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Summer Project: Vintage Rebuild

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by connorreeves, May 20, 2011.

  1. connorreeves

    connorreeves Member

    Messages:
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    Jan 13, 2011
    It's summer and I decided to finally do something with this old short scale Kay bass that I've had sitting around since I bought it at a garage sale for five bucks in high school. The neck is pretty useless, the nut came unglued (it was plastic anyways) and the slab rosewood fretboard is peeling off starting at the zero fret. So the bass has never really been used as such by myself. Lately I've had a desire for an offset body guitar like a Jaguar, this bass isn't being used, I think I can manage to turn this into a pretty cool little guitar.

    Here it is disassembled. As you can see, it's got a pretty large rout there, and the pickguard doesn't have any holes cut in it besides the pots and four small holes for the pickup screws. The pickup itself actually sits on the outside. The width of the holes match a single coil's height adjustment screws pretty perfectly.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Luckily the neck pocket looks to be 2 3/16", so a warmoth 22 fret Jaguar boat neck will go in there. My main concern here is the bridge. There's no rout for springs or anything so I'll have to go with a fixed bridge. I was thinking a tune-o-matic stoptail with a mustang bridge. A bigsby would be awesome, but maybe a little too complicated.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    There you have it. Though you guys might like to see my little project. Any ideas/suggestions/concerns? Any bridge ideas are very welcome, as well as any information regarding scale length.
     
  2. willc68

    willc68 Member

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    philly
    That is a neat little project you have there. The concern I would have for the bridge choice would be that hole where the ground was routed through.
    Hopefully whatever type bridge you go with will cover that.
    A tele bridge would most likely be the most obvious to cover it easily but may not be so pleasing looking on an offset. Maybe a strat hardtail could work?
    Good luck with the guitar it looks like it will be a lot of fun.
     
  3. supergenius365

    supergenius365 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
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    Oct 22, 2005
    Cool. I am rehabbing a Kay Speed Demon. I wish I had taken pictures in the early stages like that because I have taken it pretty far from a hunk of junk to a nice little guitar.
     
  4. connorreeves

    connorreeves Member

    Messages:
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    Jan 13, 2011
    The guitar has a neck! It's a fender 70's reissue from 2002. Looks great, feels great, vintage frets might be a little small though. There is a slight issue with the neck fitting into the neck slot too, it's snug, but the bottom of the neck is curved and the pocket is completely square. The holes for the neck plate don't line up either. I figured a little elbow grease with a dremel will contour the neck pocket appropriately, and hopefully the neck won't mind a few extra holes for my screws.

    [​IMG]

    a better look at the grain on the fretboard
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Bridge hopefully coming next week, then getting it drilled for the holes/adjustments it needs. Haven't spent much money yet but I've almost got a complete guitar, it's quite exciting.
     
  5. kenneth

    kenneth Member

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    San Francisco
    Definitely exciting, it is looking good!

    Have you considered the height of the pickup, and neck shelf to see how this may line up for string height above pickup, and resulting action on the fretboard?

    Also, since you have that sloping part of the body where the previous bass bridge was mounted, it seems to me like it may be difficult to get a tele or fixed strat bridge to work with string height. You may want to consider something like a tune-o-matic with stop tailpeice, so you have a good amount of height adjustment available to match pickup height and action better.
     
  6. connorreeves

    connorreeves Member

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    Jan 13, 2011
    Ooo dang no I haven't really considered the more technical side of string height/action and everything. I was going to wait until I got all my parts in and then bring the guitar up to my local shop and see if the owner can provide a little insight. The neck fits pretty flush to the body, but the scale length may be an issue with this shorter body type

    I was really considering a bigsby with a tune-o-matic but the body is actually a teensy bit too short to accomadate the bigsby. A stop tailpiece + tune-o-matic might be the better choice as you say, but I think I'm going to try a Wilkinson modified tele bridge on the flat part of the body just before it starts to slope down. I measured it out and it's approximately 7.5" from the neck before the slope. This way the bridge butts up almost right up against the pickguard and it should look pretty cool as well as provide me with a useable action.

    I'm ordering my electronics soon so I can start wiring up the pickguard as I'm waiting for the rest of the parts. I must admit I'm a bit torn between 500k and 1meg volume and tone pots. Since its only one pup I'm leaning towards 1meg, but since the pup will be a Jaguar bridge I'm concerned the 1meg pot may make it a little too bright. Maybe a treble bleed mod or a stronger cap on the tone control would even this out?
    I'll most likely end up ordering 1meg, 500k, and 250k pots and trying them all out eventually, but curious to hear other people's experiences
     
  7. OrangeAD30TC

    OrangeAD30TC The venerable H.W.

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    Franklin TN
  8. connorreeves

    connorreeves Member

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    Jan 13, 2011
    making progress! All the parts are in except for the pickup, which hopeful I'll have the funds for by the end of this weekend. Went to talk to the owner of the guitar store in town and he likes the project and is letting me come in to use his dremel later this week. Hopefully I'll be able to sort out the neck pocket then, and cut out a hole in the pickguard for the jag pickup. Measured the scale length and it worked out to be just around 25"

    Here's a little glimpse of what it should look like. Haven't decided if I like the Kay badge on or off or which way it should be stuck on.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Fishin'Musician

    Fishin'Musician Member

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    Boise
    Instead of dremeling the route you should just flatten the end of the neck. You dremel the route then you gotta monkey with the pickguard as well. If you put the end of the neck to a disc sander, problem solve; then the holes might even line up.
     
  10. PB Wilson

    PB Wilson Member

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    Location:
    Rochester NY
    Could you give a bit of insight into how you got the scale length measurement to be "just around 25"?"

    If it's a Fender neck, it's probably 25.5" right?
     
  11. connorreeves

    connorreeves Member

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    Jan 13, 2011
    I was considering just flattening the neck like you suggest, but I was wary of doing this because I didn't want to mess anything up on the neck. I may just have to try it out though, because as you say, the pickguard will have to be modified too, and I like the old fashioned truss rod adjustment hole.

    @PBWilson

    As to the scale measurement, I called it "around 25" because there is a range from about 24" to 26.5" where the bridge can be placed. I think I may make the scale a tad shorter, in keeping with the jag/small body offset theme. Therefore I didn't just say 25.5" because we will be drilling new holes for the bridge and it's placement hasn't been set in stone.
     
  12. PB Wilson

    PB Wilson Member

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    Rochester NY
    But you do realize that the placement of the bridge is determined by measuring double the distance from the nut to the 12th fret and adding a little bit extra for compensation, right?

    Look to any number of luthiery books for more specific info.

    I'd just hate for you to place the bridge in a spot that won't work at all.
     
  13. Bob Pollock

    Bob Pollock Supporting Member

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    words of wisdom!!!
     
  14. connorreeves

    connorreeves Member

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    I realized the scale length would determine where the bridge would be placed, but I didn't realize you measured it by doubling the distance from the nut to the 12th fret on the neck. Thank you for clearing that up. I'll be sure to research more before I start assembling the guitar for real
     

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