Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

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Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:44 pm

recently i was playing with some of my tools/toys and since i had some of the relevant implements of destruction near to hand, i thought i would give this poor thing a wack or two, just to see what is inside...

Chores 2 Chores 2 Chores 2

i got this pitiful specimen just like this (except loaded with most all the normal parts to make this a functional, but fugly guitar);

it looks like the previous owner took a disc grinder to the body

and then tried to cover it up with spray paint Face Palm

the body has a paper-thin laminate over the front and back, but the disc-grinder-guy burned down well past that thin layer so any attempt to sand it flat is going to remove all of the top.

looks like the body is made from at least 14 pieces of wood, not counting the front and back laminates
 
had a metal jack plate screwed over this lovely bit

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by The Chad on Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:00 pm

affraid   That is a LOT of scrap wood!!!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Barry on Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:02 pm

Good Lord! Well, that certainly explains why they only came in solid colour finishes. Shocked
I know they're "entry level" guitars but sheesh! No trans finishes in this series huh?


Last edited by Barry on Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Westbone on Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:03 pm

Have a big thick slice of rump thanks!

That is a guitar of many pieces...so are many....Twisted Evil

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by corsair on Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:46 pm

But... but.... but... didn't we already know this?! I mean not that there 14 pieces but that it - and most other Spectrums! - is of this type of construction? The Avenger I'm playing about with currently is built the same way and I really quite like it, so much so that I've just clear coated over the (rather scratchy) surface!

I know the guitar snobs like their wood to be one piece, or book matched wings on a thru neck - which then has a huge chunk carved out of it to accomodate a Floyd!! - but does it really make a quantifiable difference what wood is used? Surely the pickups are the sound generators for an electric guitar??

What are you do with it now, Mike??

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:08 pm

corsair wrote:But... but.... but... didn't we already know this?! I mean not that there 14 pieces but that it - and most other Spectrums! - is of this type of construction? The Avenger I'm playing about with currently is built the same way and I really quite like it, so much so that I've just clear coated over the (rather scratchy) surface!

I know the guitar snobs like their wood to be one piece, or book matched wings on a thru neck - which then has a huge chunk carved out of it to accomodate a Floyd!! - but does it really make a quantifiable difference what wood is used? Surely the pickups are the sound generators for an electric guitar??

What are you do with it now, Mike??
yes i agree, it doesn't matter much at all
i guess that is the point of the pics here, to show how the wood has little to do with the sound of an electric solid-body guitar.

an acoustic hollow guitar is a different animal altogether and wood species/construction are important factors.
electric solid-body, not so much.


what to do with it now?
... well, i have an experiment working it's way along. Twisted Evil
i've got a few details to sort out but i plan to make it a player once again, not quite a standard spec Spectrum ST though.
i'll post updates if things work out well enough.

i've also been thinking about removing the finish from the neck to have a look at that too...

another technical note;
the weight of the (mostly) stripped body: 1.97 kg or 4lbs. 5oz.
original finish remains in the cavities

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Westbone on Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:11 am

Here's it's distant cousin
A real butcher's block.....Laughing


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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by The Chad on Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:23 am

I believer that construction impacts "tone" more than wood types. 

Metal components make a difference for sure, based upon my experiments and experience.  Brass nut, brass saddles (or steel saddles), pot metal vs. steel, brass blocks on a floyd, different metals for frets, etc. 

AND pickups make a huge difference. 

However... picks make a ton of difference as well.  Experimenting with picks is astonishing at first.  Metal, plastic, bone, shell, wood, blends, etc., they make a huge difference!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by corsair on Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:06 pm

I bang on about this a bit, I know, but once you've amplified the thing and whacked some FX in the signal path, any perceived tonal subtleties are well and truly lost, especially at stage volume!! Let's face it, Danelectro made Masonite bodies and Ampeg and Electra did the Plexiglass thing, then there's things like the Gittler or our very own Rail.... I think wood is used for ease of manufacture and guitarist conservatism!!

And yes, a lot of tone is in the fingers... or pick choice!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:10 pm

check out this virtual tour of the local exotic wood shop, just amazing place!
global wood source warehouse <-
when you open the page, you are looking at the acoustic guitar sets (directly behind  are the finger boards and solid body billets) you can "walk" through the back of the warehouse too
drag to change view, click to move the point of view

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Barry on Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:50 pm

corsair wrote:...Danelectro made Masonite bodies...
Too true. I have two of 'em and I just love to play 'em. I keep shaking my head in amazement. They have no right masquerading as a guitar, but they feel and sound great.

