Pitfalls to avoid when building a partscaster

ten-foot-tryptych

half rock, half gas
#21
As I wait for the lacquer to cure, I've been firing off messages to a few Alibaba vendors about their guitar necks. It's a minefield out there! Often the pics don't match the description and it is often the case that the supplier knows nothing about guitars.

Some responses are vague (I get that, English is not their first language) and some suppliers don't even bother to respond.

Still, I am narrowing down the options.
 

ten-foot-tryptych

half rock, half gas
#22
Although my build is begging for a rosewood fretboard for aesthetic reasons,* CITES regulations and my preference for feel turns me towards the paler species of wood ---- maple.

* I contacted an Aliexpress shop about their CITES compliance and so far silence is the stern reply.....

Then, this came up from the same place I bought the body:

  • Roasted (baked) Maple tele neck.
  • Bone nut
  • 22 frets
  • Heel 56mm


It has medium frets and I would prefer jumbos but hey, beggars can't be choosers and if I hate them I could always take on the challenge of a refret without great concern as this is a relatively inexpensive item.

Anyway, it has been ordered and should be on its way soon!
 

Sustainerplayer

On the edge of breakup
#23
Although my build is begging for a rosewood fretboard for aesthetic reasons,* CITES regulations and my preference for feel turns me towards the paler species of wood ---- maple.

* I contacted an Aliexpress shop about their CITES compliance and so far silence is the stern reply.....

Then, this came up from the same place I bought the body:

  • Roasted (baked) Maple tele neck.
  • Bone nut
  • 22 frets
  • Heel 56mm


It has medium frets and I would prefer jumbos but hey, beggars can't be choosers and if I hate them I could always take on the challenge of a refret without great concern as this is a relatively inexpensive item.

Anyway, it has been ordered and should be on its way soon!
Cool - but is there a finish on? Looks like that from the picture. And maybe it is just the photo ... but it looks ... mhm ... lightly baked?
 

ten-foot-tryptych

half rock, half gas
#24
For sure. That's what I thought too. But the alternatives tend to be the more garish yellows (which I have already!) and the really orange hues.

I'm not convinced it's a bone nut either -- but I will know for sure when it arrives.

Some baked necks are pretty pale it seems. Here is a Warmoth baked maple neck.

 
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ten-foot-tryptych

half rock, half gas
#26


One of the cool things about relicing is that if you buy used items, they are not only cheaper than new but are already aged and show natural signs of wear.

This second hand pickguard arrived 10 minutes ago. It will determine what size (32mm or 34mm) control plate I get.




Also, in addition to the old, rusty steel wool in vinegar solution for relicing metal hardware, I find that instant coffee burned with a lighter is the fastest way to get results.
 

everfreetree

I... I like trees.
#28


The laquer has had 2 weeks of curing time and relicing has begun!!

First up was a soft, arm contour. The ash has a cool grain and I wanted to show it. I went at it slow and steady with the disk sander and suddenly this EYE appeared!!!!

My build now has a name; welcome IGOR (because it has an 'Eye' in it)
Disc sander probably did a better (and faster) job going "slow and steady" than I did going "quick and dirty" with my rasp, files, and sandpaper, heh.*
Looks very nice. Looking forward to more.



*See "Inky", Modified Chapman ML-3 in signature.
 

ten-foot-tryptych

half rock, half gas
#30
Neck has arrived and I am well pleased. Well machined and finished. Frankly, for the money it is phenomenal. I believe it is indeed a bone nut.

I don't have the tools or the will to do a full fret check and level so I'll see how far I go with it as it is.

The first job however was to sand the gloss off with 320 grit paper. Then I had a lovely satin feel neck.

I then stained it to make it a deeper 'roasted' brown. It needs a few dings on the headstock (I don't want to scrape away at the fingerboard) and I have been experimenting with a decal design.

Although it was a bit tedious masking off the frets and whatnot, having had my hands all over the neck dozens of times even before it is is screwed to the body helps me bond with the thing. I am getting to know the wood and metal intimately and that is no trivial thing.

This process is really like putting something of 'me' into the instrument. I like that.
 
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ten-foot-tryptych

half rock, half gas
#33


The neck plate finally arrived after what seemed like an eternity. I'm experimenting here with left over decal paper -- is it Igor or Eyegor?
After spraying it with some clear coat I went and touched it too early and smudged it bad style. Will re-think.



