Claescaster

Tag: Telecaster

How to… install a treble bleed

Claescaster New, Mighty Mite bodyThe Claescaster, put together in May 2013 out of a Mighty Mite Swamp ash body, Tonerider Vintage Plus pickups, Wilkinson hardware and a cheap but fairly fat China neck.

Last night I decided to change the pots and install a treble bleed on my new Claescaster, I never liked the feel of the CTS pots I had on. I’m still not sure if I like the new changes or not, in my head it sounded better before but I stupidly forgot to record it so I can’t compare the before and after. I think it had a clearer sound with more highs, now I feel that the neck pickup is more muffled. I’m not sure if this is down to cheaper pots, the treble bleed or the wiring. I changed the wiring too from a more standard wiring to Seymour Duncan’s suggestion for a ’66 wiring which matched what I had seen for the treble bleed. Maybe it has more to do with the changes in wiring than the actual treble bleed because before I had an old 50′s vintage wiring to help with the lack of treble at lower volumes and I was pretty happy with that. I’m so confused with all the different wiring options, I have no idea who’s doing what to whom, and where? I might just have to redo it again and copy the original wiring on my Greco TL-500 or my Fender TL52-75, they both sounds great.

How to... install a treble bleed, Telecaster, ClaescasterThe new Claescaster got a treble bleed and the ’66 wiring, bottom right photo shows the original wiring on my 1979 Greco TL-500

Claescaster, Telecaster,  50′s vintage wiring
Update: December 27, 2014,
Since I had the soldering iron out to fit the electronics in my new home built Claescaster I took the treble bleed out in this one and changed the wiring back to it’s original 50′s vintage wiring

The Old Claescaster

Claescaster, Morgan TelecasterThe old Claescaster before and after the transformation, well I just changed the pickguard.

I recently did a little order from my favourite Hong Kong site, EY Guitars. I wanted to change the pots on the new Claescaster, I’m really not happy with the fancy CTS pots I got and decided to put on some Asian ones instead. I also ordered a new black pickguard for the old Claescaster for 5€, I had grown tired of the cheap looking tortoise that has been on for 4 years. I also changed the knobs for flat topped gold ones so now the old Claescaster looks just like the new Claescaster, if it wasn’t for the Fender logo and the beautiful wood grain on the swamp ash body on the new one.

Claescaster, Morgan Telecaster, Mighty Mite bodyNow I have two Claescaster’s that looks pretty much the same. Boring perhaps but I really love the look of the 1970’s Fender Telecasters with their 3-tone sunburst, black pickguards and maple necks.

H.S. Anderson Mad Cat

H.S. Anderson Mad Cat

I have always been gay for the H.S. Anderson Mad Cat. I’m not even a Prince fan, this is the guitar that Prince made famous and used during the first half of his career, it’s something else. I think I really like it because of the unique look, it’s a bit too much of everything, a “all in” kind of guitar. The leopard pickguard should be too much but for me it just looks awesome, actually it reminds me a bit of Prince, but in a good way. If an African dictator, you know the ones with huge palaces in marble while the people are starving, needed an electric guitar, this would be it. I’m sure that Gaddafi had a couple in his guitar collection. H.S. Anderson was created by Mr. Hidesato Shiino and distributed and crafted by Moridaira who made Morris. Morris have always been seen as one of the better acoustic guitar builders but their electric guitars were fairly poor in the early 1970’s. When Shiino started H.S. Anderson in 1973 it was meant as a high quality custom shop brand aimed at the professional Japanese market. Here is some more information taken from Music-trade in Japan:

Mr. Shiino said that the original design of MADCAT came from the Takahiko Ishikawa who is top guitarist here in Japan (Maybe Mr. Ishikawa played over 10,000 songs…!!! He is mainly playing the acoustic guitar). Anyway, when they have a drinking, Mr. Ishikawa just wrote the original design of MADCAT. A few weeks later, Mr. Shiino added his idea and made the prototype of MADCAT. Well, about Mr. Shiino, you could check my JV history page. The logo mark was designed by Mr. Atsuro Yamada who is currently Managing director of Gramco Ltd – Top Strategic Brand Consulting Company. Mr. Shiino and Mr.Yamada were a good friend, and Mr.Yamada designed the logo mark and even MADCAT illustration. The Morris factory for H.S. Anderson was independent from Morris Acoustic guitar factory in Nagano. I’ve heard hat 3 craftsmen (Mr.Shinoda, Mr.Imafuku – He is Fujigen manager currently and other craftsman) made H.S. Anderson brand guitars. Early days (1973 -1974) made Madcat hasn’t got the serial numbers and signature in cavity. Later day (after 1975), H.S. Anderson guitars have their signature of these builders somewhere – PU cavity. Of course, Mr. Shiino left already (He established the ESP in 1975).

