Odd Concordís story

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Odd Concordís story

Post by parkwood on Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:55 pm

Well, here is my Concord. I have it for the bigger half of my life, since 1990.
It served me for many years as a main strat-like guitar, until I built two partsocasters this year.
Got this Concord used in Poughkeepsie, NY for 110 dollars or so with an original hardshell case)))) Yeah, that was long agoÖ

Now itís time to do some cleaning for her. I decided to share it with someone who might care.



This is the exact guitar you can find here right at the bottom of the page.
Itís considered as some kind of prototype there for no serial number. Thatís true. The only marks Iíve found are in the neck pocket and on the neck heel under the finish. Two letters remind ĎPí and ĎWí, who knows what are theseÖ



Ď92í is obviously not the production year. As I said, I got her in 1990.

This guitar is close to 1983-4 version of Concord III.

The differences are: truss rod adjustment at the end of the neck, side mounted jack, small fret markers (not seen on any other catalogue Concord), and the logo different to any other Westone.



Also I wonder if thereíre any tuners like these on other models. No ĎWí bird, but a whole logo



Well, Iíve dismantled the whole thing. First goes complete rewire. Iíve put away original pots and switch. They were working basically fine, but looked pretty dirty though. Now all the electronics, including jack, that was replaced long ago, are DiMarzio stuff. I put 500K pots for a better fit to the pups.

When I got this Concord, it already had DiMarzio pickups. At least the back of their covers say ĎDiMarzio USAí. Pus are 2 stacked-coils configuration hum-cancellers. I believe, these are some of DiMarzio HS (Humbucking Strat) of early 80ís era. Well, these are pretty weak for now. The attempt to magnetize them had no effect, as I was told by local luthier who tried to do it.

Rewired.



The other problem with this guitar was the headstock. Previous owner obviously tried to install a clamp like those on guitars with a Floyd Rose. There were 4 holes left, which I masked with a fake truss rod cover long ago (you can see it on http://westone.info/concord3.html). Now I've put it away and did what I can to cure the holes. Filler + paint + superglue + wet sanding and buffing. Thanks God this finish is almost unbreakable.
It could be done much much better, I know!



I have to tell you, this neck was refreted couple of years ago. Original frets were pretty worn out, the neck was twisted a bit. Now it has stainless steel frets. These are very cool for bending, especially applied to a 10 (is it?) radius board. Neck is one piece maple. Rosewood is pretty thin here Ė was probably 4 mm before board leveling.

As I discovered, this Concord has a problem neck pocket. Neck was shimmed all this time. I tried to throw the shim away, but the action became absolutely unbearable. So I just left it like this.



Plus a new micarta nut Iíve made. I had to do quite a job to really square this nut slot.



Some more cleaning and polish. The bridge was all gold long ago. Saddles are brass, plate is presumable steel. I had to work with the file on the holes in the saddles, stings are coming out from. They were pretty crooked. I even was thinking saddles were self-made, but probably not.

Tremolo block is really cool. No cheap pot metal here, as I can judge. Considering weight, feels more like soft steel or nickel. The stamp says: ĎS.T.C-B MADE IN JAPANí.

All the screws and posts here are replaced with a new ones.



Brass knobs cleaned and 800-grit sanded.



A better notch for truss rod allen wrench. Previous owner no doubt did it himself. With a chain saw in a dark, I guess. Looks like the scratch plate had no that notch at first. Really weird.



This rear cover plate Iíve made myself to replace a destroyed white one. I wanted it to fit the black/gold neck plate with Westone logo.



Some more pics













Well, here she is. If someone wants more details, I'll gladly answer!

Thanks for watching!
Cheers!

parkwood
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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by Warrn on Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:34 pm

That's pretty neat! Very pretty, too! I have to say, the bridge saddles look really, really high. Maybe the action was horrible without the shim because the bridge is so high? They're more than twice as high as the saddles on my Concord, which to my knowledge has no shim.

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by Guest on Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:45 pm

Looks old. The tuners have an older logo than the ones you mention, and while I am no concord expert the Westone logo on the headstock is not one I've seen before.

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by Barry on Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:46 pm

Hi Parkwood, thanks for taking the time to post these wonderful pictures of your restoration!
You've done a terrific job, she looks great!

You can see much the same information here, but a bit clearer:
Concord III Info

It's a shame about the previous owners attempt to install a locking nut. I had the same experience with an Aria Pro II Urchin...it was a freakin' nightmare to repair! But you've done well.

I agree with Warrn, those saddles do seem awfully high! Mine are almost flat to the surface.

