Mosstone 12-string Thinline Tele - Changing Gears

Discussion in 'Project Depot' started by Mossman, May 14, 2018.

  1. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    Wowee! I got this body so fast it made my head spin!

    I ordered it last Thursday from Hong Kong and I expected to wait two or three weeks for it (ETA from ebay was June 9th), but it showed up this morning at my workplace around 10 am. I checked the tracking, thinking I got abducted by aliens again, and was experiencing missing time (I don't drink anymore, so it couldn't be a blackout :) ).

    The package left the shipping facility in Hong Kong at 10pm Sat night, and got to my door about 36 hours later... Now none of you stateside retailers have any excuses any more! I ordered a 12-string kit from a seller in Mississippi at the same time, and I won't see that until Friday.

    This body looks better than I expected, and I got a very pleasant surprise when I got it home and discovered that it's a 'flip-flop' paint job!

    When you look at it straight on, it's a sparkly midnight blue:

    20180514_172538.jpg

    But when viewed at an angle, it's a purple that would make @Razzle drool:

    20180514_172606.jpg

    Craftsmanship is excellent... I can't find any flaws, or even a swirl mark in this finish. There's no over-spray on the binding, either, though I wish they would have taped inside the f-hole cavity before painting. Now I'm debating whether to sand the paint off, or paint it all black in there.

    20180514_181342.jpg

    I was expecting the body to be a little thicker, since it's a semi-hollow, but it looks to be only a little over 1-5/8"... Maybe 1-11/16"... I haven't measured it with calipers or anything yet, just a ruler.

    I was surprised to find that the body is a full semi-hollow. I've never owned a Thinline Tele before, but I assumed that only the upper half of the guitar was hollow, and the lower half would be solid, except for the control cavity.

    Not to say that a Chinese guitar body is indicative at all of how Fender does it. Maybe one of you guys who know Fender Thinlines can educate me.

    As you can imagine, this body is super light (3 lbs, 2 oz on my ink scale at work), and I'm worried that it might not be a good candidate for a 12-string guitar... I may have to fill the lower half of the body with rocks or something, to counteract the weight of the headstock, but I don't want to dampen the resonance. I've been looking at lightweight, open-back tuners for this project, but I dunno... I think it would be neck heavy even without tuners.

    I may just use a grippy strap and forget about it.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  2. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    Bumper car.
     
  3. Texas Slim

    Texas Slim Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Fairly hollow, yes-

    fe324852274c6eb9085e95e8bf56907a.jpg
     
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  4. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Slim... I think there's a bit less wood in this body... The outer walls and center block are thinner, and the center block just ends a few inches past the bridge holes. There's no enclosed middle compartment in the lower bout... It's just all open.
     
  5. JeffBeck

    JeffBeck Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    That paint is far out! Love it!
     
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  6. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, right?

    It was totally unexpected. They didn't mention it at all in the description. They called the finish 'Mystic Dream', and I thought; "Yeah, whatever... It's 'Midnight Blue' to me". I kinda bought it on impulse... Mostly for the color (and the binding). I would have been happy if it was just blue, but this gives it a little extra.

    I remember when this kind of paint was popular on cars and guitars. You don't really see it that much anymore. I guess it was just a fad, but it's a cool effect... I like it! I've seen some pretty horrible examples, though. I did a little research into it, and apparently, spraying a 'flip-flop' or 'chameleon' paint job is a fairly tricky process. The paint actually has liquid crystals in it (like in an LCD display). Here's an article (the only article) I came across on the subject.

    First off we need to dispel a commonly held rumour. Flip paint is not actually 2 layers of different colour paint but a single colour which is refracted at certain angles. It is a very special paint finish which is actually a complex and fully patented process. There are a few ways to achieve it but it certainly is not an easy finish you can get on a DIY basis unless you invest in quality equipment.

    Colour is actually a frequency of light (to oversimplify matters somewhat). High frequencies and low frequencies produce colours from Infra Red to Ultraviolet. When you use a polarising filter you will actually filter out light coming from a certain angle. To illustrate this you may be photographing a car and the reflections on the paint are too strong. Adding a polarizer will stop the reflected light effectively giving you a sharper image.

    In flip paint a polarising effect is seen which actually changes the frequency of the reflected light depending upon the angle it is view from. This will restrict the colour flip effect to those of similar frequencies. This is technically known as an interference phenomenon where the reflected wavelengths are restricted to those resulting from the liquid crystal.

    Flip paint looks best on cars with curvaceous surfaces. It is far from a DIY job though. So how is this polarisation achieved? The answer lies in liquid crystal. These are used in LCD displays from digital watches to computer screens. The beauty of liquid crystal is that a chain of liquid crystal polymers will line up in certain conditions. In the screens and displays a current is used.

    The LCD crystal polymers are blended with the carrier. This carrier which we will simply refer to as a paint blend, also contains an additive to slow the drying time and allow the crystal polymers to re-orient themselves. In the case of applying paint to a curved vehicle surface you have to apply the paint in a set of predetermined layers. The base coat sets the range of colour with darker colours producing a stronger flip effect.

    After the base coat the liquid crystal blended paint is applied very very carefully at a specific spray rate and angle. The paint droplets each need to be an optimum size and density. Application of heat will allow the crystals to line themselves up but if the paint dries too quickly it will become set in a chaos pattern and become more like a candy coat.