I got these vintage tuners on auction and regret doing so -- the fat E string peg is gammy to say the least -- I guess someone swapped the set out and should have thrown the dodgy one away -- they shouldn't have put it for sale anyway. Of course I could contest it with the seller but it would be too much hassle. I'll just swallow it and look around for an alternative.
 

ten-foot-tryptych

half rock, half gas
#34



A tale of two teles


TL;DR Not all teles are the same


Just over a year ago I got hold of Flash, the surf green relic tele you see here. It was an epiphany for me. A road to Damascus experience. After 30 years of tele hate, the poacher became the gamekeeper. I have played this guitar for at least 30 minutes every day since it arrived in my grubbies. 30 mins of rapturous penance for three decades of loathing. Oh, such grace! I love, love love it.


It was put together by a guy who seemed to know what he was doing -- he listed the spec in detail and took good photos to present his work with pride. I had set my heart on a surf green one and when one came up I vowed to make it mine. The auction topped out at a whisker under my maximum budget for the guitar and I became the proud owner.


We bonded very quickly and the Les Paul looked on enviously month after month. I got to dig it so much that I had a pang of fear thinking that something bad might happen to it -- you know, house fire, robbers in the night, or more likely, that I would do something drastic to it and completely mess it up.


For this reason, I decided to try and assemble a partscaster (a first for me) to try and equal or better Flash. I sourced bits that were as good or better than those in Flash. I took my time and carefully aligned the critical elements and set up the action and truss rod to my liking. There were a few moments when I wondered if it was going to be OK but by golly, it all worked out gloriously! The strings line up over the pole pieces better than any guitar I have had. Although I didn’t perform a full fret job on it, there are no dead spots, buzzing frets or any other issues. All of this for the same price as a Squire Infinity. Oh, one tuning peg is dodgy and it is still lacking a neck pup.


Spec for spec Igor is better than Flash. It feels solid and well balanced. It sounds like a tele.


But... do I like it more than Flash?..... No.


Igor plays well and keeps tuning well, the roasted maple (sanded back) neck feels good and all in all it is a good guitar. Neither bad, nor great but good. It is much like a guitar that you could pull of a rack in any music store. For that reason, and to my surprise, it lacks charisma.Igor is a Ford mondeo compared to Flash -- a hotrodded beach buggy!!


Flash has cheapo parts. The no brand (I suspect it is Donlis though...) bridge pup is gnarly and nasty in a good way. The volume pot is very slack making pinky volume swells v. easy. The neck is just under 42mm at the neck whereas Igor is 43mm. This is noticeable and although objectively the roasted maple neck on Igor is better than the regular one on Flash, I prefer the profile and playability of Flash.


Igor has a 2pc Ash body and a very snug neck pocket joint. Flash is Basswood and has a relatively sloppy neck joint. Flash rings like a freaking bell and the strings feel bouncy and some would say ‘toy like’ but I love it!! Igor has a snappier feel and requires slightly more effort to get those bends happening.


So what next?


Haven’t decided. Maybe I’ll strip Igor down again and try again. Different finish, different neck. Who knows. One thing is for sure; I am down with teles. I want them all.
 

bad alice

Easily distracted and...OHLOOKAGUITAR!!!
#35
For sure. That's what I thought too. But the alternatives tend to be the more garish yellows (which I have already!) and the really orange hues.

I'm not convinced it's a bone nut either -- but I will know for sure when it arrives.

Some baked necks are pretty pale it seems. Here is a Warmoth baked maple neck.

Hmmm?
Baked neck eh?
Inteeeresting...
:)



A tale of two teles


TL;DR Not all teles are the same


Just over a year ago I got hold of Flash, the surf green relic tele you see here. It was an epiphany for me. A road to Damascus experience. After 30 years of tele hate, the poacher became the gamekeeper. I have played this guitar for at least 30 minutes every day since it arrived in my grubbies. 30 mins of rapturous penance for three decades of loathing. Oh, such grace! I love, love love it.


It was put together by a guy who seemed to know what he was doing -- he listed the spec in detail and took good photos to present his work with pride. I had set my heart on a surf green one and when one came up I vowed to make it mine. The auction topped out at a whisker under my maximum budget for the guitar and I became the proud owner.


