Monday, October 18, 2010

Finished Fender Mustang

I took a little time off from doing some client work on Saturday night to take a drive over to the local hardware store and pick up some parts for the Fender Mustang guitar I bought a few weeks ago.

After making a trip to a guitar shop on Friday afternoon I found out the bridge I wanted to buy for the guitar was spaced differently from the way the guitar was set up. I could have bought the new bridge and had the saddles for the strings filed in the correct spaces but, after thinking about it, I decided to use the bridge that came with the guitar. Using a new bridge just seemed like too much work and too much cost for something that seemed so simple. So, I polished the old bridge up a bit and came up with a new plan to fix the bridge to the guitar.

At the hardware store I bought a bunch of chromed washers and a new screw to fix the strap button to the guitar's body. Instead of spending about thirty bucks for a new bridge and probably another thirty to get it filed the way it needed to be, I ended up spending a little less than two bucks at the hardware store to get the parts I needed to get get the job done.

I used the washers to fix the bridge to the body so the bridge is locked to the body and doesn't move anymore. Because I did this, it raised the action of the strings off the neck a bit. So, while the bridge looked and felt great, I needed to do a little work to the neck to make everything play right.

I now had to shim the neck. I had some ideas about how to do this but, luckily, I met a guy at the hardware store who also loved guitars and gave me the advice that I might want to go to for some ideas. Luckily, I went and looked around and the site had all kinds of ideas and the exact measurements you needed to get the job done right.

I ended up using a few little pieces of chipboard (the board that comes off the back of notepads) to stick in the neck pocket between the guitar's body and neck. It took a few tries to get the number of pieces I needed to stick in there to make it right (sometimes the strings were still too far away from the neck and other times the strings were so close to the frets that, when played, the strings buzzed against the frets it was hitting.) But, finally, I got it right and the strings played great and were close enough to the neck to make me happy.

I plugged the guitar into a few of the effect boxes and amps I use to record and I wasn't too happy with the sound of the guitar. I started thinking about ways to change out the pickups in the guitar and the possibilities of routing out the wood in the body's cavity to make this work. My mind was racing.

But, then I took it into the little bedroom I have that is filled with music gear and plugged it into a clean keyboard amp that I use to play my drums through. There was no distortion, no effects, just the sound of the guitar going into a clean amp. And, it sounded AMAZING!

I guess this is the type of guitar that doesn't need too many bells and whistles to make it sound great. I ended up playing for about an hour until I was so sleepy that I had to go to bed.

But, it was a very satisfied sleep I fell into.

The guitar is done, looks and feels great, and sounds amazing. There are still a few nicks and dings in the body and neck from the previous owner's well use of it. It is a well used guitar and has the battle scars to prove it.

And now, not only is it a well used guitar, but it's also a well loved guitar.


rob! said...

Wow! Mad skillz to pay tha' billz.

Sean Tiffany said...

Thanks, Robbo! If this art thing ever falls apart I am totally putting myself out there as a recording studio/guitar repair shop!