Author Topic: Hondo Fame Tele Copy  (Read 1080 times)

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Offline willsie01

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Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« on: February 19, 2021, 09:28:06 pm »
Been following Darrell's thread on his DIY Tele upgrade and I suddenly thought should I try and do something with the Hondo Fame Tele Copy that has been with me for around 30 years. In all that time it has only been played for a very brief period, after my interest in learning to play guitar was sparked on coming across Justin's website. Not for long because I soon bought an acoustic. Originally bought as a birthday present for my son, from a pawn shop in Melbourne, Victoria, when we lived there for a few years early 90's. My son never touched it and I've no idea why we brought it back and kept it unused all those years.
However, since I've gained a music room it's hanging on the wall although it's not a particularly attractive instrument: dull, dingy brown sunburst finish, pitted and worn hardware. Drab pick guard. Could be an interesting project to upgrade it but I'm not at all knowledgeable on electric guitar components. I've seen upgrade kits from places like StewMac in the US. Are similar kits available in the U.K.?

Offline R.F.W.

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2021, 09:52:33 pm »
This website is the one that DarrellW recommended to me for parts for my strat.

http://www.irongear.co.uk/index.html



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Offline DarrellW

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2021, 09:53:36 pm »
There are plenty of decent parts to upgrade that guitar BUT you must make sure that it’s basically sound apart from what long term storage has done. If general corrosion is the biggest problem then take it apart and soak the moving parts in WD40 and clean everything else. Use contact spray on the switch and contacts, get the setup somewhere near right and see if it works.
It’s likely that it’s a made in Korea (in the Samwick factory) or if it’s a bit older it could be made in Japan. Either way if it’s in reasonable fettle it’s well worth doing something with.
First things first, check it’s current condition and what a bit of tlc will get you and then the options will open up. You could replace more or less anything (at a price) but electrics, pickups and some of the hardware can be got for a not too expensive cost depending upon how far you want to go with the mods.
The big thing with doing something like this is that you don’t want to make it look new, you want to keep as much of the character of the guitar as possible whilst making it playable and to sound good.

Offline willsie01

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2021, 12:21:22 pm »

...in reasonable fettle it’s well worth doing something with...
Thanks, R.F.W. & Darrell

It appears to be a rock solid build. I can't vouch for the sound quality because I know less than nothing about electric guitars and how they should and could sound. But I'm waiting for a pedal I won (fortuitously, I might add) so maybe the time is now. Maybe there's a reason I won it, if we believe that sort of thing!
Most impressively, it stays in tune so well!

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2021, 01:00:24 pm »
Sounds an interesting project willsie. Keep us posted.
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Offline willsie01

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2021, 03:18:19 pm »
Belatedly thought I'd share some photos of how it is now.

Only tried to add images rarely and have to research how to do it every time so hope this works as intended.
I should have recorded it before starting to strip down shouldn't I! Too late!
Looks better in the photo then it is! I'll add a few localised to this post.
Album created as per link. I'll add photos as I proceed.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/1fyeqG9XgpV1h97M6
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 03:58:42 pm by willsie01 »

Offline DarrellW

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2021, 04:09:30 pm »
Belatedly thought I'd share some photos of how it is now.
Only tried to add images rarely and have to research how tyo do it every time so hope this works as intended.
I should have recorded it before starting to strip down shouldn't I! Too late!
Looks better in the photo then it is! I'll add a few localised to this post.
Album created as per link. I'll add photos as I proceed.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/1fyeqG9XgpV1h97M6
From the serial number it’s made in February 1986 and is number 1497 of those electric guitars made in that production year (which need not be a calendar year). The tuners are decent quality so if they work ok won’t need replacement.
The 757 series was made by Samwick, that explains the build quality - they made pretty decent quality guitars.
Looking at it if it were me I would probably replace the bridge for a  Wilkinson one and the controls plate complete with new pots and switch. I would wait to do this until further assessment of the electrics have been made. The pickups may be ok but the pots and switch may be corroded badly and not work.
There’s a good vendor on Amazon that sells a good quality range of products for this sort of project called Vanson guitars; I’ve had a few things off them that have been good quality and not too expensive.
There’s also Axetec who supply most things you might need plus Irongear pickups if that’s on the agenda.
https://www.axetec.co.uk/index.htm
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 05:23:38 pm by DarrellW »

Offline DavidP

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2021, 04:41:45 pm »
Thanks for sharing, Willsie. Looks like it has the makings of a fine looking and sounding instrument based on the pictures and Darrell's comments. Wish you well with tbe project.