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by Barry on Fri Aug 26, 2011 9:50 pm

sarcaster wrote:Looks old. The tuners have an older logo than the ones you mention, and while I am no concord expert the Westone logo on the headstock is not one I've seen before.
Check the link I posted above and scroll down to "Unkown"

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by parkwood on Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:13 pm

Warrn wrote:That's pretty neat! Very pretty, too! I have to say, the bridge saddles look really, really high. Maybe the action was horrible without the shim because the bridge is so high? They're more than twice as high as the saddles on my Concord, which to my knowledge has no shim.

Thanks, Warrn!

I'm pretty sure that's not the point. I've dismantled the bridge completely, so had to setup it after installing the neck without a shim. When the action was ok at the board's end (yeah, like you say saddles half way up compared to current position), strings were dead lying on up to 3-4th fret or so. I believe, the neck pocket rout is a suspect. Anyway the action is pretty cool for now, even lower than Iíve got used to. As for the shim - oh, well, I didnít know it was there all these years and it was fine.

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by parkwood on Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:24 pm

Barry wrote:Hi Parkwood, thanks for taking the time to post these wonderful pictures of your restoration!
You've done a terrific job, she looks great!

You can see much the same information here, but a bit clearer:
Concord III Info

It's a shame about the previous owners attempt to install a locking nut. I had the same experience with an Aria Pro II Urchin...it was a freakin' nightmare to repair! But you've done well.

I agree with Warrn, those saddles do seem awfully high! Mine are almost flat to the surface.

Thank you Barry!
I did what I can. I just love messing with my guitars. And this one is a special one, though I do not use it much now. No matter how high the saddles are))))

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by Warrn on Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:58 am

parkwood wrote:I've dismantled the bridge completely, so had to setup it after installing the neck without a shim. When the action was ok at the board's end (yeah, like you say saddles half way up compared to current position), strings were dead lying on up to 3-4th fret or so. I believe, the neck pocket rout is a suspect.
I'm not sure I understand you here. When the action was good on the high frets, it was dead on the 3rd and 4th? Or do you mean the action was good at the nut? Either way, that sounds like the neck is/was back bowed.

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by parkwood on Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:17 pm

Warrn wrote:
parkwood wrote:I've dismantled the bridge completely, so had to setup it after installing the neck without a shim. When the action was ok at the board's end (yeah, like you say saddles half way up compared to current position), strings were dead lying on up to 3-4th fret or so. I believe, the neck pocket rout is a suspect.
I'm not sure I understand you here. When the action was good on the high frets, it was dead on the 3rd and 4th? Or do you mean the action was good at the nut? Either way, that sounds like the neck is/was back bowed.

No back bow, Iím sure. I've checked it with both notched and plain straight edges, what showed a small regular bow
When I put the neck without a shim, strings where awfully high above the neck end. Anyone would feel itís not a normal thing, I guess. Iíve tried to put saddles down, but at some point the amount of fret buzz on open strings was just over the clear sound. Thatís what I mean by Ďdeadí. It was better from the 5th fret or so. There where just no space for strings to vibrate above first frets. Back with a shim Ė all ok. So, I guess, that outer side of the neck pocket just should be routed a 1 mm deeper. The overall position of the neck would be deeper and that would definetely let me put saddles down.

Cheers

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by Warrn on Mon Aug 29, 2011 12:15 am

By regular bow you mean the barely noticeable forward bow that all my guitars and basses seem to have? It seems like maybe loosening the truss just slightly might fix the problem. In the long run though, it doesn't matter since it's playable as is. Just looks a little strange.

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by hoax on Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:43 am

Possibly, the nut slots have been cut too deep. A very thin shim under the nut may cure. Eliminate nut problems by using a capo at the first fret.

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by parkwood on Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:42 am

Warrn wrote:By regular bow you mean the barely noticeable forward bow that all my guitars and basses seem to have? It seems like maybe loosening the truss just slightly might fix the problem. In the long run though, it doesn't matter since it's playable as is. Just looks a little strange.

Yeah, that is what i mean.
If you see this neck not shimmed i bet you'd understand that adjusting truss or nut is no help. I should take a picture or it)). I was really surprised what a difference can be made by a small shim 1 mm thick! Tottaly different picture. As for the saddles position, it doesn't really look starnge to me))
Cheers

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by Westbone on Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:30 am

Small shim, 1 mm, man that's like a GIANT doorstep on a guitar.
Usually a shim of .02, .04 is suffice.

Placing such a large shim can cause the end of the fingerboard(body end) to kick up when screwed down.

Reckon you've got some truss rod issue going on there.

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by Barry on Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:59 am

From what you've described Parkwood, I agree that it sounds very much like a truss rod adjustment is needed.