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by The Chad on Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:21 am

gittarasaurus wrote:check out this virtual tour of the local exotic wood shop, just amazing place!
global wood source warehouse <-
when you open the page, you are looking at the acoustic guitar sets (directly behind  are the finger boards and solid body billets) you can "walk" through the back of the warehouse too
drag to change view, click to move the point of view
Mike, that was really cool, thanks!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Thu Jun 30, 2016 1:17 pm

a rough cut piece of zircote...

Thinking hmmmm...

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by corsair on Thu Jun 30, 2016 3:21 pm

.... and what do we have planned for this rather pretty piece of ziricote, hmmm?!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Barry on Fri Jul 01, 2016 10:49 am

Why, he...he...he's gonna make her purity agin! cheers

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:32 pm

Giggles 
going to try to do something
might be stupid
might turn out pretty cool
time will tell...
Suspect

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Barry on Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:10 pm

I had to Google ziricote, not heard that specific reference before.
Man, that's a beautiful wood!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Westbone on Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:41 pm

Looks like a giant fingerboard! Whats with the 'fret slots'?

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Fri Jul 01, 2016 5:16 pm

Westbone wrote:Looks like a giant fingerboard! Whats with the 'fret slots'?
the marks are from the saw mill, as i said rough cut. i just wiped it with water for a quick pic because it was very dusty and the grain was hardly visible without a good wipe off.

i got lucky with this bunch of wood. the shop had only just moved to a new location and had not gotten things quite set up.
i found this batch of zircote (back & sides for an acoustic, back & sides for a ukelele, headplate for both) - in a scrap bin! i took it home for almost nothing (maybe ten cents to a dollar).

a mismatch set to begin with, some pieces were damaged in the move from one location to another. so it was suddenly 'scrap' wood. it wouldn't have enough good pieces to make an acoustic guitar, probably enough to make a uke. ( anyway, i couldn't do that if the wood was perfectly good...)

the boards are currently about a quarter inch thick, and anywhere from six inches wide to eleven inches wide, about forty-eight inches long. they all will need surfacing on both sides.
i hope to re-purpose some of the pieces to cover front and back of the damaged body.
here's some nice grain on another piece from the batch

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Westbone on Sat Jul 02, 2016 4:28 am

Some grain.

Sandwich construction eh!  make mine a steak...Yummy!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Wed Jul 20, 2016 1:02 pm

i glued the top in two sections
these are the clamps on the second piece

i planed the zircote thin enough i could flex the wood to conform to the forearm cutout
clamped and glued it down so there is continuous grain across the entire front.



glue dry, clamps removed, rear view


used a router with a bottom bearing to trim off the excess

front side all glued in place

Cool

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Barry on Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:01 pm

Ohhh, my nipples are getting hard! bounce

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by The Chad on Wed Jul 20, 2016 3:10 pm

Barry wrote:Ohhh, my nipples are getting hard! bounce
affraid

Shocked

pale

That which is mentally seen cannot be UNSEEN! 

By the way... LOVING THE PROJECT!!!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by corsair on Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:02 pm

Barry wrote:Ohhh, my nipples are getting hard! bounce

"shudders with horror"

Laughing

... anyway, liking this, Mike!! 

Hey, how about using a sidemount output jack?? I like the Electrosocket ones a lot and have converted about six of mine to these now!!

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Electric-Guitar-Chrome-Socket-Jack-Plate-for-6-35mm-Plug-Electrosocket-TL-/271882265776?hash=item3f4d7224b0:g:sGUAAOSwJkJWjiRO

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Westbone on Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:16 pm

Looking good...Cool

Now a bit of edge radius routing. Don't go against the grain will rip chunks out. Or are you gonna just sand it back?

