Vintage Guitars on my workbench

woof*

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8,513
I'm trying to figure out how that locks the string in place more than a regular wrap. How does wrapping around half a tuner post help more than just wrapping it around the full tuner? I've never had a string slip out of a tuner hole.

I'm always up for improving things, so just trying to understand how this works, and to learn from a pro.
I think it’s a good idea. I’ve only had strings (E/B) slip if I cut them a little short in the first place. They can constantly and very slowly go a little flat. This would be a good quick fix especially if you had no extra to just replace.
 

Dashface

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Messages
6,051
Whatever the owner of the guitar prefers.

Personally, I play .008 to .038 on my guitars. I like round core pure nickels.
8s! Holy smokes. That is so light!

...Of course, you're the professional here. Maybe you're on to something! I guess I should ditch my usual 10.5s and stop torturing myself :D
 

Texas

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Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
114
8s! Holy smokes. That is so light!

...Of course, you're the professional here. Maybe you're on to something! I guess I should ditch my usual 10.5s and stop torturing myself :D
Next thing we know he got the advice from The Rev!
 

hogy

Member
Messages
13,611
8s! Holy smokes. That is so light!

...Of course, you're the professional here. Maybe you're on to something! I guess I should ditch my usual 10.5s and stop torturing myself :D

It's just a personal preference thing. When I was a young Stevie Ray Vaughnabe, I played .012s, too :). Now, I want to put no effort into playing. I just want to think about vibrato, and it happens.

Those guys who say they want the guitar to "fight back"? Yeah, that's not me. I'm not here to fight. Guitar fights me, it's for sale.

I play with my fingers mostly, not a pick, and once I adjusted to the small strings, I found I got more dynamic range out of them, and better tone. More subtlety, more harmonics. Big strings sound loud and dumb to me now (when I play them, not saying this is true for anybody else). All fundamental and no color.

And the other cool effect is that nobody wants to play my guitars anymore when they sit in with the band. They touch the strings and go "I can't play this!" Win/win. :D
 
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wsaraceni

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,071
And the other cool effect is that nobody wants to play my guitars anymore when they sit in with the band. They touch the strings and go "I can't play this!" Win/win. :D
I don't have a band but I like when people play my guitars. there's a 99% chance they sound better than me. haha
 

riscado

Member
Messages
525
Alright then, let's get on with our look at 1954 Strats and what makes them tick.

Next up is another late '54 Strat I refretted a few weeks ago. This one has a neck date of 12/54 and a body date of 10 or 11/54. You pick, the person who dated the guitar couldn't decide. Pencil marks are under the finish and have not been manipulated.





What's really interesting about this guitar is the body wood. Take a look at the grain. It's very tight and came from a slow growing tree. It also has a unique, silvery chattoyance to it that is not at all typical of "swamp ash" grown in the US. This wood is something you see on quite a number of '54 Strats. Once you develop an eye for this wood, you can recognize it pretty instantly.





My theory (for which I have zero proof) is that this may indeed be Japanese Sen ash.
Check out this link for a sample of Japanese ash.

Some '54 Strats are clearly swamp ash. It's a softer, faster growing wood with big, flared out grain lines. Some look to me to be Sen. And then there is yet another wood used in '54 that looks different from both. Fender now claims it's sassafras. I'm not sold on that theory, but I suppose it's a possibility. Sassafras does have very prominent, dark pores, and the wood is more reddish than swamp ash. What do you guys think?







I have made the pilgrimage to the old Fullerton "factory" where these guitars were made. The building now holds a number of auto body shops. When you see it, it's surprising how small it is, especially considering that amps were made there, too. There just isn't any space for a lot of lumber storage, so I'd imagine that they would have had lumber delivered frequently. Maybe monthly or even weekly? It certainly wasn't "tone wood", but simply lumber from a local hardwood supplier. One could imagine that there might have been times where stock of Southern ash was in short supply, and Japanese ash was available. It is only a few miles from Long Beach, where imported wood was coming in on cargo ships. Just speculation, of course, until somebody does a proper botanical analysis of these woods.


Anyway, some other '54 features include the pickguard, which is only shiny on the front. The back is a flat white.



Pots are another thing that Fender was still experimenting with in 1954. Some Strats have 100k linear pots, some have 250k linear. 100k is not an earlier feature, in fact, the different values seem to appear randomly. My own 6/54 Strat has 250k, a 8/54 I owned had 100k. Obviously, this affects the sound quite a bit, with the 100k equipped guitars being mellower and rounder sounding. Both versions were solid shaft pots, not split shaft. Knobs were glued on. Probably just a dab of hide glue, it's often gone by now and the knobs are spinning on the shafts.

And those serial numbers? I had three 12/54 Strats here within the last year. One was 07xx, one was 10xx, one was 74xx.

More 1954 Strat lore to come when we look at a very early, somewhat prototypical guitar with its own unique features.

that is very very akin to sen ash you find on 79-81 Greco super reals.
 

fingertip

Squier to the Grand Funk
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
707
Whatever the owner of the guitar prefers.

Personally, I play .008 to .038 on my guitars. I like round core pure nickels.
I'm game, but who makes such a string? Curt Mangans start at .oo9. Pyramids also start at .009. Nevermind, I just found some at American String.
 
