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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:17 pm 
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Hey, I am moving information from the parts section (where I was initially looking for parts) to the restoration section because - hey - I am getting the parts to restore it.

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A quick update. I had a snapped off fine tuner in the bendmaster fine tuning bridge. Actually it is a clone of one I think from what Tom Presley said. It is an 86 model, and Tom said he thinks it is a prototype - that the parts may be partly Matsumoku, and partly Korean. It does not say "made in" anywhere on it. The closest model is the model 38 TD-X model - but this one has individual switches for each pickup. There does not seem to be a model exactly like this that I can find (or the people before me). The guitar is in amazing condition overall - quite clean, but has the snapped fine tuner, no trem bar, and the locks are missing out of the string lock (somewhat like a kahler string lock - behind the nut, and this is not like an westone). Oh yeah, and there is a problem with one of the switches but it may not be the switch - I found a wire off when I probed around. The individual switches for the pickups seemed to have spun, probably what has cause the wire to be detached.

I asked in the "looking for parts" section if anyone had a line on a fine tuner thumb wheel like the one missing. It has quite a long shaft on it, much longer than typical. I found chrome ones on ebay that looks right, but this requires black and I was not sure. I took pictures and our buddy Stokes has one and is sending me one. Dude you are a lifesaver. His remark was to me that it came from a European model that he got - so it was likely made in japan, went to europe, traveled to NZ and Austrailia with Stokes, then to Indiana - WOW. It is on its way. I had to take the bridge apart and drill out the broken off fine tuner - and it turned out pretty well. I used a slightly smaller drill bit and started, and it spun enough I could get a tool on the end of it and remove it. I took a good one and wound it through, and it is all good. The little levers in the bridge that perform the fine tuning - one was slightly bent and rubbing. I gently tried to bend it back and filed an edge slightly so it would fit better. I lubricated all the parts to make sure everything that moves will now move easily. I put it all back together and put the bridge back into the hole on the guitar.

I spun the switches back to face the right direction and line up properly and tightened them down. Then I soldered the wire back on. I could see exactly where it came from because the one right next to it was wired the same way. So that probably is done. I cleaned the controls too with deoxit. I noticed the tone control is 250K - so probably the volume is the same - I didn't check it. It is all buttoned up.

I decided to tackle the only significant ding on it, one on the edge of the rosewood fingerboard like it had fallen over and bumped into something and compressed an edge of the fingerboard between two frets (5 and 6). I took a wet rag and my soldering iron and steamed it. It did partially remove it. After getting about all I could likely get out of it, I decided that a slight fill would be required. So I filled with multiple layers of super glue. I scraped it with a razor blade to level off, and applied a few layers. Right now, you probably would not notice it!

I have a kahler replacement lock from allparts coming in - and I will likely try to remove the locks and put them into the Vantage assembly if I am able. If that is not a good move, I could just use the Kahler assembly I suppose. It will come in next week. Also, my floyd rose import 6MM threaded black bar is on its way, and I am confident from my experience with bendmasters, this will fit and look like it came with it. That will be a few days from now too.

So while I have this down, I crowned the frets and polished them. I probably should have done a level but I questioned if that was really needed. Heck - I am a getting a bit lazy. The nut is good and in place, and I don't want to remove the nut. I also oiled the fret board. I put all the screws back in. Right now, I don't have strings back in it because I don't have the nut lock assembly. This thing will be done as right as I can reasonably get it.

Time will tell. I don't know if I can wait for the parts to arrive to put the strings on - because I want to see if the pickups work right since I put the wire back on and set it up and see how it does. I have some time tomorrow maybe before the work week starts. I hope the pickups sound good. They are not MMK that I know of - maybe gotoh? They look like EMGs, but are not active, and the corner of each pickup has a red section and it has the greek omega symbol on it (worn off the middle and neck pickups, but mostly there on the bridge). These appear to be the same pickups that are on the 38 TD-X production model.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:33 pm 
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Those late era Vantage pickups have been the subject of discussion on the Matt forums before now. I've had a couple of guitars so equipped, one of which I've still got - Avenger AV395 - and one of which I've moved on - X-99. I found the X-99 pickups a little sterile after playing with MMKs, but the 395 pickups are very nice indeed; quite articulate through most of the range, only turning a little to mush at extremely high levels.