Offline willsie01

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2021, 08:16:52 pm »
Added more photos which show:
    Electrics are dry and clean and I know that everything works. The poles in bridge pickup are pitted. They're not magnetic.
    One of the added photos shows the difference in finish of the body where the pickguard has covered the       surface. I actually prefer the warmer looking colour of the weathered surface.
    There was a piece of cardboard between the neck mounting to the body! I don't know if this was to shim it or to record the name of the pickup manufacturer. Artecsound.
    The Nut looks like it may need attention, possibly replaced, which leads me to the question: this is not an obviously easy thing to do, so how much do I want to spend on upgrading a low value guitar?
    The ends of the frets are not as smooth as they could be but I'm sure they can be dressed.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/1fyeqG9XgpV1h97M6


Offline DarrellW

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2021, 10:51:33 pm »
The Pole-pieces shouldn’t be magnetic, there is a bar magnet on the underside of the pickup that’s magnetic, it looks like they’re ceramic in your case (which is ok).
The piece of cardboard that was under the neck was put there to give a slight angle for relief, make sure that it’s replaced where it was or it may prove difficult to get it to set up properly.
The nut isn’t a problem because you have a zero fret this means that the condition of it is less important; if the strings ring out cleanly then it’s probably going to be ok not to replace it (it’s just stopping the strings from moving sideways). It looks likely that all you really need to do is to give it a good cleaning up and set it up and you may be good to go. If there is a problem with the pickups you can get some inexpensive ones that will do the job.
So next thing to do is to clean everything up, dress the frets and get it set up to play again. Once you’ve tested it to make sure everything works it’s then up to you whether you want to upgrade anything or not. Decent parts (Pickups, switch, pots and capacitor(s) plus materials) could cost anything from around £50/60 upwards depending upon how much you want from it.
As an example, you can get some very nice Wilkinson Alnico V vintage pickups for around £35 for the pair which would be a big improvement on the existing ones.

Offline tobyjenner

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2021, 07:21:06 am »
Looks like an interesting project Willsie, looking forward to see how it develops. I put IronGear pups and pots on my old Affinity teaching myself to solder for the first time in my life. Sourced from axetec who have plenty of choice depending on what sound you are after. Have fun !

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Offline willsie01

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2021, 10:16:42 am »
Looks like an interesting project Willsie, looking forward to see how it develops. I put IronGear pups and pots on my old Affinity teaching myself to solder for the first time in my life. Sourced from axetec who have plenty of choice depending on what sound you are after. Have fun !

Cheers

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Must be approaching 50 years the last time I tried soldering electronics: a radio kit.


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Offline willsie01

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2021, 10:18:35 am »
The Pole-pieces shouldn’t be magnetic, there is a bar magnet on the underside of the pickup that’s magnetic, it looks like they’re ceramic in your case (which is ok).
The piece of cardboard that was under the neck was put there to give a slight angle for relief, make sure that it’s replaced where it was or it may prove difficult to get it to set up properly.
The nut isn’t a problem because you have a zero fret this means that the condition of it is less important; if the strings ring out cleanly then it’s probably going to be ok not to replace it (it’s just stopping the strings from moving sideways). It looks likely that all you really need to do is to give it a good cleaning up and set it up and you may be good to go. If there is a problem with the pickups you can get some inexpensive ones that will do the job.
So next thing to do is to clean everything up, dress the frets and get it set up to play again. Once you’ve tested it to make sure everything works it’s then up to you whether you want to upgrade anything or not. Decent parts (Pickups, switch, pots and capacitor(s) plus materials) could cost anything from around £50/60 upwards depending upon how much you want from it.
As an example, you can get some very nice Wilkinson Alnico V vintage pickups for around £35 for the pair which would be a big improvement on the existing ones.
Mmm...I’ve got a zero fret guitar, but the Hondo isn’t it!


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Offline DarrellW

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2021, 10:59:23 am »
Mmm...I’ve got a zero fret guitar, but the Hondo isn’t it!
Sorry I’m wrong, it was a bit late last night and I mistakenly thought that the staining was a zero fret!
The main thing is, does it work ok? It looks dirty but the strings look as though they are sitting on it ok. If it works ok then I would leave well alone, a decent nut costs about £10-12 (GraphTech PQ5042 TUSQ Nut - Flat Bottom for Strat/Tele etc.) and unless you’re confident to do it yourself you would need a tech to do it which could be costly.

Offline willsie01

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2021, 04:47:35 pm »
It looks dirty but the strings look as though they are sitting on it ok. If it works ok then I would leave well alone...

It is scruffy and scratched. No evidence that it as causing any issue during the brief period I used it. There is an argument for sucking and seeing.

