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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:45 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:53 am
Posts: 10
Here are a few pics of my X330 which I have just restored. It has a little story which may be of interest to all the Electra fans. I have put these in a photobucket album click on the URL below.

http://s284.photobucket.com/albums/ll4/sptv62/Electra%20X330/

I am based in the UK was looking through e-bay for a project (Les Paul Style fixed neck) and found an X330 body and tuners (ESP gold plated Grover types) only for auction from Germany. The body looked in pretty good condition and the owner explained he has it for 12 string project that he never really started. I researched the web for info on the X330 and found the Electra site which really helped me decide on what to bid.

I won the body for I think around £80. It turned up and looked in excellent condition but when I attached some pickups and a basic Les Paul hardware I found out that the neck which is a real baseball bat type neck, was seriously bowed back and would not support any really playable action… ooops no wonder the owner was tying to use it for a 12 string!!. What to do.. the truss rod could only bow the neck more it was totally loose to no effect. I think this is why the body was in good condition it must have developed the bow pretty early and not been played since then, actually this helped me get a great condition guitar.

I left the body for some time and continued with other simpler projects. But then came back to it as it looks so lovely and the neck felt good to my long fingered hands. So I decided I would get the neck flat by taking the frets out and sanding the fretboard down. Then re-fret and level and crown the frets. I had gradually been building up the tools necessary and had levelled and crowned frets on other guitars a coupdl of times but this was my first re-fret. One problem could have been the inlays… should I take them out or not? I decided that they looked thick enough to be sanded down with the fret board. So out with the frets and using a radius block and various sandpapers and a straight edge I got the fret board level with a 12” radius (the X330 originally measured up at a radius of 15” which is flatter than a Gibson). Then I re-fretted with medium-jumbo frets (a little thinner than the ones I took out). Wow this took some time! I can see why Luthiers charge such a lot it is mainly for the time taken!. I oiled up the board and it went a lovely dark brown and the inlays look fantastic! (they are really thick I must have taken about 0.75mm off the centre of the neck).

I liked the gold tuners so I kept those. I bought a Wilkinson roller bridge as I had used one before and really liked the feel on my hand for muted work and it is a really solid bridge. Standard gold tail piece also added (all fitted easily).

Electronics MPC etc all gone. I really did not fancy onboard effects but wanted to use all the holes so I set it up as follows. Two lower knobs are front and rear volume. Top front is a master volume and the 3 remaining knobs were used for bass middle and treble controls (smaller gold knurled knobs). I have installed and active preamp with unity gain (as the pickups are already hot) this gives a better tone pallet than a simple capacitor role off.

For pickups I initially fitted a Schaller in the bridge and an old no name humbucker in the front. But then noticed in my collection of guitar parts some old pickups from a Kasuga Les Paul that had been used in another project and they looked like Magnaflux pickups. They had 14 06 on the base and looking at the web seemed to be maxon pickups used by Aria Kasuga and others in the 70s. I opened one up and found the square type pole pieces! Both pickups measure 8.3K Ohm on my meter so I thought I would try them out. I had an open cover which I put on one of the pickups for use in the rear position I fashioned a custom bobbin end on the round poles and full open on the square pole side (got lazy making a another bobbin end for the square poles and quite like seeing the windings). I then wax potted them as the coils were loose (all the old glue had dried out). I installed them in the guitar and checked out the electronics.

I then put it all together and gave it a set up and then plugged it in (pickups first connected without the active EQ) and wow! It is a really loud and proud Les Paul. quite a bit toppier that Les Pauls I have played but I like that (using 500K vol pots 250K would take the top off). The thick neck suits me fine and feels great! It is also not too heavy but still has good bottom end too. The rear pickup is incredible, the open top seems to give it that extra volume and it can really scream though a nice valve amp. I connected up the active electronics (Artec MT3 module) set the gain down to 1. The tome controls are indented in the centre position and when left there have no effect on the tone but can be adjusted to boost or cut as much as you like. The controls are great I can add a bit more bass, or cut treble, scoop the mids etc.. But I notmally leave them flat as I love the natural tone of the pickups! They are real jems. Can anyone let me know if these are Magnaflux or Super Magnaflux I am still not clear on the difference, either way they sound great even compared with guitars I have had equipped with various expensive Seymour Duncan and Dimarzios etc.

