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December, 2008:

Westone Thunder 1-T Rebuild pt 5…Rebuilding


Now the body has been sanded and polished out, I can begin the rebuild, using a selection of old and new parts.

First thing to go back on was the neck. When I got the guitar it only had 2 screws holding it in place, instead of the 4 it should have.I managed to find two more similar screws, and using the old neck plate I re-attached the neck.  Although the edges of the lacquer around the frets is a little scabby, I sanded it lightly to take the rough edges off and left it alone. I want to retain some “patina” of age.  I did give the frets a good clean though, and also treated the fingerboard with a healthy dose of lemon oil.

I also stuck in a new nut, using 2 part epoxy glue, guessing the position. I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to break the glue joint to re-position the nut, and luckily I got it right first time..phew!

headstockThe original machine heads were reinstalled before the neck was re-attached, using a flat washer to replace the one missing one. I also tightened up the tensioning screws, and the work just fine, although the chrome is showing its age somewhat.

The one cock-up I made was in polishing the truss rod cover…I thought the lettering was indented, and in my enthusiasm polished it a little too vigurously, losing a little definition on the letter edging…oh well…

The bridge went back on next, then the pickups, with new screws and pickup rings. The wiring was fed through to the cavity, but left for now. I also fitted the new pickup selector switch, using the original brass lock nut, again, feeding the wiring through to the cavity.

The next post will be about my wiring adventures, but here’s a sneak preview of the insides…Thanks for reading!

 

The re-built guitar from the rear

The re-built guitar from the rear

Collectable Guitars pt 4 – The Dean Lost 100



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This post concentrates on an ultra-limited edition series of models with a total production run limited to 100 units.

Dean Lost 100 Series

deanlostOn behalf of several artists and owners, myself included, I will say that Deans are very good guitars.

If you check our histories section, you’ll see that the company was started in 1977 by one Dean Zelinsky, who wanted to make great guitars for rock musicians (something he achieved, if the legions of celebrated Dean fans including ZZ Top, Dimebag Darrell of Pantera and shredder Michael Angelo Batio are anything to go by).

However, due to an error regarding serial number application, the guitars were labelled from 77 00101 onwards.

That’s why the historic reissues you’re reading about were created – to show what the guitars built by Dean were like in 1977.

The 99 guitars are based on the V, Z and ML body shapes (the only models made by Dean in 1977) with serial numbers from 1 to 100.  All are signed by Zelinsky himself.

They are all exact reproductions of what the Dean of 1977 was really like, right down to the oft-altered shape and size of the headstock.

However, they were built from 2006-8 and nearly all (if not all) have been sold, and at £3660, they are pretty pricey.

But assuming they haven’t all been sold and you have the cash, you could get an exact replica of a classic rock instrument, with all the features retained on modern Deans- the high-quality set-neck construction, long-lasting sustain from the mahogany body, and Dean’s renowned pickups.

Even if you can’t afford a Lost 100, there are whole ranges of less expensive Deans, like the 79 and Time Capsule Series.

Collectable Guitars pt 3 – 1950’s Danelectro Range



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This time I thought I’d go for a whole range of guitars, which were meant as budget instruments when they were first made in the mid-1950s.

1950s Danelectro Range

Originally meant as budget guitars and sold through the Sears catalogue under a variety of names, Nathan Daniel’s company, Danelectro, soon started marketing the guitars as Danelectros, not Silvertones and Airlines as they had before.

The guitars were a huge hit with beginners  as they were very cheap and the various shapes available looked good, unusual for budget guitars of the time.

There were several different models, all very simple, fun to play and utilising the innovative Danelectro own-brand pickups, single-coils mounted inside lipstick tubes, so novice guitarists, or even experienced musicians on a tight budget, could choose a good-looking and playable guitar. However, the guitars were killed off in 1969, only to be reissued recently to rave reviews.

1950s-60s Danos are surprisingly rare now, and fetch upwards of £600 when found by collectors. They are highly prized because of their rarity, and are well-known for their unique tone, which is bright and resonant because of the chambered bodies and cheap materials (a mix of chipboard and plywood).

If you can find an original and have the money, they’re prized and playable vintage collector’s items. If not, the reissues are great, and all the models are only about £200.

