Monthly Archives: June 2017

Build day!

So I finally received the pickguard. Humbuckers fitted nicely, not so the CTS pot… so I had to enlarge the pot hole, and also drill a new one for the blower switch. I’ve to admit that I hesitated to drill the hole, and contemplated to use a push/pull volume, but my reasons to use a DPDT on-on were still very valid, so I ended up going on the original path and drilled the hole.

I mounted the components and it was  soldering time!… as I had pre-soldered (if that is even a word) everything, all I had to do was to solder the pickups and that was it… or so I thought…

When I went to mount the pickguard, I noticed the super switch was making contact with the side of the cavity. In fact it did not fit. so I had to flip the switch around, and re-do poles 0 by inverting the cabling so the switch would still work on the right position and right order.

I also swapped the DPDT switch for a different one which was easier to operate. Hopefully it will last the time.

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The completed pickguard.

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And this is what it looked like on the guitar. Notice the bridge saddles were also changed. I replaced the standard Fender vintage saddles with a set of Goth S21C steel saddles. I found these to be more comfortable for playing, specially as I do a lot of palm muting. The blower switch is behind the tremolo bar.

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The guitar with strings and intonation and action adjusted. Also note the volume know was replaced with a chrome one, as I think it looks much better.

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So that’s done!.. it was certainly a lot of fun…

and yes, it sounds amazing. I’ll upload some soundbytes soon.

Ah… and now I need a case and a beautiful strap

 

Because a little goes a long way…

… in terms of progress.

I know I have writen “Be patient” on the lessons page, but that does not mean to be iddle. While I wait for the remaining parts to arrive (Neck pickup, pickguard and copper tape), I decided to solder and prepare as many components as possible.  Also decided not to wire the components between them until I have the pickguard to mount them, in order to reduce the cable lenghts where it makes sense so the resulting guitar wiring does not look like an spaguetti bowl.

First the Fender 4P5T super switch was wired. Only outstanding connection into the switch are the neck and bridge pickups. The red and black cables on the left go to the volume pot and to ground on the back of the volume pot respectively. Not by best job but far from the worst

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The volume potentiometer CTS 500K Linear. Too easy

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Next was the blower switch. Red cable on the left of the picture goes to the tip in the output jack. The bridge pickup hot (black) is to be connected to the free connector.

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Also decided to redo the jack connection because I want the guitar to be as quiet as posible (noise wise), so the jack connection is now a twisted pair. this is the only part that won’t be inside the main cavity which will be shielded with copper tape.

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All the connections that I need to do next are:

  • Neck and bridge pickup to the super switch and blower switch (Bridge).
  • Neck “hot” from the switch to the switch,
  • Connect the ground to the output jack
  • Switch “hot” to and out of the volume to the blower switch.
  • Connect the hot from the blower switch to the output jack

 

An update on the Locking tuners

After being unable to receive any communications from the Seller, they have agreed to a refund, and according to reverb policies they should also cover return costs. As soon as I get my money back I will be ordering from my usual eBay sellers… never had any issues with them in more than 15 years.

Reverb support was most helpful and was a different experience to chat with an actual person 🙂

Locking tuners – not so locking

I got home from work to find out my locking tuners had arrived.

Had dinner, bathed the kids, put them to bed… right! time to install the tuners.

These I got from Reverb and sold as genuine Schaller made in Germany for Fender for $79.50 AUD + shipping, on what I thought was a good deal.  Fender part 099-0818-100 6 inline staggered chrome locking tunners.

So finally got to install the tuners. They looked exactly like the ones on my American Stratocaster Plus, which has Schaller locking tuners. So I removed the old fender original ones I installed a few weeks earlier (refer to this post), and commenced to install the new ones… 1 in, 2 in, 3 in with some effort, 4 in…5 in without issues… not… well it got in nicely, but the screw in bushing did not screw in completely which causes the washers to be loose. F%$^%… 6 in… same problem! again the bushings did not screw in properly!

You can see in the following pictures exacly what I mean

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On  this picture you can clearly see there is a gap between the bushings and the washer, specially the bottom one which is close to 1 mm

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I then moved the tuners to different positions to see if I had them in the wrong position (like that is a possiblity) and then I noticed they were not staggered either!!!  all six tuners were short!

So, and against all instinct and knowing these would not work… I decided to give them a try and replaced strings… thinking maybe the loose washer would not be a issue… WRONG! the rattle was very noticeable and unbearable… not to mention the short tuners would fail to keep the guitar in tune when using the tremolo, as the 3 low strings would have too much friction at the nut…

Complete unusable.

So I’ve contacted the seller requesting a full refund or replacement… I’m not fussed either way, all I want are brand new, and fully functional locking tuners.

 

Mod #1 – Quick Electronics connect/disconnect

I got a couple of JST Male to Female connectors to replace the ground and hot connection between the electronics and the guitar output jack. The idea behind this is to have a quick connect/disconnect of the whole electronics. I will also do the same for all the ground connections to the guitar once all the hardware has been replaced.

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Getting the JST through the jack routing hole. This is very small, and the connector would not go through it, hence why I had to do this before soldering the jack.

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Here you can see the soldered jack. (red to tip, black to ring/ground). Note that for the new electronics I would require an additional connector for the hot signal coming from the blower switch.

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Back on the pickguard and main electronics, connections are black to ground and red to volume potentiometer

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And this is the complete job.

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but wait!… we still need to do the same for the ground connections. For this I used some eye terminals and JST connectors

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These will be the ground connections to the body and bridge

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As you can see this is a more neat and clean arrangement fir the internals. This will help a lot when the new electronics are installed.

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Why a Partscaster? – Part II

So we stablished we’ll build a Strat based parts caster… but I don’t think I explained clearly why, so here are my reasons:

  • It’s a Fun project. My intention is to build an instrument I’ll enjoy playing, nothing more. I don’t intend to save money on it, nor as an investment… it will always be a partscaster and valued as such. A partscaster is not worth the sum of its components… But at this stage, I think it will play and sound great, and I’ll enjoy that… so that is priceless… for me.
  • The guitar will be mine, I made it, to my taste and to my specs. it’s like making bread… anyone should learn how to do it… it tastes great!
  • There’s no remorse or fear when modding the guitar. I remeber when I replaced the bride on my 1988 Stratocaster Plus…. with the same part number… some background: this was my first real guitar. It was a present from my father. The guitar possibly don’t have much street value, but the emotional value for me is huge… anyway.. I remember replacing the bridge… I was so scared… would it sound the same? it did… will it look the same? it did… will it lose value? it was going to anyway…. and so on and forth… there’s no attachment to a partscaster… you’ll get attached to it if the result is good and you put the hours playing it…. as I always say, love comes through caring….
  • I love putting things together and learning new stuff. I’ve made my own bicycles, sandals… bread… pasta… furniture… a silent speaker (from 90db down to 30db)… etc.
  • Fender doesn’t offer me what I want… well maybe it does, but at Fender Custom Shop prices… seriously, the Gilmour black strat is not worth that much…. don’t get me wrong, if I had the money i’d buy it in a second… for the record, my intention is not to build a Gilmour Black Strat… not yet anyway. And how is this for irony… Gilmour’s Back Strat is essentially the world’s most famous partscaster.
  • Mongrels and adopted dogs make amazing pets…
  • Because I can.
  • and finally… why not?