...unless you’re confident to do it yourself you would need a tech to do it which could be costly.

I have zero experience but since the beginning of 2019 I've been enrolled on 4 guitar making courses. All have been cancelled or postponed due to lockdown. I am currently due to start a course at the end of March, lockdown allowing, but as of this moment I have zero knowledge or experience.

Offline DarrellW

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2021, 06:02:30 pm »
It is scruffy and scratched. No evidence that it as causing any issue during the brief period I used it. There is an argument for sucking and seeing.
I have zero experience but since the beginning of 2019 I've been enrolled on 4 guitar making courses. All have been cancelled or postponed due to lockdown. I am currently due to start a course at the end of March, lockdown allowing, but as of this moment I have zero knowledge or experience.
If it’s looking as though it will work ok I would leave it alone until you’ve been on your courses. Put it this way, I’ve seen worse!
What do you want from it in the longer term? If you just want to play it then cleaning it up and only replacing parts as necessary is the best policy; if you want to get it to a high standard then it can be expensive unless you buy parts wisely. I don’t but expensive parts unless they are worth the extra cost, for example a pair of Irongear telecaster pickups cost £54 plus P&P., Fralin (dogs danglies) Telecaster pickups start at just under £200 - there is definitely a difference but not £150’s worth! The Irongear pickups are worth the extra cost over the £35 Wilkinson ones but for most people won’t really notice the difference, for a low cost project the Wilkinson ones are perfectly adequate.
For now, I would just put it back together, polish the frets and assuming it works play it; the bits that people usually replace can be done at any time in the future.

Offline nigec

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2021, 09:59:35 pm »
would you leave the switch and pots Darrell if they are ok?, they look  robust compared with the  more modern ones


looks a great project!!
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Offline Jamolay

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2021, 11:05:33 pm »
would you leave the switch and pots Darrell if they are ok?, they look  robust compared with the  more modern ones


looks a great project!!
I agree. That three way (?) is a nice old switch. You might get it working great with a little fine grit paper between the contacts. It will then be better than anything you could have purchased in the last 20 years. I did that with a funky switch on a 30+ yo axe and it was easy.

Offline DarrellW

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2021, 08:23:22 am »
would you leave the switch and pots Darrell if they are ok?, they look  robust compared with the  more modern ones
If they can be made to work ok yes, they are better than the run of the mill stuff these days. Samwick made decent guitars those days and used quality parts. On older guitars it’s always best to clean everything up and if it ain’t broken don’t replace it.

Offline nigec

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2021, 03:33:09 pm »
I served my time as an auto electrician in the late 70's so I find old electrics kind of cool, as long as a sweaty Angus Young hasn't been playing the Tele, that switch would probably out live us all lol, its def a make one out of two candidate
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Offline willsie01

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #20 on: February 26, 2021, 10:49:04 pm »
@Darrell where did you find the info on the serial number on the guitar...and can you do the same  for Washburn guitars?  ;D I've looked on the internet but drew a blank with both.

Offline DarrellW

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2021, 08:14:08 am »
@Darrell where did you find the info on the serial number on the guitar...and can you do the same  for Washburn guitars?  ;D I've looked on the internet but drew a blank with both.
Look at the 8th bold title down, I always start research using the manufacture website or owners forums.
https://www.washburn.com/faq/

Offline willsie01

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2021, 01:18:36 pm »
Slow progress but I did get around to giving the body and attachments thereof a gentle but thorough clean. Very pleased with how much fresher it all looks. Of course the chips to the paint remain as do a few small areas of pitting on the bright metalwork. I've now fallen in love with how it looks and will change as little as possible.
Having said that, I'm replacing the bridge with the ashtray type which means I'll  have to reposition the mounting holes. I'll position the bridge, which I've checked and has the same footprint as the original, by its relationship to the string holes through body and the cutout in the pick guard.
I recall seeing mention of lining the body pockets for the electrics with aluminium foil for shielding. Is this worthwhile? Also possible that the phono socket will need addressing. Seem to recall there was an ocassional issue of noise with it.
Photo of how it now looks. https://photos.app.goo.gl/VbZXRQwtN5k2J4wk6

Offline nigec

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Re: Hondo Fame Tele Copy
« Reply #23 on: March 08, 2021, 04:12:00 pm »
It might be worth doing the shielding, but I seem to get more noise from leads and were the amp is my Stat isn't that bad. and a new jack might be a good investment
I have a cheap lead I use with my peddle and that can be really bad, but the Fender one is a lot better, since we moved house my amp just seems to have less hum
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