What to do with this Vintage (not vintage) guitar ...

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by 41144, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. 41144

    41144 Friend of Leo's

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    Hello to all and I hope you are all well …

    Previously I've only ever tinkered about with electrics/electronics but ….
    Sorting out the loft recently and in a dark corner came across the following, which was bought for one of my sons in the early/mid 90s.

    After a few setup tweaks it plays OK and even if later down the line the neck needs a shim that'll be fine.

    He has long since gone over to the Gibson/Yamaha dark side (as an aside and an indication of his music tastes … he affirms that Mastadon can do nuanced stuff?), but it struck me it'd make an interesting project to mod it up and hand it back to him all these years later – in the hope that it then doesn't just get thrown on the bonfire or just clutter up his loft!

    Pictures first on what it is …. A Vintage Strat type is the best I can think of … no id at all on it.

    A DSC_0932.jpg A DSC_0933.jpg


    A DSC_0939.jpg
    A DSC_0934.jpg


    So, the MO runs something like this, bearing in mind it's not worth spending a fortune on and it's really for my amusement rather than becoming a “go to axe” …


    First priority is to change that nut.
    The B string will only tune to 'C', it's that low!
    I've never done a nut before … anything to watch out for in particular on that one? I'll most likely go for a pre-slotted resin one and buy a set of nut files (10-46) off fleabay

    The bridge (2 point trem) and tuners seem to be OK – I'll most likely hardtail the bridge – jury seems to be out on the need for a wood block in the cavity?
    Now then here's the chicken and egg question … If it turns out either the bridge or tuners need changing – what's the percentage risk that I'll I end up having to do another nut?

    The innards need attention – re: poor soldering/parts etc, so they will get gutted.

    Said son is not a fan of single-coils but I don't want to just present him with another HH. So, was thinking along the following:
    Stay SSS – but use Gilmourish electronics.
    Go HSS – using a Hotrails type bucker on the bridge? Or a Lil '59 clone, like on the original Lonestar and use the Lonestar wiring schematic?
    I'll probably stick with Vol/Tone/Tone …. any thoughts on pot size for the 'bucker Tone?
    Or should I go more off piste on the controls … Vol/Vol/Tone etc?
    Or go HHH with Hotrails?

    Finally, mechanics/electrics/electronics … no problem for me, woodworking skills ... meh!

    So. that neck blemish hasn't bothered me whilst playing it and it really isn't worth replacing the neck so unsure whether to:
    Leave it alone?
    Sand it out, fill and refinish?

    Any helpful input welcome, even if it's chuck it in the skip :lol:
     
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  2. speedy mcfeely

    speedy mcfeely Tele-Holic

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    Well, first thing I would do: string it up correctly. Then set it up. See if it needs any fret work. Make sure the truss rod works. Finally if all of that is good. Then spend the money on modding it.
     
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  3. bondoman

    bondoman Tele-Holic

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    Sell it then take that money and buy a cheap First Act then mod that one. In case your not aware Brent and Bill play some pretty nice FA's. Strat just aint gonna do much for a fan of Mastodon.
     
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  4. 41144

    41144 Friend of Leo's

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    Now there' some good points ... Not too concerned re stringing, 'tho I agree with the point.
    On the frets, they seem OK initially and I have previously worked on a G&L Bluesboy that I bought over the internet new and woeful frets between 10 & 14.
    Out the loft the bridge adjusted well and (given the stringing thing) the tuners seem OK.

    But, just out of interest I did try the truss rod and it wouldn't budge.
    Neck isn't twisted so, so far so good and, as I said, if it should need a shim OK.
    But, I appreciate long term the truss rod situation ain't good!
    Is that the end of it as, again, it really isn't worth adding on even £30 for a new copy (probably Chinese) neck?
     
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  5. dan1952

    dan1952 Friend of Leo's

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    I wouldn't spend a dime on that guitar. It is a really cheap GSO (guitar shaped object).
     
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  6. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    L.O.L at GSO ! ! ! :lol: :lol: :lol:
     
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  7. 41144

    41144 Friend of Leo's

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    Mmmm ... In all honesty I couldn't try and sell it!
    As for Brent and Bill. I really have no idea!
    Get it about the Strat thing and, ''excuse me whilst I get my 'bacci pipe going" ( in a father/Grandpa sitting by the fire way) I understand they'd even balk at an LP and generally favour ESPs ... Don't some how think that Vintage can morph into one of those ... But, can it be 'improved" ... even given its inherent problems?
    Btw. All the white plastic will be changed to Black .... If that helps with the vibe. :lol:
     
  8. 41144

    41144 Friend of Leo's

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    dan1952. That's very insightful. :lol:
     
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  9. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    A tusq nut, good strings and a good set up would do wonders for it.
    Strat style pickups are not the best singles to offer someone that doesn't like single coils, especially the bridge pickup. Wire it so that the neck and bridge are using the 2 tone pots and the middle just volume only would be good. Also consider a series/parallel switch for the middle pickup to get good HB tones for positions 2 & 4. If that doesn't grab him, consider a Tele bridge pickup or P90. If he still doesn't like singles at that point put some Firebirds in it or keep it for yourself.
     
