Partscaster Evolution

Talk about modding or building your own guitar from scratch.
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natthu
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Partscaster Evolution

Post by natthu » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:57 am

This is a long winded history of my main guitar. I wrote this for myself for sentimental reasons, but I guess some of you may find this interesting also.
(note: The main guitar in this post is a Telecaster, but there is some hot Offset action in there too)

I've always loved assembling Partscasters, and I usually have no clear idea of an end goal when I start acquiring parts. Indeed many are just serendipitous by-products of extra bits I have lying around. I also have trouble settling on anything. As a result most of my Partscasters started life looking fairly different to what the end up.

I bought a John 5 Telecaster (6 string) neck with the intent of adding drone strings for the three low strings to make a 9 string guitar. The idea being that you get that 12 string sound from the bass end of the guitar while still being able to play normal lead type stuff on the higher strings. To my surprise this actually worked very well. The extra tuners fit nicely and I was able to add extra slots in the nut without much trouble or loss of playability. The body is a rear route Mahogany Telecaster from Warmoth with a Black Korina top in a clear satin finish. I ordered it specifically to accomodate the Gotoh 12 string bridge and some humbuckers I had lying around. The whole thing sounded good and played pretty well...

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However, I quickly realised that setup wasn't something I needed. So I swapped the neck out for a (professionally de-fretted) fretless Telecaster neck I found on eBay. I also swapped the bridge out for a 6 string and changed the blade switch (which didn't operate well with the rear route) to a Gibson style 3 way. This was extremely cool and sounded quite unusual. I play fretless bass so it wasn't a completely foreign concept to me, but it was still pretty difficult to play well none the less. I tried using a violin bow on it, which sounded great, but didn't help distract from my average guitar playing skills. A friend borrowed it and actually used it for a few parts on an album he recorded and released. I kinda feel like it was worthwhile just because of that...

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I love the wood on this guitar but at this point I decided I didn't like the rear route layout. So I converted it to a sort of Tele Deluxe. This required a lot of wood to be removed from the control area to accomodate the new pickguard mounted pots. I have no photos of the mess under there, but it looks like a blind elephant with a nervous twitch and no penchant for subtlety did the work with a blunt axe. Fortunately the resulting hole is covered completely. I opted for a Les Paul style control set up, but with two micro switches to split the humbucker coils instead of a universal 3-way. Both pickups are always on, I should probably add a 3-way at some point (or maybe change the micro switches to 3 way to add an off option for each pickup). I used an MIJ JM66 Jazzmaster neck as I like the look of the original Tele Deluxe headstocks, I just think they are a little too big. I also thought a standard Strat headstock would be too small. The pickguard covers the gaps left by the mismatch of neck heel/pocket shapes. Incidentally the MIJ JM66 body went on to become the Jazzmaster XII I made (pictured below) with a neck from Warmoth...

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The MIJ Jazzmaster neck, while lovely to play, never looked quite right on this guitar to me. So.... I had Warmoth make me a JM neck with binding and blocks (I have no picture of that neck on the guitar - but it's on the long scale Jaguar pictured below which I still haven't finished properly). I didn't like that either, so I picked up a '65 AVRI Jazzmaster neck and slapped that on instead. I think the binding without blocks plus the slightly broader headstock complete the look... and that's how my Number 1 guitar has been for the last five or six years. Lately I've been thinking of lightly sanding the pickguard down to remove the shine so it has a matte finish like the body. It's evolution has slowed (the first three pics were all withing 3 years of each other) but it will probably go on receiving minor tweaks until I end up ruining it ;)

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Steadyriot.
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Re: Partscaster Evolution

Post by Steadyriot. » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:02 pm

That's such a cool evolution. It's really great to see your needs change and you adapting the guitar to it.
I love it when someone has a "main" guitar that gets played the most and they age along with their owners. With the hoarding, flipping and trading of guitars popular on many a forum (and to which I am also guilty as charged) you don't see that all too often being posted because, well, new acquisitions are a lot cooler to post than your daily workhorse and there's always something better around the corner.
I'm trying to let go of this flipping mentality and just keep around a few guitars that I like and that work. Inspirational post to me but maybe I'm looking into it too much! ;)

That ADH full scale (wrong scale! ;)) Jaguar looks amazing as ever. Brilliant finish on that one.
Miss his creative mind on this forum (though there is an abundance of creative minds here thankfully, so we can't complain..).
"If someone duetted with a Bald Eagle, they could rule the Country charts from here to eternity." ~shadowplay

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natthu
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Re: Partscaster Evolution

Post by natthu » Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:03 am

Steadyriot. wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:02 pm
...I'm trying to let go of this flipping mentality and just keep around a few guitars that I like and that work.
I think it's best to find a balance. Finding and keeping guitars you like is good, but I like that we have the ability to keep it fresh with a new guitar (or mod) every now and then.
Steadyriot. wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:02 pm
Inspirational post to me but maybe I'm looking into it too much! ;)
I'm glad you got something from it ;)
Steadyriot. wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:02 pm
That ADH full scale (wrong scale! ;)) Jaguar looks amazing as ever. Brilliant finish on that one.
Miss his creative mind on this forum (though there is an abundance of creative minds here thankfully, so we can't complain..).
Yeah I got a few great ideas from him. I've had that Jag for years, but I'm determined to finish it soon. I'll probably do a post when I do.

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mackerelmint
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Re: Partscaster Evolution

Post by mackerelmint » Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:40 pm

This is cool. This is one of the cooler posts I've seen on here in a while, actually. That 9 string is a really neat idea. There should be more evolution posts. I'm going to keep that in mind, as a perpetual tinkerer. Thanks for posting.
This is an excellent rectangle

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natthu
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Re: Partscaster Evolution

Post by natthu » Mon Jun 17, 2019 2:52 am

mackerelmint wrote:
Sun Jun 16, 2019 3:40 pm
...There should be more evolution posts.
I agree. I'd love to see this sort of thing from others.
I often wonder if anyone else is as vague and haphazard in their approach to mods as I am.
I'd be pretty interested to see what tinkering you've been up to.

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