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Picture of Trash-o-caster
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During a recent storm, this abused electric guitar was found on the curb, buried in snow. Minus all the electrics except the jack, I resolved to bring it back from the brink. I've always wanted a 'Strat,' or something similar. That sweet single-coil sound is something a 'Gibson man' can't get. But a Peavey 'Predator' will come close...

NOTE: There's a video on the last page, showin' the results...

Disclaimer:
By following this guide you will refurbish a junk instrument into something decent. But some choices (type of paint, etc.) are NOT choices a professional would make. I.E., don't use these techniques on a vintage collectors instrument.

'Strat' and 'Stratocaster' are trademarks of Fender. This Peavey is 'Strat-like,' although both Peavey and Fender might be insulted by the reference.

This newer video was added, as the one on the last page was recorded before the guitar was tweaked. This is clean (no F/X), through my little Kay tube amp...


Before & After pix:

Step 1: First, is it worth fixing?

Picture of First, is it worth fixing?
Ask other musicians, check online:

Do people like the 'Predator?' General consensus is: Yes! Although definitely a 'starter' guitar, the 'playability' is high. (Ignore any 'psycho-audiotronics': when we hear something different if the name on the guitar changes...)

Other questions the modder should ask:
Is it modular? Can the neck, etc be removed easily?

One positive:
Despite the current fashion of locking tuners, the tuning machines on this guitar are solid, quality equipment.:
 
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pfred26 years ago
Oh come on now, if one of us "Gibson men" really wanted that single coil sound we could sell one of our Gibsons and be able to afford 10 Fenders. :) There are valid reasons why Jimi smashed all of them strats on stage you know?
gmoon (author)  pfred26 years ago
Cool, a Ford vs. Chevy argument, I love those. I actually play my Les Paul very little these days. It's always seemed more of a balls-out rock guitar, not so great for more subtle things... But that may be more of an "amp thing" than a "guitar thing" (although few would admit it.)
pfred2 gmoon6 years ago
Who's arguing? Gibsons are typically more valuable than Fenders. That is a simple market fact. Like what you play matters. B. B. King seems to manage with his Gibson:

http://www.worldblues.com/bbking/prairie/lucille.html

I don't think Jimi Hendrix was ever driven to smash any of his Gibsons either ;) He used a Les Paul to play Little Wing among other things. I guess he just liked the Strats to smash.

But then again maybe you are onto something about Gibsons and rock:

http://www.guitarsite.com/news/images/artists/Jimmy_Page_metal.jpg

He is after all Mr. Rock and Roll.

He may have figured out your coil issues too:

http://www.higgs.com/images/guitars/page-schematic-sm.jpg

I heard it was a 'spiritual detachment from possessions' thing with Jimi. He said you have to 'sacrifice the things you love' so he set fire to his fav guitar.... apparently.

Yeah well, when you're getting all of the equipment that you want for free, you don't have to be too concerned about it I guess. You don't think Jimi was paying for his guitars do you? Because he wasn't! Marshall built special amplifiers for Jimi too. They rigged them so they only went up to 7, along with some other modifications, like using silver solder in them exclusively. The 7 thing was because Jimi just cranked amps up all of the way. Even Marshalls can fail if you do that all of the time. That looks bad when it happens on stage too. Companies give artists like Jimi all of that equipment for free because that is what sells equipment.

People are still buying strats today because Jimi played one. So it is a good investment. I bet if the true percentage of how many were influenced to buy a strat because Jimi played one was known it would be a staggering amount. 9 out of 10 would not surprise me.

pfred2 pfred27 months ago

I should add that the one bit of kit that Jimi did spend his personal money on was effects. He was known to go to Mannys and buy whatever struck his fancy at the time. Although a lot of Jimi's effects were later modified specifically for him too. Rodger Mayer is famous for having done that.

"Blackie", a mongrel Strat built out of the best parts of 6 Strats Clapton bought in 1970, just sold last year for a shade under $1 million. Maybe you should fall off the Gibby high horse and open your eyes and ears. I'm starting to wonder if you even own a real Gibby. You really sound ignorant when it comes to instruments. I love my 81 LP Standard, but my 92 Strat is just as nice in other areas. PRS can be just as nice and lately the quality at Gibson hasn't been up to par with the price tags, just better than what Norlin was churning out in the 70s.
Maybe it was who owned the parts of that Strat that made it worth anything? Maybe the quality of Gibson today has no effect on my vintage one? Maybe I don't care what you think?
Irock148 pfred24 years ago
gibson'a are good but like the best company is paul reed smith
pfred2 Irock1484 years ago
Never heard of them. Best is highly subjective. Something tells me I wouldn't pick one of those over select Gibsons.
Irock148 pfred24 years ago
pfred2 Irock1484 years ago
Why would I have ever heard of some rinky dink guitar making outfit? I'm sure more people want my guitar than any of theirs:

http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/9188/guitard.jpg

So I'm good.
Irock148 pfred24 years ago
first of all thats probably an old model witch isprobably vintage, second of all PRS takes more time and effort in making their instruments and the quality of parts than gibson does.and third of allthey also setup their guitars at the factory, which Gibson and Fender don't do, which requires you to spend an extra $50 to have the guitar tech do it
pfred2 Irock1484 years ago
I suppose my guitar is a vintage model with upgraded components. I really like the DiMarzio Super Distortion Pickup I put in the lead position (no mods were done to the guitar itself though I did have to fabricate a custom bracket to mount it). Hot hot hot! I got it with the gold Grover tuners on it. Oh I made the head nut, I did that so long ago I almost forgot. I still have the originals kicking around someplace, I see them from time to time. Something tells me the mini bridge on it isn't the original either, but I'm not sure. Again it came with it when I bought the instrument used.