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  10. 41144

    41144 Friend of Leo's

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    Zepfan. Thank you, now there's food for thought.
    Just so happens I took the MFD bridge pickup out of the Bluesboy mentioned above, mmmm?
    (I hated the ceramic pu as being way to sharp and replaced it with an AlNiCo II)

    As for keeping it . I know he won't take it seriously but will appreciate the joke/thought.
    As for myself ... Not really for me.
     
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  11. scottser

    scottser Friend of Leo's

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    I wouldnt put money into it, personally. What i did with the cheapo bass that somebody left at my place years ago was get our bass player to smash it onstage during the encore. Crowd loved it. It was the only dignified way to kill that bass, it played and sounded like a pig.
     
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  12. 41144

    41144 Friend of Leo's

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    Scottser. Now that (given some of the previous comments) is beginning to sound like a plan .:lol:
     
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  13. 2blue2

    2blue2 Friend of Leo's

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    fix it to play as best as possible then give it to the neighbor kid.
     
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  14. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    Some anonymous guitars sound surprisingly good. As mentioned, get new strings, a thorough set-up and electronics check done. At this point you can legitimately replace any parts like tuners and bridge saddles betraying you. Pickup evaluation is very personal and only you can do that with your brain, fingers, pick, cord and amp. Don’t let anyone talk you into preemptively replacing pups as they just might be gems in the rough. My $0.02.
    Rob
     
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  15. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's

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    It hasn't been clearly stated, but hopefully you are aware the strings are wound backwards around the posts and that's why there's that big bend in the strings at the nut. I think fixing this is the first thing you should do and it is pretty important. You could just use the same strings and just wind them the right way around the tuning pegs, which is probably a good starting point to see what needs to be done for the set-up. I expect there is a very great deal you could do to improve this guitar without actually spending any money. I just wanted to make sure it was clear that the strings are wound the wrong way around the posts since nobody has plainly stated so in this thread. I'm sure you are already aware - no offense meant.

    Good luck,
    Rex
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
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  16. 41144

    41144 Friend of Leo's

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    Barncaster ... Joking aside ... The pickups do sound good as they are ..? and will certainly be salvaged (even though no plan to use them anywhere) if the whole thing is abandoned.
     
  17. 41144

    41144 Friend of Leo's

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    TReF16 . Yes, thanks, I really do get the whole correct string winding thing.
    The one point really vexing me in terms of a setup in its current situation is the nut thing at the B string slot ... It's on the fretboard!.

    I suppose it'd be worth doing the nut just for the experience ... Even if I then immediately decide to bin the whole thing?
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
  18. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Learning to make a good nut is a skill any tech should have. Buy GOOD tools, you'll use them a lot, approach your target carefully. Remember that it is always easy to take a little more off, its hard to put it back on.

    I'll leave you to decide whether you want to replace parts like tuners or bridge, and I'll leave the selection of pickups to you too. I'll just comment on setup and playability. I do a fair number of setups and have a pretty well defined procedure. First, before I do anything I measure everything (and write it down) - that way I can determine what must be done (and I know which things affect something else, and which don't). I make sure the guitar is structurally sound and the frets are perfect. If they aren't, fix them before you go any further. There is no point in putting a lot of effort into a guitar with bad frets or a wonky neck angle. Block the trem if you are going to.

    Then set the relief to your target (I can't tell if you have to take the neck off or whether you have access to the adjuster). Then do the nut, get the slots close but maybe a couple of thou high. Then do the action (saddles) and come back to the nut. Finally dial the intonation and the pickup heights.

    Changing tuners or bridge won't affect the nut, but if you are going to do it, do it first so you don't have to take everything apart. Changing the bridge will probably affect the action and of course, intonation. I have a hard time justifying expensive new parts on what might be a pretty marginal guitar - again, that is your call.
     
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  19. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Is that an early incarnation of this Vintage brand?
    s-l400.png

    I have a SG husk from this manufacturer. Seems like a solid guitar. They make some well spoken of copies.

    Plenty of hard rock played on strats & it'd do the the boy good to give one a whirl.

    Brent & Bill played LP's at times. Kudos to him for being a Mastadon fan. He coud do a lot worse.
     
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  20. 41144

    41144 Friend of Leo's

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    Freeman Keller - that's helpful thanks. It is a very marginal piece.

    bender66 - I think it was bought in '93, so very early model about the same price as a Squier Strat over here at that time.
    It was fine as a first guitar for my son, it has spent years in our loft and I doubt it's been played in 20 odd years (as previously said he's Gibson and Yamahas now)
    Incidentally, we also bought this to play thro' at the same time … sounds exactly like it did when bought … which for it's price is fair enough.
    (That has stayed in thee loft for the time being, Hopefully the local Scout group can get a few £s for it at their Xmas jumble sale)


    A DSC_0938.jpg
     
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