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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 1:31 am 
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Here's a project which sat on my parts shelves for many, many months till I finally had time to put it all together.

To the best of my knowledge it's an Electra 2236, although all that was left was the body and neck- the previous owner swore it was an Electra-no markings, no serial number (which I presume would have been on the neck plate). However, it matches in every respect the 2236 pics I can find. Also, it matches in great detail an equivalent Greco Vee copy, especially the wood grain pattern- my guess is that with some of the more obvious Gibson copies Matsumoku would make a batch of them and then brand them out to the different brands they supplied. The final determination will be if I can ever find another one in original condition, and compare the rout and shielding pattern. As it stands, I'm 98% sure this is an Electra- if not it's a Greco or other Uncle Matt. (it feels like a Matt too.)

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The neck had some pretty nasty cracks, including this structural one and the nasty one below. It looks to me like it took a fall and cracked the neck in several places, which could also explain why such a nice looking guitar would be parted out. I addressed this situation by clamping it in a bench vise, bending it open slightly, and forcing water in, then urethane glue.

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With the neck well under way, I turned to the body, first repairing a handful of non-structural cracks. The body is laminated mahogany in almost exactly the same pattern as makes up the telerez- a thin hard core, thick mahogany plates above and below, and then nicely flamed mahogany on the top and back.

Here we are test-fitting the bridge. I always liked the idea of a Bigsby-style bridge on a Vee, definitely unusual but with this surface-mounted horseshoe bridge it makes sense, although there's just barely room for it. I used a roller bridge instead of the usual tune-o-matic to allow for string movement.

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Bolting up the neck is always a big moment. It feels like transforming a pile of parts into a guitar.

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Here it is with neck and bridge installed, and strings! I spent quite a bit of time with the guitar in just this condition, playing it, setting the action and making sure everything was just. It didn't take much to turn it into a really nice player with great action. The Bigsby-style bridge makes for very easy bends.

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Next the pickguard. It originally had a Gibson Vee-style pickguard, but I didn't like that, partly because I don't like the odd angles and partly because it would cover way too much of the wood. I like much better the early original 57-59 style Vee pickguard, but this body had way too much routed out to allow that shape. I wound up with this compromise that I like very much. It included cutting pickup ring shapes contiguous with the pickguard.

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I knew I wanted a P-90 in the bridge position, and I decided to go with a nice MMK 45 zebra pup in the neck, That way I can get rich jazz sound as well as hearty clank tones. It took some looking, but I found a chrome P-90 cover that blends in nicely with the bridge and hardware.

For wiring I went with a master volume with a pull-switch to coil tap the humbucker, and wired it full-time out of phase with the P-90. At first I was considering a phase switch, but frankly I never turn those off much of the time, so full-time it is. I installed a blend pot instead of a 3-way, to allow full-range mixing of the humbucker with the P-90. This gives a very rich range of sounds.

Instead of the usual low-pass tone knob (which I'm not crazy about) I went with an inductor-based passive tone control with a center detent- at center it's normal, roll it backwards and it cuts midrange only, roll it forwards and it cuts treble and bass and leaves midrange. This is an extremely effective control, especially with this pickup combination. The midrange-only positions are great for tele clank or overdriven distortion, and the mid-scooped setting gives an almost acoustic sound. I know, people knock passive EQ, but all you do is get a little more amp gain to make up for it and the result is a great color palette of tones.

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The finished guitar- truly a beauty, and wonderful to play. More than a bit of hot rod to this one, I love the flamed mahogany, and the balance and neck are great. I could play this one all night!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 12:30 am 
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You have gone and done it again.
Bloody excelent workmanship.

If the choice of electronics don't beat all
then a pickguard with pickup rings will.

About the cracked neck:
Quote:
I addressed this situation by clamping it in a bench vise, bending it open slightly, and forcing water in, then urethane glue.

Q: Why water the crack before the glue?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 12:48 am 
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thanks. I should mention this is another of my six foot guitars- looks great from six or more feet away...

the water is to activate the urethane, you have to do it to use that type of glue. urethane glue (aka gorilla glue) is weird, it has very little stickiness by itself, so you have to be prepared to hold the pieces together (i use tape). When it contacts water it turns into something like expanding foam insulation, and forces itself deeply into the grain and any cracks, which is part of why it works so well. It dries quickly, in an hour or so it's pretty strong, and you can scrape off the excess. In a day it becomes rock hard. I used the same stuff to repair the Explorer's broken neck.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2005 12:40 pm 
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Great work! Very inspiring!

