Overhauled and Bastardized

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I am a person big on quotations. Life altering wisdom in the most minimal sentences, when said at the right times. There was one that stood out to me and it was something along the business of: “To achieve something, you must first start something“. If I knew who said it, I would not have to paraphrase from memory and possibly butcher it in the process. I do however have a consolation quote. My favorite of all: “The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success“, which I am learning now is from James Bond: Tomorrow Never Dies, but the words were written by Bruce Feirstein. Never the less, I believe this to ring true with the world. Lady Gaga and Marilyn Manson being the case and point, but I am getting a little far from the point. Take it upon yourself to start a project and finish it through. I have many on the go right now and some take priority over others, but the point is I have something.

Most recently, I have finished restoring a guitar,

but let us start in more of a chronological sense and return to that. A few years ago, I was moving out of my fourth floor condo and into a house. While placing my guitars in the van, the neighbor below me noticed this and offered me two guitars. They were free and in decent shape. The acoustic I gave to a guy who said he wanted to learn. The second was a Greg Bennett Malibu. Slightly neglected but it was in decent condition. I played it a few times but never really felt it. A year after that, I got it in my head that I should overhaul it, since I already learned how to prep cars in an auto body shop. So I took it apart, sanded it down and payed a guy to cut me a pick guard out of diamond plate. I still do, but at the time I really dreamed about having a Vintage Hot Rod ’52 Telecaster, but even now I wouldn’t be able to afford it. This inspired me to drop a humbucker in the neck and a single coil in the bridge. The stain was a little difficult but over all, it is the clear coat that makes it look pro, which I failed. I fixed that with high grit, wet sand paper and now you see the result. I then named it, “The Bastard”.

It wasn’t long until I had the itch a second time.

Staring at my Squier Special P bass, I decided to take it apart with blind faith in the fact I had no plan at all this time. As I stroll into work, still the auto body shop, and did a double take at this Hummer we had in the shop for a month (waiting for parts). I thought “I have never seen a Fender in that color”, so when the parts were received and ready for paint, so to was my Squier. Now my only plan for this bass is the make it look as far from stock as I can. I spray-painted the pick guard and I will eventually buy a black one. Snapped one of the pots and the other was just bent… So I took them right out. I wanted to pop in a Basslines SRB-1 or a Musicman pickup, but I will explain later. I did however find a bridge that makes it pop a bit. I am not finished but so far you see the results. This is my first bass, and it deserves to have the time spent on it.

Now, my third installment.

The Roadie Rag - An EZer way to clean your instruments!

I was talking to a guy I met and he asked me to take a look at his Toledo guitar to see if it was fixable. OK  that was a lie… I bugged him relentlessly to look at the guitar. The electronics where completely shot. Imagine the hum of a single coil that is louder than the strings you twang and it never goes away. These were soap-bar pickups but still oddly shaped then any I have come across.  After doing a little homework (http://www.dickert.ca/Toledo/toledoguitarpage.htm), I found out that it is a rare guitar. Not too collectible and not of high value but still rare. I traded him The Bastard which worked and received a broken guitar. It was a favorable trade on both ends. I began to browse for parts and ideas. I don’t have a lot of cash, so I went to guitarfetish.com and restored it to play-ability  My shopping list consisted of a toggle switch, pick guard material, screws, and a “Dream-90″ pickup. The total was around $80. I got a good deal on some machine heads else ware and used pots that seem to be doing their job well so far and I had a few things lying around.  A used Mexican telecaster neck pickup and some ebony guitar knobs (stewmac). The supreme challenge I came across was cutting the pick guard to the shape I wanted it. I know what you’re thinking at this point. “Why not just buy a pre made pick guard?” Well because there are no guards that will fit this guitar and I tried. Would have been a lot cheaper but It is rare, remember. So I tried anyway… It twas a mess and after giving up and realizing I didn’t have the right tools for the job, I took it to my guitar tech. The damn thing cost me $150 to cut but over all, it was worth it to have this beast going. This is where I revisit the Squier. I don’t have the right tools so I have no way of modding the bass to fit such pickups as the Musicman. Maybe I will pay a tech again but back to the Toledo. I have only played on a P-90 pickup once before and it had no balls at all. Very disappointed. The GFS Dream-90 however, is a freaken monster. It has a single coil snap to it but the after taste of a humbucker. Not as many highs as I thought I would get but I swear to Lemmy, I am blown away by this pup at it was only a list price of $29.95. The guitar has flaws but I love it. I have begun calling this one “Hobo”.

Anything worth doing is never easy“ comes to mind. A lot of work went into The Bastard. Time and care going into the Squier because it is my first guitar and the Hobo, which has been around for something like forty years and now has the potential to last another forty years. I would highly recommend against using premium stock guitars, but this is a very rewarding process and not recommended on. I paid $40 for the Squier; it is worth about $170 new. The Bastard was free, and $200 new. The Hobo was a trade and worth probably $100 used.

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Filed Under: Commentary / EditorialsGuitars

About the Author: Started playing bass at 15. It was Danko Jones who inspired me to play at all, and in a small town I couldn't be picky on what I can get my hands on, so I bought a squire with pride. Obtained a B.C. Rich guitar months later. Moved to the city at 17. At 19 joined my first metal band as a bassist which ended at 20. Joined a bass heavy rock band, which I loved being in whole heartily. I now wait to venture into a new project. For the time being though, I am exploring my abilities as a writer.

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  1. The Grin says:

    If you are looking to get a good guitar, then yes you are right. Just buy a high quality beast. This was intended more for the person who wants to know how to build, restore or repair a guitar. I can set up my neck, intonation and solder my own pickups when im bored. Beyond that, Fender has a guitar tech school close enough that I would like to attend and one day I would like to retire as a Luthier. I don’t want to start the next Gibson, I just want to be known as the guy who builds good guitars in his garage. I do have other top notch guitars (Ibanez-B.C.Rich-Jackson-Peavey), but messing around with these guitars as such is a good way to get to that point.

  2. Gerardo Iglesias says:

    Lady Gaga and Marilyn Manson…geniouses? Give me a break…
    Something I learned sometimes ago, is that you need to overhaul too much a guitar…is because you don´t like it, so buy another instrument that suit the best what you like and need.
    That happened with the Fenders I bought…pickguard change, bridge, mics, even new necks…at the end the problem was I was satisfied with alder wood, hahaha! In fact…I hate it, now I use mahogany/maple top guitars in LP style body shape and I have no need to change anything.

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