We bonded very quickly and the Les Paul looked on enviously month after month. I got to dig it so much that I had a pang of fear thinking that something bad might happen to it -- you know, house fire, robbers in the night, or more likely, that I would do something drastic to it and completely mess it up.


For this reason, I decided to try and assemble a partscaster (a first for me) to try and equal or better Flash. I sourced bits that were as good or better than those in Flash. I took my time and carefully aligned the critical elements and set up the action and truss rod to my liking. There were a few moments when I wondered if it was going to be OK but by golly, it all worked out gloriously! The strings line up over the pole pieces better than any guitar I have had. Although I didn’t perform a full fret job on it, there are no dead spots, buzzing frets or any other issues. All of this for the same price as a Squire Infinity. Oh, one tuning peg is dodgy and it is still lacking a neck pup.


Spec for spec Igor is better than Flash. It feels solid and well balanced. It sounds like a tele.


But... do I like it more than Flash?..... No.


Igor plays well and keeps tuning well, the roasted maple (sanded back) neck feels good and all in all it is a good guitar. Neither bad, nor great but good. It is much like a guitar that you could pull of a rack in any music store. For that reason, and to my surprise, it lacks charisma.Igor is a Ford mondeo compared to Flash -- a hotrodded beach buggy!!


Flash has cheapo parts. The no brand (I suspect it is Donlis though...) bridge pup is gnarly and nasty in a good way. The volume pot is very slack making pinky volume swells v. easy. The neck is just under 42mm at the neck whereas Igor is 43mm. This is noticeable and although objectively the roasted maple neck on Igor is better than the regular one on Flash, I prefer the profile and playability of Flash.


Igor has a 2pc Ash body and a very snug neck pocket joint. Flash is Basswood and has a relatively sloppy neck joint. Flash rings like a freaking bell and the strings feel bouncy and some would say ‘toy like’ but I love it!! Igor has a snappier feel and requires slightly more effort to get those bends happening.


So what next?


Haven’t decided. Maybe I’ll strip Igor down again and try again. Different finish, different neck. Who knows. One thing is for sure; I am down with teles. I want them all.
What a FANTASTIC thread
And a stupendous result for a first time build!:clap:
I have yet to attempt such audaciousness so you are most definitely a better man than I #legend
Wait...

Shit.

You KNOW what I mean, right?
:)
 

ten-foot-tryptych

half rock, half gas
#37
Yeah. The guy did a good job.
If I were to re-do the blue one, I would stain the wood brown, skip the grain filler and go straight to primer and laquer --

I found that scraping off the blue paint revealed much cream colour filler and rather than wood so I'm not getting the cool look of the green one.
 

ten-foot-tryptych

half rock, half gas
#38
igor2.png

A lot has happened. The basic guitar was sound but I wasn't happy with a number of things.

1. I reshaped the neck profile with my Japanese saw rasp. It feels better! I love the raw wood feel after sanding to 220 grit.

2. Removed the logo. I should have used water slide decals instead of the sticker type which showed an edge.

3. Repaint. I thought the blue was meh. Igor wanted a more badass look so I sanded back and gave it a thin skin nitro finish in what I call 'Distressed Firetruck' --- I love it!! Scuffed it with sandpaper and dirtied it up.

4. Changed the pickguard. They say it is Mint green, I call it off white but whatever -- I like it, a lot.

5. Swapped out the pickup. The Gotoh classic Tele pup was OK. Not bad; not good. I wanted something edgier with more bite so I got an alnico 5 rods pup from Donlis --- Yeah! That's what I'm talking about!! Gnarly and with bite when you want it. Great price too. So happy.

6. Changed the pegs. As you know, one of them was duff on the previous set so I had to really.


----------------

* One note about ordering from Aliexpress -- the things that arrive might be slightly different from the picture on the website. For example, the pickguard was not supposed to have screw holes for mounting the neck pup but the one that came had said holes -- not a disputable issue for me but it could have been. Also, the worst gaffe was that one of the pegs had a closed end when all the others were vintage split type.

I can live with those type of mistakes but not if I was making something for someone else.

IMG_5443.JPG
 
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