Matthew


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 8:48 am 
Nice job, I miss these grand-scale resurrections. My L6S Deluxe is in the last stages (as is my '88 Honda Hawk GT, for you moto-geeks), and should make me very happy very soon.

Also hopefully picking up another Vantage this week, cross your fingers...

That blend control you describe is intriguing, especially since I love my P90s...have you posted a layout for it, or was it a trial-n-error thing you worked out over time?

Thanks,

je


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 2:23 pm 
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you gonna post ictures of your progress? we wanna see!

blend pots are great with P-90's, they really give you sensitve control over dialing in the twang.

the blend pot in this one is connected to pickups wired in parallel, so the circuit is like the first one here:

http://www.nwlink.com/~paulcl/guitars/p ... rwork7.gif

more detail on blend pots:

Image


there's more detail on blend pots here:


Superblend mod thread


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 2:55 am 
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This is the same as my unidentified Uncle Matt Flying V, see:

http://www.silverstringrevolution.net/~ ... .php?t=317

I also have noticed (although not many seem to share my view) that nearly all the '67 V types made in Japan around this era seem to be identical, barring a few differences in pickups etc. The construction and even the cherry colour seems to come as a given.

Does anyone have any info on this? [/url]


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 1:45 pm 
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Actually I see three main families of imported Vee, and they pretty much correspond to the three main makers: MAtsumoku, Fujigen, and Kasuga.

The one above is pretty definitely a Fujigen, and it's pretty idetical to equivalent Greco Vees.

Matsumoku include the Aria Pro Vee- you'd think it was the same as the Electra, but there's considerable difference in the routing and neck joint. Outwardly they are very similar, and there seem to be bolt and set neck version of each. The Vantage FV-675 is another good example.

Kasuga made the Cort Vee and a number of odd brands and unbranded Vees that appeared in the 80's. They often have binding and a torpedo-shaped headstock typical of Cort guitars, as well as bridge saddles witha large round hole viewed from the front, not unlike many 80's Washburns.

There have been other imported Vees that came out later, including a Chinese (and very Squier-like) Vee sold in England under the Westone label (no relation to Electra Westone). In modern times of course we have the Epiphone Vees, which are great but like most Korean guitars have that 2nd fret scarf joint that means a fall will be fatal to the neck- too much planned obscelecense for me.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 9:06 am 
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AWSOME work, really a bang up job!

My question is about the tone knob... I never use the standard tone controls on guitars, and usually remove them, unhook them, or replace them with a blend pot. I REALLY like the sound of the tone control you put in this one - it seems like something I might actually use when I'm playing! Details?


Last edited by markymayhem on Sat Nov 24, 2007 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 3:26 pm 
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Oh yeah, they're really great, i've used them in several different guitars. They're much more useful in a single coil pickup than on a humbucker (I installed one in my Gibson Vee with the stock pickups and it's just ok). However, if it's an Electra with coil tapped humbuckers, or other single coils, it's very useful indeed. You can get either a clean warm acoustic-ish tone with lots of bottom and sparkle, or for a distorted tone you can crank it the other way and cut everything but midrange for a better distorted tone.

I get them here:
http://www.guitar-mod.com/Merchant2/mer ... y_Code=MID

You could probably build your own for less, but they guy has these really trick custom taper pot made with a center detent that is extremel,y helpful.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:14 pm 
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ooh, that's pretty!! I do like the look of the Bigsby on there; don't they have just the wooziest vibrato!!!?
Well done!! :love:


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 5:51 pm 
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say, I'm shocked! This is awesomely new to me!
first, A Blend Pot for a 3-way switch? I thought the only way to blend pickups was by having two dedicated volume knobs...

secondly, mid-range booster/cutter for a common (generally useless) tone knob? I'll take one anyday! if only they were a a little cheaper I'd MOD all my stage guitars.

