Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Fender Flame Elite Guitar Setup

With the big part of the Fender Flame repair work done, I can string it up and do the setup.

I mentioned in an earlier post that this guitar was clearly aimed at the Gibson Les Paul market/player.  Here's another example.  All of the hardware was made by Schaller - fine quality.  This is a tune-o-matic (aka 'tuneomatic', 'tuneamatic') -style bridge.

In a variation of the Gibson design, this Schaller bridge has a cut that fits down over the height adjustment thumbwheels, ensuring they can't move.

What's happening in this picture above is I'm levering the bridge up off the thumbwheels to adjust the height.  I put a cloth around my trusty Destructo screwdriver to accomplish this.

A couple more features I wanted to highlight.

While the bridge is a tune-o-matic style, it has another spin on the Gibson design.  The saddles are rollers that ride on a threaded rod in a little carrier.  This allows the rollers to be adjusted to change the distance between the strings.

And the tailpiece has fine-tuners - which were very much in vogue in the early 1980s when this guitar was built.  I used to have a 1980 Les Paul Standard that had Gibson's "TP-6" fine tuning tailpiece on it.

I'm able to get the action down pretty low - about 3/64 of an inch on the treble side, and a hair above 4/64 on the bass at the 12th fret.  The guitar has .009 gauge strings on it now - with the 24 3/4 scale length, these strings have a bit of play in them.  I could actually get the action lower, but the low E starts to buzz, so I left it where it plays pretty clean.

 I need a couple of 14mm wrenches to put the new output jack on.

Mini-rant here:  why do folks refer to this as an "input" jack?  This is where the signal from the guitar goes OUT to the amp.  The jack on an amp is an input jack - this is an output jack on the guitar!

I suppose folks think that since you plug a cable INTO the guitar it's an input....I don't know.

But it bugs me.

Shot of the wiring after installing the new jack.

Like a Les Paul, we have a volume and tone for each pickup, a pickup selector switch, and as an added bonus - a coil split switch that's wired to operate on both pickups.

Here's the Flame after I've adjusted the truss rod, the action, and set the intonation.

It plays nicely.  With the light strings on it, it plays fast and bends are a breeze.

The pickups are pretty daggone hot.  With the gain on my little Vox workbench amp turned up halfway, it's got gain and distortion to burn.  It cleans up nicely with the controls on the guitar.

Headstock looks nice with the original tuners back on.  Notice how the truss rod cover mirrors the shape of the headstock.  Nice touch!

This one's done - now I need to put the owner's Ovation back together.


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