Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Ibanez GA5TCE-AM Classical Guitar

I hate plastic output jacks. Sure, they're perfect for tight spaces. However, they aren't as robust as metal jacks. The output jack on this guitar was broken. More accurately, the tip of the hot contact had snapped off completely. So, I trashed the plastic jack and wired in a generic stereo jack. Now, how was I to install it? I could not get my sausage fingers in through the soundhole. Just then I remembered a tip Dan Erlewine had once shared in Guitar Player. Thus inspired, I got hold of a giant chopstick, pushed it through the jack hole, stuck on the stereo jack, pulled the chopstick and jack back through the hole; and fastened the washer and nut. I knew that giant chopstick would come in handy one day. Hooray for Kedai Dua Ringgit :) Now, some mundane specs, most of which was copied off the Ibanez website: 

Birthplace: China
Body Shape: Thinline Cutaway Classical
Top: Spruce
Neck/Back/Sides: Mahogany
Fretboard/Bridge: Rosewood
Truss Rod: Dual Action
Body Binding: Black
Soundhole Rosette: Classical Mosaic Design
Tuning Machines: Gold
Number of Frets: 21
Scale Length: 650mm (25.6")
Pickup: Ibanez Under Saddle
Preamp: Ibanez AEQ303 (3-band)
Finish: Gloss

This guitar plays well. The volume, bass, middle and treble controls on the AEQ303 preamp are simple but effective. Amplified, you can tell it's a classical. Not surprisingly, the soundhole label proudly declares: La Calidad en Guitarra Clasica -- "The Quality in Classical Guitar." Thank you Uncle Google.  Last but not least, this guitar was autographed by Hujan's Noh Salleh. Kewl!

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Cort Elrick Josh Paul JPS5

This gorgeous 5-string bass came in for fret leveling and dressing, plus a string change and general setup. Intrigued by its design, I did some research and managed to find valuable information on TalkBass, E-Saite and Guitar List. Thus said, let's look at some specs before moving on to the pics.

Roots: Designed by Rob Elrick and manufactured in Korea by Cort
Year of Manufacture: 2003 - 2004
Body: Swamp ash body with quilted maple cap
Neck: 3-piece maple bolt-on neck with 5-bolt construction
Fingerboard: Rosewood with side dot markers, 24 frets (with zero fret)
Scale Length: 35"
Pickups: Bartolini® MK-1 active soapbar pickups (neck & bridge)
Controls: Push-pull master volume (pull for passive operation), pickup master blend, Fishman® active 3-band EQ (boost/cut)
Hardware Color: Black
Bridge: EB10
Tuners: Hipshot® Licensed
Nut Width: 1.75"
String spacing at bridge: 18.5mm (74mm across center to center)
Weight: 9.9 lbs
Finish: Natural gloss

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Kombaticon Series TeleRat

Yes, following in the footsteps of a certain Mr. Richards, we are overjoyed to have successfully mated a strat-styled body with a tele-styled neck, thus giving birth to our very own "TeleRat." Parts were sourced from all over the place, and I was asked to put it together for an upcoming show. "OK," I said, that is until I realized that there were a number of issues to be resolved:

1. There were fine but deep cracks on either side of both horn and butt ends of the body's center block (it was a three piece combo). These would get worse over time, and eventually cause the body to split into three. To nip the problem in the bud, I packed fine wood dust into the cracks, saturated them with super glue, packed in more wood dust, and repeated the process until the fillings were slightly higher that the surrounding wood. After sufficient curing time, out came the razor blade and fine sandpaper. The repair is visible if you look closely, but it's still better than having the guitar fall apart one day. 

2. The neck heel did not fit well in the neck pocket lengthwise, throwing the scale length off balance. This was because the tele neck's heel was square, while the neck pocket was rounded to accomodate a strat-styled neck. The solution was to square up the neck pocket's edges, which allowed for a closer fit, and 25.5" scale length.

3. The body was way thinner than a regular strat, and the neck pocket was shallower than the 5/8" I'm used to seeing. Which wouldn't be much of a problem, except for the fact that the neck heel of the tele neck was way over 1" thick. Bummer. Even with the saddles raised to their max height, the strings would still be hitting the frets. I wasn't going to deepen the neck pocket because of how thin the body already was. So I ended up thinning the neck heel to slightly below 1", and that did the job.

4. The neck had been pre-drilled for four screws, but the body had previously been drilled for an ala 70s three screw neck plate with a micro-tilt access hole. The neck plate I got was the normal rectangular fender-style. Hooray -- I'd be able to reuse at least two screw holes. But wait .... I'd already rerouted the neck pocket and moved the neck further towards the bridge. So I could not reuse the topmost two holes as I'd earlier planned. Ah well, I had no choice but to plug all the body/neck screw holes and drill new ones. Thank goodness I managed to get them perpendicular, using a guide block made out of pine.

Enough rambling, then. Let's look at some pics.


Fernandes Vertigo X MTB

Here's a metallic blue (MTB) Fernandes Vertigo X that came in for an electronics upgrade and general setup. Couldn't find the exact model in the Fernandes catalogs I downloaded off the web. However, I gained valuable information from Musikhaus Korn and the Fernandes website itself. I don't think you'll be able to buy a new Vertigo X with this particular 12th fret trapezoid inlay feature, as current Vertigo Xs sport dot inlays. In any case, this is a versatile instrument that sounds great either clean or dirty. Not bad for a twin humbucker-equipped guitar. Let's take a look at some specs, then:

Body: Alder
Neck: Maple, Bolt On
Fingerboard: Rosewood, 24 3/4" Scale, 22 Jumbo Frets, 16" Radius, Trapezoid 12th Fret Inlay
Nut: Composite 1 5/8"
Tuning Gears: Die Cast
Bridge: Tune-O-Matic W/Stop Tailpiece
Controls: 3-Way Toggle Switch, Master Volume & Tone
Pickups: Neck and Bridge - High Output Humbucker


Achtung Riders Tele

The action on this guitar was way too high even with the saddles bottomed-out. Turned out the neck angle was the culprit. Thanks to thin wood veneer generously donated by Roka Dyer Maker, I was able to fashion a shim and get the neck angle just right. Action & intonation adjustment was a breeze after that. The electronics were also upgraded to full-sized Alpha pots and a Sprague cap. Nuff' said, then. Onto the pics.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Lead Player Solidbody

Here's a "Lead Player" Les Paul-style solidbody that came in for fret leveling & dressing, nut rebuild, pot/jack
upgrade and rewiring. I'll let the pictures do the talking :)