8/28/2013

c.1982 "Dynastrat" Electric Guitar



Update: This comes with a whammy bar (the whammy works 100% and stays in tune) but no case.

This off-color one-pickup Strat copy began life as a "Lyon by Washburn" of the Korean-made (I think) $50-hocked-on-eBay variety, brought to me via a friend in town in an (included) Fender USA 80s molded hard case. I bought the instrument just as a partser and to have a case around for someone needing one, but while I was dillydallying one day, I got it into my head to revive the guitar (I liked the feel of the neck). Apparently the serial on the neck plate dates it to 1982 but, who knows, really?

I stripped out the toasted pickguard and rusted-up pots, jack, and other gear, and put in an order for one of those Guitar Fetish "Surf 90" (Dynasonic-style) pickups and a replacement cream pickguard. After installing a new Tusq nut, giving the frets a light dress, and replacing some missing bridge saddles, the parts arrived and I threw this guy together.

The result: awesomeness!

The worst part of the whole project, though, was peeling a number of awful auto-style decals and bumper stickers plastered all over the (laminate, sunburst) body. It cleaned up pretty well, but it does show signs of use and abuse here and there.


Because the neck is actually pretty well-made (skunk stripe, "bullet" truss rod, and 70s-Fender-feeling shape, I decided to lose the original (ugly) neck plate and covered over the (ugly) Lyon branding on the headstock with a vintage-style luggage label.


In this new configuration, rather than super-duper "fat Strat" humbucker, single coil, single coil configuration it came with, I think the guitar comes alive. I'm all for "less is more" with electric guitars and this route is just far more fun than an underwhelming 80s Strat copy's pickups and wiring ever could be. I used a nice-quality jack and solid-shaft pot, too.

The Dynasonic sound of the pickup is immediately apparent and this thing does rockabilly and surf sounds really well. It's got way more of a "radial airplane engine" sound than any other Strat bridge pickup I've heard and the surprising thing is that it's become a joy to play fingerpicked vs. flatpicked. For a $35 pickup, these humbucker-sized Dynasonic knock-offs are a tremendous buy.

FYI, if you ever see a sunburst where there's a hard "angle" to the black finish over the "arm rest" area o the body, it's because the body is laminate and they were trying to hide the laminations. I had half a mind to spray the body yellow or light blue, but didn't want to bother with it.


The retro hotel luggage label nicely covered up the ugly Lyon by Washburn branding at the headstock. I love the mini string trees and bullet rod, by the way.



I've got a whammy bar stashed away for this guitar, should it desire to go "woo woo woo waaa" someday. The knob is a J-bass or Mustang bass style type.


Yes, of course I took off the sticker-plastered whammy plate on the rear. It'll only get in the way, anyway.



The (cheesy) tuners hold pitch remarkably well!

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