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STRATOID

Discussion in 'Other Cool Guitars' started by hcsterg, May 5, 2018.

  1. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    STRATOID... Or a odd mix between a Mustang, a Strat and a Jaguar built from a 2nd-hand Harley-Benton "Mustang-like" MS60-LH-VW.

    I never had any HB guitar, nor any guitar fitted with the "questionable" Jaguar / Jazzmaster tremolo. So it's an experience... o_O

    I bought it 2nd hand, like new , nearly unused, with still the plastic on the pickguard for 90 Euros shipped. I did not take high financial risks in that venture, that moreover quickly proved successful :cool:.

    Anyway, no Squier Jazzmaster, Jaguar or Mustang exists in LH, and the rare Fender ones are cost-prohibitive (better buy a Gretsch : right ? ;))

    First step : setting the guitar to play correctly

    Picture as is. Nice but unplayable. Too light strings, binding here and there, random tuning tremolo, some other issues that I won't detail. Surprised ? No. Even on costy guitars you may find that - by my personal experience...

    [​IMG]

    Rewiring the electronics

    As Is : a bit messy but not so bad, pots are B500K, reverse mounted, one switch is loose...

    [​IMG]

    First rewiring : pots changed to A250K, C=22n, wiring shortened...

    [​IMG]

    Ah ! Well - then I notice that one pickup is in the wrong staggering sense, so PU 180° rotation, and let's improve the shielding...

    [​IMG]

    Setting up the tremolo

    The handle has too much backlash and the pivotal point of the tremolo was rough - other than that, it's correctly build part.

    [​IMG]

    Tremolo knife rectification - the poor pivotal contact killed any trem tuning stability, giving offset zero position :

    [​IMG]

    Working the headstock

    Nut replacement for a friction-less TUSQ XL PQL-5000-L0, eliminating one string tee, rising the other one :

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    String installation and setup

    I opted for the usual 10-52 set on which I tin the ball ends to avoid any slipping :

    [​IMG]

    Bridge replacement for a generic big-studs roller bridge, on which I elimnated backlash (Loctite braking), remorking the tremolo handle mount for remaining backlash suppression :

    [​IMG]

    Setting up neck relief with notched straightedge and thickness gauges at 0.35mm / 8th box, setting up the action :

    [​IMG]

    End of the 1st step : the guitars plays as expected :):):).

    She stays prefectly in tune, easy to play, no particular buzz (despite the shorter scale), the Wilkinson PU are quite powerful, a bit "in your face" in the treble range, though. I made 2 reharsal and 1 live to attest that.

    But time is to go further to the 2nd step, now...

    A+!
     
    j.s.c, Ricochet, JC higgy and 2 others like this.
  2. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    So let's continue...

    The woodwork and the hardware being OK, why not modify the electronics in a "stratoiform" way ?

    Second Step : "Stratoization"

    I used a Squier Std AlNiCo 3PU set coming from a 2005 Squier Std Strat, and decided for a Jaguar plate for switching the PUs, the existing "Mustang-like" switches being used for in-off phase permutation of the neck and bridge PUs :

    [​IMG]

    But this option proved not to be premium : the off-phase mode is interesting only in N+B combo, N+M and M+B giving thin, odd, low level tones. Then I decided to modify the wiring for a N+B off-phase SW, and a N+B serial-// SW :

    [​IMG]

    And in the meantime, I evened the level of the magnet, which were staggered for RH, to a symmetrical staggering :

    [​IMG]

    The sonic result is way more convincing ! No picture... All sounds are interesting and usable now. A very versatile combination, without redundance nor hassle :

    - parallel 3PU operation with 3 switches on Jaguar plate (any combination).
    - instant serial N+B PU operation by upper rear switch, regardless the other switches.
    - instant off-phase N+B operation by upper front switch, regardless the other switches.
    - addition in // of the middle PU possible in any setting.

    Here is the schematic :

    [​IMG]

    Pictures of the finished "STRATOID" :

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    One last point : I will change the tuners for 18:1 Kluson MK6RN tuners, because the originals are rough to turn and not progressive...

    Oh, and I must design a headtock logo "STRATOID" to put along the Harley-Benton one : engraved plate, decal ? I don't know yet... And I never made decals !

    Verdict

    The final result meets my expectations :):cool::):cool: : the guitar plays great... But was it worth ?

    Finally yes. It didn't cost me too much and I spent the equivalent of 3-4 days of cool work to achieve that. OK, it's an unsellable, no-value oddity, but an unseen Lefty guitar, and moreover a good mod plateform, tant et si bien que I bought a second MS60-LH-VW for 80 Euros shipped (even cheaper) in the exact same condition of the 1st one... For a future project !

    Wait and See...

    A+!
     