With my tool and skill set unless it involves human surgery I'm really not required to do much of anything today that I cannot do for myself. Guitar tech, don't make me laugh! I do all my own tech:

http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/7867/testout.jpg
gmoon (author)  pfred26 years ago
There's nothing I hate more than a "Macs are better than PC" or "PCs rule!" thread. I'm sure Fender fans could find just as many examples to show their love, too... I've owned my Les Paul Custom now for 35 years. I don't need to justify that by looking down on other perfectly decent guitars.
pfred2 gmoon6 years ago
Well then stop doing it then because I never said it is because they're better. Just that you can typically get several Fenders for what one Gibson is worth is all. I can agree with you with the Macs are better than PCs hating there. Macs suck! Oh yeah and if your Gibson is so lousy I bet you can pawn it today for a few bucks. I wish I'd have sold my SG now last year. I could probably buy 3 today for what I could have gotten for it then!
gmoon (author)  pfred26 years ago
Have a nice day.
man...dude is crazy...
macs are good at what they do. Fenders are similarly good at what they do. They tend to be more affordable than most Gibsons, with a different but (seemingly) equally preferred tone(different strokes for different folks). A fender fan could turn it around and say you got BS'd into paying 3 times as much for a similarly esteemed instrument. Personally i'm not a big fan of how gibsons tend to have bridges high off the body, compared to FEnders (and fender clones). A friend of mine has a nice explorer(the metallica version i think), and the tone is excellent for metal.Very high output HB's
freeza36 pfred22 years ago
Personally, I love my Fenders. But I will admit that that is probably because I have never had enough money for a Gibson, except for maybe a "Les Paul Special" or a half size SG.
Gibson does have a P-90 single coil and Pete Townsend has busted up a few of those...
Hi. You are right.
He played SG's as well.
Keep on Rockin
ajleece pfred24 years ago
=D

And, we could just get a P-90?
chirpychapx7 months ago

A nice tone from a scrap guitar.

What type of timber was the guitar?

gmoon (author)  tvan der schaaf1 year ago

Not certain about the body wood. It could be made of poplar or alder, but as the guitar is an "International" series, it could also be a pacific-rim species...

I own a Peavey Predator International Series, too. I'm curious if the guitar is a solid body? and the quality of the type of timber used.

gmoon (author)  tvan der schaaf1 year ago

Solid, one-piece, right? I don't know--my "International" clearly isn't.

Actually, my favorite guitar is a different Peavey Predator, made in USA. Since it has the original paint, I don't know anything about the body (other than it's heavier than most Stratocasters). It's also heavily modded--has a Wilkinson Tremolo and Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups.

Apparently it's not the original pick guard. LOL

gmoon (author)  The AntiGenius1 year ago

Yep. Original and all controls/pickups were missing...

I prefer natural "finishes" myself. Oh well. You can always strip it. LOL

If you want to hide the old holes or cover chips, find some matching wood, cut the smallest recess possible with beveled edges using your favorite razor tool or very lightly countersink for round holes. Make your plug after determining which way the grain lays up. Good plug shapes are cones for round holes and beveled rectangular tiles for split chips. A near mortice shape hole with angled sides and matching plug makes for an extremely tight connection at the critical surface. If the tone and lay of the grain is close, the result will be invisible after sanding flush. If you're happy with the rat rod look, go with whatever.

gmoon (author)  The AntiGenius1 year ago

It's laminate construction, made from about four blocks. If it had been a single piece of wood, I'd probably would have sealed and polyed it as-is.

In the years since this project, I've decided that a black body finish is my least favorite, LOL.

I've fixed a number of two point trems that have been busted out. I will fashion a metal strip, route for the strip to fit, and drill holes through the metal to hold the studs. I usually used stainless steel and polished it with Mother's polish. It would come out nearly like chrome.

or...just swap for a 6-screw trem plate (only need the plate, the saddles and block can be unscrewed, and are generally fairly standard sized and interchangeable)

gmoon (author)  Steve Dallman4 years ago
More than one way to skin that cat.

Sounds like a good approach. Might even add something to the guitar's overall resonance; like a beefier tremolo block...
tricker693 years ago
I like how the frostbitten "Strat" turned out, nice job. And to all the naysaying guitar snobs, there is nothing wrong with so called "beginner" guitars that play well. They work just fine for real people with real budgets.
@pfred2 . I dont think you could buy ten of my strat pal. Do some research before saying such things. Mine probably cost more than yours or at least close to the same depending on which model you have. Mine was custom made for me from Fender's Custom Shop in Corona Cali. Meaning it was built for me. I had it built the way i wanted it from the ground up. Dont get me wrong i like les paul's in fact i have a nice one but to me nothing will beat a stratocaster, at least not mine.
Irock1484 years ago
where do you find stuff like that!?!?!?!?!
gmoon (author)  Irock1484 years ago
Just lucky, I guess... :-)
reginaron gmoon4 years ago
Hi.
You didn't mention much about the neck.
Was it still straight after being out in the snow?
Well done 'ible.
gmoon (author)  reginaron4 years ago
Hey.
Yeah, the neck is good.
I like the guitar so much I bought an old Made-in-USA Predator last year.

Thanks!
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