Last thing was all the rear cavities and truss rod adjuster which had no covers. So I bought some tortoise shell pick guard material and made up covers. I am really pleased with the results a little more interesting than just black. I have not put a pickguard on the front as the finish looks so good I want to see it all.

I realise that I have not restored this guitar to it’s original state but I have made a guitar that sounds great, is flexible and will be my No1 player over several fenders, and a real Les Paul Special (which hard times are forcing me to sell..).

Total cost around £150 or approx $250 USA but if I had to add the cost of my time on the neck it would be expensive.

I hope these ramblings are of interest to Electra Enthusiasts.

Great website!

Regards

Stewart over the pond in the UK


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:59 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:00 pm
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Location: Iowa, USA
That is awesome! Can't do photobucket at work, so I'll have to look at the pictures when I get home, but it warms me old heart to hear a 330 salvaged this way and not parted out. :D

Interesting idea with the electronics. I like some of the effects myself, but I can imagine a ton of uses for the way you have it set up as well. Can't help ya out on the pickups, but I'm sure someone that can will be along soon....

Kudos! :up:


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:09 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 11:47 am
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Location: Amarillo, Texas USA
I agree with Redeye;

This is really excellent restoration work and a beautiful axe you can be proud of;

It's great to know that the Electra name is also in the UK.

Welcome!

RCSBlues :oops: :up:

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:46 am 
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Location: Tifton, Ga USA
8) 8) :up: You can indeed be proud of your labor of love. That is one beautiful Axe. I like the covers they look great with the Sunburst finish as does the gold hardware. I am always happy to see a good Electra saved from the boneyard. I bet she sounds as awesome as she looks. Congrats and Welcome :up: :up:

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Always give thanks for everyday, It may be your last so Rock On Semper Fi!!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:03 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:53 am
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Guys thanks for your positive words. I have just spent an hour playing the guitar through an Orange AD1510. 15 watt class A amp with a 10 inch Jensen speaker, no effects but a master vol so I can control breakup and I love it!.

I had my wife singing a few classics and just enjoyed the variey of tone I could get together with the feel and look!

I have sold my 1997 Gibson Les Paul Special (with Seymour Duncan stacked P90 pickups) for finacial reasons and feel I have upgraded with playing the X330 which looks better and has a wider variety of sounds.

I will keep my eye open for any other Electra Guitars here in Europe, I can already see a Saxon SG which looks just like the 2257 with bigsby copy on e-bay will bid on this.

Enjoy your Guitars!

Stewart


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:52 am
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Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Great Story, and welcome to the forum. While you've gone the 'Hot Rod' route, you've still kept the integrity of the guitar and from the sound of it, saved it from a life of being ignored because of the unusable neck condition... Good Show old chap. (sorry, couldn't resist)

If you want a real treat (and who doesn't?), keep your eyes pealed for the 'one and a half' cutaway body styles (modified LP style body), most of which are set neck. They have smaller necks than the X300 series, but are the pinnacle of Matsumoko production (late 70's early 80's)... super consistent, and nicely appointed. You have the Walnut stain:

X250, X260, X270, X280, X960 Ultima MPC

Or the more dressy Endorser/Vulcan models with scooped out heals for ultra comfortable upper fret access:

X935, X930, X940, X950

If you can even find one in a pawn shop or Music store in the UK you should consider yourself lucky as I believe they were only marketed in the US (X189player, what say you?). Good score, enjoy, Mike.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:53 am
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Thanks for the advise I will look out for the newer models. But rarely see them in the UK. I think my Electra coming from Germany may have originally come from an American Stationed in Germany in the 70s?

The earlier Electra's can be seen under other brands as they were sold by the guitar manufacturers as generic models. Brands such as Saxon and Avon here were similar deals to the SLM one with the Japanese manufacurers. I am looking at an old Saxon SG which is identical to the 2259 model with the Bigsby style trem.

Toodle pip! (English for Good bye :lol:

Stewart


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:32 am 
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Location: Iowa, USA
sptv62 wrote:
I have sold my 1997 Gibson Les Paul Special (with Seymour Duncan stacked P90 pickups) for finacial reasons and feel I have upgraded with playing the X330 which looks better and has a wider variety of sounds.


Man, if that don't say it all right there........

Sorry to hear you had to let one go, but if ya had to keep only one....

Quite the little sleepers our beloved Electras are.... :)


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