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Old 01-25-2009, 05:00 AM
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Default The Guitar thread

Guess since I can no longer update the thread, might as well do it here, as I can not remember if I showed the finished product or not. This was a Memphis brand guitar I picked up for loose change, and fixed it up with better hardware.

Memphis was known as a "ghost" company, in that they never actually produced their own guitars, instead, they had special orders with several Japanese factories for guitars either built to their specs, or as part of a group of companies that offered the same guitar, though with some slight hardware differences.

This model was a standard copy of Gibson's "The Paul" model, and had very similar build, body and hardware. This particular model was in the middle range for the company in terms of price and features. The lp-100 model was their low end unit, a bolt-on hollow plywood version of the Les Paul Standards, as well as a higher end true set neck model that resembled the Studio models. The Memphis guitars that had the bolt-on were well known to be very cheaply made, and that reputation sank the company in 1983. Recently, the name returned as a new company, though not much is known about them.

This model is a solid 3 ply mahogany body, but a fake set neck that is bolted, but also glued. It is then covered over with the back layer of wood, but age is showing these were in fact a bolt on neck. This was quite common with middle of the line MIJ guitars, and is still being used today by a lot of companies, not only to make the guitar sustain a bit better, but also to make it more attactive to the buyer. The neck also was a 2 piece, age shows that there are 2 pieces joined with a box cut, but this is still of far higher quality than the LP copys, as the neck was hollow and made of plywood.

Early models of this guitar had a far lighter wood finish, and a brass nut. This is a darker version, a 1981 or 1982 year and a plastic nut, more than likely to keep the cost down and to make it easier to mass produce this model under different brand names. The guitar featured quite good cloned copies of the Anderson rail humbuckers, and brass inlays as opposed to pearl dot inlays or block inlays that were on the other re-branded guitars, and makes it a bit more desirable than the other re-brands, such as Vantage or Mann.

The quality of the guitar is overall quite good and consistent with the Japanese made guitars coming from the Fugijen factory. 2 volume/2 tone and a 3 way toggle for pickup selection using the same hardware as most other MIJ guitars at that time, with green caps in the wiring. This used the standard tone pro setup, and had the same tail piece/bridge setup as most gibsons.

At the moment, the Memphis brand seems to be going up in value, as players, looking for a decent bargain, are keying on the 1980 MIJ guitars. This is a pretty fair guitar, the mahogany body, a fast neck and good overall construction despite the short cuts makes it a very nice guitar for the beginner/intermediate player. You can find collector grade quality of the Ghost at about 300 dollars US, for a late 70's version with the brass inlay and lighter stain on the body.

The hardware is very decent, except for the tuners, and despite being 30 years old, came through okay. If you get this model, and it's not the brass nut version, a simple replacement to a graphite nut will do fine, and well worth the extra cost. I also replaced the tuners with locking tuners, as the MIJ tuners usually were well known to get out of tune quite easily, and a input jack/plate that had corroded.

I got this from Ebay, and though it was very badly taken care of, I found this to be a gem. In total, after I replaced the tuners, the input jack, and had a graphite nut and a set-up and intone, that for the total cost of about 225 dollars, it was a bit of a steal. The rail type humbuckers gave the guitar a unique attitude in it's sound, and though the construction isn't exactly the most high end kind, it still was a great value at it's time, and even more so now when you compare it to the new guitars. It's a decent guitar that is very easy to play, and not overly heavy. With the better quality parts added, it's comparable to a basic low end studio, (the closest modern produced equivalent) but at a considerably lower price. The quality of construction is quite good, and on par with new guitars at the 500 dollar range, but it's very plain jane looks detracts a bit in comparison to the artist type model, which was very similar, except for the double cut away and the light 3 band stripe that ran through the middle of the body.

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Old 01-25-2009, 08:30 AM
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Thanks for the update, shiva. Don't be a stranger and feel free to post at the ORG if you wish.
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:50 AM
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Picked up a whole whack load of parts, and decided to upgrade 3 guitars in one shot.

