ThePearDream's Talman Projects

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ThePearDream
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ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by ThePearDream » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:33 pm

I have at least two different Talman projects to post about, so I'm going to put them into one thread.
I currently have three Talmans and have been a big fan since the original run in the 90s

Talman Project #1
When they announced the Talman reissues, I started brainstorming and looking for a good deal.
February of last year, I was able to snag a TM302 for $210. It had a few dings, but was otherwise in great shape.
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There was some excitement on the day I got the guitar, that I have to share.
One of our furniture lines that we sell at work, had sent a pallet of upholstery fabric remnants to our warehouse for an industry event. I, along with the rest of our design department were oohing and aahing and being typical designers while looking at fabric . I was pulling out a particularly nice pattern to give it a closer look,when the thumb of my fretting hand got sliced open by a hidden metal pallet strap. If you've never dealt with pallet straps, just know that they can have razor sharp edges. After spending the rest of the morning getting stitches, I decided to call it a day and head home. On the way home, I stopped at the FedEx location near my house to pick up my new Talman. Once I got it home and out of the packaging, I couldn't resist playing a few minutes, even though I had fresh, throbbing stitches.

After cleaning the blood off the back of the neck, I put it away and took a six week break from guitar playing. This gave me lots of time to finalize my plans.

After my stitches were out, I did decide to give the guitar a few months of playing, to see if I would like it as it was. Overall I really liked the guitar, the neck was comfy and satiny, the body was nice and resonant and I preferred the newer style contoured heel. Tuning was solid and I enjoyed the bridge pickup. But, I've never been able to get on with tele neck pickups, they always seem so blah. In the end, I decided to do some heavy mods.

Plan V1 was as follows:
This would be a 70s era Ibanez copy from an alternate reality where the Talman was a Fender model.

Here is the mockup I made:
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Since this was to be a 70s Japanese guitar, I was going to use a 70s Japanese car color. I decided to use the color of the car my mom had when I was little.
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Datsun Metallic Leaf Green

I did my initial conceptualizing for this before I had this guitar in hand. I had planned for it to be short scale, using a Mustang neck.
Based off of the heel to bridge distance on my older Talman models, this would have worked fine, but while the older Talmans have 22 fret necks with an overhang, the reissues have 22 fret necks without an overhang, throwing off my calculations by 1/2". In order to locate the bridge correctly, I would have had to fill the bridge pickup route, which seemed like more trouble than it was worth. Meanwhile, I had already purchased a VM Mustang minus the body, for a good deal. Defeated, I set about coming up with a new plan.

Plan V2:
Install the mustang trem I already had and make a custom pickguard to fix the awful shape of the Tele variation pickguard. I also did a swimming pool route to maximize the future pickup options.
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I've always wanted one of the TC630s with the red pearl pickugards, so decided to go that direction for this.

Because I'm intending this version to be temporary, I decided to do something experimental with the electronics. It has a 3-way mustang slide switch to select between the output of a 4-way blade switch (Neck & bridge pickups), or a center pickup (Buddha humbucker sized Jazzmaster with A3 magnets), or both. There is a push/pull on the volume to switch phasing on the center pickup. By adding 1 switch & the push/pull there are 13 different sounds. Also, I used a scrap of the pickguard material to make a custom top for the Buddha pickup, making it semi hidden and reinforcing the mustang-ish aesthetics.
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My initial thought on using strat size pickups on the neck and bridge, was that it would give me lots of options. I have a couple of strats that I really like, so I don't see any sense in using the types of strat pickups I typically like. So I used some overwound pickups and I hate them. I also tried some GFS strat size gold foils, thinking they would be very mustang like, which they were (flush poles, low output), these sound a lot better than the overwoundones, but also, like a less interesting version of my favorite strats.

After a bit of fiddling, I did get the trem set up nicely, the tuning is very stable with 10-52 strings and I really enjoy the feel.
The intonation screws on the VM Mustang bridge are the absolute worst I've ever used though, they were impossible to adjust when the guitar is strung up.
I took one of the saddles to my local hardware store (the kind where you can buy just 1 washer), and found some stainless steel m3-50 x 18 button head hex machine screws which are a perfect replacement. Using a ball end hex wrench, intonation is a breeze (If you have a staytrem, you can use the same wrench). I think they were $0.35 a piece, so even after tax, it's a sub $2.50 upgrade, and worth every penny. I've since switched out the intonation screws on my Jazzmaster and Jaguar.

One little wrinkle I did find, was that these reissues have nickel hardware, while the mustang bridge was chrome (you can see the difference in the pictures above). Well, for some reason guitarpartsresource sells the talman jack plates in chrome, gold and black. So I bought a new one in chrome.

I currently have a Mustang neck in need of a body, as well as an extra nickel Talman plate.

