Avid guitar collector and average guitar player Claes is writing about his thoughts on buying and collecting guitars, fixing them up yourself and just general guitar stuff. Claes has never even met a real luthier and doesn’t pretend to be an expert in any way. He just believes that the best way of learning is by trying and he likes to share his experiences and mistakes as he goes along and learn more and more about guitars.
His first attempts to change anything on a guitar was when he decided that his Morgan Telecaster needed a wee bit of bling and it eventually became, the Claescaster.
I bought Morgan back in 1998 in Uppsala, Sweden. She was just amazing, I’ve gotten used to refer to guitars as “she” since I live in Spain. For the money, she cost around 200€, she was pretty solid and well built and felt better than both the Squire’s and Mexican Fenders. Morgan was my third guitar. I had an old Hondo ll Les Paul copy from the Seventies that I had inherited from my father and learned to play on but I never liked the feel of so in 1993 I bought my first own guitar. It was a brand new white Fender Squier Stratocaster Made in Japan by FujiGen. That guitar served me well for many years but there was something missing, nothing really with the guitar itself, more about the model. I changed the pickguard from white to tortoise straight away when I got it to try to copy Hendrix Olympic white Strat, it didn’t work that well but at least it looked a bit more original than before. I wasn’t really a Strat guy, I had already figured out that I wasn’t a Les Paul guy, but when I played the Morgan for the first time I realised that I wasn’t a Strat guy either. I became a Telecaster guy and suddenly it was fun to play guitar again. Morgan followed me to London where I played in a couple of bands and then moved with with me to Spain. I actually never touched anything on her until maybe 1.5 years ago when I realised that the reason I favoured other guitars was because she looked boring. I did try to relic her when I first bought her by dragging her in the gravel outside my house to make her look less new, it didn’t work since I ended up wiping her clean after playing so she was always newly buffed and looked shiny and new. I remember that my step dad who is a bassist told me when I had dragged Morgan around outside that I would regret that one day and I ought to stop. I haven’t really regretted my feeble attempts to relic the guitar but I guess I wouldn’t do it again. I felt that Morgan needed a face lift and since I love gold I decided to exchange all the hardware for gold parts. I ordered some cheap bits from China and others I put a bit more money on so I ordered Wilkinson machine heads and bridge plate, which is amazing quality for the price, a real Fender ashtray cover and topped it off with a fake Fender neck from China. I found this guy in England on eBay, I bought all the parts on eBay, that had Chinese made fat necks with nice vintage nitro looking finish to them really cheap. He said he put a Fender logo on it for a fiver and the total with shipping and all was under 70€. The reason why I got a new neck for Morgan was mainly because I have never liked that light wood colour and on top of that the frets started to get worn. It didn’t sound too tempting to hand over Morgan to some luthier I didn’t trust and pay 250€ to change the frets when I could get a new neck for 70€. It was pretty straight forward to change the parts. I felt quite nervous when I had to drill new holes and fit the neck and I didn’t really know what I was doing when I had to rip of the chrome cover for the neck pickup and solder down a new gold cover but everything worked in the end. Well I did have some slight issues with the electronics. A cable came loose when I changed the jack so I asked a friend of mine to figure out where it was supposed to go and to solder it down for me. It didn’t really work out that well and Morgan spent a year and a half with faulty electronics and served me as my unplugged office guitar instead. Now she is back on her feet with a bit of help from Dani and Nurbert.