Models include the 59 (as used by Jimmy Page), the 56 (a single-cutaway budget Les Paul-type guitar), the 63 (originally the Silvertone 1448 amp-in-case guitar sold by Sears in the USA) and the Dano Pro (an unusual, almost completely rectangular guitar).

Collect them all!

You can read a full biography of Nathan Daniels, written by his son, Howard by following this link

Collectable Guitars pt 2 – Burns Marvin



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This guitar was used by Hank Marvin of the Shadows during the 60’s, along with his iconic Red Fender Stratocaster

Burns Marvin (1964-65)

Hank Marvin Burns Guitar

The Burns is a whole lot rarer (and cheaper) than a sixties Les Paul – it isn’t worth the tens of thousands one of those commands, but they only made 350 or so, so if you want one it’s possible to find the official Burns-made reissue model, and alos a 40th anniversary special edition.

The Marvin featured a whole host of innovative features, including a sculpted “scroll” headstock, a knife-edge vibrato and tuning pipes in the body.

These are seriously rare guitars, and chances are you’ll never find a “real” one. However, if an old one does come your way and you have the cash, then why not…

Collectable Guitars pt 1 – Gibson Les Paul



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What guitars would make the basis of a dream guitar collection? 

In these posts we’ll look at the rarest, most valuable, most collectable or just drop-dead gorgeous guitars – starting with one of the most valuable types of guitar available.

Late 50’s to early 60’s Gibson Les Paul

These are seriously valuable guitars, especially all original models. New Les Pauls cost anywhere from £1500-£2500 depending on model, specifications etc. Any decently presented original model from the fifties will probably fetch up to ten times more, possibly higher depending on condition.

Although the guitar was a slow burner when it was released, in the late 1960s interest picked up – quite a lot – so much so that some Les Pauls, particularly from around 1958-60, are worth properly huge amounts of money, and they’re hardly ugly, are they?

The original classic solid-body guitar, all thanks to the genius of Les Paul (the man).

Joe Satriani vs Coldplay

A bit off topic, but I thought I would add my thoughts to Joe Satriani’s accusations of plagiarism over his track “If I Could Fly” and the Coldplay track “Viva La Vida”.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Rock guitarist Joe Satriani has sued Coldplay, accusing the Grammy-nominated stars of plagiarizing one of his songs.

Satriani’s copyright infringement suit, filed on Thursday in Los Angeles federal court, claims the Coldplay song “Viva La Vida” incorporates “substantial original portions” of his 2004 instrumental “If I Could Fly.”

The 52-year-old guitar virtuoso is seeking a jury trial, damages and “any and all profits” attributable to the alleged copyright infringement.

Although there is a strong similarity in one section of the song, I don’t believe a court will agree.

Any Musicologist worth his salt will be able to find many examples of the same passage, going back hundreds of years.

I beieve there was a similar case a few years ago, between Cat Stevens and the Pet Shop Boys regarding the song, It’s a Sin,  which never progressed for the same reasons… An expert found many examples from classical music of the same phrase, proving that Cat Stevens wasn’t original in the first place. Read Wikipedia about it here. I believe this will be a similar outcome, if it ever reaches court.

I reckon Joe is misguided in bringing this case…some nice publicity though..*wink*

Sorry, the video has been removed from Youtube for copyright reasons..

Westone Thunder 1-T Rebuild pt 4…Painting


As I said in part 3, I have decided on a Volvo car colour for the body, a dark blueish grey metallic colour from an aerosol can.  ( I can’t remember the colour name!) I bought grey primer, 2 cans of blue and 2 cans of clear lacquer from my local Halford car parts shop as well as some 600 grit and 1500 grit wet and dry paper.

The body was filled, sanded, filled, primed and sanded as described in the last post, until I had an even base of grey primer. I didn’t get the body immaculate…there are still a few small dings, mainly on the edges, but it’s a whole lot better than it was, and perfection wasn’t what I was aiming for…just a decent looking usable guitar bought back from the dead!

Finally, I started laying down the base colour. I hung the body on my washing line in the garden and heated the cans of paint in hot water until they were warm. This raises the pressure in the can, allowing the paint to flow faster anD to cover more evenly. ( A trick I learned from my model car building buddies).

I laid down a couple of light “mist” coats to begin with, until the whole body had an even covering of the metallic blue, then built up layer by layer, allowing the paint time to dry in the warm (indoors) for a few hours between each coat. This allows the paint to “gas out” which lets the solvents used to propel the paint from the can evaporate between coats, which in turn helps the whole drying and paint hardening process.