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hogy

Member
Messages
13,611
I'm game, but who makes such a string? Curt Mangans start at .oo9. Pyramids also start at .009. Nevermind, I just found some at American String.
Everybody and their dog.

Curt Mangan has .008s, I buy them from him. Pyramid as well.
Every manufacturer has them, even D'Addario. I like Ernie Ball Classic Pure Nickel .008s (blue pack).
 

fingertip

Squier to the Grand Funk
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
707
I found a set of .008's (only one in town) and I've been playing them all day. 10s on my P90s Electrajet through PRRI sounded glorious and orchestral and Goodall/piano sounding tones. But I want to play the electric guitar. Today when I moved my fingers you could hear ME.
Gotta go. Bear in yard...
 

Cedar

Member
Messages
1,090
I play with my fingers mostly, not a pick, and once I adjusted to the small strings, I found I got more dynamic range out of them, and better tone. More subtlety, more harmonics. Big strings sound loud and dumb to me now (when I play them, not saying this is true for anybody else). All fundamental and no color.
This is the exact same reaction I had when going to smaller strings, first 9's then 8's.

I've concluded that a whole lot of tone chasing is guys trying to dial out that loud and dumb fundamental with the plinky lack of harmonic character.
 

soli528

Look, my first gold medal.
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,013
I've never understood the fingerboard wear at the end of the board, past the last fret on vintage strats- how does this occur, is it plectrum strikes or what?
 

WordMan

Homo Logos
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,627
I've concluded that a whole lot of tone chasing is guys trying to dial out that loud and dumb fundamental with the plinky lack of harmonic character.
Not here, please. That sounds like you are throwing shade about string gauge at a guy who is taking the time to show us the Most Insider Stuff Possible about the Guitars we Love.

Please don’t jostle that. Please start your own thread if you want to head off in that direction.

Thank you.

::Trying to control my drool over this incoming Les Paul that Hogy has hinted at....::
 

scottcw

Low rent hobbyist
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,342
Not here, please. That sounds like you are throwing shade about string gauge at a guy who is taking the time to show us the Most Insider Stuff Possible about the Guitars we Love.

Please don’t jostle that. Please start your own thread if you want to head off in that direction.

Thank you.

::Trying to control my drool over this incoming Les Paul that Hogy has hinted at....::
I think he is agreeing with Hogy, not throwing shade. Take a bit of time before suggesting someone leave, yes?
 

wraub

Member
Messages
300
Alright then, let's get on with our look at 1954 Strats and what makes them tick.

Next up is another late '54 Strat I refretted a few weeks ago. This one has a neck date of 12/54 and a body date of 10 or 11/54. You pick, the person who dated the guitar couldn't decide. Pencil marks are under the finish and have not been manipulated.





What's really interesting about this guitar is the body wood. Take a look at the grain. It's very tight and came from a slow growing tree. It also has a unique, silvery chattoyance to it that is not at all typical of "swamp ash" grown in the US. This wood is something you see on quite a number of '54 Strats. Once you develop an eye for this wood, you can recognize it pretty instantly.





My theory (for which I have zero proof) is that this may indeed be Japanese Sen ash.
Check out this link for a sample of Japanese ash.

Some '54 Strats are clearly swamp ash. It's a softer, faster growing wood with big, flared out grain lines. Some look to me to be Sen. And then there is yet another wood used in '54 that looks different from both. Fender now claims it's sassafras. I'm not sold on that theory, but I suppose it's a possibility. Sassafras does have very prominent, dark pores, and the wood is more reddish than swamp ash. What do you guys think?







I have made the pilgrimage to the old Fullerton "factory" where these guitars were made. The building now holds a number of auto body shops. When you see it, it's surprising how small it is, especially considering that amps were made there, too. There just isn't any space for a lot of lumber storage, so I'd imagine that they would have had lumber delivered frequently. Maybe monthly or even weekly? It certainly wasn't "tone wood", but simply lumber from a local hardwood supplier. One could imagine that there might have been times where stock of Southern ash was in short supply, and Japanese ash was available. It is only a few miles from Long Beach, where imported wood was coming in on cargo ships. Just speculation, of course, until somebody does a proper botanical analysis of these woods.


Anyway, some other '54 features include the pickguard, which is only shiny on the front. The back is a flat white.



Pots are another thing that Fender was still experimenting with in 1954. Some Strats have 100k linear pots, some have 250k linear. 100k is not an earlier feature, in fact, the different values seem to appear randomly. My own 6/54 Strat has 250k, a 8/54 I owned had 100k. Obviously, this affects the sound quite a bit, with the 100k equipped guitars being mellower and rounder sounding. Both versions were solid shaft pots, not split shaft. Knobs were glued on. Probably just a dab of hide glue, it's often gone by now and the knobs are spinning on the shafts.

And those serial numbers? I had three 12/54 Strats here within the last year. One was 07xx, one was 10xx, one was 74xx.

More 1954 Strat lore to come when we look at a very early, somewhat prototypical guitar with its own unique features.


I have an '83 MIJ Squier P Bass (SQ) , made of sen, that looks similar.
 




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