Could I turn an Affinity Starcaster into a cheapo "pseudo-jazz box"?

viper jazz

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Messages
89
I recently saw the Affinity Starcasters, which are sub $300. I don’t really NEED another guitar, but it would be a fun one to have on the wall.

The Classic Vibes look nicer and probably feel a tad better, but I’ve never bonded w/ WRHB and figure why start now? Whereas the Affinity is standard HB size and I was thinking I could swap pickups and call it a day.

I’ve always mildly lusted over a cheapo Harmony/Tiesco/whatever jazz box or semi hollow, specifically for those really woody and flat sounds that Tommy Brennick is so good with in Dap-Kings, Menahan Street Band, and Budos Band.

Now, I KNOW a Starcaster really isn’t like a jazz box at all, but it’s closer than a Tele or Strat or something, right? Could I throw a set of cheaper DeArmonds or Gold Foils or something like that in there w/ some flatwound strings and get something kinda janky and yet woody for those classic 60’s/70’ funk guitar sounds?

What pickup in a cheap Starcaster could approach the sounds below (if at all)?


 

PartoftheDark

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1,774
If you can find some gold foils that you can mount in a starcaster, maybe with some adapter rings or something, you'll be most of the way there. I know he uses an old Bassman and a Gemini I (Honestly, leaning more towards the Gemini). Amps that capture that essence will get you the rest of the way.
 

Craig Gates

Member
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637
I think you could cop those tones with a Starcaster – get some flatwound strings first before you go out looking for pickups. Flats will get you a lot of the way toward that sound in my experience. And if you do feel you still need some goldfoils to get all the way there, Curtis Novak, GuitarFetish, the Creamery and many others offer humbucker-size goldfoils at varying price points.
 
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viper jazz

Member
Messages
89
I’ve got a Warmoth neck that I’ll swap, thanks!

Thinking gold foils are the best for a HB size pickup swap here?
 

CBHTele

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
839
Make sure you like the neck. The one I played was tee-nincey!
A HUGE disappointment - after waiting for months after they were announced, when they finally got out into the wild and realizing they put ruler-thin necks on these :(.
 

Bussman

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2,741
IIRC Fender Starcaster and Warmoth Mooncaster parts may not be 100% compatible. I looked into that a few years back. You should check with @smallbutmighty for all the compatibility details.
 

PartoftheDark

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1,774
I just noticed the affinity starcaster uses normal sized humbuckers. GFS has a wealth of hb sized gold foil options. Should be drop in replacements for the most part.
 

smallbutmighty

Silver Supporting Member
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9,357
IIRC Fender Starcaster and Warmoth Mooncaster parts may not be 100% compatible. I looked into that a few years back. You should check with @smallbutmighty for all the compatibility details.
Indeed. Starcaster is one of the bonkers Fender models that uses a 22 fret neck with no overhang on the last last fret. This makes it incompatible with Fender's original/vintage 2-3/16" neck pocket specs, and consequently, Warmoth replacement parts.
 

jvin248

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5,262
.

The Starcaster hollowbody is likely fine, I am concerned with skinny necks so I've avoided them.

There are other options too:
Firefly ~ $150 (but limited batch sales that sell out in a few hours after showing up on Amazon)
Harley Benton ~$200 (this is the one I'd get if buying new)
Ibanez ~$400
Washburn Oscar Schmidt (Samick) used. This is what I have, I've swapped pickups (has black/creme humbuckers now) and did repairs from prior owner messing around with it.

Rumor is that 90% of the import hollow bodies are built in the same factory with different logos/headstocks and some variation in hardware as the brand owners spec out. Many similarities otherwise.

Pickup options: Gretsch/TV Jones Filtertrons in HB package, Goldfoils in HB package, P90 pickups in HB package. I'd go with a P90 bridge pickup and the Gretsch/TVJ-Filtertron type in the neck if doing another swap on the one I have.

.
 

Bussman

Member
Messages
2,741
Thanks for the heads up, but @tooter007 was reporting no issues when installing a Warmoth on these?

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/i...-the-skinny-neck-issue.2127731/#post-30122339
If you are happy living with a gap between body and neck and having nothing but the screws holding the neck from moving forward into the cavity then go for it. But if you already have the neck and plan on switching out the pickups anyway why not go with a Mooncaster body and build a nicer guitar? IMHO, 2¢ worth and all that jazz.
 

CBHTele

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
839
.

The Starcaster hollowbody is likely fine, I am concerned with skinny necks so I've avoided them.

There are other options too:
Firefly ~ $150 (but limited batch sales that sell out in a few hours after showing up on Amazon)
Harley Benton ~$200 (this is the one I'd get if buying new)
Ibanez ~$400
Washburn Oscar Schmidt (Samick) used. This is what I have, I've swapped pickups (has black/creme humbuckers now) and did repairs from prior owner messing around with it.

.
May I also add the Gretsch Streamliner G2622 to the list? $449 for a hard-tail, and sounds more 335 than a typical Gretsch, but is still a fantastic bang-for-the-buck.
 

babadethkat

Member
Messages
196
Always thought Jazz tone could be got with the nastiest cheapo ceramics? lol. Tone on 0% neck with flatwounds through a solid state?...nice.
;)
 

viper jazz

Member
Messages
89
.

The Starcaster hollowbody is likely fine, I am concerned with skinny necks so I've avoided them.

There are other options too:
Firefly ~ $150 (but limited batch sales that sell out in a few hours after showing up on Amazon)
Harley Benton ~$200 (this is the one I'd get if buying new)
Ibanez ~$400
Washburn Oscar Schmidt (Samick) used. This is what I have, I've swapped pickups (has black/creme humbuckers now) and did repairs from prior owner messing around with it.

Rumor is that 90% of the import hollow bodies are built in the same factory with different logos/headstocks and some variation in hardware as the brand owners spec out. Many similarities otherwise.

Pickup options: Gretsch/TV Jones Filtertrons in HB package, Goldfoils in HB package, P90 pickups in HB package. I'd go with a P90 bridge pickup and the Gretsch/TVJ-Filtertron type in the neck if doing another swap on the one I have.

.
Right on--thanks for those options! I'm a chunky neck guy, for sure. That's my concern w/ these other options, as well...am I getting into boring medium C neck territory here?

But if you already have the neck and plan on switching out the pickups anyway why not go with a Mooncaster body and build a nicer guitar? IMHO, 2¢ worth and all that jazz.
Because then I'm looking at $4-500 for just the body, unfinished, and I need to get more hardware and stuff...couple hundred bucks more expensive, not to mention the slow Warmoth turnaround right now and the fact that this was supposed to be a relatively easy and fun upgrade instead of a build. Fair question, though!

May I also add the Gretsch Streamliner G2622 to the list? $449 for a hard-tail, and sounds more 335 than a typical Gretsch, but is still a fantastic bang-for-the-buck.
Haven't ever found a Gretsch neck that I liked...always seem too thin to me.
 

splatt

david torn / splattercell
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
25,186
I just noticed the affinity starcaster uses normal sized humbuckers. GFS has a wealth of hb sized gold foil options. Should be drop in replacements for the most part.
GFS makes real GoldFolis?
 




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