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Old 05-01-2013, 08:17 AM   #1
von Layzonfon
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"Quick" Rockster Partscaster Build

I saw this old 80s Rockster body on ebay and took a shine to it. Thought I'd do a quick "partscaster" build on it while I'm waiting for the weather to get nice enough to do more serious outdoor woodcrafting on my other project. A couple of days later I found a neck to go with it.



Everything else came from Axetec: Steam Hammer/Pig Iron (overwound) Pickup set, 500k pots with push/pull switch on the tone for coil split, hipshot style two-point trem, Grover style tuners. Chrome everything.

So just bolt them together, fit the electrics, job done. Not quite...

First up, the neck is slightly too wide for the pocket so I made a quick template to skim it.







Next, the middle and neck routs won't take a standard single coil pickup. I suppose I could've gone for some nice chrome lipsticks but I'd already bought the HSS set. The template from my JEM project will do.





The neck is in pretty good shape. Frets just need a bit of a polish. I'm using wire wool because it's nowhere near any electrical/magnetic stuff yet.





Just look at the mess. You don't want that anywhere near, well, anything really.
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:18 AM   #2
von Layzonfon
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Obviously, with the new bridge mounting differently I had to drill holes for the post studs. Also, the block was ever so slightly too wide so I had to open up the rout about 0.5mm on each side. You can also just about make out the re-routed middle pickup pocket in this picture.



Unfortunately, the trem block was also too deep for the body so I had to hack some off. That's what hack saws are for, right?



Moving on, the neck mounting screws are in non-standard positions so those need filling and re-drilling.



And the fretboard after the 22nd fret is interfering with the neck pickup, so that needs sorting out too.



In amongst all this I thought I'd give a few of the worst scratches on the body a bit of a tickle with some 1500 wet & dry, then rubbing compound. The cats thought this looked far more tasty than their usual bowl of water.



And the guitar looks like it's worth cuddling up to.



Sadly, at this point I seem to have got lax with the pictures. However, the only other thing that really needed sorting was putting a bit of an angle on the neck to compensate for the bridge sitting a tiny bit higher than a standard vintage strat trem. So I just shimmed the pocket, rather than going at it yet again with the router. Oh, and I gave the headstock a lick of red paint to tie it in with the body.

Now, finally, only a week later, it was just a case of screwing the parts together and wiring in the pickups.

I still hate soldering. It seems no matter how many hours I put in it doesn't get any easier. I have very variable experiences. Sometimes it goes brilliantly and I can hold the iron to the component tag for 10 seconds, dab on the solder and it melts on a bonds beautifully. Other times I seem to be there for minutes on end with nothing going on. I know a bad workman blames his tools but maybe it is because I'm using an eight quid, 30W iron. Anyone got any experience of those butane powered ones? The cord on the electric iron is another source of constant vexation.

Anyway, here's the (nearly) finished article.



I forgot to get string trees, so it's still awaiting final setup. And I need to source some white plastic to make a control cavity cover - any suggestions in this respect would be welcome. I bought an extra trem cover but I can't avoid the holes and 3-ply pick guard blank is OTT.

Hoping to give it a thrash at band practise tomorrow.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:57 AM   #3
BirdRiverCustom
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Looks good, how much did you buy into for the whole setup when it was finished (as far as parts are concerned). Let us know how it plays when its all strung up and finished.
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:37 PM   #4
von Layzonfon
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The whole project has set me back around £220 ($340). I've just done a quick scan and if I bought the absolute cheapest cr*p off ebay (mostly from Hong Kong and China) then I could've done it for around £75 ($115). But who wants an HSS pickup set that costs less than £10?
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:51 AM   #5
NotTheMessiah30
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The trick with soldering is to just keep the nib clean. Get that sponge wet and clean off the nib every time you're done soldering a connection and then tin the nib with fresh solder. That'll stop things oxidizing, which will help solder bond nicely.

I have a few dirt cheap soldering irons and they're absolutely fine. Even the little 12W one i have does the job so long as it's not being asked to heat up too big of an area.

Last edited by NotTheMessiah30 : 05-02-2013 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:54 AM   #6
Mars Rover
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Nice looking guitar. Looks like you've done a fine job. Since you asked for suggestions for a cavity cover, here's how I've made some missing ones. I have the tools and ability (as you probably do) to work with hard sheet plastic/pick guard material. However, I've used softer plastics that can be cut with serrated scissors or other cutters without cracking or breaking. It's just faster, easier and doesn’t produce a lot of plastic dust.

Make a template from clear plastic sheet. You can use a sheet protector but something a bit thicker like scrap blister pack material is even better. Tape it to the back of the guitar and since it's clear, you can just follow the cavity recess with a fine marker, using a straight edge to mark any straight sides, free-handing any curved corners. Cut it out and trim it to fit properly into the recess (if there is a recess). Now mark the holes to match the existing holes in the wood. Remove the template and drill out the holes in the plastic sheet. You've just made a clear plastic cavity cover but it's actually your pattern.

Try to find a small sheet of ABS plastic in the desired color and thickness. ABS has sufficient stiffness and a similar sheen to harder plastics but has enough "give" to allow cutting with scissors. Use your template, drill and countersink holes to accommodate oval-head pick guard screws. The edges can be neatened up with a file or sanding block. If you can't find ABS or don't want to order it from a plastics supplier, just look around for other sources of "unbreakable" plastic sheet. Cheap "Rubbermaid" types of containers or trash bins from the dollar store will work if thick and stiff enough but I like the ABS better because it looks and feels almost like hard plastic and doesn’t distort much whe you screw it down tight.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:39 AM   #7
von Layzonfon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NotTheMessiah30
I have a few dirt cheap soldering irons and they're absolutely fine. Even the little 12W one i have does the job so long as it's not being asked to heat up too big of an area.
Yeah, I kind of knew it was more likely my technique. Thanks for the tip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mars Rover
<stuffs>
Thanks for all that. I've got no problem with making the thing (as you correctly surmised), I was really wondering if any builders over here had any suggested suppliers. I've since found somewhere that'll do an A4 sheet for about £6 (2/3 of that is postage ), which is an improvement on industrial 8'x4' sheets, but I really like your idea of "re-purposing" plastic housewares.
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