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  1. #1

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    Alright.... working from home and lack of gigs made me start another project to beat the boredom.... It is almost finished, so I present to you my ES-330/ Casino kit guitar! I ordered the raw body and neck from a Chinese CNC-guitar manufacturer (Bian Xuebin) and I did stain and lacquer (spray can nitro) myself, as well as assembling the hardware.

    I intended a natural/blond look but made a capital error while applying the first layer of nitro with a brush.... to dilute the nitro I accidentally used terpentine instead of thinner and the gooey cellulose/petrol mess that it became could not be removed without sanding through the top layer of the laminate. So I improvised a pattern with brown stain applied with a cloth. Didn’t come out too bad, fortunately. (Tip: don’t store terpentine and thinner in identical bottles next to eachother..... )

    Had to level the frets a little bit, dress the fret ends and cut the nut (bone) a little deeper. It’s set up with .012 flatwounds (TI).

    Pickups are an SD Antiquity at the neck and a Fender MIC out of a Modern Player Tele at the bridge (I converted the soapbar to a dogear).

    Apart from the lacquer incident it was a fun project with a nice guitar to add to the collection as a result. I think it is absolutely good enough to gig with: it sounds great and plays like butter with low action and no fret buzz.

    It just needs the pickguard (bracket is on backorder) and in a month after the nitro has hardened I might add another clear coat and sand and polish again because it is not perfect at the moment.














  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    And this it how it sounds:



  4. #3

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    Great project Jay! Turned out nice!

  5. #4

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    Looks good and sounds great. All around winner.

    Tony D.

  6. #5

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    CONGRATS!! My dream guitar in every regard.

    Personally, I find the finish on the top to be very attractive and unique.

    Enjoyed your playing.

    Is the body fully hollow or is there a partial or full centre block? It is difficult to know from the pic.

    DIY ES-330/Casino kit guitar-screen-shot-2020-09-12-11-30-20-am-png

    I AM SO JEALOUS!!

    ENJOY!

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greco
    CONGRATS!! My dream guitar in every regard.

    Personally, I find the finish on the top to be very attractive and unique.

    Enjoyed your playing.

    Is the body fully hollow or is there a partial or full centre block? It is difficult to know from the pic.

    DIY ES-330/Casino kit guitar-screen-shot-2020-09-12-11-30-20-am-png

    I AM SO JEALOUS!!

    ENJOY!
    Thanks Greco!

    The guitar is fully hollow with only a small block and a sound post under the bridge, it’s a bit crude but works nevertheless:





    It has a surprisingly big acoustic sound and feels really acoustic when you play it.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay
    Thanks Greco!

    The guitar is fully hollow with only a small block and a sound post under the bridge, it’s a bit crude but works nevertheless:





    It has a surprisingly big acoustic sound and feels really acoustic when you play it.
    Thanks for the response and great pics.

    I forgot to mention that your label was my laugh for the day. Very professional looking and creative.

  9. #8

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    This project is up to your usual standard of excellence, Little Jay! Nice save on the top. Well done!

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    This project is up to your usual standard of excellence, Little Jay! Nice save on the top. Well done!
    Hahaha, great to hear I have a standard of excellence! Didn’t know I had one.... thank you!

  11. #10

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    Beautiful!
    Love the Look of the finish actually.

  12. #11

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    Love it, nice job man!

  13. #12

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    Forgot to post this pic of the wiring harness I made:



    Next time the harness comes out, I will replace the lineair tone pots with log pots, just like the volume pots, because now roll off of the tone only happens in the last 25% of the pot’s travel. Pots are Alphas and feel really nice. I might also fit a treble bleed, since tone rolls off substantially with rolling of the volume.

    I also made a pickguard:


    I bought a very cheap 3-ply ES-330 pickguard from AliExpress (fits pretty well, pickup cutouts just a bit too wide) and glued some 2-ply at the bottom and filed that to shape. Three plies just looked not substantial enough imho ;-) Just waiting for the bracket to arrive.

  14. #13

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    Are those caps Mallory 150s?

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOMMO
    Are those caps Mallory 150s?
    No they are Vishays... just happened to have those left from some amp project

    I don't believe in cap magic or mojo... as long as the value is correct I don't think there is a difference between different brands and types.

  16. #15

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    looks like burled or splayed is it ? maple !

    well played

  17. #16

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    Mounted the pickguard:


  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    looks like burled or splayed is it ? maple !

    well played
    Unfinished - before I messed it up - it looked like this:


  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay

    I don't believe in cap magic or mojo...
    Neither do I but I swapped caps in some guitars when I had to fix some problems anyway and I used Orange Drops, Mallory 150s and a set of Hovlands (all inexpensive purchases) and for whatever reason the Mallorys made a difference (in two P 90 equipped guitars).

    Guitar looks fabulous - play it in good health!

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOMMO
    Neither do I but I swapped caps in some guitars when I had to fix some problems anyway and I used Orange Drops, Mallory 150s and a set of Hovlands (all inexpensive purchases) and for whatever reason the Mallorys made a difference (in two P 90 equipped guitars).

