Friday, February 08, 2008

New Partscaster

In my profile I mention that I play a partscaster electric. For those of you who aren't guitarists, let me explain. In the electric guitar world, there are basically two families of guitars - those based on Gibson designs and those based on Fender designs. Fender style construction included a bolt on neck. What that means in practical terms is that putting together a guitar with that style construction is sort of like building with legos... you purchase well made parts, bolt or screw everything in place and you have a guitar. Obviously the parts making requires a great deal of skill and complicated machinery and there is the issue of setting the guitar up (adjusting everything) to make it play well and in tune, but basically if you are putting together a partscaster, it isn't rocket science. Good parts, careful assembly and you have a decent guitar.

I did my first partscaster (that's it above)about 5 years ago using a Carvin kit. Basically I bought that kit because it was inexpensive and I hoped I'd get an OK guitar out of the deal. I love the guitar. I have changed some of the electronics to my taste but even stock, I really enjoyed that guitar. So I though using more expensive parts from a variety of vendors could get me something I liked even better. I built this guitar:

pretty huh? The parts are very high quality and I did a good job putting it together. Still, it didn't sound any better than the Carvin and I prefer the shape of the Carvin neck (read, I like the way the Carvin feels better)

Then, I began to get an itch of a different type of bridge on a guitar (these two were both hardtails which means the bridge is solidly flat against the guitar body) and I have been wanting a floating trem. So the fancy partscaster sold and I ordered another kit from Carvin, this one with a trem bridge. I found that the carvin body and neck fit together better than the parts from other vendors, I liked the pickups on the Carvin, and I prefer the sound of the simpler wood body of alder over the fancy stuff, and I like an ebony fingerboard on a maple neck so the kit made sense and cost a lot less than sourcing out all of the parts individually. The only things I changed from the stock kit are the addition of stainless steel frets and a different bridge pickup. I ordered the kit on December 5.

The kit arrived today! Whooo Whooo! At this point, I'm just doing final sanding so there is nothing exciting to show... well, here's the body

I am going to carve the arm and belly cutouts a little deeper. The body will be stained with bing cherry from Woodburst and I'll do a tung oil finish on top of that and on the neck (I love the feel of tung oil). I'll also be swapping out the switch for a fancier one that does some cool things beyond the stock switch. This will be the first time I've set up a guitar with a trem so wish me luck with that. As the kit comes together, I'll blog about the process and add some photos.

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