Music-trade has a beautiful Mad Cat in their collection that is unfortunately not for sale, which I can understand. I have actually never seen a real H.S. Anderson Mad Cat on eBay, only later versions made by Hohner, they were made in the Moridaira factory too, at least the first versions. The later Hohner “The Prinz” guitars that came in the 1980’s were most likely made in Korea by Cort. There has been numerous re-issues of the original H.S. Anderson Mad Cat, some better than others. Now there is one called Vintage re-issue Mad Cat made by Moridaira, the plant that made Morris and H.S. Anderson back in the 1970’s. Here is a review from Premier Guitar.

H.S. Anderson Mad Cat
I do love the H.S. Anderson cat

HS Anderson Mad Cat aka Prince's Hohner tele
Prince back in the days with his H.S. Anderson Mad Cat

Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500

Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500
Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500, Made in Japan by FujiGen in August 1979

Yesterday the newest member of my Greco family arrived from Japan. I went a bit bananas last week when I saw that my favourite eBay seller Tokyowax was selling a Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500 so I bought it straight away. These Greco TL-500 are pretty rare, there are about 3-4 Greco TE-500, the Thinline version, for sale on eBay at the moment but I have only seen 2-3 Greco TL-500 for sale in the last two years. I’m not sure if they produced more Thinline copies in late Seventies than normal Telecasters or if people refuse to sell them, but you rarely see these and when you do they are normally very expensive. I got mine fairly cheap since one of the string ferrules on the back was missing. Well I shouldn’t really call it cheap and now the import tax from Japan had increased as well, I had to pay 95€ instead of the normal 75-80€.  I didn’t have to do much to her, everything was pretty well set up already. The frets looked pretty bad so I polished them, oiled the machine heads, tightened all the screws and restrung her. She plays amazingly, even better than my old mistress, my Greco Spacey Sounds TE-500 Thinline copy. It might seem weird that I put my old “Nancy”, my Fender Telecaster TL52-75, up for sale and then bought a new one the same week. The truth is that even though I love my Japan made Fender, I don’t dare to use it since it’s in such a good state. I prefer guitars that are older than me and have a couple of battle scars already. I guess I’m also a bit gay for late 1970’s Greco guitars.

Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500

Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500
The body has quite a few marks on it but the back of the neck is like new and that’s the only thing I really care about.

Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500
The frets looked pretty bad so I masked the fretboard and polished them with 400 and 800 grit and then wire-wool. It looked like they had put the frets on before they applied lacquer to the neck and then after 35 years of playing half of it had worn off. The electronics seemed to be in good order and the guitar sounded awesome when I plugged it in so no reason to mess with that.

Greco Spacey Sounds TE-500N, Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500, Greco Les Paul Custom EG-600C
Greco Spacey Sounds TE-500N 1977, Greco Les Paul Custom EG-600C 1980, Greco Spacey Sounds TL-500 1979

Fender Telecaster Japan TL52-75

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

I have thought long and hard about it and now decided to put “Nancy” up for sale. It’s going to be sad to see her go but sometimes you have to sell things you love for the greater good of the collection. I’m going to focus more on Greco and Levin from now on. I also have two guitars on their way so I need to make some room for my new babies.

Fender Japan TL52-75
Fender Telecaster TL52-75,
’52 re-issue Made in Japan, FujiGen 1987-1989.
900€ SOLD
In mint condition, all original, without any doubts the best Telecaster I have ever played. Imported straight from Japan. The only reason for selling is because I prefer fat 70’s necks. There is no way to find the 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.

Fender Japan Twang catalogue 1989
Fender Japan Twang catalogue 1989

Fender Japan TN72G-FT/MH SWH

FENDER JAPAN TN72G-FT/MH SWH

We went and saw Crosby, Still & Nash when they played here last Monday. They were like I had expected, old. Crosby and Nash did pretty well but Stills has lost the plot completely, but I think he did that 40 years ago with his cocaine fueled hubris. He can’t sing any more, which could happen to the best of us, so he decided to just play endless guitar solos instead. I’m not sure if he is in to free-jazz but the solos sounded horrible and they seemed to never end.

Crosby, Stills & Nash Setlist at Jardins del Palau Reial de Pedralbes, Barcelona, Spain 2013-07-08
They looked a bit like this

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151824462428714&l=994714882144620479
And they sounded a bit like this, without Stills of course. Please excuse the shaky hand of the camera man, he was trying to drink bourbon out of a hip-flask at the same time.

It was nice to see a couple Gretsch White Falcons on stage though, which reminded me of a pretty awesome new Japanese Telecaster I saw a few months back. The Fender Japan TN72G-FT/MH SWH, a Telecaster version of a White Falcon. I guess it could be a bit much for a lot of people with all the gold but I love it. However, I’m not sure if I’m willing to pay ¥230,000 for it, it’s about $2,270. They seem to be pretty hard to find in Europe but here is an eBay seller that sells them for 1740€ plus shipping and import taxes. I guess I have to wait a few years until they appear second hand for hopefully a bit less.

Fender Japan '72 Rissue Telecaster TN72G-FT MH

Fender Japan TN72G-FT/MH SWH

FENDER JAPAN TN72G-FT/MH SWH

We went and saw Crosby, Still & Nash when they played here last Monday. They were like I had expected, old. Crosby and Nash did pretty well but Stills has lost the plot completely, but I think he did that 40 years ago with his cocaine fueled hubris. He can’t sing any more, which could happen to the best of us, so he decided to just play endless guitar solos instead. I’m not sure if he is in to free-jazz but the solos sounded horrible and they seemed to never end.

Crosby, Stills & Nash Setlist at Jardins del Palau Reial de Pedralbes, Barcelona, Spain 2013-07-08
They looked a bit like this

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151824462428714&l=994714882144620479
And they sounded a bit like this, without Stills of course. Please excuse the shaky hand of the camera man, he was trying to drink bourbon out of a hip-flask at the same time.

It was nice to see a couple Gretsch White Falcons on stage though, which reminded me of a pretty awesome new Japanese Telecaster I saw a few months back. The Fender Japan TN72G-FT/MH SWH, a Telecaster version of a White Falcon. I guess it could be a bit much for a lot of people with all the gold but I love it. However, I’m not sure if I’m willing to pay ¥230,000 for it, it’s about $2,270. They seem to be pretty hard to find in Europe but here is an eBay seller that sells them for 1740€ plus shipping and import taxes. I guess I have to wait a few years until they appear second hand for hopefully a bit less.

Fender Japan '72 Rissue Telecaster TN72G-FT MH

How to… change pickups

Morgan Telecaster, Claescaster

Last Sunday I decided to change the pickups on my old Claescaster. I had ordered a cheap $24.00 set of Artec ones, just regular Alnico V pickups from EY Guitars. I also ordered a new Wilkinson vintage bridge, without any doubt my favourite Telecaster bridge, since I took the old one and put on the new Claescaster. It was a pretty straight forward procedure as usual, I didn’t even have to check Seymour Duncan’s wiring diagram this time.

IMG_9082 copy
The old stock pickups and bridge from my Morgan Telecaster, aka the old Claescaster

IMG_9084 copy
The new Artec Alnico V pickups in gold, mounted on a Wilkinson WTB bridge, in gold of course

IMG_9085 copy
I got 3 Meters (9.8 Feet) of wax coated cloth wire, 22awg, for $1.70, that’s about a tenth of the price here

IMG_9078 copy
I changed the pots a while ago to nice full size Alpha 250k audio pots. I should probably get a new switch as well but the old one is still working fine

IMG_9090 copy
Since the new Artec pickups came with cloth wire I thought I should change all the old crappy pvc wires for some fancy 22awg cloth wire, not sure why I chose yellow though. I stuck to the old 50′s vintage wiring like I had it before

I haven’t tried them properly yet, just plugged them in to see if they worked, well I did a quick little sound clip just to see if there was any difference. I really like the bridge sound of the new ones, really twangy but the neck might be a bit too muffled. I’m rehearsing tonight so then I will get a chance to play loud and see if it was worth $24.00 or not. Hopefully the neck pickup will sound less muffled when I play it through my Fender Blues Deluxe which tends to make even humbuckers sound clear and crisp. Please don’t judge my guitar playing too hard, it was after all a Sunday morning after a long weekend. I think you can hear both my cat and my woman going about their business in the background.

Claescaster Morgan stock pickups (Neck, middle, bridge)

Claescaster ARTEC pickups (Bridge, middle, neck)

Update 2013-07-12I might have got a bit too carried away last night because the two sound clips I recorded are very LOUD. I guess I had more fun with my new pickups than I expected. I think they sound pretty good, I’m not the worlds greatest guitar player but to me they sound way better than the old stock pickups. The neck pickup didn’t sound muffled at all through my Fender Blues Deluxe, and the middle sounds sweat like hell, well worth $24.00.

Claescaster ARTEC pickups with Fender Blues Deluxe (Bridge, middle, neck)

Claescaster ARTEC pickups with Fender Blues Deluxe (Bridge, middle, neck)

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. 

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