Claescaster

Month: June, 2013

Fender Telecaster Japan TL52-75

Fender Telecaster TL52-75, ’52 re-issue, Made in Japan Fender Telecaster TL52-75, ’52 re-issue, Made in Japan by FujiGen between 1987-1989

As a Roy Buchanan fan I always dreamt of owning my own “Nancy“. The story how Roy found his Nancy is pretty interesting. In 1969 Roy got fed up with the music industry and enrolled in a school to learn to be a hairdresser. One day during class he saw a guy walking pass the window carrying an old butterscotch blonde Telecaster and Roy fell in love at first site. He chased after the guy and told him that he could pick any guitar he wanted in a nearby music store and in the end bought him a new purple Telecaster to trade for the 1953 Fender Telecaster, serial number 2324, that later became his beloved Nancy. My story wasn’t that interesting. I had kept an eye out for a Japan made ’52 reissue and one day I saw that my favourite eBay seller in Japan, Tokyowax had one for sale. So in October 2012 I became the proud owner of a Fender Telecaster TL52-75, ’52 re-issue, Made in Japan by FujiGen between 1987-1989. There is no way to find the exact production year of these A-serial Telecaster with the serial number on the bridge plate. However, it must have been made between 1987 and 1989 since it’s a TL52-75. They were called TL52-70 between 1984-1986 and then changed to TL52-700 in 1990. I do love Nancy, she is an extremely heavy and amazing sounding Telecaster but I still struggle a but with the neck. She has a typical mid eighties Japan neck, really flat and fast playing, without any doubt the fastest guitar I have after my 1975 Hagström HIIN OT. The problem is that I’m not such a huge fan of slick and easy to play necks. I like quite high action and really fat necks so I have to make an effort to play, it’s a part of the feeling for me. Nancy is still an awesome guitar and sounds great from stock, everything is made in Japan, machine heads, pickups, switch and pots. However, there was one thing that really annoyed me, the brass saddles. If you live in a Mediterranean coast city like Barcelona, you will have to adjust your guitars a lot to cope with the humidity. I have to adjust the truss-rod and saddles on most of my guitar when the seasons change and with Nancy it was a nightmare. The only screwdriver that was small enough to fit for adjusting the height of the original saddles was a tiny little weak thing that I got for my watches. Since I didn’t have strength enough to move the screw while the guitar was tuned I had to loosen the string every time, then tune it again. I was also a bit disappointed with the intonation high up on the neck so I decided to change for my favourites, Wilkinson compensated brass saddles. I found a set really cheap from Swivel Electronics in Singapore and a couple of weeks ago I got around to change them.

♪ ♫ Roy Buchanan – CC Rider

Fender Telecaster TL52-75 The old ones might have had more sustain since they were heavier and seemed more solid but to be able to adjust the height with a simple Allen key, without having to loosen the string is more important to me.

Fender Telecaster TL52-75 All done, I’m sure they will look old in a few month and blend in perfectly with the rest of the hardware. The humidity here in Barcelona seems to age metal very quickly.

Fender Telecaster TL52-75, ’52 re-issue, Made in Japan I bought Nancy because I wanted a blackguard ’52 re-issue but quite soon I realised that everyone else in Barcelona had one too, well not a Japanese but still. It suddenly felt and looked more Bruce Springsteen than Roy Buchanan so I decided to change to a tortoise shell 5 hole pickguard to make it look a bit more Country-,  Swamp-, Southern rock. 

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Guitar of the day

Roy Buchanan's 1953 Fender Telecaster Serial #2324, Nancy Roy Buchanan’s 1953 Fender Telecaster named “Nancy”. Taken from the Fender Exhibit. It must have been a fairly well lit exhibition since she looks so pale.

Roy Buchanan's Roy bought Nancy in 1969 from a guy that passed him in the street carrying the guitar.

Roy Buchanan with Nancy In 1960 Roy Buchanan replaced Fred Carter Jr. as guitarist in Ronnie Hawkins’ Hawks. After a short period, he left the Hawks and teenager Robbie Robertson took over the lead guitar. Buchanan, one of Robertson’s main guitar influences, also performed as an opening act for the reunited Band on their 1987 tour. Levon Helm mentions in his book, This Wheel’s on Fire – Levon Helm and the Story of The Band, that they thought Roy was an amazing guitar player but he was too weird to have in the band, hence they let Robbie take over once he had taken a few guitar lessons from Roy.