    Guitar looks fabulous - play it in good health!
    Now you got me curious! Difference in what way? Maybe they had a somewhat different value because of the tolerance?

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay
    Now you got me curious! Difference in what way? Maybe they had a somewhat different value because of the tolerance?
    That's quite possible. What I noticed is that the Mallorys made for a much smoother and more gradual roll off than other other caps...

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Jay






    Big fun and nicely done, J!

    You need a headstock decal. Here's three on EBay:






  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Sherry
    Big fun and nicely done, J!

    You need a headstock decal. Here's three on EBay:





    I ordered the same from Stringkraft.com that’s also on my JazzTele (only this time the vinyl variety instead of the hand painted decal). ;-)


  24. #23

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    So I officially have a Cooper line of guitars now ;-)

  25. #24

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    The finishing touch:



    And some more polishing was done:


  26. #25

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    Great look, great sound :-)

  27. #26

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    Looks and sounds awesome! What was the cost of the kit if you don’t mind revealing that? I might wanna try this project for myself.

  28. #27

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    Hi Esport, Bian asked me $240 for the body and neck, including transport.

    But he made a mistake (to my advantage) with the international carrier and the guitar arrived in 4 days from China to the Netherlands and told me he ended up paying $100 for transport. He did not ask for it, but I PayPal-ed him another $50 to compensate.

    Only weeks later I got an extra bill from Dutch customs I needed to pay $30 import tax.

    So the guitar cost me $320, without the parts. You can make those as cheap or as expensive as you want. I had a great SD Antiquity P90 laying around that I bought used some years ago for around $80 I think. I easily payed $150 for the hardware, paint and other materials. The bridge PU is a cheaper Chinese one that I got for free.

    It’s cheaper to buy a used Epiphone Casino and upgrade that..... but then of course you miss out on all the fun ;-) (and personally I think I ended up with a better guitar)
    Last edited by Little Jay; 09-30-2020 at 02:35 AM.

  29. #28

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    PS: if you decide to go the Bian Xuebin route, keep in mind he can barely keep up with the orders and waiting times are increasing.

    Secondly: specify everything you want thoroughly, preferably with pictures. You can order the traditional Gibson trussrod with hexagonal nut for an upcharge (I would have liked that).

    The neck is pretty much perfect, the body has some aspects I would have liked differently:
    - neck block material to be mahogany (probably doesn’t add a lot to the sound)
    - use of kerfed rims to glue sides to back and top (although they seem solid enough)
    - knob configuration/layout to be exactly like the ES-330 or Casino (pretty minor point)
    - even narrower f-holes without binding (also a minor quibble)

    But I suspect he gets the hollow bodies elsewhere and adjusts/modifies them. All the solid bodies and necks he carves himself on the CNC it seems. So I don’t know if it’s possible to change the body specs a lot.
    Last edited by Little Jay; 11-12-2020 at 07:32 AM.

  30. #29

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    A little follow-up: I switched the Nashville bridge to a non-wire ABR-1 with nylon saddles. Needed conversion studs for that. Maybe not a night and day difference but enough to keep the nylon saddles! Less metal zzing and more pronounced, rounded off tone with more wood (ehr.... nylon?) in it. Somehow the tone feels more substantial with more ‘body’ to it as well. Nylon is definitely the way to go for the jazz tone I am after (the darker old school tone).

    Funny how the little things can make a big impact (or at least feel as a big impact).



    ABR-1 also looks a bit more correct for the model, but who really cares..... (okay, I’ll admit I do...).

  31. #30

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    Nylon saddles are a nice thing. My ES-345 came with them and I only replaced them because I eventually wore them out with my bending and shaking and whatnot. It took quite a while, however. But yeah nylon saddles do contribute to that old-school smooth tone.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    Nylon saddles are a nice thing. My ES-345 came with them and I only replaced them because I eventually wore them out with my bending and shaking and whatnot. It took quite a while, however. But yeah nylon saddles do contribute to that old-school smooth tone.
    I can imagine it also depends on the guitar. The Chinese body of my kit seems to be made of lighter woods, making it sound slightly brighter is my guess. The nylon saddles tame down the brightness in good way. The more I play it, the better I like it now!

  33. #32

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    Brilliant! Congratulations on your Cooper 330 ‘lawsuit’.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eck
    Brilliant! Congratulations on your Cooper 330 ‘lawsuit’.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Thanks Eck! Haha, yes lawsuit... hadn’t even thought of that! DIY ES-330/Casino kit guitar But indeed the ‘open book’ looks very authentic. The hole neck is great, btw. But I did have to level the frets a little better and rework the fret ends, as they felt a little sharp. But that’s just a minor job and was to be expected.

  35. #34

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    Last and final update: I refinished the sides and back in a dark colour (called ‘Dark Brown’ by Dartfords, but it turned out more a dark red mahogany), because the natural back and sides didn’t match the brown top all too well imho.




  36. #35

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    Looks great!

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOMMO
    Looks great!
    Thanks!