Got a good few clamps there mate...Smile

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:19 pm

some neck work today...
the neck had numerous dings and dinks, some left chunks of the finish missing, others just big dents
stripped off the finish

found this under the finish (clearcoat+black paint+clear sealer) probably stamped on the raw wood before the sealer was applied.

going to put a veneer on the headstock too

i shaped a block of maple to press the veneer tight to the curve
i used a common household iron set to full up and steamed the wood until i could flex it a bit, then i clamped it to the neck and left it to cool i will trim it up and glue it in place tomorrow

back to working on the body...
i was afraid i would make a fatal mistake with a router, i also did not have a router bit with a radius to match the body, so i used a scraper to trim back the veneer and shape the edge radius. quite easy and low risk for accidental damage
after that, and a bit of sand paper, it now looks like this

i will need to do a little bit of filler around the edge where the glue did not get fully to the edge. only a couple small sections to fill.
my intention is to make the edges black or dark brown. i am considering doing that across the back as well. many factors in play for how to proceed with the back- weight, thickness at neck pocket, control cavity cover fitment.

i do plan to move the jack to the side, have not made a final decision on pickups or hardware yet

mostly pretty happy with the results so far...
Very Happy

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Barry on Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:48 pm

Looks beautiful...in a Paduak sort of way.

I think we have another entry for the Mods & Restos section of the web site!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by corsair on Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:57 am

Padauk vibe for sure!

Stewmac superthin CA glue and whiptips will get in under those edges, mate; I had to use that approach on my Urchin in a couple of spots.

Looks pretty sweet already, eh!! Love the matching headstock... you gonna leave the back of the neck unfinished?

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Westbone on Thu Jul 21, 2016 5:10 am

Thought about the bridge height to neck pocket depth?
Quite a thick top on that now.

As for side jack inputs these are simple to fit and neat.

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:12 pm

got the neck pocket depth taken care of...

here is the shim compared to the new top


the shim will get glued in, then finish work to the edges to blend into the rest of the body

after getting to this point, the weight is now is 4lbs. 14oz., more than half a pound heavier than factory issue. i should have removed more wood from the front side before the zircote top...

Thinking scratch

i have decided to go for zircote on the rear too.

but instead of getting heavier by just adding more wood, i thought i had better plane the rear side of the body a bit more than i did the front, so that overall the body doesn't become too thick and clunky. so i took about a quarter inch off the back with a planer.

and to provide a further reduction in the overall weight, i did some work with a router...

now the weight is 4lbs. 4oz.
Smile
also glued up the headstock veneer

next step is to prepare the zircote for the backside of the body...
in case you had not noticed yet, i'm making this up as i go along lol!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by corsair on Thu Jul 21, 2016 5:06 pm

... and doing admirably!

This is fun!!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Barry on Thu Jul 21, 2016 5:23 pm

Yer a wild and crazy guy Mike! A chambered Specky!

Wonder what affect it'll have on the sound if any.

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Westbone on Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:01 pm

Gonna need some looooooooooong neck screws...Cool

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by corsair on Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:41 pm

Westbone wrote:Gonna need some looooooooooong neck screws...Cool

True!! Maybe this needs the woodscrews replaced with inserts in the heel and proper bolts through the body into said inserts?!?

I've no doubt Mike has thought about this and has a plan..... don't you, mate?!? Laughing

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Westbone on Fri Jul 22, 2016 6:29 pm

corsair wrote:
Westbone wrote:Gonna need some looooooooooong neck screws...Cool


I've no doubt Mike has thought about this and has a plan..... don't you, mate?!? Laughing
Did ya mate!.... Laughing

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Fri Jul 22, 2016 6:43 pm

a plan? Roll on Floor Laff  this is pretty much just making it up as i go along. i am a total novice just playing around and having fun and discovering what might be possible. gaining experience at little cost. my time is free, and these materials are inexpensive.

i was concerned that the body would be too thick and heavy and just look clunky if i just added layers front and back. i did not remove enough wood from the front side to adequately compensate for the thickness of the zircote i added. i was still feeling cautious with how much to remove.

my decision to cover the back with zircote came about because i figured it would be too much work to get a smooth finish over the maple. there was a reason for the thin veneer* being there in the first place. but it was damaged badly and i already removed that layer anyhow.

this time i took a significantly larger amount off the backside of the guitar body, easily as much as the thickness of the neck pocket shim. so as it is now and before the backside veneer is added, the thickness at the neck pocket should be nearly identical to original. i'll have to measure and compare. i was hoping to reuse the original screws and neckplate if possible.

i still have the backside of the body to cover so it will probably end up slightly thicker, depending on the thickness of the veneer at the backside of the neck pocket. i haven't made up any pieces to cover the back yet.