None of the ones I had were marked anywhere but from memory. the consensus of opinion on the Matt boards was that they were probably Gotoh...

Personally, I think you have a fine guitar there, Thorny and even if you don't like the pickups, you could use it as a test bed, eh!?

Oh, what's the neck radius/shape??

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:11 am 
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I don't have a radius gauge - but it is looks and feels flatter than most (guess is 10" or maybe flatter? I lay a rule across it and only small gap at either side). The neck shape is not chunky, but not small (medium?) - also a bit flat - but not like Ibanez Wizard flat. It is sprayed silver/metallic gray to match the body on back. The nut is 42mm. The frets are quite large Jumbos. I can't stand it, I will string it up today before the locking nut/part arrives and try it out. I can probably steal a bar from one of my Electras to try it out. I can use a bendmaster without a string lock behind the nut and missing a fine tuner. I want to know how it works and plays a little better. I didn't really try well prior to starting the work on it. I will set it up, set the intonation and check the pickups.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:22 am 
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:hyper: Great to see that one getting the attention it deserves. You will find it to be a great player and I did like the tone from those pickups as well. It has a smooth fast neck and you will find it to be a fun guitar to play. I also really liked the color. Enjoy and thanks for posting the progress reports. :up:

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:14 am 
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I have it strung up now, and intonated. I don't have the string lock on it, and it makes me think that maybe I should hold off and put a good set of locking keys on it? I can get some that will use the same holes and everything, and they are staggared too - so no string trees will be required. I am talking about the black ones that GFS sells. I have tried some look alikes but the GFS ones are actually better. I have used them on a number of Electra guitars that use the GOTOHs because they are really great keys (not that the gotohs are bad, they are not, but the new locking ones are better). That will probably do as well as a lock behind the nut. I should plug this up and play it a bit. Right now the action is pretty low, the bridge is almost down to the body. There is a slight sitar thing going on on the high E string, that is in the saddle. I should take some sand paper to it and polish that edge out a bit so it does not do that. I have not hooked up a bar yet or like i said, even plugged it in.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 1:00 pm 
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I'm a recent convert to locking tuners; I needed aset of tuners for my Raider and found a set of brand new MIC Schecter on eBay for $A29 and thought "Why not?!"

Very nice indeed, they are; they are solid and beautifully machined and like I said, I'm a believer! I've since bought more sets for various guitars....

Doing away with the string trees can only be good!!

That said, none of the guitars I've installed them on have locking nuts or stringlocks and I wonder if reasonably robust wang bar workouts would benefit from the slightly shorter string length of a stringlock? Watching with interest here, John!!

Come on, man; plug it in... scare the neighbours!! Then tell us all about it! :D

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 5:26 pm 
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played it for a short while! It all works! The switches are three way for each pickup. The bridge humbucker is down full humbucker, middle position is off, up appears to be single coil. The three-way switches for the neck and middle seem to be wired the same. The bottom position appears to be full single coils, middle is off, top is a darker and compressed output - like tone rolled off (but the tone control is not). I an not sure what it does. I will figure it out. The tone was pretty good, but ned more time to play to see how I really like them. I liked everything but the muted single coil tones - I didn't feel those were usable. I will try to document how they are really wired.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:27 pm 
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I took the time to document it. I am not certain at this point if the single coils are tapped or humbucking. I will have to play it clean and listen for hum. But electronics is working as it should.

I may have to fumble a little with the neck angle - a slight shim or a "screen" as sometimes used by Tom. Right now I have the bridge on the body and I am convinced I can get the action a little lower on the neck, but also need the floating trem to float - pointing to a shim. That will happen sometime later - too tired and too much to do for my work tomorrow.

The more I look at it, I should have bought the staggered locking keys rather than the kahler locking nut. I can flip it easily enough though (at least I think I can). I might lose a few $, but get about half of what I need for the locking keys I am looking at - the GFS black ones that look just like the gotohs that are on it now, except these have sperzel-like locks on them - and the stagger makes them better for the headstock angle. I can order a strat style 6MM threaded bar too - maybe some other stuff from GFS.

