Factory freak guitars

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Factory freak guitars

Post by The Chad on Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:43 am

Chime in if you have a similar experience to this. 

I have two Dynasty's, an "Electra/Westone" from 1984 and a straight Westone from 1985.  Keep in mind that these two guitars are nearly identical, same MMK45 pickups, same bridge, same body, same strings, with only very slight variations between them. But this 1984 Dynasty is just different, it's much more clear, articulate and crisp than the 1985 which is a less defined in comparison.  The 1984 just sounds better and higher rate than its counterpart. 

Anyone have this experience with two nearly identical guitars?  My theory is that after the electronics, that the guitar's construction detail is the main component in sound (not wood).  Would this account for "factory freaks" where one will just rise above others of the identical manufacture? 

Like to hear your thoughts or similar experiences.

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by mortarman120gang11c on Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:25 pm

Maybe the production day has something to do with it ie built on a Monday with a hangover or built on a Friday etc, just a thought although most of the production at Uncle Matt was very professional and high quality could have been something in the mix maybe.....

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by westcoaster on Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:42 pm

The second I read that it reminded me of Eric Clapton's Blackie, assembled from the best parts of 6 strats that he bought.  
Bearing in mind that the strat was high volume production and I would imagine the construction tolerances for all the components were tight it must be down to the bits of wood that are eventually nailed together (or not). Another factor might be (with the clapton guitar) someone taking more care with final assembly. I do know personally that side by side comparison of two outwardly identical instruments can show up major tone / playability differences.

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by corsair on Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:49 pm

My two Clippers are 2 numbers apart, and I couldn't detect any differences at all!!

I can't A/B test them now 'cause I gave one to Don, and although it was a long time ago when I did test them, I'm sure there was little difference between the two.

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by drsyn67 on Sun Jul 21, 2013 3:16 pm

Very strange... seems like we've had this conversation before. I have the same situation with my 84 and 85 Dynasty models.  The 84 has more crisp, high-gain than the 85, despite the same MMK pickups.

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by yyzrondo on Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:44 pm

Is there a chance that the pots are of a different rating? There was a thread over at the Electra forums where someone noticed 50k pots where 500 k pots should have been were installed incorrectly at the factory.

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by Barry on Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:14 pm

The Chad wrote:...Anyone have this experience with two nearly identical guitars?  My theory is that after the electronics, that the guitar's construction detail is the main component in sound (not wood).  Would this account for "factory freaks" where one will just rise above others of the identical manufacture? 
Are we talking again about "performance" level or noodling in the basement Chad? 'Cuz I think we're in agreement that at stage output wif a band yer not likely gonna hear any subtle differences. Therefore wood doesn't really enter in to it.

But if you're A-B'ing them in isolation, I think the wood then definitely colours the tone. Even to the degree of grain direction in body lamination, grain "openess", density, etc.

I don't really have 2 identical guitars to test, very similar yes (Spectrums, Avengers, Thunders) but they're all too different in one way or another, either hardware or pickups.

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by colt933 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:13 am

No two wooden guitars are the same.  Plastic, carbon fiber, aluminum, etc. - they can be the same.  But not wood.

And those MMK pickups are all over the place from my experience.

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by The Chad on Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:59 am

Everything factors into it, for sure.  And I mean that there's a difference in isolation mainly, although I can tell live as well (not too much though).  I personally don't believe that wood has a whole lot to do with it once plugged in. 

If MMK45's were all over the place then this may be the lion's share of what's going on.

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by Barry on Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:41 pm

colt933 wrote:...MMK pickups are all over the place from my experience.
Really? All my mine tend to be fairly consistently in the 11.5+K range.
(You aren't factoring in those dastardly UBC's are you? geek)

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by Westbone on Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:16 pm

How's the pickup height to strings on both?

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by The Chad on Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:48 pm

Westbone wrote:How's the pickup height to strings on both?

  Great question, they're the same!  Action is near the same on both as well (sometimes too low will make a difference).

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by colt933 on Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:13 pm

check your pot and cap values too

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by The Chad on Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:52 pm

colt933 wrote:check your pot and cap values too

 Good call.  Checked the '85 last night, I'll check the '84 soon also to compare.

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by bobroberts on Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:45 am

My money's on the electrics..

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Re: Factory freak guitars

Post by umpdv5000 on Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:40 am

colt933 wrote:No two wooden guitars are the same.  Plastic, carbon fiber, aluminum, etc. - they can be the same.  But not wood.

And those MMK pickups are all over the place from my experience.

 Colt has got it bang on. To contradict a few of you, as a luthier I can tell you that Wood is a main factor in guitars. The more dense the wood, the less it absorbs the string vibrations and thus gives greater natural sustain of the the vibrating string. This also enhances the higher frequencies by dulling muddy overtones which is common in softer wood bodies. You will hear the difference unplugged and you will experience the difference plugged in. If you can't tell the difference between the sound of a hard dense bodied guitar as opposed to a softer one, then you need to start taking notice. It's one of the main factors that you pays your silly money amounts for.

Apart from this, wasn't there a point somewhere in the mid 80's where production was shipped to Korea? I had a Spectrum Series 2 bass that was made there and the body was ply, where as I have Spectrum ST bass made in Japan that is solid ash. This does make a difference, although I do have to say that the Series 2 model still performed really well.

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Re: Factory freak guitars

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