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Friday, February 27, 2015

G000543 facelift

delighted with the custom made pick guard that arrived yesterday from California.
this guitar is an amazing player , so it was only fair to give her a facelift and I like the result.

obviously the options of pickups and pots were endless, but I kept the guitar as I liked her best, one humbucker in the tail with one volume pot. The humbucker is out of a 1978 greco JB and sounds awesome.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


keen for some lite wood strats, so one of them is getting changed....this weighs in at 3lbs 5 ozs and I like the honey burst ...

we shall see...

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

on the cards...

whilst looking around in my bag of goodies, I came across this bunch of graph tech Ghost acoustic was ripped out of another guitar..
So...I'm thinking of sticking it in the Strele. The natural body in the pick. I'll not bother with a bridge magnetic pickup, but use the space as a host for the board and such like.
The rosewood neck is currently on the natural tele body. The neck pup is a rio grande that was banging about. Could be interesting with an acoustic bridge and mag neck pup. It's all a bit of a mix and match, genuine junkyard effort, but could be fun .

So, had a quick look at what was in working order and what wasn't.
So the idea is to have an acoustic set-up in the bridge and mag neck pup.
I reckon I'll be able to fit everything...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tokai neck heel and body

I picked up a rather nice Tokai breezysound 80's telecaster neck that had been mucked around with, which is to say it had Tokai removed and a Fender decal added, as well as some extra holes drilled in the heel with older holes filled in. The seller had also apparently nitio'd the neck which is nicely worn, chunky and has an awesome veneer rosewood fingerboard.

First time I tried to fit the neck though I discovered the new holes that had been drilled would not line up with the vintage USA body. rather annoying as you can, i drilled out the crap that had been used to fill in the original holes and they fitted more or less.. I say more or less because, as you can see by the photographs, there is a slight gap between the pickguard/body and the neck. I looked at a Tokai body and noticed they have a slightly different design in the heel, which has the same edges as late seventies fender, but also a kinda crown that sticks out at the same point the truss bar would be. So i guess that is why the neck doesn't fit flush with the body. 

or maybe it's something else...She works anyway and sounds amazing!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

gettin' there

had to get out the hand chisel to open up the neck pickup route to ensure the firebird pup fitted well.

Make a note that Firebird pickups are slightly wider than Gibson mini-Humbucker pickups. This is quite important to understand as the bridge was initially purchased for a mini humbucker but fortunately the builder informed me that this issue had happened previously and that builders had had to file up the bridge to accept a Firebird pup.

These Mountain Queens pickups are sold as mini humbuckers.

As the body had been chewed up over the years I had no qualms at opening up the neck route slightly wider. It was either gonna be a neck pup or I was gonna fit an Esquire guard.

Right then, guard fitted and both pups in place. next on the agenda is to wire up the pups to a three way and stick in some 500 pots. It's old school shielding wiring on these pups so slightly more of a pain when wiring them up as the earthing is part of the initial single wire.

The correct ferrules arrived yesterday and were fitted in the rear as the originals were fitted to another project. If you look closely at the photograph you may notice that where the neck is fitted the wood is also slightly wasted... This body has really gone through hell previously...

So, a few more details that are important to keep in mind as I wait for the neck to arrive. As the body has been thinned/shaved at some point, I'll have to source some slightly shorter neck screws.

Something else I noticed last night whilst shaving the neck route to make way. This body is by all accounts is a very dark wood...I would say mahogany. I'll have to do more research on this.... Like I have written previously, the history on this body goes back apparently to the early 70s... As I've written previously, I'm not convinced, but regardless, it's a dark old wood that sounds really great.

The guard was purchased as being slightly mint green. Doesn't look bad at all. I've still to work on some of the finer details on the fit as you can see a lot had to be modified at the base.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

decision made...

So, as already reported I've sent off the hand-made pickguard to the experts across the pond who mostly deal with selling G&L pickguards as well as every other model of guard.

It's gonna be a one-off. So, I went through what I wanted. First of all it would be a stock strat set-up with three singles, three pots and a switch...

Then I remembered just how much I enjoyed playing this guitar with only the single humbucker in the tail (which is out of a Greco lawsuit 1978 ).

So, whats coming back is a 4 ply tortoise shell pickguard with one space for a single humbucker and 1 hole for a volume pot and 1 hole for the output jack. Clean lines and no fuss and of course it will keep sound that I like it for. I reckon the tortoise shell will work with the battered candy apple.

can't be worst that what she came wearing...

