Saturday, 23 July 2011

Peavey Roadmaster Gut Shots

Today I added some handles to my Peavey Roadmaster head to make the thing a bit easier to carry (there were three handles originally but a previous owner decided to remove the ones at either end of the top for some reason. I can only assume he was a really strong guy), and while I had it out I decided to take some photographs of the insides.

Peavey Roadmaster Guts 2

Peavey Roadmaster Guts 3

I love how those PCBs look. Modern parallel track boards just don't have that same flowing aesthetic.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Pickup Prices

Today, having been let out of work early, I went checked out a local guitar shop just to see how much it would cost to get guitar pickups locally... I chatted to the guy and sneakily memorised the prices of a couple of pickups (Duncan Distortion and Duncan P-Rails) for later comparison with online prices.

I was expecting a bit of a mark up.

I wasn't expecting them to cost 35% more than they cost online.

So much for buying local!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Swift Les Paul Copy - More Thoughts

The more I think about it the more I realise that I probably won't try to sell this guitar on.

This isn't because I think it's so awesome that I must must must keep it, but because I seriously doubt I'd be able to make back what I spent on the instrument and will spend on the new parts. I took a gamble on a cheap instrument made by a company I'd never heard of and really I lost, I know I can make this into a decent instrument but the flaws I cannot do anything about will always be apparent. I'll keep it as a backup instrument for the time being and maybe one day when I can get a decent Les Paul copy for my own use and am no longer concerned with making my money back on this one I'll stick it on eBay or something.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Swift Les Paul Copy - Slight Change of Plan

Decided I'm not going to do a full refinish at this stage. Firstly it's not worth using decent nitro lacquer on this thing and I'm not forking out for a professional paint gun thing at this stage just because I cannot find polyurethane in spray cans.

This means I get to not only lower my budget by quite a substantial amount, but means I can spend more of said budget on getting the parts I want rather than the ones that are just cheapest.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Swift Les Paul Copy - In Bits

Damn, this is going to be harder than I thought.

The reasonably professionalish exterior hid some very shoddy workmanship (save the soldering which was actually pretty darn good). The screw holes for the neck are all over the place, the truss rod is very off centre and possibly at an angle too, the the top has been shaped over a central block rather than carved and capped meaning there's a lot of air between it and the main body block (I guess I could say it's semi-hollow if I sell it on!).

There's going to be a fair amount of filling and sanding and chiselling and hopefully not having to buy a new neck.

Oh, and it turns out it's loaded with 250k pots and .047uf caps... which might explain the unexpectedly meaty sound. I think I may stick some 300k pots in to bring up the brightness a teeny bit whilst still keeping that awesome bottom end.

Swift Les Paul Copy - What I'm Going To Do

Just a quick list of things I'm going to do with this guitar.

  • Refinish body and headstock in black, if the neck is decent-looking wood I'll do it in a "vintage tint" clearcoat otherwise that'll be black too.
  • Replace all electronics (except pickups as they're actually surprisingly good).
  • File down rough fret ends.
  • Adjust neck angle by adding a shim to the neck pocket.
  • Add new scratchplate (previous owner removed the original at some point, it did not come with the guitar so is presumably lost).

Swift Les Paul Copy - First Photos

Thought I'd take some photos of the guitar before I dismantle it and start work.

Swift LP Copy - Front

Swift LP Copy - Back

As you can see it's not actually a bad looking instrument.

Swift LP Copy - Misaligned Pickup

Of course it's a different story close up! Both pickups are set about a 1/32-1/16" too far towards the treble side of the guitar...

Swift LP Copy - Fretboard Binding

The binding on the neck could be a bit better, but I have to admit it is a nice touch on an instrument this cheap.

Swift LP Copy - Side

Obvious plywood is obvious...

Swift LP Copy - Headstock

Headstock and logo, the logo will be lost when I do the refin, the dodgy bits around the top are actually damage rather than poor workmanship.

Swift LP Copy - Bridge

The action was really high when I got it, the bridge is now as low as I can make it and the action is still a bit high, but only by 1/16", which is nowhere near as bad as it was!

Swift LP Copy - Pickup Selector

Apparently whoever made it decided to put the selector switch upside down. No, it's not just that the switch ring is upside down, the whole switch is!

So there it is, the guitar as I bought it (almost, as mentioned before I lowered the action as much as I can). It's going to need a fair bit of work, but I don't think there's anything I can't manage.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Swift Les Paul Copy - Plugged In


Once I'd got it plugged in and tuned to E-standard (which took a while because the pickup selector switch has been dicked about with at some point so the signal kept cutting out), I turned on the Big Muff (tone at 11 o'clock, sustain on full) just to see whether this thing rocked.

Again, wow. I was seriously expecting some awful sounding, reedy hiss-fest. I couldn't have been wronger... this thing is meatier than a meat stew with an added side order of meat, followed by meat ice cream and accompanied by a cheeky but not pretentious meat wine. Jesus. The sustain is unexpectedly good as well. The pickups are definitely keepers.

Swift Les Paul Copy

Cheap project/learning guitar arrived today. £29 off eBay.

Just given it a quick look-over and here are my initial thoughts.
The finish is surprisingly good (though it does overlap the binding at a couple of points).
The body is apparently plywood but that's not surprising, and it's pretty solid and sounds okay acoustically. Plus it's a proper archtop which I wasn't expecting.
The neck is bolt-on rather than set which again isn't surprising.
The action is rather wonky, being very high towards the body end of the fretboard.
At some point the pickguard has been removed, this was not mentioned in the listing.
It seems to play okay (despite the dodgy action) but I immediately cut my thumb on a badly finished fret.
The fretboard inlays were done by monkeys.

Looks like I'm gonna have my work cut out here... it's not a brilliant instrument by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not as bad as it could have been!

Pics to follow in the next couple of days.