Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas, A New year and New Hope

Its boxing Day, Christmas has come and gone and The Mongrels are about to start the New Year with a great deal of anticipation.
The weather, which is normally very summery has been terrible for quite a few weeks now and has put us behind with guitar production. We have been unable to Paint or French Polish due to the rain and high humidity for a couple of months.
Nevertheless, Ians daughter Colleens restored '63 Duosonic has is almost ready to go and as soon as there is a gap in the weather, a couple of final coats of clear will see it ready for assembly.
The '58 Supro for Kate just needs the pickup covers to come back from the gold plating and that will be finished.
Those old Supro pickups have to be heard to be believed. Talk about a huge sound!

Mongrelguitars have also become the Australian Distributors for Wolfetone pickups. These are hand made by Wolfe himself and used throughout the world by a number of really big name artists. They really take your guitar to a whole new level- and thats not just me saying so. You can read reviews on Wolfes range of pickups here.

The Mongrels guarantee that you will be blown away when you put a set of Wolfetones in your guitar- regardless of the brand you have there now.

We are also working on bringing a range of high quality guitar strings to the Australian Market.

Ian has managed to pick up a very rare and extremely beautiful three pickup '57 National Bel Aire and it is due to arrive from the U.S. any day.

These magnificent guitars were produced in very limited numbers. The bodies were made by Gibson for National and are a 175 body with a National neck and three Supro pickups.

Loud, rockin', foot to the floor Blues Anyone?

The shop has seen a number of interesting repairs too, some really challenging ones.
A brand new Masterbuilt Epiphone which had a lifting bridge has caused us the most trouble. These Chinese made guitars are now put together with Epoxy and the bridge is glued right to the finish. This makes it impossible to remove the bridge without causing damage to the very thin Spruce top.
Although they look and sound pretty good, they are not really designed to be repaired. Epoxy is permanent whereas the tradition luthiers animal hide glue can be easily steamed off allowing for a limitless number of rebuilds.
Michael has stripped the top back and it will be refinished in French Polish before Ian sets up the new bridge.
Ian has inlayed the fingerboard of a Les Paul with Abalone Shell and it will soon be ready for a Cherry Burst finish which will be done using wood stain and French Polish. The idea is to use a Golden Maple or light Teak stain in the centre, A dark stain toward the binding. Then by carefully masking, say a half inch at a time and gradually diluting the cherry stain as you work your way in, it should end up looking great.
Of course, like all Mongrel Guitars, it will be finished in French Polish which is non toxic and acoustically less reflective than modern Poly finishes.
Once the weather clears up, there is a new Thinline Tele, an old 70's Ibanez Strat which Michael has reshaped into a more traditional '50s style body. Another Brazillian Ash Tele which has been finished in a dark red Mahogany stain , a lightweight Strat copy which self destructed when the timber around the bridge broke free.
We decided to rout out the whole area behind the bridge pickup and glue in a Maple block to support the new bridge. This should transfer sound into the lightweight body very well.
Michaels Brazillian Tele, See top pic, turned out just incredible. After a lifetime of coveting a vintage Tele, this one is all that and more. Wolf wound me a cooking hot 10k Bridge pickup which has all the character of a vintage Broadcaster but when you crank it up- It just eats anything I have ever heard.
Many people complain that hot pickups can sound muddy when rolled off or lose their character when cranked up. This one has the best of both worlds.
It is so good that my Vintage G&L Tele is up for grabs and I am happy to sell it with no regrets.
Our good friend Jimmy Lloyd Rea will be touring Australia in the new year- stay tuned for dates and he has asked Ian to join The Switchmasters for the tour. He is a world class guitarist and it will be great to see him play with such a great Blues band.
The Mongrels would like to with everyone a really Happy New Year.


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