Friday, February 6, 2015

Mountain Queen tele

So, here's another project going on.

I've been informed that the body started out as a 72 tele body. initially the tele was black.
My question was...
..why is it so thin...and did you realise its a 5 piece body?
reply was: had it thinned...repainted it....

One thing is for sure, it's defo old wood. but it's been hacked around...a drill bit decided to make it into a Nashville and and one point an attempt was made and then attempted to cover up a humbucker in the bridge.

As the info came from a pretty credible source, I'm not gonna make any decision on it. More importantly, it was time to make something a bit different and a bit special out of a body that's obviously got a story to sing.

As I had a few Gemini firebird style pickups sitting around, I decided these would be the best bet for this body as opposed to going to a full size humbucker in the bridge. There is a bloke who sells stainless tele bridges for different configs so that went on order.

Fitted, the plate is ever so slightly too wide to fit into a standard width pickguard, so that's the next headache. haven't decided 100% if I'm gonna fit a neck pickup or if I'll go with an Esquire setup..
If you've been in the same position, you'll understand the types of questions that race through the grey matter...I've ordered a mint green pickguard for a firebird format in the neck..but not sure that will work with the red of the body...the positive was the cheap cost of the pickguard which will mean I can modify the pickguard without getting heaving on the bridge...

Necks on the way. keen to see how this one develops..

Looking around the web, there are some pretty interesting guitars knocked together.
I wonder how Steve Morse telecaster looked before he fitted all the pups..



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

One of my own

This is my own. Couldn't afford the Carbonita. Body is natural with a bee's wax top. neck is a fatback birdseye. never seen anything with more birdeye . oiled only. can't remember who made the neck or body. I stuck in a TvJones PowerTron Plus ( ) and modified a telebridge that was made for TvJones string spacing. These pickups are awesome! clean or driven!
Anyway, clean deck, all natural and beautiful neck.



Heritage H140 CMV

...talking of Gibson...
...I still reckon Heritage guitars are still one of the most underrated on the planet.
It's quite strange how the market works....I guess it's the same with MIJ guitars...everybody knows that in some era's they burn Made in USA guitars but still they fight to get a decent price. There are of course some exceptions to the rule. 

I bought this Heritage as a project a few years ago. I've no idea how it ended up leaving the factory without being completely finished...and it doesn't carry a 2nds serial..I suppose it simply wasn't wanted..

The H140 CMV are quite a rarity. there aren't that many photographs of them around. As the body came completely empty and without even the nut cut, I decided to make it my EMG guitar. So, Zakk EMG kit was fitted and to use the pre-drilled holes that would have been initially set up for the CMV, I fitted an Kerry King boost overdrive switch and an out of phase switch. One of the switches is a dummy. To assist with the adjustable boost overdrive switch, I spliced together double 9V batteries as apparently the booster switches drain ´the Volts. I've no idea, read that on a Forum somewhere, so thought I'd fit it up.

TonePros lockable tail parts.

Gibson R7 custom shop

got a call last year from a mate who worked in one of the local guitar shops. Apparently some random bloke had walked in the shop, had a look around, and then grabbed the R7 from it's wall mounting and legged it out of the shop. My mate took chase and tackled the bloke to the ground. he in turn let go of the wood and was then taken back to the shop. Unfortunately the police were called...otherwise we could have bound and gagged and sorted him out with a couple of billy sticks......, call came in asking if I would be interested in the R7, road rash included. The price was attractive and the rash was only at the bottom rear of the guitar...murphy aged for real I guess...
So I thought I'd have a look and I sold a years worth of rugby coaching for the attractive price..

The first impression was the weight. Not a lightweight as I had expected, probably due to my 2002 R9 that is quite light. But once plugged in....what a tone...felt like I'd moved a gold Steinberger and moved it into the room...quite incredible. I immediately  understood why these custom shops have the price tags they have...seriously incredible tone.

I phoned the seller and told him I'd have it. I also asked if he had also played the tone kraken. he replied , of course. The owner and he had gone south to look at a bunch of guitars and he had tested around 30. Out of the 30 he said that this specific guitar had left it's mark.

Looking at the COA it's a 2012 guitar. Obviously Gibson decided to release a new Goldtop R7 in 2013 with a Gold paint that had more copper content. Looks awesome. I'll settle for the older version however. I have to say, I've been a sceptic at the costs of the Custom Shop guitars, but having played this one, it's worth the extra. I'm pretty convinced it has a lot to do with the weight and the one piece neck, as well as the pups...regardless, it's a tone monster....with a story.