Plan V3 (future):

This will be getting an Inca Silver refinish (maybe in the spring), white pearl pickguard and since I think these guitars really need to have oddball pickups, I'm thinking goldfoils (maybe firebird sized goldfoils from mojopickups.co.uk).

Plan V4 (future & final):

Also, I'm looking for a similarly good deal on one of the strat variant reissues in the same color. Those only have maple necks, I plan to switch the necks. The strat type will get a new red pearl pickguard and a set of lipsticks, creating a reissue version of the TC630, but with a wood body, instead of MDF. This one would then get the maple neck, creating a silver Talman with a maple neck, mustang trem & goldfoils.

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by Shadoweclipse13 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:29 pm

This is awesome so far! Definitely excited to see how the rest turns out. That guitar is MADE for a Mustang vibrato!! It livens up and fills out the back end really nicely.
Pickup Switching Mad Scientist
http://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=104282&p=1438384#p1438384

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by kosta » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:00 pm

Nice one!

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by TeenageShutdown! » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:21 am

I love how the middle pickup is "hidden" with the tort. Cool project!

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by ThePearDream » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:35 pm

Thanks folks! It's definitely a fun little guitar.

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by ThePearDream » Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:01 pm

Time to share the story of my second Talman project.

My second guitar and the first "real" one was a new Talman TC-420 in Metallic Red. It was 1997 and after months of pleading with my parents, they agreed to combine my birthday and christmas presents. I really wanted one of the P90 models, not that I knew the difference between humbuckers and P90s, the P90s models just had cool finishes. The P90 models cost more than my dad was willing to spend, but the humbucker model was right in the sweet spot. I was really hoping for one of the metallic green ones, so of course no guitar stores in the area had those in stock. So, I got a brand new metallic red Talman TC-420. The nut sucked, the action was high, and the pickups were muddy. I didn't know how to do setups, nor could I afford one. I loved that guitar.

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Fast forward a few years. I had a few decent strats and a CIJ Jazzmaster and I never played the Talman anymore because the nut sucked, the action was high and the pickups were muddy. So one day in a fit of boredom, I started brainstorming budget friendly replacement pickup options. Was there a good and cheap replacement for cheap ceramic humbuckers in 2005? Probably, but that information was a lot harder to find back then. The plan I settled on was to use the pickups leftover from upgrading the CIJ Jazzmaster's to Antiquity II's. Yes, you can fit Jazzmaster pickups in a Talman.

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Sure CIJ Jazzmaster pickups aren't the greatest, I'd still rather have them over muddy ceramic humbuckers. So, I carved up the pickguard and body. I never bothered to get a copy of the pickguard made, or even make a tracing, I just freehanded everything with a dremel. I was part of the grand legacy of dipshits sloppily modifying guitars without proper tools :fp: . So, I had better pickups, and I had learned a bit about doing setups, so the guitar re-entered regular rotation.

Fast forward another few years. I had stopped playing guitar to concentrate on school. I sold off most of my guitars to avoid living on the street, or worse, getting a job. This was one of the few guitars I kept, because I had made it pretty much worthless.

Fast forward yet another few years. I had decided to return to guitars. I had this Talman, a TC-620 and a partscaster. I also had a problem. Between the wood I removed to fit the JM pickups and the heavy strings I had used, some deep cracks had developed off of one of the bridge studs. :'(

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I spent a few months ruminating on this problem and ultimately decided to remove and fill the bridge studs, then put on a vintage style trem. I used some pieces of oak dowel to fill the holes and reset the broken section, flooding the cracks with CA.

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I did my best to sand the plugs down to just below the level of the surrounding finish.

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I decided to try patching the finish with some nail polish (lacquer!) The one bottle of red my wife had, was almost a dead on match.

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I did a few applications of the red, then a bunch of clear. Then I did some wet sanding and polishing. Yes, it does look quite sloppy, but it does get nearly completely covered.

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See, told you.

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Now that the bridge issue was fixed, I just had to make a replacement pickguard and choose some pickups. Well, I had never made a pickguard before. After a year of thinking about it and slowly working towards it, I eventually made a pickguard template. It spent another six months thinking about making the actual pickguard before I made one. That process was clearly intimidating me. In the meantime I was scouring ebay for an original, to no luck. But eventually I made my first pickguard.

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It wasn't too terrible, It did look good from across the room. But there was too much bevel and one section got chewed up by the router. I was disappointed, but I decided to roll with it and thought it kind of fit the chewed up nature of the guitar. I got it wired up and really enjoyed the guitar once again. I decided to return the guitar to it's previous aesthetics, so I looked for some chrome humbuckers. I'm not much of a humbucker fan, but decided to try a pair of GFS Vintage Split humbuckers. I'm not sure what the magnets in them are, but I do like these pickups. I'm sure they don't sound that much like vintage WRHBs, but I enjoy them. Not muddy at all, lots of glass and chime without sounding stratty.

