Monday, May 12, 2008

The Un-Baritone Guitar

So I had to come to terms w/ something about my baritone guitar: It was cool, it sounded and played OK but I just needed to accept the fact that it is simply not that great. It's a nice first try but that is all I can say about it. I've decided that it is not worthy of my beautiful Warmoth neck so I've replaced it w/ a dirt cheap no-name neck from eBay. It's a load off my mind saying that out loud.

And I'm not kidding when I say no-name. It literally doesn't have a brand name at all on it's vaguely Telecaster-ish headstock:

I have no problem w/ the lack of name-brand and, in fact, I appreciate not having to shill for whatever company imported this son-of-a-bitch from French Indochina. What I do have a problem w/ is the fact that the holes were drilled in the wrong damn place. Not only that, they are too big for a normal neck screw. I filled them in w/dowels and re-drilled them, no problem. It actually fit in the neck pocket better than the Warmoth neck because it was too big.

Of course, that could not possibly be the end of my problems w/ this thing. The fact that it fit better, meant I got it on there straighter which made it a apparent that the bridge was in the wrong place so I had to move it again using this same procedure. And if that was the end of things, I'd have been pleased but it wasn't. Now that the neck was straight and the bridge was in the right spot, the pickups were no longer in line w/ the strings. Blast! There's really not much I can do about it w/o redoing the whole damn thing so I'm leaving it like that for now. I also rewired it so it didn't have all that goofy stereo crap going on, which was always weird and problematical and I never used for anything other than screwing around. I also unhooked the push-pull pots I was using for pickup selection and threw a Gibson-style toggle sort of awkwardly into the mix. Works but it's kind of cramped.

I also had to level and crown the frets to get it playing w/o a hideous amount of buzz. The neck really was a trainwreck. In hindsight I wish I hadn't cheaped out and got something decent. Here is the guitar w/ it attached:

Now that is one fine fiddle! Seriously, it's not that bad. If I ever get around to it, I'll re-rout the pickup slots so I can move them where they need to go and then make a pickguard to cover all the mistakes up. If I really wanna get into it, I can fill the wood and refinish in a solid color. Might be worth it as I can fix some other crap too while I'm at it. It's still pretty fun to play and having the pickups out of whack doesn't seem to affect the tone much at all. The neck is a big fat vintage baseball bat so it's good to practice on. Makes my other guitars feel tiny and insignificant, thusly allowing me to better bend them to my will.

The Warmoth neck is now going to go on the cheapo guitar project. Somewhat ironical but there you go.

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