Thursday 31 October 2002

FOR SALE: Eko Ranger XII with Shadow pickup

Eko Ranger XII
This is a nice example of the ever-popular Italian-made Eko Ranger 12-string guitar. It is a full-sized acoustic guitar and is approximately 17 to 18 years old (I bought it new in the early 80s), and features the Eko company's trademark bolt-on neck (on an acoustic!).

The guitar also features a Shadow piezo under-saddle pickup in the bridge, and an accompanying volume control on the upper shoulder near the neck. The pickup was installed at the factory and isn't a retro-fit. I have used it for recording the guitar (excellent sound) and also for playing through a PA system.

(I do also have a Schaller magnetic sound-hole pickup, that is not included in this auction, but if you are interested let me know and we might be able to work something out. Using a combination of the two pickups, I have been able to produce a HUGE sound - piezo through a PA and magnetic through an AC30! Amazing!)

The bad news is that the guitar does have one rather nasty knock to it, on the rear of the guitar at the base near the end-pin - see photo. I took it to a band rehearsal once (I don't know what I was thinking because we were a punk band) and the drummer was fooling around with it. Back at home afterwards I found the injury that had been inflicted on it. But that's drummers for you.

However, the sound is not affected by this injury. I've played many 12-strings, including some a lot more expensive than this one, and I've never found another that I liked the sound of as much, nor that played as easily. The guitar has quite a low action to it, so this obviously increases playability.

What else can I tell you about it? The neck is straight, the machine heads all work well, and the general condition is good apart from the one battlescar that I have already mentioned. My only reasons for selling are that my guitar "collection" needs to be cut down and I simply don't play this one any more.

This guitar is up for auction on eBay in the UK (Auction over. Sold for £167)

Wednesday 30 October 2002

The Teisco Twangers Paradise!
Brian May tells how he built that guitar.
Tym Guitars - Australia's custom built Mosrite replicas.

Tuesday 29 October 2002

And now for something completely different: A story about repetitive strain injury from the BBC News Health and Safety pages (!) - Rock guitar is a pain.
P Bass reaches 50 - The Fender Custom Shop is now taking orders for the 1951 Anniversary Precision Bass. Unveiled at summer's NAMM show, the bass will start shipping in October, the same month the in which the bass was originally launched 50 years ago.

Friday 25 October 2002

The person who sold me that pile of junk has emailed me:

I have just noticed that you have left a complaint about the guitar project saying that the description was mis-leading, could you please contact me and advise why.

I am happy to offer you a refund if you are not satisfied with the item you have received, it is not my intention to mislead anyone.

I await your response.

My reply:
OK, I quote the description:

"Guitar project Tanglewood strat copy for spares or repair good neck and hardware body badly damaged"

"Body badly damaged" - true. But the rest of the guitar is badly damaged too, which you hadn't implied. It certainly was not a case of "good neck and hardware". The neck is the most bent out of shape guitar neck I have ever seen. It is not repairable.

So that leaves the hardware - pickups and pots are rusty looking underneath, as if the guitar had been kept somewhere damp. One machine head has the tuning button broken off, and the tremolo/bridge is incomplete.

So basically it was £30 spent on some old pickups that have seen better days, plus pots and a few pieces of incomplete hardware. The guitar is not really repairable.

G L Wilson
It'll be interesting to see how he answers that. I don't see how he could possibly have thought that the neck was in good condition. He must know absolutely nothing about guitars, but even in that case he should have been able to spot the state it was in.

I suppose the lesson to be learnt from this is to be very careful when buying old beat up guitars off eBay.

Tuesday 22 October 2002

Well, the Tanglewood Strat-style guitar turned up. And in short, it's a piece of crap. It looks as if someone has used it to smash up on stage. I don't know why they didn't finish the job properly having gone that far!

The body is dented quite badly. It does appear to be solid wood, but the wood is not very hard. I will try removing the finish and sanding it down, and will attempt to fill in the dents and the holes using woodfiller as best I can. It's possible that it may not be salvagable though.

