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 ūüôā

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


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


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.


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.


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.


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


And this is the complete job.


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


These will be the ground connections to the body and bridge


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.





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?

The pickups

As I wrote before, I love strats, they play just so nice. But I also like different guitars, and different sounds.

The firs time I heard of the Blacktop Stratocaster, I was really intrigued: A Stratocaster with dual humbuckers, and ‘vintage’ humbuckers while we are are. The demos available online sounded great, but as the guitar is no longer in production, I could not find one to test. So¬†I bought one second hand.

I loved it. It was so familiar, yet so different. It played like a Strat, yet is sounded like no strat I’ve heard before. So it became one of my go to guitars.

But the AlNiCo V vintage pickups, while they sound really good, they are quite a high output, and as a result, they tend to mud things a little, specially when you are after the “Tube amp just breaking” tone… you know, that super clean yet crunchy sound. It just doesn’t happen. the pickups are simply too hot for that.

Enter the P.A.F. pickup. The 58-60 Gibson sound. that’s exactly the pickup for that job. While I love the Les Paul sound, I just can’t feel confortable playing it… maybe is a combination of the neck scale¬†and the radius… and the weight… or who know… its just not right for me.

So I had narrowed down to a few PAF reissues, including Gibson and DiMarzio, and then I was lucky to try a Suhr Standard with a Thornbucker neck pickup… and that was it. exactly the tone I was after.

So more internet research and heaps of online demos and review later, I think the thornbuckers are the way to go. I believe they will provide that clean-dirty super clean and warm tone.

I’ve decided on the raw nickel covered ones, as there will ‘age’ its looks quicker (they will develop a patina), and I think they will look cool.

I have also decided on the 53mm for the neck.

thornbucker 2

lets just hope these fit on the HH pickguard…

The Hardware (AKA The Shopping List)

So here’s my shopping list. This will probably change over time, but this where I’m at. I might write a post or two about some of the choices I made, but I’m happy with them so far, and only time will tell whether I’m truly happy with them.

  • Fender/Schaller Staggered Locking tuners¬†¬†–¬†Received & useless (read this)
  • Gotoh NS510TS Bridge
  • New HH Pickguard – Shipped
  • Fender 4P5T Superswitch¬†¬†–¬†Received
  • Linear 500K Taper for Volumen¬†¬†–¬†Received
  • DPDT on/on mini toggle switch for Blower switch – Shipped
  • Suhr Thornbucker Neck on Raw nickel – Shipped
  • Suhr Thornbucker 53mm¬†Bridge¬†on Raw nickel –¬†Purchased
  • Wiring, and 2 Pin MULTI Pin Plug / ¬†9V battery clips, for a quick connect/disconnect of the loaded board¬† –¬†Done (read this)
  • Copper tape for cavity shielding – Shipped