*- while doing some research during the course of this project, i found a place to buy some very thin veneer to do a project like this with much less work.
look -> here

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:12 pm

was working the neck today

the curve got glued down nicely, this is before trimming off the top edge and opening the hole for the truss rod

the zircote is very brittle, i had some little bits tear out when filing around the holes for the tuners. the broken bit on the lower edge got glued to the clamp and broke off when the clamp got removed.
the truss rod cutout worked nicely.

i'll have some small repairs to do, and a bit more finish work to smooth all the edges on the headstock
Cool
i'm taking off tomorrow morning for a holiday trip. be gone about a week and then i'll be back with more of this fun

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:24 pm

here is a quick mock-up of the project so far
Gotoh wrap-around bridge
chrome trim for the pups
standard issue tuners
paper logo cut-out
just two knobs for show, will have a 3-way switch as well (original layout on the ST)

Gotoh bridge will be stud mounted
the washers and nuts cover most of the defects near the tuning pegs, so that stuff will be  easy to fix and not really too noticeable when finished.
the two tone effect with the maple/zircote looks nice, but it will not remain. i am going to do a dark color to conceal the maple, leaving the zircote grain as the primary visual component with the chrome to provide contrast
the neck will get a light amber finish

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by corsair on Sat Jul 23, 2016 12:24 am

Be a shame to hide the maple, Mike - it gives the headstock a sort-of bound look, eh!! It is however gonna look real good, eh! That wood looks like a bugger to do anything with...

Are those white knobs or clear? I've used clear ones on my rat and think they look the goods!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by The Chad on Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:43 pm

Looking good, the experience you gain is even better. 

Going with a slightly lighter shade on the maple may work, I can see that happening.  It will blend well and hide anything that you don't want obvious.   

My 2 cents... DIRECT MOUNT for the humbuckers, forget those dumb rings!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by The Chad on Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:48 pm


Can you see the direct mount on here?  It would look great.

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Wed Aug 03, 2016 12:43 am

i think i may need to use some pickup rings on it since i made a goof on the edge of the bridge pickup rout, and the rings do cover it up. i may try to patch it up and see if it will look alright. Thinking

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:09 am

and now some pics Cool
these past few days i got the back side glued on and trimmed up. some spots around the edges (back and front) need a little filler and still more sanding to be ready for finish work, but getting close.

today i routed for the cavity cover, fine tuned it to fit using scrapers and sandpaper.

used a router to enlarge the cavity to accommodate a side mounted jack.

Drink Beer

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by corsair on Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:24 am

Looking fine!!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Barry on Wed Aug 03, 2016 10:09 am

I've just been reviewing this project Mike. Very impressive work. Smile

Now that you have shaved the overall thickness and "veneered" the back have you had a chance to check the overall weight? Looking at the chambering pic I wondered if that weight reduction might be offset by the maple block you put into the old trem cavity?

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by The Chad on Wed Aug 03, 2016 11:27 am

They actually made a Phoenix that way, remember that one?

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:10 am

Barry wrote:
Now that you have shaved the overall thickness and "veneered" the back have you had a chance to check the overall weight? Looking at the chambering pic I wondered if that weight reduction might be offset by the maple block you put into the old trem cavity?

i have not weighed it after putting the back piece on. last time i did check, the trem cavity was already filled.

the last piece of wood to fit in place is the spacer in the neck pocket. after i get that where i like it, i'll pull out the scale again and check the weight of the unfinished, unloaded body.

i'm guessing the playing weight will end up close to the original. i will not be using a tremolo and will deduct the weight of: the precision tremolo, 3 springs, spring clip, trem cavity cover, string locks, hex wrench holder, and 16 screws of various sizes. then, only adding back in a tailpiece and studs & anchors.

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Barry on Thu Aug 04, 2016 10:14 am

Every little bit helps! Smile

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by gittarasaurus on Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:42 pm

Chores 2
almost done!
here it is, fully assembled with hardware, pickups, knobs etc, and completely functional
i wanted to assemble everything to make sure it was going to work correctly before i spend a bunch of time doing all the finish.


playing weight: 8 pounds 2 ounces (same as my Spectrum LX, without whammy bar)
plugged it in and played for a while today and i'm quite happy with the feel of it.
string height is nice, intonation is good too.  Cool
all ready to tear it down once more to apply final finish. probably take a few weeks due to all the steps involved. (grain filler, sanding, sealer, paint, lacquer, polishing)
and now i know it will be a working guitar at the end of it all. cheers

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

Post by Barry on Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:51 pm

Nice going Mike. You must be happy about getting the weight under control.
That's one bad ass geetar right there!

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Re: Spectrum ST - from butchered to... butcher-block?

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