Sunday, July 22, 2007

A new post- At last!!

Ian at work on the 'magic' Tele

It is turning into a huge year for The Mongrels- and we are only just past the halway mark.
We have been increasingly aware that we- well me actually, Michael, have let the Blog slide while we concentrated on getting the business really flying.
Lets go back to the last blog- The two Kay 592s which were being restored have both turned into spectacular instruments. Although they both share identical construction and hardware they sound completely different. The only things we can think of which contribute to this are they weigh in slighty differently and one is finished in French polish while the other has retained its original burgundy laquer finish.
With the P90s singing away they just sound bloody amazing and are a delight to play.
Two Kay 592s

After the 592's were finished we sat down with a rough Alder Strat blank and Michael hand shaped it , drawing inspiration from the very early 50's Strats and also a solid Maple bodied vintage Mighty Mite belonging to Ian.
What amazed us both while we researched Strat design is the amazing number of subtle changes which have been made over the years. We put it down to increased mechanisation as production expanded and the bean counters looking for shortcuts.
After shaping and sanding it was finished in clear French Polish and a very wide 1 and 7/8ths nut width neck was added. Then Ian got stuck into the electronics and setup. When all was ready, we plugged her in and WOW- I'm talking serious BIG sounding stage guitar here.

Definitely not a guitar for whimps. Ian jumped straight up and said. "We are going to name this one 'The Duke' after John Wayne."
Without wanting to sound sexist, the only way to describe The Duke is to say it is a Big guitar for a Big Man.

The next project had a very unexpected outcome and makes for an interesting story. A couple of years ago we found five ridiculously cheap Telecaster bodies being sold by a bloke in South America as 'pine '. Unable to resist the bargain, we snapped em up as we had always wanted to have a go at building a "Pinecaster".
When the bodies arrived they were a mess and we thought we had really done our dough. The wood was green and the glue joins were open, the routs were terrible and they were only roughly finished.
For two years they sat in a pile on the top of a wardrobe. To cut a long story not quite as long, about Easter time this year we took em down and had a look. The wood, in drying, had developed splits here and there and the glue lines had opened up even further but as we had a bunch of Telecaster spares and a few necks lying around we though, 'What the Hell.'
The instant I started sanding I knew they weren't pine- it was like rock. Turns out they are some kind of Brazillian Ash. I sealed it all off with a good coat of Shellac and we put my old 80's Jap Squire neck on one and Ian set up the electronics and opened the neck pocket up to fit the Squire.
The Mongrel Tele just has to be heard to be believed

Well sometimes magic happens. This is a better Tele than anything I have ever played. Put it this way. I have held on to a Vintage G&L Asat Tele for years. Now anyone who has played one of the latter day Leo Fender and George Fullerton masterpieces knows just how good it can get- They are superlative stage guitars and mine is a bloody good one. It is also for sale. I just don't need it anymore now that I have this ugly block of wood which is everything a telecaster should be- and more!!!!!
Oh the other four bodies- well they aren't for sale and will be our private stock. Bloody unbelievable.