That was six months ago. This past weekend I finally got around to attempting the pickguard again. This was now my third time making a pickguard and it turned out much better. This one looks good from a foot away. It's not perfect, but I can live with this one.

GFS recently started carrying shorter trem blocks to fit thin bodied guitars, so I picked up some of those and put one in this guitar. I also made a new nut (well two actually). A fender sized nut is too short to fit on these, so I had to start with an oversized blank. The first nut I made was bone, but I decided that a white nut didn't look right. I found that a black graphtech acoustic saddle blank was the right size to produce two OG Talman nut blanks. So I was able to replace the nuts on both of my original Talmans. While I had it pulled apart again, I leveled, crowned and polished the frets.

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Let me list out the changes that have been made.
Upgraded Gotoh tuners
Graphtech nut
fretwork
repair body and finish
replace bridge
new pickguard
GFS vintage split humbuckers.

It's 20 years later and this guitar has been through a lot. It finally has a good nut, a good setup and good sounding pickups. This is my oldest (mostly) intact guitar, I'll be sure to be a lot kinder to it over the next 20 years.

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by sirspens » Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:08 pm

Looking good. I'm a fan.

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by ThePearDream » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:26 pm

Thanks sirspens

Almost forgot something important-ish.
While I had the TC420 torn apart and was procrastinating on making the first pickguard, I drew up a Talman in CAD. I loaded some good front pics as Xrefs to draw on top of and used my Talman to verify dimensions and angles.
I'm trying to share a link to a pdf here, someone please let me know if it doesn't work.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=19Fokx ... TZ__iek6Iv

I make absolutely no guarantees about accuracy. As with any template you get off the internet, you should verify dimensions etc. etc.
But, this should get somebody most of the way towards a good template.
I did see somebody on tdpri post a Talman drawing in the last year, which I haven't looked at. So FYI, that exists too.

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by ThePearDream » Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:31 pm

Oh, and If somebody does want to build one of these from scratch, the control plate can be found at guitarpartsresource.

http://www.guitarpartsresource.com/jack ... fender.htm
(bottom of the page)

They have chrome, black or gold.

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by sirspens » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:25 pm

ThePearDream wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:26 pm
Thanks sirspens

Almost forgot something important-ish.
While I had the TC420 torn apart and was procrastinating on making the first pickguard, I drew up a Talman in CAD. I loaded some good front pics as Xrefs to draw on top of and used my Talman to verify dimensions and angles.
I'm trying to share a link to a pdf here, someone please let me know if it doesn't work.
https://drive.google.com/open?id=19Fokx ... TZ__iek6Iv

I make absolutely no guarantees about accuracy. As with any template you get off the internet, you should verify dimensions etc. etc.
But, this should get somebody most of the way towards a good template.
I did see somebody on tdpri post a Talman drawing in the last year, which I haven't looked at. So FYI, that exists too.
Awesome! Would you mind sharing the CAD file?

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by hardtail01 » Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:43 pm

This is fantastic! I have a '97 TC420 that I really like. Mine is in black, and has been played a bunch and is super comfortable.

The work you did on your TC420 is very good and the guitar looks like it'll be lots of fun to play for a long time.

And I am noting your discovery for the TC420 string nut coming from a graphtech saddle bank. That is one thing mine needs - a new nut.

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by ThePearDream » Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:38 pm

sirspens wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:25 pm
Awesome! Would you mind sharing the CAD file?
Yeah, I can do that. I'll just have to do a little bit of cleanup on the file. I'll try to get it posted this weekend.
hardtail01 wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:43 pm
This is fantastic! I have a '97 TC420 that I really like. Mine is in black, and has been played a bunch and is super comfortable.
They really are great guitars. If I ever see one of the green ones for a decent price again, I'll definitely snatch it up.
hardtail01 wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:43 pm
And I am noting your discovery for the TC420 string nut coming from a graphtech saddle bank. That is one thing mine needs - a new nut.
I'm glad to share the few unique bits of offset knowledge I have with the community.

This is the part I used:
http://www.graphtech.com/products/brand ... -slab-1-8-
Last edited by ThePearDream on Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by mackerelmint » Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:14 pm

This is great. I'd love to see more talman projects around here.
This is an excellent rectangle

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by ThePearDream » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:05 am

Here's the link to the CAD file. It has the version I posted the pdf for, as well as a variation with jag pickups and a short scale version. Hopefully someone does something cool with this.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1FRlEe ... qmc6wrVQW8

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Re: ThePearDream's Talman Projects

Post by sirspens » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:08 pm

ThePearDream wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:05 am
Here's the link to the CAD file. It has the version I posted the pdf for, as well as a variation with jag pickups and a short scale version. Hopefully someone does something cool with this.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1FRlEe ... qmc6wrVQW8
Woo! I'll test this out later. Thank you!

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