You know when you buy something truly cheapo on the interwebnets, then you end up having to take it to bits and fix it…
I got a very reasonably priced little headless electric small body guitar off amazon. I wanted something easy to noodle on while sitting on the sofa, or even small enough to fit in airplane overhead lockers on work trips: hotel rooms are good for guitar practice. It turned out to work for both cases and even plays and sounds OK.
It says Pasedena on it, and has a double locking neck nut and a tremolo bridge impressively/amusingly called “Overlord of Music”. Double humbuckers that look very similar to those on my epiphone special II, a 5 position switch (yes 5… but why? After looking at the wiring seems to only really have three settings, which makes more sense), a wobbly jack socket, two unlabelled knobs (volume and tone I guess).
It’s shiny black with black hardware. No idea who made it, but the parts look alright generally. The neck and tremolo/tuning hardware seem OK for the money, but I get a bad connection at the instrument cable jack port, and the action seems incredibly high: the bridge seems to be several mm too high compared to where the neck is pointing.
I decided to do something about that, so I took it to bits to see. I noticed the cut out parts of the wood body are a real botch job: inside the switch and pots cavity looks like a preschool woodwork project conducted by a toddler with a chisel. It was routed out too shallow so the pots and switch lever didn’t poke out of the holes far enough to get the knobs on, so they just roughly hacked out some more wood, after it was painted, until the 500k pots could wear their hats and the switch lever knob went on… but only in the middle position. At first and last position the lever is still too low so the knobs falls off. I can live without the knob on the switch.
That got me wondering. Perhaps the tremolo / tuner cavity also wasn’t routed out deep enough, and that’s why the bridge is sitting way too high. There is no way to adjust the bridge height down far enough.
So out came the dremmel and away went some wood, then back on went the tremolo/tuner and now the bridge just clears the bridge pickup case. Seems like the bottom of the tremolo hardware should sit on the lowest cutout part, and that gives the right bridge height. Before it was floating.
The four screws holding it on are all different and one doesn’t even have a pointed end. It’s like bolt not a screw. Weird.
What next? I already ordered a better instrument cable jack port, and I think I will tape it up in a stripey way and spray on some yellow lines, a la Frankenstrat, just for fun. I hope to be double hand tapping and dive bombing with a nice low action soon, maybe even in an airport terminal. But I lost the tremolo arm…