Doe's anyone use starcaster guitar's? I use one(it's acoustic)and just wondering if I am the only one. God Bless
is it a good neck?
Mod alert - I actually heard that the Starcaster guitars have the same general specs as Fender Strats... so they make excellent starting points for a project guitar because they will accept standard Fender hardware. In other words, you can slap a MIM or licensed neck on a Starcaster body. In addition, I believe the MIM bridges will also fit the Starcaster screw-hole spacing. Would be a great way to build an inexpensive Strat.
"If the moon were made of ribs, would you eat it?"
Hello there, I've been learning from guitarnoise lessons and forum posts for some time but this is my first contribution. I should begin by thanking all of you for what's far and away the most genuinely informative and useful guitar-teaching resource I've ever found on the internet.
Second, I can offer a little information on the Fender Starcaster. There are two guitars by this name. One is a very inexpensive contemporary stratocaster-style guitar sold as part of boxed beginner guitar-and-amp packages. This sounds like what this thread is talking about, probably.
However, there's also a semi-hollow, humbucking-pickup Fender Starcaster that was made from the mid-70s through the early or perhaps mid-80s, it's rather rare and sounds nothing like a Strat. If you want an idea of what it can sound like, it's what Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead plays on much of Kid A and Amnesiac. I haven't seen anything official about his setup for In Rainbows yet but I'd guess from the timbre that we're hearing it on at least parts of the new album as well.
Thanks for the opportunity to contribute!
I own one of those "inexpensive stratocaster style guitars". (My first guitar). However, I don't think the original post is about that. He mentions it is an acoustic guitar. Until I read that I did not know Fender was also doing an inexpensive acoustic style Starcaster guitar but a quick search educated me:
I want to play guitar very badly -
and I do!
that guitar in the sam's club link is my guitar.:D
Concerning the "Starcaster by Fender" electric guitar:
This was my Christmas present for last year. My wife made a mistake by going to Best Buy to get my electric guitar, BUT what a great mistake! If she had bought a "more valuable" guitar, I never would have had the guts to start working with it and learning how to set it up.
By using the Erlewine book, "How to Make your Electric Guitar PLay Great", and some mechanical skills, I have learned more about action, intonation, pickups, strings, etc. then I ever could have with that "nice" guitar.
The following things were necessary to make the guitar playable -
1) The fret ends need filing and polishing. They were placed fairy well, but a sight down the neck showed one or two that were not properly pressed into the slots. I did some minor filing/leveling and polished them all.
2) New Strings!
3) the pickup and tremolo cavities were gobbed up with excess lacquer which stopped the tremolo from moving. A sharp chisel allowed the tremolo to work freely.
4) the action was way too high. The Erlewine book was comprehensive in teaching me how to take care of that issue.
Then, I had no qualms about further modding the guitar.
Guitar Fetish has a great line of Asian Strat parts that are well-made. I replaced the bridge (the tremolo arm broke in the screw hole) and pickups (Hot Rails from GFS) and later added an expander/pre-amp in the tone control (#2). Since this was a 'cheap' guitar, I had no qualms about chiseling out a cavity for a battery box also (well, some qualms... you don't want to screw up this operation)
I shielded the interior and added straplocks. The pickups were wired with a push-pull switch to give me options of single/dual coil.
On the included SP-10 amp, the addition of a the pre-amp to the guitar helped this box immensely. I also, removed the back and placed an old sweatshirt (in back of the speaker) to slightly dampen the sound.
I really like this guitar (now). It's a work in progress, but like the old British sports car in the barn, i know the guts of it intimately and know what it takes to make it purr.
And oh yes... I am on my way to learning how to play.... I know three chords: I, IV and V! Also, I'm on my way to a slight case of GAS, but two kids in college has kept my GAS in check.
srick - that's cool that you got so in to the hardware aspects of guitar. I didn't do that stuff myself but I did pay a pro to setup my Starcaster shortly after I got it. He also did a lot of fret work, some nut filing, and lowered the action. (No problems with my tremolo that I know of - I VERY rarely use that.) After that work the playability of the guitar was as good as any I've played. The sound, however, while not terrible, is still a bit dull and lifeless compared to other guitars I have played.
I've thought about replacement pickups to improve the sound. Do you think it made a big difference on your Starcaster? I have replaced the pickups in my Squire 51 with GuitarFetish parts. I wasn't terribly impressed with that but then the original pickups in the Squire 51 were probably better than the pickups in a Starcaster.
As for the SP-10, if you haven't already, check out what a better amp can do for your sound. Even the amps that go for around $100 or so will be a huge improvement. My, still stock, Starcaster played through my Roland Microcube sounds better than my $700 Strat played through my SP-10.
I want to play guitar very badly -
and I do!
Hi Dennis -
Thanks for the interesting post! The pickups did make a difference because they are dual coil (higher output and humbucking) , but the BIG difference was after adding the pre-amp. Generally, I have been playing the guitar through a Digitech effects box and headphones. This has saved my family from countless hours of bad notes. But, I have started playing out loud and it's not half-bad. Especially if I am playing along with Stevie Ray taking the lead.
Congratulations on your successful modifications!
A few other things to note about the "other" Starcaster: apparently there were very, very few made, and those still existing sell for upwards of $2,500, on the rare occassion it's even possible to find one for sale. So, sadly, I don't think I'll ever get to play one in this life.
Plank, Radiohead's guitar tech has a wonderful blog at stringsreunited.com which has a lovely picture of Greenwood's Starcaster, as well as a wealth of information about luthiery and instrument repair that you may find useful! I'd guess that this Starcaster is perhaps the source of the lovely, mellow tones on "15 Step," "House of Cards," and perhaps "Reckoner"?
A late follow-up.
Using 'birthday money' I picked up a used LP japanese copy (Hondo 1980). These guitars were very well-made duplciates of LP - so well made that Gibson threatened to sue the lot of them out of existence. But - to make a long stroy short, this well set-up guitar made me realize what the Starcaster needed.
So - three more mods and now it is a very impressive sounding (and playing) little guitar.
1) I cleaned the neck pocket immaculately, sanded the heel of the neck and removed lacquer from under the heel plate (down to the bare wood). My intonation and neck straightness problems are gone.
2) I cleaned lacquer (once again down to the bare wood) from under the bridge
3) I blocked out the trem.
I suspect that the thick lacquer coat is what kills this guitar - everything is insulated and deadened. To remove the lacquer, first make a score with a sharp knife and then gently chisel up to the scored line. It's easy to screw up, so go slowly and make sure your knife and chisel are razor sharp.
Glad to see you have a good playing and sounding guitar now! :)