The neck (which was listed as being "good") is the most bent out of shape guitar neck I have ever seen. I can't even get an allen key anywhere near the trussrod head to adjust it. Not that I think it'd help anyway. The fingerboard is also half hanging off.

I've taken it entirely to bits and hopefully the pickups will be usable for another project. Those and the tremolo bridge (which is lacking saddles). I would say that I'd got a set of machine heads out of this too, but even one of those is lacking the tuning button.

All in all, a disaster, but I will salvage what I can.
Rick Nielson's Guitars (the Cheap Trick laddie with a penchant for bizarre guitars, e.g. that five necked beastie)
The Unofficial Kiss Guitar Website (the title says it all really)

Friday 18 October 2002

Heart Strings: Fundraiser featuring opportunities to purchase custom, hand-painted Fender Stratocaster guitars by Eric Clapton, Shari Belafonte, Kevin Bacon, Elizabeth Hurley, Whoopi Goldberg and other celebrities.

Thursday 17 October 2002

Yet another project!

Tanglewood guitar
Yet another eBay win (£30) for a renovation project! Here's how the seller described it:
Guitar project Tanglewood strat copy for spares or repair good neck and hardware body badly damaged
Despite the lack of punctuation, the implication is that the neck is straight (I do hope so!) and the hardware is all in good working order. As to what "Body damaged" means, I'm not so sure. Is it just damage to the finish as can be seen in the photo, or are there any serious cracks in the body. If it's the former, it'll be another strip and re-finish job, but if the body is seriously knackered then I'll need to cast it aside in favour of a replacement. Only one way to find out, and that is to wait and see, but here's hoping I got a bargain for 30 quid.

Wednesday 16 October 2002

All you ever wanted to know about the Basitar and Guitbass! Inspired by the Presidents Of The USA. is an excellent site devoted to this mysterious 4-stringed instrument.
I've just spent quite a little while reading through Bob's guitar pages which he describes as "an information resource to both aspiring and existing hobbyist electric guitar makers". Really excellent stuff, and if you're after a custom made instrument, then his prices are very reasonable!

Tuesday 15 October 2002

Another modular guitar system - the Chrysalis Guitar system "consists of a family of interchangeable components which allow a musician to quickly assemble a full-size full-scale electric/acoustic guitar without tools. The parts snap together, and the strings are brought up to playing tension with a lever in the back of the headstock. With interchangable components, a wide variety of instrument forms can be created, including 6- and 12- string electric guitar, 6- and 12-string acoustic guitar, 8-string electric or acoustic mandocello and acoustic bass guitar configurations."

"The guitar components are designed for rapid assembly and disassembly without tools, making it extremely compact for storage and transport. All of the parts for the guitar can be fit in a small cloth gig bag measuring 8" x 2" x 20" (10 cm x 5 cm x 40 cm)."

Monday 14 October 2002

Mike Rutherford's Custom Shergold Doubleneck - there were actually four "halves" of this instrument which could be clipped together in different double-neck combinations. Great website about these classic British guitars, by the way!
Some very colourful and vivid graphics by Harley Guitars and a preponderance of parrots!

Thursday 10 October 2002

Elvis Presley

Elvis' first ever guitar on sale

A 50-year-old guitar held together with scraps of tape could fetch £4 million at auction. The instrument was handed to her son by Mrs Presley for his 11th birthday back in 1946. It cost the equivalent of a fiver but was to help little Elvis to become the biggest rock ‘n’ roll legend the world has ever seen. More...

Pictured: Elvis plays guitar (a Gibson Trini Lopez, I believe [edit: no it wasn't, it was a Hagstrom]): probably not the one his mother bought him for his 11th birthday.
Xilinx and Gibson Guitar Team to Deliver the Music Industry's First True Digital Guitar

Tuesday 8 October 2002

Guitar Project: Update

Remember this? This was to be my next guitar project:
Encore Guitarist model
To re-cap, it's an Encore "Guitarist" guitar, very beaten-up and with missing pickup, knobs, bridge saddles, etc. The heavily-scratched body appeared to be made from MDF and still had the sheared-off pickup mounting screws stuck in the front of the body.

