Tuesday, 20 May 2014

News Flash....20.5.2014....

Just spoken with Tony from tonymckenzie.com...."He's Alive"....the op went well and he has kept his sense of humor about it all....so he'll be taking something apart soon and giving us all a mighty fine in depth review....good to hear from you man....k.j.

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Also the June Issue of Premier Guitar has just hit the freenet....get it HERE....k.j.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

New Telecaster Bridge....Relic Blend in....

This Fender Telecaster was bought damaged about 10 years ago....nasty crack in the body....there was no way of repairing the crack invisibly so the best thing was to hide the crack with some subtle relicing....Yeah Babee....


It has Gibson Wiring in the controls....Gibson wiring if you don't know is a bit wired....the volume and tone controls interact with each other....the volume rolls off the highs as-well as volume but never turns down the volume to nothing....the tone....turns up the volume together as-well as adding highs or taking away....now this sounds like a mess but in playing it works really well....you set up a sweet spot with both controls....then when you need a boost....crank up the tone control to push your amp into working more....its kinda like an on-board overdrive switch....


The guitar plays really well but it has never sounded like a Telecaster....At just over 8lbs it's quite a monster and everybody thinks that its this weight that is dragging its voice down....It came with no pick ups so we tried Fender Noiseless....then a set of Mexicans....Bare Knuckle Country Boy....then a set of Bare Knuckle Piledrivers that were too much....We contacted Tim Mills who told us to send them back and he would re-wind them as Blackguards as he felt they would work better with the body weight....it now sounds like a P90 Les Paul and immediately warms to whoever is playing it but very quickly leaves you expecting more somehow...."IT NEEDS TWANG"


The KTS Titanium saddles were a wild stab in the dark and considering the cost of the things frustratingly made no difference to the lack of twang....Reading that Billy Gibbons prefers aluminum saddles on his teles I had to find some....they turned out to be just what the Doctor ordered to put some twang in this guitar....but this now left me needing a new bridge....


The original thin crappy ash tray bridge Fender have always used has an all to common problem.....because the Telecaster bridge is essentially part of the pickup....if the bridge starts to lift slightly at the front and doesn't sit flush on the body you get feedback as your amp gets dirty....the modern thicker bridge plates cut out the feedback issue and also transfer more sustain from the body into the strings.....I would have preferd to have kept the brass bridge but couldn't find any aluminum single saddles....just the double retro style ones....the new bridge would need relicing to match the patina of the guitars....finish....


The next three videos by Will Kelly will show you how to relic hardware better than I could do....This is the best and quickest way to age hardware....it is also the easiest way to destroy a piece of hardware....The marks on the bridge in the photo above are from a Dremel....I had never used one for relicing before and it didn't workout very good....luckily the saddles cover the marks....it's very easy to over do relicing....so go slowly....




The next step is a finishing touch that I like to do....Adding rust and stains to the hardware...What your going to need is....Salt....I like the aquatic salt from pet shops or you can use road side Rock Salt....Steel Wool....it's best to cut the Steel Wool into small pieces so it falls apart....and finally....Hydrogen Peroxide....the best stuff to get is the 35% grade....but after those nice chaps blew up the London Underground with Peroxide bombs it's a pain to get....If you can only find the baby cleaning 3% stuff you can add some Caustic Soda to the mix to heat things up....


As you can see from the photos the Hydrogen Peroxide....Salt and Steel Wool makes for a fun afternoon....The Steel Wool will rust in seconds....and as the mixture heats up and fizzes it will start the relicing process up again....Rust will form and rust stains will etch into the hardware's plating....


After an hour or two take your hardware out of the mixture and give it a good wash to see the  results....If you want more patina dip the hardware back into mixture to cover it with gunk....Place it on a paper towel and let it dry....When its dry add salt to taste and spray on some Hydrogen Peroxide to get the process going again....and again when it drys keep spraying on the Hydrogen Peroxide....this will keep the rust forming....



The last thing that I do is sand the bottom of the bridge to make sure it's as flat as possible....This will help it sit flush on the body and keep the feedback at bay....A piece of sandpaper on a flat hard surface....An off cut of wood sat in the bridge sides for even allover pressure and a steady circular motion will take all the lumps down to a nice flat polished surface....


I must give a warning about Hydrogen Peroxide....get it on your skin and it will eat into you....Wash it off straight away....It stings a bit and turns your skin flaky white....Islamic nutters call it Mother of Satan as it can accidentally ignite when mixed with cotton and is highly volatile....So use a bit of common sense....The mixture will heat up rapidly and the fumes are slightly noxious....What your making is a very crude etching solution....Adding steel wool to make rust....It's the Steel Wool that is being dissolved and it's this rusty gunk that will stain your hardware....Giving a better aged look than just dissolving the plating of your hardware with etching solution as in the videos....or should that be worse....


Oh and the Vaseline....it's great for etching finger prints....


Hope any of this helps....k.j.

Will Kelly of Vintage Guitar Magazine Youtube Page
Axesrus.Com "this is where I got my Bridge from"
RS Guitarworks.Net
RS Aluminum Saddles
RS Brass Saddles on Amazon
Charles Guitars "this is where I got my Aluminum and Brass Saddles from
Billy Gibbon's Glendale Hardware at Charlie Chandler's Guitar Experience
Glendale Guitars.Com
Bare Knuckle Pickups
Gibson 50s Wiring

Hydrogen Peroxide 35% on Amazon