    The heat is very carefully controlled and balanced. Some applications require a number of heat and cooling phases with varying paint thicknesses. A clear coat is applied over the top to protect the paint and assist with that illusive showroom shine. Other methods involve applying a charge to the vehicle which aligns the paint as it hit the metal surface.

    There are, as you can see, a few methods around for achieving a flip paint effect, and all are very jealously guarded. As with any paint job on a car you should ask to see samples and get testimonials of previous work. Can you buy special flip paint? Is this a DIY Job. With the latest paints it is certainly possible, but you need to be a fairly competent DIY'er with good quality equipment. If you are not used to spraying cars or only have a budget spray setup you'll be wasting your time trying to achieve this finish. Invest in a professional for guaranteed results and an even consistent finish.--
     
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  7. backinit

    backinit Well-Known Member

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    Ebay seller?
     
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  8. Tiga

    Tiga Well-Known Member

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    Very cool looking paint on that one. The thinline project I finished is a real semi-hollow too. Nice and light but unfortunately lots of neck dive. I've also thought about adding a little weight inside the body.
     
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  9. JeffBeck

    JeffBeck Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    If I can do it surreptitiously I'll grab you a photo of our neighbors car. I think it's a Dodge Magnum with some sort of prismatic paint on it. Also has a lovely decal that pretty much covers the back window and says, "Dirty Money". Pretty classy. I like your guitar better by several orders of magnitude.
     
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  10. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    Yes. Name is: lamchow.

    They still have more of these bodies.
     
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  11. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I don't know what, though... I don't want anything bouncing around in there.

    But I think a counterweight will be mandatory.
     
  12. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    facepalm-bert.jpg
     
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  13. fullonshred

    fullonshred Well-Known Member

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    Love the paint and binding. Great5 grab. I am another one who LOVES purple!
     
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  14. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I've got a weakness for purple too.. Now I kinda wish the body was primarily that color.
     
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  15. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    I've been shopping around for tuners, looking for something that will be light weight, and not cost a fortune. I think the best option I can find are these open back economy tuners from StewMac. They get great reviews and only cost $14.95 for a set of six, so about $30 total.

    http://www.stewmac.com/Hardware_and...achines/Economy_Open_Gear_3_and_3_Tuners.html

    Economy_Open_Gear_3_and_3_Tuners.jpg

    Unless somebody has a better idea, I think I'm gonna go with these.
     
  16. andrewsrea

    andrewsrea Well-Known Member

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    Can't wait to see the finished guitar!
     
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  17. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    Me too!

    I may even get a couple of other long-languishing guitars finished while I'm at it. Springtime always gives me ambition to work on projects.
     
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  18. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to talk about pickups for a minute... I'm not going to go with the traditional Tele single-coils. I think a 12 string is bright enough with the added high frequencies of the octave strings. I don't want to add to that by using bright pickups to boot. To my ear, a 12-string should sound shimmery and lush, not ice-pick and twang...

    On the other hand, I hate humbuckers on a 12-string guitar. I think they make a mess of the bottom and low mids, and they just don't capture that sparkle the way single coils do.

    My first thought was to rout the neck pu cavity and put one of the ceramic SX P90s from my Furrian in there. I think their inherently hollow, 'boxy' tone will sound interesting with 12 strings on a semi-hollow. But then I'm stuck for the bridge. I can't put a soap-bar there... About the only thing I can do is rout for a humbucker and use a P94-type pickup... Dream 90 or something.

    Then that got me thinking... I happened to vaguely recall that GFS had a pickup that was supposed to be a direct replacement for a Rickenbacker toaster. There were three of them, called: 'Nashville', 'Memphis' and 'Liverpool'. The 'Memphis' was the one that sounded most like a Ric, according to Jay (I would have thought it would have been the 'Liverpool', but oh well).

    It was a mini-humbucker format and I was going to get three of them to put in my Harm 3/12 back in the day, but I just never got around to it... So I went over to Guitar Fetish to see if they still had them, and found that they've morphed into Filtertron copies! (he mentions in the ad copy for the Memphis that the mini-hums were too expensive to make) but he still claims the Memphis 'Retrotron' sounds just like a toaster.

    So has anyone tried these? Do they really (still) sound like Ric toasters? If they do, I just might suspend my distrust of HBs with 12 strings... Of all the things I didn't like about my Ric 330/12, the tone was not one of them, and I'd like to capture some of that if I can.

    [edit]

    I also forgot to mention that the Memphis are low output (which is another thing I was looking for), and they have A2s, which I like.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  19. tobijohn

    tobijohn The Great Enabler Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I've got both Memphis and Nashville sets in the humbucker size that are slated for an AS820 and another semi-hollow TBD but no movement on that so I can't help you with how they sound.

    However, I am curious as to how you're going to get the toasters to work with the stock routs, clearance under the strings and what you're going to do about a compatible bridge..
     
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  20. Mossman

    Mossman Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to enlarge pickup routs with my Dremel. Not sure what you mean about "clearance under the strings". I think you might have the older version of those pickups (mini-hum size and surface mount).

    I believe this is what the old ones looked like:

    old retro.jpg

    And this is what they look like now:

    retrotron.jpg
     

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