I did something naughty

Darkness

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Under my couch has been something shameful. Something that only my wife and I knew about. It has been there for years, and last night I decided to awaken it. I hope you all don't judge me for this atrocity.

It's.... it's.....


Well...

It's a cheapo stratocaster clone. :facepalm:

My wife had bought it long ago when she wanted to learn guitar. It's called a Baja, it came with a little amp and bag and other stuff. It was like $100 new. I tried playing it a few years back and couldn't get it to hold tune because of the tremelo, so under the couch it stayed.

Last night I pulled it out and popped off the back cover. Cranked the screws that hold the springs down and tuned it. It still seems to go out a bit if I bend hard, but I'm convinced I can stabilize it if I get experimental. I'm going to drop some 9s on it this week and see if that helps. I'm going to measure the neck radius and order a nut as well, the stock one is plastic. I have to admit that I found it super easy to play, and it did sound a lot better than I thought it would. I guess I have a new project to tinker on.

I was too ashamed to take pics but I can post one later, if I am not banned for this treason.
 

Darkness

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There it is. Dark blue but you can see wood grain if you shine a light on it. Neck looks like maple to me. Although a cheapy it has a working truss rod and the frets are nicely done. No sprouts, no sharp corners. I don't understand what the 5 way switch does yet, I may take the thing apart to see if the wiring gives a clue. Surprisingly the volume and tone knobs work.
 

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Darkness

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I set the neck, got rid of the strong relief it had and got it almost flat. I got the action down low. Carefully balanced the 6 bridge things and matched the fret radius. Roughly set intonation, I see no reason to bother perfecting when I'm gonna swap strings soon. When I swap from 10s to 9s I'm going to pull the pick guard to see whats under there anyhow and try to stabilize the bridge.

The action is lower than any of my Epiphones and yet no buzz. Go figure. Tuned it up and played a few minutes, tuning isn't stable so there is that. I'd like to swap the tuners out, these feel very sloppy.

My wife walks in and says "Wow! That sounds like an expensive guitar now, nice job! We should give that to my niece for Christmas!"


:wow:

Still needs work. Maybe she can have it for Valentine's day instead.
 

Noodling Guitars

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Absolutely nothing wrong with cheap strat copies... Looks like a great platform for making a super strat (looks a bit like a yamaha pacifica). Sometimes all these take is a slight filing/ lubing of the nut (assuming the tuners don't have too much give) and some lube on the bridge and they play as good as any other strat/ strat copy out there. Add a bit of shielding tape in the cavity and it'll probably put a lot of strats/strat copies to shame
 

Darkness

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Add a bit of shielding tape in the cavity and it'll probably put a lot of strats/strat copies to shame
That is part of what I want to look at when I pull the guard. I read some guys blog (I guess) about his experience with this same model. He said when he pulled it apart he noticed there was shielding behind the pickups, and his wiring looked pretty tidy.

I pulled the knobs off because I realized my wife had never peeled the plastic from the guard. I did the honors and then noticed that Epi knobs fit, and I happen to have one volume and two tones from my Riviera (which lost one volume). If I change guard colors at least I know I have an option.
 

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soulman969

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The 5-way switch settings are like this.

Pos #1: Bridge solo
Pos #2: Bridge/Middle (that's where the "quack" arrives)
Pos #3: Middle solo
Pos #4: Neck/Middle (less "quack" more mellow)
Pos #5: Neck solo

As for the Tremolo bridge. In a cheaper model I would suggest "decking" it so it's non-functional as a tremolo. That should help immensely with any tuning issues. Another option is to just replace it with a "hardtail" type fixed bridge like my Robert Cray Model Strat.

As cheap as it may be with a little work it can still be worked into being a decent playing guitar and you seem willing to tackle that.
 
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Under my couch has been something shameful. Something that only my wife and I knew about. It has been there for years, and last night I decided to awaken it. I hope you all don't judge me for this atrocity.

It's.... it's.....


Well...

It's a cheapo stratocaster clone. :facepalm:

My wife had bought it long ago when she wanted to learn guitar. It's called a Baja, it came with a little amp and bag and other stuff. It was like $100 new. I tried playing it a few years back and couldn't get it to hold tune because of the tremelo, so under the couch it stayed.

Last night I pulled it out and popped off the back cover. Cranked the screws that hold the springs down and tuned it. It still seems to go out a bit if I bend hard, but I'm convinced I can stabilize it if I get experimental. I'm going to drop some 9s on it this week and see if that helps. I'm going to measure the neck radius and order a nut as well, the stock one is plastic. I have to admit that I found it super easy to play, and it did sound a lot better than I thought it would. I guess I have a new project to tinker on.

