I love cheap guitars. They’re unassuming, unpretentious, unintimidating. When you work them on their own terms, they can often surprise you, and then they let you in…
Sarah rescued this old Hondo just before it landed in the dumpster. A free LP copy is hard to pass up, regardless of condition. She managed to get some noise out of it, then put it away with only a brief reprise for a Halloween costume. It was in rough shape when she handed it to me. I love a good challenge and enjoyed giving the “Riot” a full on refresh that included disassembly, cleaning everything – inside and out. Check solders, clean pots, set action and intonation, polish fretboard and frets, and new strings. I love cheap guitars, and this one is super fun and plays great too.
This mid-90’s LP copy is fun to play, but it tried a little too hard to be something it isn’t. The pickups may sport humbucker-like covers, but inside are single coils with a lot of extra space! The controls are what you’d find behind humbuckers and unfortunately that setup doesn’t lend well single coils. I was able to coax a little more tonal range out it with a different tone cap and treble bleed on the neck pickup. After Sarah plays it for a while, she may want to take it a bit further. Here’s her story in her own words:
“About 20 years ago, a friend gave me an electric guitar that was destined for the dumpster. It apparently didn’t work anymore, but I decided to give it another chance and plugged it in. To my amazement (after freeing the broken plug from the inside of the guitar), it screamed to life but had a hell of a buzz and didn’t respond reliably. After several years it conked out, but had a brief second gasp as a Halloween prop.
Anyway, I saw Paul’s post on Facebook about fixing guitars and I figured he’d be the guy to talk to about reviving my old Hondo. I suspected he’d be able to get it singing again, but I was astonished at just how much he knows about fixing guitars. Not only did he repair it so I can plug it in and pretend to play it, but he dialed in the proper tone for my style of playing, cleaned the rig from top to bottom, replaced the strings and talked way over my head about all kinds of other technical things I could do to turn noise into music. And, not only that, the guitar was repaired almost immediately after I dropped it off with him. I highly recommend Paul for any guitar or rock n’ roll musical equipment repair.”