Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Guitar Project

Well, I got busy with a party for Monika's birthday on Sunday, worked all day on Monday, dealt with back and forth clients all day on Tuesday, and the next thing I know it's Wednesday night and I haven't written a blog post. Where did the week go???

It's been two years since I've purchased a new guitar. I almost feel like saying, "hello, my name is Sean and I'm addicted to buying's been two years since I bought my last guitar..." and, if that were the case, I would have ended that two year run last week when I hit EBay and purchased this little beauty.

No matter how many guitars I have filling the second bedroom in my condo there is always a list I have in the back of my head of new guitars I'd like to own. One of them for the longest time has been a Fender Mustang. And, if I could find a Fender Competition Mustang, all the better. I love Fender guitars and one of the favored Fender guitars of one of my musical heroes, Kurt Cobain, was a Fender Competition Mustang (the "competition" part of the name coming from the racing stripe on the guitar's body). Unfortunately, because Kurt was so fond of them, the price of these guitars have only gone up and up. Finding a decent one, used or new, is usually, even on the low end, around a grand. So, I never bought one.

Until now.

I'd been on a big Kurt Cobain Nirvana kick since I got back from Maine (I'm currently on a Bruce Springsteen kick...these things go in cycles) so I was looking on EBay at Mustangs. I even went so far as to type in "Competition Mustang" just to see what would pop up.

And that's when I found this beauty. Sure, it had some dings and nicks in it and you could tell it had been well used but it was listing at $475 with free shipping, about five hundred bucks less than the next cheapest similar guitar. So, instead of just buying it, I sent the seller and offer of $350. He countered with a price of $400 and, boom, I had bought myself a new guitar.

Usually when I buy a guitar and it arrives to the house it comes in a long, thin box that makes you know there is a guitar somewhere in there. When this guitar arrived at the house it was in a box far too short to fit a guitar. I almost didn't think it was the guitar until I saw the return address was from the same state the seller was in. My heart sank a little as I carried the box upstairs to my place. I opened it up and found he had unscrewed the neck and taken the guitar apart before shipping. Which, I guess wasn't too bad, but certainly not what I expected.

But, it's all good.

I took the pieces of the guitar out of the box and cleaned them all up. What appeared to be a really dingy guitar when I opened the box turned into a really beautiful guitar once I gave it a little love. Oh sure, there were still plenty of dings in it (the worst you can see in the photo right next to the jack input) but it just gave it character. I put it back together and strung it with one string just to make sure the neck was straight. Everything looked great and I actually spent about an hour playing the guitar with only one string on it (it's amazing how many songs you can play on only one string when you know where to go with it.)

That the neck has already been taken off of this guitar only made me want to modify it some more. The guitar had already been given a new pick up in the bridge position to give the guitar's sound a bit more oompf. Now, I think it's time to take it to the next step.

I've been reading about some of the modifications Kurt had his own guitar tech do to his guitars so I figured, since the guitar is already in pieces, why not give it a try. So, I am going to replace the bridge with a tune-o-matic bridge and get some washers in order to lock the floating tremelo system (the tremolo system is the thing where someone will hit the whammy bar and take the guitar out of tune for a second. Since I never play that way and I usually get whatever tremolo I do need out of bending strings I like the idea of locking down the bridge and making it solid.) The one problem with putting a tune-o-matic bridge on the guitar's body is that it will lift the strings a bit off of the guitar's body. So, I'll have to shim the neck pocket with some chipboard. That should be interesting. I hope I get it right.

I'm looking forward to tackling all of these ideas when I get some time. Maybe I'll hit a guitar shop and a hardware store tomorrow to try and find some parts.

Because, I figure, if I had so much fun playing this guitar with only one string, I can't wait to get it all fixed up and play it with six strings...

Wish me luck!

No comments: