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Captainstrat

project Parts-caster, Alder, Basswood, Agathis, Paulownia or ?

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4 hours ago, Captainstrat said:

Located my Dremel, the Dremel router kit and assorted bits.  If I can find compatible drill bits and a backup router bit, I'm in better shape than I thought! :) 

you may consider the dremel easy chuch.  it allows for (slightly) bigger bits ie reg drill bits to chuck up.

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12 hours ago, mistermikev said:

you may consider the dremel easy chuch.  it allows for (slightly) bigger bits ie reg drill bits to chuck up.

I'm also eyeing the right angle attachment, according to a post on The Gear Page "it works perfectly for this application with regular length drill bits." 

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10 hours ago, Captainstrat said:

More than eying, pulled the trigger on one off Amazon ;) I'm thinking of doing something like this for the battery

[âIMG]

wow, creative but that is awful close to both the trem and the cover edge.  you can get really nice 9v box from china for less than $4

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2 hours ago, mistermikev said:

wow, creative but that is awful close to both the trem and the cover edge.  you can get really nice 9v box from china for less than $4

Yeah, got one on the way too, but it was one of the ideas I had, I was surprised someone thought of it first! ;)

 

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Right angle attachment received, Amazon aren't fooling when they say next day delivery!  If only the other couriers were as quick ;) still awaiting delivery of the thin cyanoacrylate glue, 9V battery compartment, output jack "cup" and pickguard screws...there was atime said parts were readily available in local stores....alas no longer :(

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And today, picked up a set of StewMac angled neck shims at the Post Office. The Pine-caster has a hard action regardless of what adjustments I make, those might be the ticket. Got one for the Pine-Caster, the MIM Strat, the current Sustainer Parts-caster project, and a spare one, just in case. While I enjoy a lightweight guitar, I also enjoy one that plays like butter ;)

 

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I had a slight issue with my first bass build as the neck neck needed a hair of a shim - very slight... I just took a block and sanded in an angle to the neck.  I guess it depends on how off yours is... but in a pinch.  cheers.

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3 hours ago, mistermikev said:

I had a slight issue with my first bass build as the neck neck needed a hair of a shim - very slight... I just took a block and sanded in an angle to the neck.  I guess it depends on how off yours is... but in a pinch.  cheers.

I figured that getting them pre-made by Stewart McDonald  would save me a lot of time and trial and error; I'm a hack ;) 

4 hours ago, ShatnersBassoon said:

So far so good! That neck looks like a vintage amber rather than the result of smoking, but I could be wrong.

yep, it was supposed to be "vintage style" when I bought it, save for the extra fret.   It was inexpensive, so I pulled the trigger on it.  I'm going to have to rub off that waterslive Fender logo, it's not Fender licensed or Fender OEM (the Telecaster neck I got for the Pine caster was supposedly an OEM neck)

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5 hours ago, ShatnersBassoon said:

So far so good! That neck looks like a vintage amber rather than the result of smoking, but I could be wrong.

I meant the pickguard looked a bit yellowish, that its prior owner might have been a smoker :)

 

 

 

 

Edited by Captainstrat

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Okay, curing day 13, I think it's ready for wet sanding!  I've been soaking wet and dry sandpaper in a bucket of soapy water (grits 600, 800, 1000 & 2000) since around 12:30 pm,  they should be just right when I'm home from work (I work evening shift).  If memory serves, I do circular sanding motions with the 600 grit (until I'm rid of the drips and "runs" in the finish, I used a foam brush since I don't have a spray booth), straight back and forth sanding with the 800 grit, circular again with the 1000 grit and back and forth with the 2000 grit until smooth.

I actually took the time to apply 12 coats of Watco clear lacquer this time around as opposed to only 8 on the pine caster (which sanded through in some spots). I read on another board that one guy uses one of those "pink pearl" erasers wrapped in wet & dry sandpaper to wet sand the contours, so I'll give that a try!

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Alright, wet sanding done last night, hand rubbed buffing and polishing done this morning, not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but a lot better than what I did on the Pinecaster.  Hung the body again until the missing parts are delivered.  Here's what it's looking like now.

Ordered a new SSH black pickguard from Amazon with screws included, as well as a Strat output jack (the pickguard screws and output jack I'd ordered from Ebay seem to be lost in transit, and black pickups/knobs on black will look sharper than the current yellowish pearloid pickguard I have.). The rolling string trees and trem arm aren't as urgent, and the battery box and thin super glue (Bob Smith 103 Insta-Cure 2oz Super Thin) should  come in this week...progress!

 

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Edited by Captainstrat

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11 minutes ago, Captainstrat said:

Alright, wet sanding done last night, hand rubbed buffing and polishing done this morning, not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but a lot better that what I did on the Pinecaster.  Hung the body again until the missing parts are delivered.  Here's what it's looking like now.

Ordered a new SSH black pickguard from Amazon with screws included, as well as a Strat output jack (the pickguard screws and output jack I'd ordered from Ebay seem to be lost in transit, and black pickups/knobs on black will look sharper than the current yellowish perloid pickguard I have.). The rolling string trees and trem arm aren't as urgent, and the battery box and thin super glue (Bob Smith 103 Insta-Cure 2oz Super Thin) should  come in this week...progress!

