2/4 Quack positions that you won't have with a regular humbucker (there's a way that gets close). The blender pot control you could do on a stacked system to conserve control plate real estate.

    Look it up on the Breja Toneworks youtube channel to see the mod (on a Strat it's only a wiring change no new parts). I've converted three Strats to it and it's become my standard wiring system along with a 4-way switch on a Tele. The other schematics to look into are the variations used for the Ibanez RG series guitars (5-way with various coil splitting/combos).

    .
     
  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    It's a partscaster/tool guitar.
    Bend it to your will!
    Mod it till it's perfect.
     
  7. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

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    do it.

    frankensteins are the greatest.

    however.... there is the issue that you could put the whole thing together and then find out... you dont like it anymore for some reason.

    theres always a trade-off with a frankenstein. Theres always something they dont do as well as one of your other guitars.
     
  8. mudimba

    mudimba Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    If you are already equipped and ready to route out new cavities on an existing guitar, it is not a huge step to build a body from scratch.

    A friend (best guitar player I know) recently pointed out to me that there are two kinds of guitars. There are guitars that can do it all, for him that is a parker fly. You can rely on these when you have a deadline or a gig that needs you to be able to dial in a wide variety of sounds. Then there are guitars with a strong personality that guide you into playing a certain way. Use these to find inspiration. I think an esquire is a solid example of the latter, and it would be a shame to try to force it into the former.
     
  9. stratguy23

    stratguy23 TDPRI Member

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    I had not previously heard of this mod, but it sounds really cool after doing some reading up on it. I just have one question though. Since this is a Tele and not a Strat, would it make more sense to just use a switch for this or does it only work if you use a pot?

    If I do opt for a neck humbuxker, I am thinking of getting something like either a Fralin Unbucker or Lollar El Rayo because they both are designed to get good singlecoil tones as well as humbucker, so it seems like another option to get singlecoil neck or humbucker neck tones.
     
  10. stratguy23

    stratguy23 TDPRI Member

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    I have yet to tackle making my own neck, and it kind of scares me a little.

    I tend to opt for versatile guitars to gig with, so I don't have to switch guitars as much. I do agree though that you tend to play differently on one pickup guitars. I will still have at least one guitar that only has one pickup though (a '65 Gibson SG Jr.).
     
  11. stratguy23

    stratguy23 TDPRI Member

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    Update on this, I am going to do this stuff in waves. The first mod I am doing is adding the extra pickups. I scored an Anderson M1 on Reverb for a very good price, and I have an extra Strat middle pickup that I am going to put into the guitar. I am going to be adding a series/parallel switch, phase switch, and a series/parallel/single coil switch for the Anderson M1, where do you think these switches would look good, maybe on the pickguard?
     
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