I was too ashamed to take pics but I can post one later, if I am not banned for this treason.
i have my brothers old squier affinity strat (all broke down and ready for paint) he never touched it, so im gonna give it new life. but i have to say, the neck on it is actually really nice, especially considering the price. not to mention the tuners felt heavier that the fender vintage ones.

i have some spare parts you can just have if it needs anything btw
 
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The 5-way switch settings are like this.

Pos #1: Bridge solo
Pos #2: Bridge/Middle (that's where the "quack" arrives)
Pos #3: Middle solo
Pos #4: Neck/Middle (less "quack" more mellow)
Pos #5: Neck solo

As for the Tremolo bridge. In a cheaper model I would suggest "decking" it so it's non-functional as a tremolo. That should help immensely with any tuning issues. Another option is to just replace it with a "hardtail" type fixed bridge like my Robert Cray Model Strat.

As cheap as it may be with a little work it can still be worked into being a decent playing guitar and you seem willing to tackle that.
i feel like Gilmour mods should be more standardized. the neck and bridge at same time, sounds so sweet. it really fattens up the toe in a non-quacky way. quacky is cool but not a common tone i use
 

soulman969

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i feel like Gilmour mods should be more standardized. the neck and bridge at same time, sounds so sweet. it really fattens up the toe in a non-quacky way. quacky is cool but not a common tone i use
I rewired mine with a push pull pot that allows me to have that Bridge/ Neck combination and I use it a lot. I'm one who doesn't favor the middle pickup solo so that's my substitute for it.

My G&L Comanche gives me that option a well although it's middle pickup solo sounds much better to me. "Quack" has it's place but I like having that Tele like Bridge/Neck setting too.
 

Cozmik Cowboy

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Soulman describes the 5-way settings correctly, but incompletely; positions 2 & 4 are out of phase (though I guess he did sort of cover that with the "quack" thing).

I can't find the directions right now, but I got them online, so Google should do the trick, but I added a jumper wire on my Strat (Squire Affinity 20th Anniversary Model; cheap guitar, great neck) so the 2nd Tone knob also works on the bridge pick-up; that way you can take some of the ice-pick-in-the-ear effect away & make the bridge p/up actually usable.
I also added a mini-toggle that cuts in the neck p/up no matter where the 5-way is, thus getting the other combinations (neck + bridge and all three).
I believe Stew-Mac has a "Trade Secrets" video on setting up a Strat whammy bar. Or, if you don't use a wiggle stick, just adjust all the screws so the bridge is decked on the body; some folks also put a wood block between the tremolo block & tail side of the cavity.
 
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TheDrJFever

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You could do what I did for a friend who purchased a Glarry guitar for her daughter. She brought it to me to "Give it a once over". I did the standard setup on it. Anchored the bridge. Did a fret job, but what she really thought was the bees knees was I installed a blender pot in the second tone position.

Changes the switch to work like this

Pos #1: Bridge solo - blend in Neck pup
Pos #2: Bridge/Middle (that's where the "quack" arrives) - Blend in Neck pup
Pos #3: Middle solo
Pos #4: Neck/Middle (less "quack" more mellow) - blend in Bridge pup
Pos #5: Neck solo - blend in Bridge pup

So you have a master volume, master tone and the blender. Her daughter thinks it's the coolest guitar EVER! LOL

Just sayin'
 

Darkness

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Ordered up a couple nuts. The radius is hard to gauge, I checked at both ends of the fret board and my gauge shows a bit of gap in the center on 10 and a bit of gap on the outside edges on 12. I ordered up a 2 pack of blank flat nuts and one that is meant for a Strat. If the pre made one fits, great. If not I can shape one of the blanks up to match the original nut. If I mess up I have a spare.

I'm spending a day at my brother in law's, the father of the niece who my wife wants to give this to. I told him what happened and I think it could lead to good bonding between them because he plays guitar. He said don't give it to her yet. She plays piano well, so he got her a violin last year but she doesn't play it often. He wants her to focus on that before we throw another instrument her way. I pretended to be disappointed, but that means this is back to being a fun project for a while.
 

John

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Send it to me, that you way you no longer will be ashamed.
In all honesty, I'm proud to have the ability to turn a cheap guitar into something awesome.
 

Raiyn

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Blenders are cool...

I prefer switches.
Killer-wiring.jpg
This is the schematic for Killer Frost and the Strat I built for my buddy. The middle cap on his is a stock value .047μF where as on mine it's a .033μF. As Leo never intended for the bridge to have a tone control, I went with a .033μF on both axes so as to not tame it completely.

There's also a treble bleed on the Volume pots for both of them.
 


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