It isn't unheard of that a Mats neck might need a shim, but it is very rare; Uncle Mats was meticulous and consistent with things like routing. If you are confident that the neck adjustment is correct (straight, or very slightly in relief) then the next thing I'd double check as mentioned, is the nut. Sometimes the notches can wear down.

Next check the frets to make sure they haven't lifted in the first position. Lay a short steel scale over 3 frets at a time and see if you can "rock" the scale on the middle one. If you can, it's high and you can then either try a gentle tapping with a hammer against piece of wood, or if severe, a filing and polishing.

Go easy with shimming, and as Westbone says, use very small increments. It sounds goofy, but he's right, what seems like thin to us is a brick on a guitar and you can adversely leverage things very easily. I should also hasten to add, do all these checks without any shims in the neck pocket!

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by parkwood on Mon Aug 29, 2011 6:26 pm

Westbone wrote:Small shim, 1 mm, man that's like a GIANT doorstep on a guitar.
Usually a shim of .02, .04 is suffice.

Placing such a large shim can cause the end of the fingerboard(body end) to kick up when screwed down.

Reckon you've got some truss rod issue going on there.

Shim is 0.7 mm (according some notes i've made). I believe truss rod was just fine, as i said, i've checked the board with two rulers.

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by parkwood on Mon Aug 29, 2011 7:24 pm

Barry wrote:From what you've described Parkwood, I agree that it sounds very much like a truss rod adjustment is needed.

It isn't unheard of that a Mats neck might need a shim, but it is very rare; Uncle Mats was meticulous and consistent with things like routing. If you are confident that the neck adjustment is correct (straight, or very slightly in relief) then the next thing I'd double check as mentioned, is the nut. Sometimes the notches can wear down.

Next check the frets to make sure they haven't lifted in the first position. Lay a short steel scale over 3 frets at a time and see if you can "rock" the scale on the middle one. If you can, it's high and you can then either try a gentle tapping with a hammer against piece of wood, or if severe, a filing and polishing.

Go easy with shimming, and as Westbone says, use very small increments. It sounds goofy, but he's right, what seems like thin to us is a brick on a guitar and you can adversely leverage things very easily. I should also hasten to add, do all these checks without any shims in the neck pocket!

Guys, thanks a lot for the attention you've paid to my little thread.
You almost made me dismantle the whole thing once again and check the neck pocket.

But youíre judging the guitar you did not even really see. Iím not trying to represent myself as some kind of a guitar guru or throw mud at Matsumoku products. Iím sure he made great guitars for the money, the best proof I have ready at hand for so many years. But it is what it is.

Iíve assembled couple of partsocasters, did some refrets, cut some nuts and so on. Thatís my first shim, though. Sure, first thing that I did, was throwing it away. After Iíve tried to do the setup my usual way that was working pretty well on other guitars with strat-like construction. Sure Iíve checked frets level and neck relief. The nut is new. I had to replace previous one for a sitar effect on the high E. When usual setup did not work, I put the shim back. My only suspects is neck pocket.

But thatís really interesting question overall. I should ask the luthier, who refretted this Concord. He never told me about the shim, just left it there. So Iím not the first))
Thank you again
Cheers!


Last edited by parkwood on Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by Westbone on Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:49 am

Parkwood, if it plays ok and your happy who cares.
Personally I prefer to have the little saddle grub screws below the face of the saddle to stop them chewing at the heel of my hand. I shim all of my own guitars to get to that point or use smaller grub screws. Strats, Concords. Teles or any other with a similar bridge.

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Re: Odd Concordís story

Post by The Chad on Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:34 am

If it plays well and you like it, good on ya. Very Happy Lots of people don't even try their hand at their own work, sounds like you'd been doing it for a while with satisfying results which is more than a lot of us do. We're just trying to help each other out and add to the greater knowledge pool, it can be interpreted a little harsh but it's not (usually, anyway Laughing ). And thanks for the great close ups. I'm a sucker for guitar close ups!

I'd found a luthier that's just moved into my area who'd been a luthier in Pittsburgh PA for over 20 yrs, and I take my guitars to him now. He does magic with them, makes them resonate and sing so sweetly that they almost sound like acoustic guitars when unplugged! And plugged in, that sound is astounding. They adjust the neck tension, nut depth, level the frets, adjust the bridge and saddles, restring it (usually better than I do myself), adjust intonation so that it sounds great all over the neck, and add their secret magic dust that makes them seem to just come "alive". Amazing what a real pro can do. So if you have a good luthier in your area, you may want to take it to him and most likely he'll floor you with the results just like I was. Maybe you'd already done this and know what I mean, but they can take a "problem" instrument and transform it into your favorite. What a Face

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