 

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really looking nice.  good work.

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Pickguard, output jack and corresponding screws delivered! I'll use my old pickguard as a template to drill the Sustainer mini switches holes...tonight's after work project :) 

 

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preliminary fitting... it took 2 tries to get the bolt holes in the heel to properly align with the holes in the neck pocket (light sanding in the neck pocket did it) and the StewMac angled shims aren't a drop-in direct fit...based on pickguard 1 (I had tried to replace the Fernandes humbucker with a high powered rails single coil...didn't really work) there's a lot of wood material to remove in the pickup cavity, and I'm wondering if the Dremel will be up to the task...I might have to use the router after all...but since Paulownia is such a soft wood I'm worried I'll mess up...

With the pickguard properly aligned to the bridge, things are starting to look decent...slow progress since I want to make sure I do things right; but progress :)

 

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Edited by Captainstrat
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Masking tape to the rescue...I'm going to do another fitting later after work, a) make sure the bridge position properly aligns the strings with the fingerboard, b) once the bridge is properly positioned, that the pickguard is properly positioned so the pickups are properly aligned under the strings and c) after beasuring the Sustainer circuit board, Iwill need to rout at least 5 cm of wood to accommodate te circuit and wiring... tape up the parts that need to be marked up and go from there...more later!

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I wanted to mention it earlier, but kept putting it off...that black spot in the pickpu cavity, near the bridge...that's a crack where a knot used to be, you can actually see through to the tremolo cavity.  I dismissed it at first, but this is Paulownia after all....that crack/hole might be a structural flaw, being that it's so near the bridge cavity?

Now that I have the superglue, I guess I could fill it with a mix of sawdust and superglue?  Dan Erlewine sai in one of his columns that superglue and baking soda is also good to plug holes (but that was for stripped screw holes)?  Any recommendations?

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I'd fill it with CA and forget about it. When I think of all the various bridge constructions I've seen, particularly acoustics, I've got a lot of faith in the ability of a little wood handling the amount of stress in a guitar.

SR

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  • pickguard/bridge positioned so the strings properly align with the fretboard and pickups - check
  • Pickup cavity enlarged to fit the active electronics and wiring - check
  • patch-up job to repair the battery wire that broke at the quick connector - check
  • desoldering the stereo jack to thread the battery negative, ground and hot wires through the tiny hole leading to the output jack cavity - check
  • fixing the ground problem that gave me lots of hum and no signal - check ( even the middle position single coil now gives me signal with very little hum!)
  • drilling the tremolo cavity claw holes - check (Used my manual drill, didn't even need the Dremel angle attachment) 
  • centre-punching the holes to the tremolo while the E-strings are properly aligned - check
  • Drilling the bridge holes using one of the silicone depth colars - check
  • putting in the tremolo screws (bridge and  claw), removing them and soaking the holes with thin CA - check

Left to do once the parts come in - 9 volt battery box installation, rolling string trees on the headstock; ad installing the strap lock buttons..

One problem detected: that neck is very thick at the heel, I'd have to really jack up the bridge saddles to get them to ring.  I could sand the heel and risk an uneven job. or raise the tremolo bridge itself...I borrowed an idea I read from an old Guitar Player interview where this one guitarist (Duke Robillard I think?) would use several layers of masking tape under his bridge to get a better rocking motion on a floating tremolo....we'll see how that works out!

 

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Turns out the nut was cut unevenly, the strings line up properly over the pickups,, but a bit too inwards on the low E and just barely enough on the treble side...or is that the normal way Stratocaster nuts are cut?

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Today's update: used a Baltic birch shim to prop up the bridge (a Popsicle stick cut to size ;) ) , strung up the guitar, adjusted the saddles for sound, checked the intonation and tested the sustainer circuit...we have liftoff :D :);) 

Left to do: strap lock installation, battery compartment and tremolo cavity cover.  And a setup...thus far I got the strings sounding clear across the fretboard, but the G string notes out at the 21st fret (I.e. I hear the 22nd fret)  all of the other strings sound fine at those frets...very off it's only happening on the G string, I might need a professional setup/fret dress...,that 6 screw bridge has been a PITA to install and setup!

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Your nut actually looks fine in this shot. I'd say your neck and bridge are just slightly out of alignment. with each other. If you have no adjustment left.....can you loosen the neck up a tad, push the headstock to the bass side a hair and re-tighten? If not, I'd just push the nut itself a little that way to center the strings up a little better.

For the G-string, will a slight raising of the bridge saddle fix it? If not you can sand or file down the 22nd fret till the buzz goes away and then re-polish it. You don't have to worry much with the 22nd fret, there is no 23rd to buzz if you get it too low.

SR

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I think he may have glued this neck in no?  either way... looks pretty close... could loosen trem screws and try to gain some leeway there and/or move the nut L/R.  If it isn't glued in then... what he said^!

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