I gradually built up the paint layers, getting a wetter, heavier coat on each time, but also making sure i didn’t get any runs in the paint. Eventually I had used two full cans of blue on the body, and I had a pretty even, semi-gloss finish.

As the paint is metallic it needs a clear lacquer coat to bring out the shine, so after a day or two of drying in my warm office, I repeated the whole process with the clear coats. After the first can I did give the whole body a light sanding with 600 grit wet and dry to flat the surface back, taking out the worst of the unevenness from the finish. This can be a scary process, as the paint goes totally matt again, but if you are careful enough not to go through to the colour coats, it will add to the smoothness of the final paint job.

 

The painted and polished body

The painted and polished body

 After the two full cans of clear had been used up, I left the body to dry and gas out for a few days while I started gathering the new parts needed. The next part will be about the new bits, but to finish up the body, after the drying process I polished the clear layers with my special polishing kit…again, another model car item.

A polishing kit is a series of small pieces of glass paper, going from 1500 grit right up to 12,000 grit. (which feels like velvet). The process is to sand the body (with water) removing any high spots in the cleat coat. This again will make the paint look matt, but will leave a very smooth finish. After the initial sanding with the 1500 grit, you move to the next finer paper (1800), and repeat the sanding process (always wet, dipping the glass paper in water and using the supplied rubber sanding block to wrap the paper around).

This process polishes the clear coat with finer and finer grades, making the finish super smooth and bringing back the shine. You work through the grades, 2400, 3200, 4000, 6000, 8000 and 12,000 until the final grade doesn’t appear to be doing anything at all. After drying the body and giving it a going over  with guitar polish the results can be pretty spectacular…A glassy shiny smooth paint finish, which should be just as hard wearing as the original.

 

Ready for rebuilding...

Ready for rebuilding...

As previously mentioned, the finish isn’t perfect, but I’m pretty happy with the results.

The paint cost me about £15, and I already had the other supplies so I’m ready to begin rebuilding in the next post.

Thanks for reading!

Another Great Guitar Book

This book…

Totally Guitar

Has a wealth of great guitar information. Over 600 pages of guitar history, playing styles, pictures, and some information on rarely seen makes and models of guitars from all eras. As the Amazon reviews quite rightly say:

This book is a real bargain…not only is it excellent value at (rrp £20 – cheaper bought on Amazon), it is also full of fascinating and useful information. Chapters are;

Sound and Construction
Essential ingredients that determine the sonic characteristics and playing feel of the world’s most popular guitars.

Amps and effects
A look under the hood of the gear that shapes your sound.

Maintenance
A guide to care, cleaning, set-up, repair and minor customisation of your guitar.

Play Guitar
Take a taste of the ten most popular guitar styles – to find new inspiration for your own playing, or an entirely new direction.

  • Acoustic
  • Rock and Pop
  • Blues
  • Country
  • Rock’n’Roll
  • Metal
  • Latin
  • African
  • Classical
  • Jazz

Guitar Manufacturers
A unique illustrated directory with all the inside info on the great electric guitars and the stories of their development for 130 leading brands.

Glossary
A detailed, comprehensive and fully illustrated guide to the language of guitar.

If you have an interest in guitars then there will be plenty in this book to entertain you. The maintenance section is particularly useful – with everything you need to start maintaining your own guitar rather than paying someone else to do it! I actually discovered that I had been stringing my guitar incorrectly for the last 10 years – I would tie up the slack straight onto the tuning head, which it describes as bad practice. That is just one example of many tips and tricks the section includes. It goes into real depth, covering many different types of guitar and setup.

The Play Guitar section is excellent too, covering a wide variety of styles and including useful and concise information to get you started playing in a new style, or rounding off your existing abilities.

The sound and construction, amps and effects and guitar manufacturers are for those who want to know more than just how to play. To me, all of the information there is very interesting and is well laid out and described – generally in chronological order.

Having said that, not everyone is interested in the detail. If you’re not then this book should still be of use (and great value!) as the first two sections discussed above really make this book great value for money. The informative sections are a bonus for those interested.

Whether a newbie or an experienced, knowledgeable, player I think there will be something in here for you. I would recommend this book to any guitar player as a great reference and really interesting read.

My own copy of this book gets referred to on an almost daily basis, it’s well worth the low price!