what kind of modifications can I implement on my tone knobs with off-the-shelf parts? say, instead of the low-pass, can I put a "high-pass", or a "mid-pass"? what happens when I put two resistors instead of one, double the tone effect?

also, how can i do the "shred mod"? how about the "face-melter mod"? kicka$$.

seriously though, thanks already for opening my mind to the posibilities of the tone knob and switch.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 5:47 am 
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Oh yah, mod wiring is way fun. Check out this thread:

http://www.rivercityamps.com/electrafor ... t+rod++p90

I used to agree, I never used my tone knob. where it's useful mostly is playing clean through a really noisy bright tube amp, to take the edge off. Or playing jazz, when you want a warmer duller tone.

The way a normal tone knob works is essentially it's a volume knob with a capacitor that makes it only affect the high end. To get a high-pass or mid-pass filter you have to use an inductor coil, which is what that passive tone control uses. Problem with that is it's hard to find inductance coils in the right value- basically a transformer with terminals on only one side of the loop. Even if you find one it's hard to get data on how many gauss they rate. (trying to recall teh value- 1.5 to 2 if I remember right)

ONe neat alternative though is to install a blend pot in a guitar with one trebly pickup and one bassy one- like a tele with a neck humbucker, or a humbucker guitar that allows you to coil tap only the bridge pickup. Then use the blend pot to balance the treble and bass value.

Or probably the easiest way of all is to plug into an EQ pedal :) Seriously, this will give you all the mid boost and cut you could ask for. Basically the value of a mid cut is to give you a really warm tone with really crisp high end- a clean sort of acoustic sound. On the other hand a mid boost (or low cut/high cut) is good for a really punchy sound, especially with distortion. In fact, running a mid-boost EQ before distortion is a powerful trick to improve your tone.

Since we're on that topic, one killer trick for shaping tone, one that'll teach you worlds about how to do it, is run two EQ pedals, one before distortion and one after. Set the one before to a sad face and the one after to a smiley face and then adjust from there- your tone will become massive. Seriously, that's one of the best ways to get a very heavy tone, because EQ before distortion doesn't really sound like EQ, it jsut shapes the frequencies that feed the distortion. As you know, too much bass before distortion makes it muddy and weak, and too much high end robs it of power. So cutting those out and boosting midrange improves the distorted tone, and then the post-distortion EQ helps shape the tone that results. If you only have one EQ, put it before.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 8:13 am 
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woah! I never thought of that. I have two EQ's in fact, but I looped them one after the other to exagerate frequencies, mainly becuase of my 60s and 70s guitars that have weak and undefined sound. a 7band EQ pedal can be 'secret weapon' of tone indeed. I suppose it works pretty much like active EQ knobs on a guitar, except there's only three bands, at most. Exactly why I've never found value in active electronics, I rather put a 9v battery on an extra pedal. But I haven't tried them so I could eat my words one day.

I grew sick, sick of digital distortions, that's how I came up with the EQ solution. initially I used to loop my guitar through an old tape player (the big ones that had the turntable on top) that had two 7band EQs built in. Besides, when I was tired of jamming I'd switch to phono and chill to some Vivaldi, Segovia, or rennaissance vynils.

your schematics for the P90 are interesting. I didn't think I'd find the blending mod so complicated; then again, the Jimmi Page mod was impossibly complex a while ago and I now I'm about to install it on my Electra Les Paul; I'll look into it for sure. it's cool to know you find value in those economic copy pickups. I like them too, mainly 'cause I just can't justify spending five times more on a boutique pickup.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 4:51 pm 
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Oh yeah, and in the old days even a simple home stereo had what we'd now consider a killer tube amp. Remember those vinyl box record players your kindergarten teacher played Puff the Magic Dragon on? Killer tube amp, yep. And I know many artists whose secret weapon is running their signal through a vintage reel-to-reel deck, at first to make tape delay but even without the delay jsut for the tube preamp.

blend potz don't have to be complicated at all- the only tricky part is combining a blend pot with a series/parallel switching option, hence the article. But otherwise you can wire a simple blend pot like this:

Image

and coil tap/phase options are no problem, they're all wired on the pickup side of this diagram. Basically the blend pot goes in place of a 3-way selector and that's all there is to it.


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