Monday, February 2, 2015



To cut a long story short:
years and years of being scared of horses, dogs etc...(not cats..)
decided to get over it.
Got the opportunity to head to a stable full of Stallions in Spain.
Contador ended up being purchased by a friend and ended up in Sweden.
I'm been his groom ever since.
jobs include everything except riding him. As I've never ridden a horse I don't no what I'm missing so there's no damage there as yet.
I'm now in his flock as mr Wonka bars...I'm his feeder.

Not afraid of horses or dogs anymore.

The gym days are dead.
Long live the stables days.

No idea where the time went.

Basically rugby and training used to absorb every minute of the day. But since the injuries incurred through stupidity and due to the inevitability of getting older, this has had to change. Nowadays it’s taking care of a PRE horse that takes over the minutes spent in a gym. The rugby is still very much on the cards and after the successes and failures of 2014, its going to be another eventful 2015 and possibly the last in the game.

When dealing with big fish in a small pond as opposed to being a small fish in a big pond, your always relying on the fact that the big fish are decent and honest people who are competent to ensure the small pond is kept in decent shape and that the strategy is to one day ensure the pond gets bigger. When this doesn’t happen for 25 years you kinda get worn down by watching the YES men and woman gaining a position to ensure that not only will nothing change, but that the water is gonna get more murky. So 2015 could be the last effort .

Meanwhile, the other time absorbers are still very much on the go despite the lack of updates on the blog.

The Ducati 748 is the current hack, and despite and stolen/recovered episode is still working okay. It’s due it’s 40,000km service now which is slightly worrying as the cost are prohibitive…

The OW01 is complete and is just waiting for more love and attention. There are a few things to do, but she starts up and starts car alarms .

The kawasaki zxrr is still in the kitchen.

As we’re currently in the middle of a snow storm in Sweden, it’s obviously been the time to take a look at the guitar horde and see if anything can be improved, changed or rebuilt . There have been some new projects on the go which I’ve been pleased with the outcome.

Here are some photographs of some old, some new, some changed. Currently 4 guitars are in rebuild status , with pickguards on the way, with telecasters set up for firebird pickups , esquire wiring on 3 lb telecaster bodies…schecter custom shop necks..bodys …just tons of fun and tone.







So basically to'll notice some necks got swapped around...usually for a technical reason more than anything else. The schecter custom shop didn't seem to like one of the bodies due tot he pitch angle , but once changed to another body didn't have the issue.
Currently in the shop (the kitchen table) is the Nashville , which started life out as a std. tele back in 69 or 72, which has been hacked, skimmed and left for dead. I was planning on using a neck that I picked up cheap , but then discovered it was 53 mm NEXT. deserved a lot better! So it's getting the following neck which looks amazing!

I want to use the Nashville pickguard and found some quite rare blade pickups at the bottom of a trunk, so stuck them in. Not sure if I will use them or not. Also have a tele bridge on the way which is made to carry a Firebird pickup. Initially that was the I have a couple of Gemini scatterwound Mountain Queen firebird pickups that have been removed from the 61 melody maker Gibson...but I'm now considering using both in the black "mr horsepower" telecaster which has the Tokai neck adorning a fender decal.. think that would sound pretty awesome. The Tokai neck is chunky and back from 1980's era. So I reckon I'll still the firebird mountain queens in 69 telecaster body and see how that looks and sounds.
The esquire looking guitar has some original oil-in-paper caps and treble bleed wired into the system and has an amazing scatterwound custom shop pickup in the bridge. The body came as a 3 lbs 3oz nitro relic and the neck is an original '78 telecaster maple neck. Really like this project. sounds the business. So, now it's simply a question of whether I should pair up the bridge with it's brother in the neck, or simply finish her with an esquire pickguard or, leave her alone as she currently looks like the telecaster that Billy Gibbons had..
The G&L has a story on it's own. I finally decided enough was enough with the hatchet job done on the body and the pickguard, so now I've sent off the homemade guard that came on her and that will be replaced with a professional pickguard in 4 ply tortoise shell with an S/S/S configuration and std. pots and switch setup.
So anyway, lots to be getting on with. I've also got the Gibsons to look at . More on them later...
The Heritage still acts and looks the business though
with double 9V batteries and a bunch a gear it's still sounding awesome! CMV140 with a bite!
So, hopefully the pix will give an idea of whats happening.I'll be uploading a bit more often .