Roy Buchanan – Live from Austin TX 1976

EY Guitars

EY Guitars

I just received my package from Hong Kong, the guitar parts I ordered from EY Guitars for the old Claescaster. How cute is this, they have packed it in a lunch box to keep it safe. I wonder if that something they always do or if it was just a really considerate worker that thought that Spain was really far away and it might be a bumpy ride so he or she better pack it in a Tupperware. They were pretty quick too, I placed the order on the 6th, sent out on the 8th and here on the 25th, just two work weeks. It was holidays here in Catalonia this weekend so I bet no one was working on Friday or Monday, it might have been lying around here in the post depot since the middle of last week, it has happened before.

Eko Ranger VI

Eko Ranger VI

I went for a walk this Saturday and ended up in a Cash converter, as I usually do, and found myself with a Eko Ranger VI. I’ve been pretty curious about these and have kept an eye on eBay for one but they tend go for a lot more than I’m willing to pay but now the price was right. I took it home and gave it a good clean, oiled the fret board and restrung it. It’s a quite weird guitar, the neck feels like a Les Paul neck so it’s really easy to play solo on but it’s a bit thin sounding when strumming chords. I’m not sure if its’ because of the wood or the fact that it has a bolt on neck. I have a 12-string Eagle back in Sweden, a German made guitar from the 1970’s that has the same system and that one feels pretty similar. I’ve seen quite a few Framus and even some Japanese Epiphone’s with the bolt on so it must have been fairly common back then.

Eko Ranger VI I’m not sure if she has spend two decades in the sun or what happened to the pickguard. I will try to find a replacement and change that.

Eko Ranger VI It doesn’t say what model it is but I assume it’s a Eko Ranger VI.

Eko Ranger VI There are quite a few cracks in the lacquer all around and the nut has come off and been badly glued back by the previous owner.

Eko Ranger VI I guess it’s a 1970’s model since the headstock is not black but it’s a lot darker then these Rangers and has a black logo instead of white. Taken from OffsetGuitars

Eko Ranger

Jimmy Page Eko guitar
Hopefully now when I have my own Eko Ranger I can be as awesome as this guy. I still don’t get why Jimmy Page played on Eko’s since they are not the worlds best sounding guitars. Maybe it was for the flat neck that makes it feel a bit like Les Paul.
EKO sold
Update 2013-09-05 EKO got a new dad, a real Italian dad. This is how happy Gyo was when he picked up his new guitar.

Guitar of the day

Stevie Ray Vaughan number one Stevie Ray’s Number One, also known as Vaughan’s ‘First Wife’, was a ’62/’63 Fender Stratocaster used by Vaughan for most of his career; it was “rebuilt more times than a custom Chevy.” Vaughan always claimed it was a 1959 model, since that date was written on the back of the pick-ups; Rene Martinez, who maintained the guitar since 1980, saw the year 1963 stamped in the body and 1962 on the neck. The guitar was given to him by the owner of Ray Henning’s Heart of Texas music shop in Austin, Texas in 1973, it was his main performing instrument and companion. Although the original had a white pickguard and strangely hot ’59 pickups, Stevie replaced the pickguard with a pickguard featuring the now famous SRV lettering. Remarkably, Stevie had the frets replaced with jumbo bass style frets while he played on a reportedly .013 (going as high as .018) guage strings. Number One now resides with Stevie’s brother Jimmie. It’s been permanently retired in memory of Stevie. Here is an interview with Stevie’s guitar tech Rene Martinez.

♪ ♫ Stevie Ray Vaughan – Little Wing

Stevie Ray Vaughan Stevie Ray Vaughan – Live in Japan, January 24, 1985

I love that he is smoking a pipe when he comes out on stage, a bit unexpected.

The Claescaster

Claescaster The new Claescaster has been my office guitar for the last month or so and I’ve really grown to love it. I guess all new guitars needs to be broken in by being played a lot so 30-40 min a day so should do the trick. There is nothing more relaxing than playing guitar after you have eaten, well maybe sex but that would be rather awkward in a office environment. I can strongly recommend everyone to get yourself an office guitar, if don’t already have one.