The neck, however, is in very good condition, so I was considering marrying this neck to another - better quality - guitar body.

Today I received a parcel containing the Telecaster body I've been expecting.
Tele style body / Encore neck
The neck from the Encore would seem to be a perfect fit into the Telecaster's neck pocket, and indeed, I think that the shape of the headstock is aesthetically pleasing when used with this body shape. But I will have to make some careful measurements as it is highly likely that the body has been designed for a 21 fret neck whereas this is a 22 fret neck. This means the whole neck is slightly longer and to compensate for this the bridge on the guitar would have to sit slightly more forward from the usual position, bringing it very close to the rear pickup cavity.

I'm wondering what are the rules governing distance from the rear pickup to the bridge. Obviously if it is too close, there will not be enough string vibration for the pickup to capture. But, of course, this depends on what kind of pickup I put into that rear cavity. If I put in a single coil pickup, I could position it away from the bridge.

By the way, pickups I currently have available are a Seymour Duncan Stratocaster-style single coil pickup, and a DiMarzio humbucker, although I am still on the lookout for others (just in case).

Another thing I have to bear in mind is the scratchplate and/or control plates that the body will need. I have no idea from where this body originated or who made it, but the routing is hardly typical telecaster. All the standard Telecaster-style scratch plates that I have seen (including Custom and Thinline variations) would not suit this body. For example, with a regular Telecaster scatch plate mounted on this body, the routing from the rear pickup to the control cavity would still be uncovered.

Also, that control cavity looks longer than normal, so again, a standard Telecaster metal plate would not be suitable here.

I need to find someone who can cut a custom plate to my own specifications.
Bass Project

The Project: Short-scale bass guitar - Pt 6: Stumbling Block

Continuing to re-attach the hardware, I put the pickup in place, followed by the scratchplate, thumb-rest, and the bridge. I then decided to put the strings on also, so I could see whether or not it was all going to work as it should.
Bass project
Bass project

The strings were very old, flat wound (or tape wound), but that was unimportant; they still highlighted a very serious problem. The action was extremely high.

Looking down the neck I could clearly see that, with the pull of the strings, the neck was as bent as a banana.

So, off came the truss-rod cover, out came the allen keys and having tighted the truss rod as far as it would go...

The neck was still bowed!

Possible solutions:
  1. Replace the bridge with a Fender style one that sits lower down on the body, and which might help decrease the action and make the bowing less pronounced.
  2. Find a new (straight) neck.
Either way, it's going to make this project much more expensive, and I can't see me being able to make my money back. But as it stands, no-one would buy a bass with a bowed neck.

Wednesday 2 October 2002

The Project: Short-scale bass guitar - Pt 5: We can rebuild it!

Putting it back together againUPDATE: Having applied five coats of the All In One finish to both the neck and the body and having built up quite a luxuriant rich-coloured finish, I decided to re-bolt the neck back in place, and have begun to add the hardware, e.g. the machine heads. I would add all the hardware, but am undecided if I want to put the old bridge back on, or whether to buy a new Fender-style bridge (in which case, would I need to fill in the holes for the old bridge?).

It would also have been nice to have added a second pickup such as a jazz bass pickup in the treble position, but this would mean (a) buying the pickup (expensive) and (b) routing a cavity in the body to accommodate it. I think that for this project what I'm going to do is to leave it as a retro-piece, which just the single neck pickup.

One very real problem that I have yet to address is the Big Hole in the front of the control cavity. Someone - a previous owner - had butchered this bass in an attempt to fit a Stratocaster-style recessed jack-plug socket. The only problem being that they couldn't actually fir this inside the control cavity, so they flipped it over so that it wasn't recessed by protruded outwards from the body! What a bodge job.

Needless to say, I do not intend reinstalling this socket. A regular jack socket, mounted flush to the body should do nicely. Only, I have the Big Hole to contend with. So, I suppose I ought to mount the new socket on a plate of some kind. I might be able to buy something, or perhaps cut myself one from a piece of wood and stain it the same colour as the body.


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