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 Post subject: Basket Case Decisions
PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:10 am 
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Location: Central Iowa
where do you draw the line between trying to put something back to original vs. just slapping some parts onto it to make it playable?

what's a bigger weighting factor for you? price? availabilty of parts? rarity of item? difficulty of challenge?

Example 1: The Concord bass body I got that had about 5 different bridges on it over the years, and no neck... trying to find an original neck for it was impractical, so I decided down the route of a custom job. with mostly Mat parts...

Example 2: the gutted Outlaw x720 I refurbed. body was still beautiful condition, and I got it cheap enough and was able to put in new parts to totally restore it to full MPC functionality.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:55 pm 
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Rarity is a big factor for me - I hate to see a "hard to get" model get further parted out or scrapped. Of course that leads right to difficulty in getting parts ie: I couldn't find or wait for the proper set of tuners to turn up on a 2281 so Grovers went on. I don't mind most difficult challenges but sometimes you get faced with a couple or a few on the same guitar - restoring/wiring a stripped MPC would give me pause. Spot finish issues are a big problem - it can do more harm than good. I'm often tempted to do complete to bare wood stripping and start again rather than try and match and repair anything bigger than say a pencil eraser. On the refurb I did of a 2259 - it got completely stripped, new tuners, nut, bridge, knobs - basically everything except the pickups, pickguard and wiring. It's a faithful replica of the 2259 but nowhere near original. Saved from being a beater and that was worth it to me. Same with an X120 - big slice taken out of the bass side edge - I filled it and tried to color match it with epoxy. To a purist it holds no value - but again, worth it to me.

A lot ends up depending on price. If I can find a "distressed" Electra - just about any Electra - I'll give it a pretty careful look and sometimes force myself to learn some new skills. :)


Last edited by Jead on Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 24, 2012 8:04 pm 
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I agree. I start off wanting to keep it stock, Then parts come up that fit and look stock with function. Like the Wilkinson 5-1 trem Corsair turned me on to.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:47 am 
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Well for me it is first a guitar and I want it to play the way I like. I will not make irreversible changes on guitar though unless it has already been altered by others. I also keep stock parts. After that it comes down to how hard it is to return it to original. If I can put a part on that makes the guitar functional (without otherwise altering it) while waiting for a hard to find part, I will.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:36 pm 
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I always try my best to source original parts, then if that's not working, try to find suitable reproductions, then use whatever fits (in that order).

It doesn't matter (to me) if it's rare or common, I just like to keep it original, IF possible. As the discouragement sets in from not being able to source all the right stuff, then the urge hits to make it playable therefore restoring it "to it's intended purpose".

As far as paint and finish, that's case by case. If it's too far gone, then a refinish is definitely ok. Depends on my mood and what the original color was. Also depends on any breaks or cracks. Black fixes everything :-) :D


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:56 pm 
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Do you plan to collect it or do you plan to play it? If collect, keep original. I also don't suggest totally bastardizing the thing either. But if you plan to play it do what makes sense to make it playable. The rarity of the model certainly is a factor too - if it is rare as can be then go ahead and try to put it back to stock.

But on most of mine, I change out things like bridges, nuts, tuning keys, and even other parts if it makes it more playable to me. Electras were player guitars - nothing wrong with that - in fact - it is a badge of honor. These things were not cheap, but were well-made affordable guitars. People usually bought them and played the heck out of them, used them as clubs to fend off drunk bar patrons, and treated them as the tool they were. Usually the only respect they have had was to be played a lot. That is why I see them with the frets worn heavily and big grooves worn in the cowboy chords positions. I try to keep with the spirit of what is there but to make it as playable as possible. My X-330 I put on a set of Grovers, I replaced the bridge (it was shot), I filled in the grooves worn in the rosewood fretboard, and replaced an original but dead bridge pickup. But, a few feet away and you'd never know. I potted the original neck pickup because it was microphonic, and it was a HUGE improvement overall. I have a killer Les Paul copy with FX. Yeah, and I modded the overdrive too because I felt the original was useless - it barely boosted at all. Now this guitar SMOKES (no, not like Ace Frehley's smokes - that would be a different mod all together). Having an original guitar that plays like junk is a bad thing unless you are just hanging it on the way to look at. I change knobs - I put the amber LP-style knobs on mine because I liked them better. But I kept all the MPC functionality and wiring in there - just made sure everything worked properly.

My X198 has also had the pickups potted and has black locking keys on it to help it stay in tune better. They went in without modification and look right in there, even using the same holes. But it stays in tune very well now and is easier to get there. I confess, I sold those keys so someone could put them on their Electra - so they were put to good use. I just got a later Westone version with the fine tuning bridge and cool knobs and I haven't changed a thin on that. The only thing I am considering are the keys, I might put on another set of those locking keys. They look good and REALLY are an improvement in the playability. That is REALLY in good condition though, so I may just leave it alone. I have not decided.

It is a shame for a matsumoku, terada, or kasuga-made Japanese guitar to sit because one or two parts aren't up to par. I like to see them to be played. I like seeing the faces of people when they are asking about that funky Les Paul with FX in it? or that weird looking guitar that looks like a strat and SG had a baby and has all those sounds come out of it? I have added to the ranks of Electra-ites or whatever we are called because people that check these out when they come to pick up their amps (I work on amps) are frequently floored by the quality and versatility of Electras. As far as pickups, I generally leave them be if they work properly. But IF you want a set of boutique pickups in your electra, I advise storing your originals (for later) and put in what you want. I do that with my multi-thousand-dollar US guitars too. My fender has a new bridge, harmonic design pickups, and special switching. My Les Paul has duncans in it, a faber bridge and tail, and sounds better than just about any LP out there (to me at least). Most of my guitars have changed pickups (not all, I have several that are stock). It is more important for me to have that LP suite my needs than to sell it to a collector, I really don't plan to sell it.

If you plan to sell it, stock is always best as long as it is playable. If you sell it I advise keeping all usable parts you replaced and putting them back on prior to selling to keep as stock as possible. However playability is more important - most people won't buy an electra for anything but salvage value if it does not play. Again, the rare and high-end models it is more important to be stock because of the collectable value - the X910s, the Endorsers, the maple pros and elvin bishops, and others. Right now phoenixes have gone up, but usually not more than 300-350 range (still rather affordable). What good is a phoenix without saddles for that bridge? Not much, but it will be worth something if you put on a bridge that looks right and works well, probably near that $300 mark - not so far from the current max value. They just have not appreciated like the rare, sought after, and expensive X910.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:03 am 
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In my case, it depends on just how bad it is. The Urchin was a true basket case being broken, ugly and in bits, but all of the bits were there and I had always wanted one and the price was right!

Only took me 18 months!

The Vantage AV310 Avenger I'm currently playing about with will be a custom finish, with the only changes envisioned in the near future being swapping out the set of ugly, ugly tuners for the set of lovely, minty Westone Pantera that I have. The barrel saddle bridge may eventually be replaced but the main thing is to be playable.

The OEM bits will be kept safe, of course..... :D

Whilst I have a small collection of guitars, they are all primarily players; I won't have a guitar that I won't play because of collectibility or rareness reasons; my feeling is that they were made to be played, eh....

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Every guitarist I would cross paths with would tell me that I should have a flashy guitar, whatever the latest fashion model was, and I used to say, 'Why? Mine works, doesn't it? It's a piece of wood and six strings, and it works.'

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