Hobbs Music P-bass

Hobbs Music

Back in January I bought a really nice Japanese made Precision bass for my friend Dani from South City Music. Well he paid for it but I had to order it since he doesn’t have an eBay account. He is as addicted as I am when it comes to buying instruments online so he doesn’t trust himself with an eBay account, probably for the best. It was pretty beat up but looked really nice in dark sunburst with a maple fretboard. It wasn’t a proper brand it just said Hobbs Music on it, which turned out to be Hobbs Musical store in Lancaster so I assume they imported it in the Seventies from Japan and put their own name on it. Anyway, the bass arrived but Dani wasn’t happy with the pickups so it was put a side for six months and now we ordered a set of Artec Alnico V P-bass pickups and new bridge and pickup covers from Custom world guitar parts. Dani fitted everything but passed the bass over to me to just look it over. He had done a good job, the wiring was correct and the soldering looked good. I did my best to clean it up, adjusted the saddles to get the action down and sorted the intonation. It’s a really heavy and solid bass, good wood for sure and the maple neck is amazing to play on. I plugged it in to check that everything was in order and sat for a half an hour playing bass by myself, something I never do. It felt quite a lot like my Japanese Jazz bass copy from 1978. It’s unbranded too, or rather someone has removed the logo on the headstock so I don’t know what brand it is. I can’t really jump to any conclusions from just two basses but I have a feeling that the Japanese basses are as well made as the guitars, even if it’s and unbranded instrument. I did an earlier post about the quality of Japanese guitars.

Hobbs Music Friday night fun, Swedish beer and a Japanese bass from the 1970’s

Hobbs Music The Hobbit, from Hobbs Musical store in Lancaster. Next step would be to get some new machine heads.

Hobbs Music  Everything seems to be in order, Dani had done a good job. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the Japanese that routed that control cavity, seems like a pretty uneven job.

Hobbs Music Dani kept the original pickup covers, really nice in black and white. Notice my best friend in the top right corner, nothing works better than an old toothbrush when it comes to cleaning metal parts. It works great for removing grime from the bridge, saddles, machine heads and frets. If they are really dirty, a bit of oven cleaner speeds up the process.

Hondo D-18

Hondo D-18

About a month ago I stumbled upon a Korean made Hondo D-18 acoustic guitar in a Cash converter. It only had 1 string and looked like shit but I was intrigued by the challenge to see if it I could get it to sing. I took it home, cleaned it up and restrung it and the first thing that hit was the tone. It has a really warm and nice tone, way deeper than any of my other acoustics. I’m not sure how old it is, I guess the 1981 on the label is referring to the company name and not the year it was made but it must be from the early to mid 1980’s.

Hondo D-18

I changed the machine heads for a set of fake tulip Grovers that I bought on eBay about a year ago. Then I fitted a strap button and my old 1970’s Shadow pickup that I used to have on a 12 year old Cort I kept in the rehearsal room. It was the normal procedure, drill a pilot hole and then put some wax on the screw and fit the button. I had to widen the hole quite a lot to get the end pin jack in, but that was pretty straight forward as well with a round file. I do hate to fit end pin jacks since my underarm is to wide to fit in the sound hole so it’s quite pain full experience. If you have a girlfriend with slender arms nearby that is to recommend but mine was out of the house when I did this. I have to say that I’m pretty pleased with both the sound and the look of this guitar, the grain is amazing.

Hondo D-18

I had a cheap Artec MSP-50 pickup at home so I fitted that in my old Cort and then installed the Shadow pickup in the Hondo.

Hondo D-18

Hondo D-18

Hondo D-18

Hondo D-18

Update 2013-09-14
The Hondo D-18 is sold now. This is how happy Iñaki was when he bough it.

Hondo D-18 sold

Guitar of the day

Lowell George Lowell George from Little Feat’s 1970’s Fender Stratocaster. This is one his last ones, apparently he got so many guitars stolen during his career that he only played on modern Strats that was easy and cheap to replace. Most of them did look the same since he favoured light wood coloured big headed Strats with maple necks. He always installed a Telecaster bridge pickup and volume knob and used an 11/16 socket wrench as a slide. Don’t ask me what’s going on with the input jack but he changed that on all his guitars too. Notice his dungarees behind the guitar.

♪ ♫ Little Feat – Easy to slip

Lowell George Lowell George struggled quite a lot in life and was addicted to cocaine and hamburgers but he was a helluva slide player. Little Feat, the best kept secret of the Seventies.

The Old Claescaster

I have just ordered a new set of pickups for the old Claescaster. Since the new Claescaster is done I felt I needed another project so what could be better than giving some love to the old Claescaster. I went for some cheap Artec ones, just regular Alnico V pickups but with a bit of luck they could be good. They only cost  $24.00 for both so I don’t expect too much. I bought them from a Hong Kong site called EY Guitars, I didn’t want to order things from USA since I had so much trouble with the customs last time. I also ordered a Wilkinson vintage bridge in gold since I took the old one and put on the new Claescaster. Let’s see how it goes, how long it takes and if I get charged any extra custom fees.

cropped-claescaster3.jpg The old faithful Claescaster

These are the Artec Hot Ceramic Telecaster Pickups, a bit fancier then the ones I bought but they were sold out in gold so I had to go for something else.