There's a few different types of repairs I do regularly here and the "tour repair" is a common one. It's different from other repairs in that you're generally not after an aesthetically pleasing repair, so you're not worried about "finishing" the repair. you're just trying to get the guitar fixed as quickly as possible so it can go back out on the road and finish the tour. Sometimes I get asked to fix guitars to last the touring life although I have been asked to fix guitars "just enough" to get it to finish the tour so their repairer can fix it "properly" when they get home.
I got a call from the Obits guys on Saturday afternoon on my day off (I was actually making pedals) and asked if I could fix this guitar by the show Sunday night ? The catch was, "we get to Brisbane about midday tomorrow, sound check is at about six"
OK, this didn't seem too bad except I was working in the shop on Sunday until four. So, as Jarvis Cocker said ......." I said, I'll see what I can do"
Id already met Rick a few years ago when the Hotsnakes toured and I met those guys and made a guitar for John (Speedo) and stayed in contact with drummer Mario so I was looking forward to meeting him again. The guitar was dropped off and Rick stayed to watch the instore we had on while the other guys grabbed something to eat.
I got home about 4.30 and got straight to work (again) on fixing this guitar so it could be used that night. The scratch plate had shattered around the output jack and the end of the cable was broken off in the jack. With a guitar like this, where the scratch plate holds everything on one plate it's more difficult to repair something like this than say a LP or Strat.
With such limited time available, and the owner saying "it's a player, I'm not precious about it" I decided to cut the scratch plate straight across just next to the break and cut a new "end" for the jack to mount into. This is a fairly simple repair to do quickly and I was now down to about an hour to get it fixed and back to the venue for sound check.
I cut a new end from scrap off cuts of scratch plate material lying around the workshop and beveled the edges to suit the original plate. A few extra screws to hold everything in place and a new Switchcraft output jack and it was right to go ...... Sort of.
I can't help myself with some guitars and this was one of them. I see this a lot with touring guitars like this that are "players" and despite being great guitars, are tools for touring and get used and toured heavily. The frets were a mess with divots and cuts in many of them from unwound strings hitting the frets hard. This means you can't bend as the cuts catch the strings as you bend and also causes buzzing as the string sits in the cut and frets out. This was particularly bad and I couldn't believe he was playing it like this.
The bridge saddles were missing some height adjustment screws causing the action to be WAY too low on three strings and almost unplayable. I found some screws in my parts bucket and set the action across all six strings.
With a quick fret dress and polish and the action and intonation set, this played so well. It's obvious why this is a touring guitar. It's a well made guitar, with a great neck and solid construction but despite being a "big brand", its not a particularly collectable model. It also has a HOT (and I mean HOT) DiMarzio humbucker jammed in the bridge position. These Fender Lead series didn't last long in the eighties but every one I've played has been pretty impressive, this one included.
Back together and in the hard case and back to the venue just as the band were getting ready to sound check. Perfect.
The show was great, the band are awesome and they're such a nice bunch of guys. I'll fix (or build) gear for them any time.