Hello kitty Stratocaster

This is a great little guitar. It’s essentially Squire stratocaster with a San rio license.

The body is basswood and the neck is maple. It’s got a single humbucker and volume control.

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I got this on Craigslist for $50. Not a bad deal. I think it was actually a very good deal. Everything worked but the guitar did not play so great. You can’t even buy all of the parts for $50, at that price you have to expect to put something in yourself.

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I took the neck off and gave it a fret level. One of the frets was sticking up. So I glued that down with a little super glue.

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This was the first time I had leveled frets. So the $50 guitar was a good place to start. I got the neck as flat as I could get it. Taped up the fret board. I used Shapie to color the frets. Then ran the leveling beam across the frets. I sanded the frets down until I could see some ink being removed from all of them.

Then I made a new nut. This was also a first time. I started with a plastic blank. It had some grooves but, these needed to be deepened and the rest of the nut needed to be shaped.

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This turned out well after some trial and error. At one point the nut seemed to be adjusted well but, the high e string exhibited a sitar like ring. In the end I fixed this by lowering the string tree to increase the break angle of the e and b string over the nut.

After the fret level I could lower the action considerably. The guitar was playing pretty good. At this point the height adjustment screws in bridge sadle of the low e string were sticking out and digging into my palm. I took them out and cut two threads off the bottom of each with some big wire cutters.

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The I filed the ends smooth. I could have cut another one or two threads off as about one thread was still sticking out the top. But it didn’t bother me so I decided to leave well enough alone.

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Last I adjusted the bridge height and set the intonation.


Joe’s New Guitar

Playing electric guitar left-handed makes for a limited choice among production models – especially on a limited budget. I wanted something like an SG, and that meant the Epiphone G-400 for my price range. The Agile AD-2300 (http://www.rondomusic.net/photos/electric/ad2300nat1aleft.jpg) has similar specs and quality

  • set neck
  • similar weight, neck, and electronic controls

and some differences

  • it’s not red (the only color available for lefty G-400s)
  • P-90s instead of humbuckers
  • about $100 cheaper

These differences made the Agile AD-2300 more desirable than the Epi G-400 [which I’ve played in right-hand models].

The Agile arrived well-packed and in good condition. Some minor cavils: the tone pots don’t really work except for the last 5%, when they suddenly kill all the treble — no gradual treble reduction. Also both volume knobs act as master for both pickups, so you can’t set them at different volumes from each other. Since this eliminates any sensible reason for having two volume knobs, I’m calling it faulty wiring, but fixing it should be as easy as getting out the soldering iron & redoing the connections. Likewise the tone pots, if not replacing them with better ones.

What I like:

  • the sound is good: P-90s deliver full, bright sound, and are wired so that using both together knocks out a great deal of the hum/noise that single-coils are prone to
  • it’s much better-looking than the Web site photo, which looks like stained wood. The actual finish looks more likeĀ  blond wood with a shiny finish

Dislikes:

  • It feels distinctly heavier than the Epiphone G-400
  • Surprisingly neck-heavy. Natural hang position is below horizontal

The G-400 was also a bit neck-heavy — how could it not be, when the body is so light? — but was distinctly lighter than my Stratocaster.

For me, weight may prove to be the deal-breaker — I wanted something with less shoulder-fatigue than my Strat. I’ll bring this to band night on Friday & see how it goes.