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Who's awesome? You're awesome

 
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James
Nutmeg


Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 10645
Location: Boxingham Palace

PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:17 pm    Post subject: Who's awesome? You're awesome Reply with quote

I've wanted one of these since playing Dave's at Progfest. I looked casually for a long time after that and then somewhat actively for about the last six months. Finally one at a reasonable price and in excellent condition came up for sale and with the amazing generosity of shortscale (see the last section of this post) I went and picked it up on Friday. It's so much fun to play, sondz kool and looks fantastic.

It was sold as being a Guyatone but with the Star brand on the bridge pickup my guess is it was originally sold as Star. Though really it's a moot point, these had a few different brand names attached depending (I think) on where they were initially sold but there's no difference between brands. I'm fairly sure it's 1957-9 but have no idea how to date it accurately other than by comparison to other similar examples. It's a little strange to think that it's a 55 year old electric guitar.



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Headstock

Unlike Dave's very similar model, there are some stabilising rods visible under the truss rod cover. I'm guessing that means this is slightly later than Dave's but it could be different for some other reason. Maybe on Dave's the rods are present and just covered by the headstock face veneer.

The replacement tuners have small bushings in large holes and are of the cheap as they come from your local guitar store variety. I previously took the tuners off and it's had at least four different sets in it's time (look to the bottom left of the photo and you can see an exposed hole and another that has been filled, there are more under the tuner). Thankfully the holes are drilled for the standard spacing of 3-on-a-plate types so buying replacements should be quite simple if I decide to do that. I much prefer split shaft tuners, and have some Kluson type bushings that are a good fit the holes already drilled so if I can find split shaft 3-on-a-plate tuners I think I might go ahead and do that.

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Neck and Fretboard

It has the very pronounced V neck that made me want one of these. Pronounced enough you can just about capture the shape in a photo. Oddly, the fretboard looks to be rosewood that has been painted to be a deeper, darker brown. The paint is worn through in a few areas and I initially noticed it because I saw brush strokes going across the frets. Unless you're looking in good light and pretty close it just looks like that's the colour of the wood. Quite an odd detail.

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Bridge and Tailpiece

The tailpiece would have originally had a cover and is a very simple but functional design. The bridge is a replacement and of the 'kit kat wrapper' variety. When I got it the intonation was a bit out on five of the strings and miles out on the plain G string. When I've replaced the electronics and restring it I'll put on a wound G, so it's possible the intonation will be passable with the bridge positioned well but I think I might swap it out for an adjustable bridge anyway.

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Body and Routing

All of the body routing has been done with just two drill bits and a chisel. You can see the larger drill bit in the switch and pot cavities and the smaller one under the tailpiece and between the pickups and control channels.

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Electronics

The pots are more corroded than any I've ever seen before. They work pretty well but with the slightly noisy action common with old guitars. The cap is branded 'Suzuki Musen'. I don't know the pot values and don't have a multimeter to check but my guess is they're 250k as the pickups don't get very bright.

I'm planning to remove all of the electronics, keeping them connected for the vintage mojo, and replace with new. I think I'm going to go for a 4-way rotary (Bridge/Series/Parallel/Neck) to replace the existing 3-way (Bridge/Both/Neck) and 500k pots (Master Vol, Neck Tone, Bridge Tone) to replace the existing ones (Neck Vol, Bridge Vol, Master Tone).

I think the knobs are original but the chickenhead is a replacement as it looks quite modern and its set-screw is the only thing on the guitar that doesn't have a flat head screw (takes an allen key).

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Pickups

The pickups are very simple, relatively wide, single coils housed in a large casing. It's a simple bar magnet with the windings around it. The six dots on the bridge pickup are just for show, and the neck pickup has a glittery gold strip instead. The pickups are constructed in exactly the same way and for these photos I dismantled the neck pickup. They sound remarkably well balanced but perhaps a little too dark. I'm yet to give them a proper blast with amp and pedals (just used the M13 and a headphone amp so far) but I'm impressed.

Note how the pickguard isn't cut very accurately to the neck pickup. I think I've seen exactly the same shape on another guitar like this so I'm guessing for some reason the template is like that.

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Shortscale.org

Right at the lowest point of dealing with my divorce and clearing out the house I had to move out of I found out about a facebook group set up to arrange donations and find one of these guitars. I received a bunch of extremely generous donations and I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me in the past few months, whether it was scouring the internet to try and find one of these guitars for sale, chipping in some cash to help me buy the guitar that's been at the top of my 'want list' since I first picked one up or simply giving words of support during the rougher times. It all means a great deal to me. I'm proud to be a part of this community.



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Shabba.
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61fury
.
.


Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 830
Location: Knoxville, TN

PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really nice, I saved a few pics for my library. Well written and detailed too. I'm using one of those cheap bridges on my current project, actually got it to intonate.
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iCEByTes
.
.


Joined: 25 Apr 2006
Posts: 4210
Location: Brasil , Curitiba

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

looks classy.

how its sounds ? Crunch ? Bell ? Mellow ?
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Precise dwarf bravery
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westtexasred
Shortscale Cultural Minister


Joined: 26 Apr 2006
Posts: 14787
Location: Minneapolis

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remind's me of Georgi Kay's guitar



Her's looks like this '56 Supro but it has a Bigsby. Body style is similar to your guitar.





Last edited by westtexasred on Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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jculpjr
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Joined: 28 Dec 2012
Posts: 561

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great writeup
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hotrodperlmutter
crescent fresh


Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 16657
Location: KCMO

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oh wow. tip top news, james. glad you're feeling better.

what a beautiful guitar.
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lorez
.
.


Joined: 16 Dec 2009
Posts: 8751
Location: Hopelessly Wayward

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that looks amazing
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benecol wrote:
Ah, the heady days of trying to get beefytoanz out of my Marlin strat by adjusting the pickups right up to the strings.

dots wrote:
This forum's format is my vinyl.
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stewart
Cunning Linguist


Joined: 14 Jul 2008
Posts: 17625
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

that supro is really close in body shape and detail...
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robroe
Bon Jovi Fan Club!!1


Joined: 20 Apr 2006
Posts: 45616
Location: PORNO ISLAND !

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RADTOWN
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Hurb
Peanut the Kidnapper


Joined: 17 Apr 2006
Posts: 5908

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome post James! Lovely guitar, lovely man! xxx
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cur
.
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Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 7291

PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That thing is great. Love the look and happy for you.
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James
Nutmeg


Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 10645
Location: Boxingham Palace

PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

westtexasred wrote:


I've not seen that before but it's surprisingly close, especially the pickguards.
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Shabba.
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paul_
.
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Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 9129

PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've seen Supro Dual Tones before, but not your guitar. It looks awesome and congratulations on the new swag.

Eastwood did an coupleDual Tone like their fake Airlines (indeed using the Airline name/logo) with generic Les Paully bits


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Aug wrote:
which one of you bastards sent me an ebay question asking if you can get teh kurdtz with that 64 mustang? Mad

robertOG wrote:
fran & paul are some of the original gangstas of the JS days when you'd have to say "phuck"
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taylornutt
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Joined: 17 Sep 2009
Posts: 4626
Location: Dallas, TX

PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2013 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool guitar. It looks like so many different guitars in one with the variety of parts on it.
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J Mascis Jazzmaster | Baja Telecaster
AVRI Jaguar | 1967 Fender Coronado II |1977 Mullet-stang | 1973 Fender Bronco
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