I will post a pic of the inside of the guitar.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:03 pm 
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It's 99% done now. I still have a fine tuner in transit from the otherside of the world (thanks Corsair).

I decided to fill the holes on the string lock and put in locking keys. I ordered the black gotoh-sized black locking ones from GFS - I had used them before and they were fantastic. I got them in and they work great, but this set isn't staggered like it is supposed to be. It's always something. I double checked everything and the ad and even the packing slip says it is staggered. So I probably will complain. I can get the same thing non-staggered for a whole lot less on ebay, but instead paid more to get exactly what I wanted from GFS. They usually are pretty good about such matters. We will see.

I had to do a lot of tweaking on the neck and bridge setup. The neck needed a slight shim to float the bridge and allow it to go low enough to lower the strings where they should be on the neck. Then the hole in the body needed a little tweaking too for the bridge not to float properly. A dremel to the rescue. The pickups? Not bad. I think the single coils are tapped, and the bridge PU is setup for single/humbucking. It sounds pretty good in hubucking and single coil modes, and the neck and middle sound great in the "down" or higher output modes. The middle and neck sound a bit muffled and weak in the "up" mode but don't seem to be humbucking, thus I am deducing it is a coil tap. You don't see that often. It sounds really good with two singles together, including the one from the bridge and the neck - really quite nice.

Oh, the input jack kept buzzing every time you bumped the cable jack at all. I opened it up, the plastic "football" shaped plastic mounting piece of pickguard was broken, not the problem but super glue fixed it. It had a less robust compact input jack, so I put in a real switchcraft like I put in my amps. It is much thicker and sturdier. I soldered it on robustly, and that will likely last longer than the guitar.

It stays in tune pretty well. The longer I played it, the more stable it got. It still can go out a little, but not badly after some stretching. I think it will be fine. It is a GREAT guitar, and plays like it should with action quite low and is fully intonated. Its NICE! I thought about changing the pickups (It is a sickness, because I always do) but these are pretty good except for the "up" sound on the middle and neck singles I don't care that much for - too dark and muffled. I don't know what I'd do there, unless I tried out something like those strat sized humbuckers - and right now I don't feel enough desire to do that.

All that is left is the fine tuner! I need to put it in a case or a gig bag too. Another fun project done - or almost :toopid:









Here is what it looks like:

Image

and the back

Image

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:50 pm 
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:up: Looking great. I did love that color and also I liked the stock pickups as well. Nice neck as well. Glad to see it getting the attention it deserves. :up:

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 3:37 am 
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Nice one!! :up:

Kinda surprised that the tuner hasn't reached you yet, eh... :-?

I liked the X-99 i had well enough in regard to build quality and playability, but sound wise it left me cold; I toyed with the idea of fuddling with pickups but in the end just shipped it away! :D

I really wanted to put a Bareknuckle set into it but, as always, lacked the dosh! :roll: :lol:

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 5:21 am 
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So far I have not tried it on any amps but my Bogner Shiva. Truthfully, just about everything sounds good plugged into it. It is great for selling guitars for that reason! Maybe I should try it on some other amps.

I expect the part to arrive any day now. Sometimes it takes a little longer than expected. Did you get the package I sent you yet? It has been almost a couple weeks so I expect you did. The part will arrive soon and when it does it will be complete.

Thx again! It would not be complete without you.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 1:19 pm 
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No, mate; not yet! Any day now would be my guess!

As for the bit; no worries, happy to help!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:24 pm 
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Thorny wrote:
Did you get the package I sent you yet?


Yep!! Came today...I must say, the Electra Symbol in white was inspired; it is on the Ladys' case!

Image

One of the oval Electra stickers is discreetly on the family Ford...

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... and all-in-all, I'm a really happy camper!!

Image

Thanks, John!! :up:

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:30 pm 
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I like how Ford kept the Falcon name alive down under. That name hasn't been used on a Ford here in decades. I hope you like the picks.

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