The Memphis will get 18:1 Grover locking tuners with ebony buttons, and a new Gibson bridge and tailpiece very shortly.

The kid's Ibanez is first, for his Birthday I bought a complete set of everything, new schaller bridge, Grover tuners, and a new loaded pickguard in Black pearl. He's flipping out to say the least.

My Hag will get the major upgrade over the next while though. A completely new wiring harness with gs guitarworks pots and switchcraft switches. I already got a new input jack, a switchcraft mil grade one, that's very rare, and incredibly huge. Pretty much the best you can ever find, it's 3 times the price of the regular switchcrafts. Pics included, the input on the right is a regular switchcraft jack, so they were real serious with the military spec version. Silver coated tips, copper and metal, and rated to last 5 times longer than their regular model.

Damn, the thing is huge... I have tons of switchcraft parts on it's way, really some great deals going on right now, and finally, the CDN dollar is recovering as well, Yeah!

Once I get them built, I will put up images. The Kid's guitar will just look cool...

(Oh, Happy Birthday Michael)
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Old 06-16-2009, 05:37 PM
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Mmmhh,...good old Solid State Ware!

Very nice!
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Old 06-16-2009, 05:40 PM
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Yeah, it's a shame companies like switchcraft don't make pinball parts. Be nice not to have tables break down every 2 weeks
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Old 06-17-2009, 03:22 AM
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best guitars i've seen in a while:
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Old 07-09-2009, 03:59 AM
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I just picked up a new one, oddly enough a Jay Turser as well, to go with my Hagstrom and my kids gio guitar as Chinese made.

In review... first off, the Gio is complete junk, even the pick guard is non-standard, and, you can't put a pickup with a cover on the bridge because they didn't cut the hole big enough!

The Hag is opposite, mainly because all their guitars are produced in house, including nearly all the parts. The quality is very good, especially when you compare it to other Chinese made guitars that have parts sourced outside. Haven't found the need to change anything if I have to, anything to be done would be a upgrade. Mines a Select Swede, but a lot of the different Hag models are at the top of the list for best bang for the buck.

Now the Jay Turser. As I am Canadian, I have the Canadian model, which is not available in the states at all from what I can see. The US and Canada have completely different line-ups, other than the JT-200. Mine is here:

http://www.jaytursercanada.com/jay_t...CategoriesID=1

It's a studio copy. Set neck, mahogany, and junk everything else, though still better than the Gio. It's pretty much comparable to the Epiphones, in that the body is usable, everything else will have to be replaced, but with one very big difference. The Epiphone would cost about 480 Cdn total, while this Turser cost me 150 Cdn. (take off about 11-13% US with the exchange rate)

I was lucky, they under sprayed this, so I actually can see the wood grain on mine, as opposed to the solid cherry red. Epiphone sprays their's solid colours, maybe because theirs are like the JT, 3 pieces of mahogany joined for the body and they don't want it to show. (Wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if the body for each company came out of one factory) With mine, pretty apparent at the back, but still, far better colour, love the cherry stain even if it was unintentional. Pretty heavy guitar, very solid, but could chip easy in the paint. Very glossy as well.

First thing I did was replace the tuners with a matching Grover Vintage style. The electronics are bad, but I have a set of wired pots from a Zack Wilde EMG set that's not being used, Switchcraft jack/plate and a Gibson USA bridge and tail piece. (Have to re drill though, they copied the shape, but certainly didn't copy the sizes for the hardware, all of them are way smaller) New Pickups as well, I'm going to go with the same Rockfield Mafia/Big Ass combo that BC Rich is now using for their new War Beast model. Slightly more dollars than the GFS stuff, but I have heard them, and they just sound great and far better for what works out to be 10 dollars more each.

Honestly, even after I upgrade and pay for everything, it will still be cheaper than the Epiphone and yet will be way better. Really, even if it's just as a project, like I am doing, pretty hard to beat that.
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