  3. englishman

    englishman Gretschified

    Age:
    60
    Apr 5, 2014
    Detroit
    Very cool. Necessity is the mother of invention.
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  4. drmilktruck

    drmilktruck Gretschified

    May 17, 2009
    Plymouth, MN
    Good work. My son is a lefty and is frustrated that when we stop by a guitar store they rarely have more than a few lefty guitars.
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  5. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    52
    Oct 18, 2015
    Hildesheim, Germany
    Many useful modifications. Well done, hcsterg!
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  6. wildeman

    wildeman Friend of Fred

    May 10, 2015
    norcal
    Cool guitar. I like what you've done.
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  7. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Thank you Guys !

    All this showed me that Harley Benton guitars were worth to consider despite their low-cost, and it's very interesting for Lefties as they make numerous models in LH, that the original designers and builders from which they are inspired often do not even consider worth issuing in LH... :oops:

    Moreover, I read so many bad comments and experiences about the Jazzmaster / Jaguar tremolos, that I really thought it was a poor device. Info or Intox ? At least, its Harley-Benton Chinese copy can be make working flawlessly... So why not the originals, then ? ;)

    A+!
     
  8. wabash slim

    wabash slim Friend of Fred

    Age:
    68
    Feb 10, 2010
    lafayette in
    Nice work, great attention to the smallest details, and your photography was excellent.
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  9. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Country Gent

    I appreciate you sharing your modding experience with us hcsterg. I have a Squier VM Jaguar, and with your explanation of what you did to correct some issue, along with the pictures, it gives me some guidance for looking at my Jaguar a little closer.

    Now on the the more important part, I think your Stratoid is well thought out, and very cool!
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  10. thunder58

    thunder58 Gretschified

    Age:
    59
    Dec 23, 2010
    tappan ny
    Very nice and congrats to you . I like it ....
     
    hcsterg likes this.
  11. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Thanks again !

    You lucky (RH) man... I don't know if the tremolo knife edge of the Squier VM Jaguar is as rough as on the HB MS60, but it would be worth to check, notably if your tremolo shows offset tuning.

    Some last pictures for the end :

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In addition, Guys : feel free to give me your mod suggestions, ideas of name, etc... For my 2nd Harley Benton (at left) !

    ;):)

    A+!
     
    Henry and firebomber like this.
  12. firebomber

    firebomber Electromatic

    87
    Oct 24, 2017
    California
    I LOVE it! Reminds me of the limited Squier Super-Sonics that are hard to come by!

    CxlQrk3.jpg
     
    j.s.c and hcsterg like this.
  13. JC higgy

    JC higgy Friend of Fred

    Age:
    47
    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
  14. MTurner

    MTurner Friend of Fred

    Age:
    62
    Aug 17, 2010
    Clayton, North Carolina, USA
    How about the “Brunocaster?!
     
  15. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Thank you Guys !

    Yes ! And another one which never existed in LH...

    Ha ! Well, yes... But unfortunately it sound really ridiculous in French :oops:. In that range, "TurnerCaster" would sound much better in term of name, if you see what I mean...

    A+!
     
    firebomber likes this.
  16. MTurner

    MTurner Friend of Fred

    Age:
    62
    Aug 17, 2010
    Clayton, North Carolina, USA
    You could name it "TurnerCaster" if you want. Wouldn't bother me!

    :p
     
  17. markeebee

    markeebee Country Gent

    Yes, and also the 3 pickups and Jag switches remind me of the Fender Cyclone (which was probably not available as a lefty) :

    [​IMG]

    Good work, as always, HCS. You have such a good eye for design.
     
  18. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    Ah, yes Markeebee - Thanks ! The Fender Cyclone... :eek::rolleyes:

    I completely forgot that name and I even hadn't the slightest idea about what this guitar looked like :oops:... I was nonetheless somewhat suspicious about the fact that Fender apparently never had the idea to issue a 3-PU Mustang : you bring me the answer :cool:.

    So my Stratoïd is rather a Lefty modded variant of a Cyclone - that's the name I should have opted for, but it's not too late : the headstock decal name isn't made... o_O

    This one could be called Harley Benton "Cyclone" or "Typhoon" and the other one Harley Benton "Tornado" or "Tempest" with say, for example, 2 BT FT Gretsch humbuckers and a Artec Lipstick in the center.

    HaHa ! Special orders issued from the Harley Benton Custom Shop... Ma parole, j'y crois pas ! :D

    I was asking for ideas... Here's one ! ;)

    A+!
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
  19. hcsterg

    hcsterg Country Gent

    Feb 13, 2012
    France
    [​IMG]

    Harley Benton Custom Shop "Stratoïd Series"... J'hallucine ! :eek::confused::cool::D

    A+!
     
  20. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Why not "Mustang", that's what it is, right?