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Custom Coronado II Project


u6crash
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Early in March I acquired my dream project body: an original Fender Coronado. On March 30th I placed an order for a custom neck with Musikraft. It arrived yesterday, five months later to the day. 

Work will be slow on this. I'm trying to transition careers right now. Still uncertain of the color, but it might be a silverburst. I miss my Inca Silver Strat and will probably part with my tobacco burst Dot when this is done, so it's like replacing two color schemes at once, right?

Won't be a faithful restoration. I aim to use my own headstock shape and I don't feel like paying for the original pickups. IMG_20210830_141412232.thumb.jpg.074f7ad6c083760ecdd3b964a3c2681a.jpg

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Progress is slow. Clamped the neck on to take measurements for possible pickups. Conventinal P90s are out; they are too tall. Dynasonic replicas fit, but only the versions that mount with four screws. Going to keep looking. Curtis Novak has some interesting models with shallow heights.

Need a bridge, too. Since I went with a compound radius, I'd like one that isn't pre-slotted. And also in nickel. And a rosewood base instead of ebony. I was shocked when I measured about where it would go. Then I looked up vintage examples of the Coronado II and saw the bridge was in fact almost right up against the pickup.

IMG_20210904_194401130.thumb.jpg.183dce53d7d7f83f6536a1ddf7f05e0f.jpg

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4 hours ago, gardo said:

Could you use soap bar P-90’s ?

Maybe if I found some with a shallower cover. Rechecked again this morning, and I have a little more room than I thought. About 0.625" from the body to the top of the frets. 

I will probably try to keep pickup height in the low side as much as possible. I could potentially shim up the neck, but the pocket is angled. The heel doesn't sit far into bridge end of the pocket as it is. 

IMG_20210905_114241513.thumb.jpg.fadcd61a1161421e2245bf3db0bc87b5.jpg

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18 hours ago, mrbrown49 said:

T-armond?

Yes. A serious contender. I feel like I read the specs wrong the first time not realizing they were labeled with different heights for the neck and bridge pickup. Similarly, the Guild DeArmond pickups in the neck position are 7/16" (0.4375) and would work. I'm not super keen on putting eight more holes into the body, but I might do a custom mounting ring the covers the four mounting holes and makes use of the two original holes.

The Lindy Fralin Dynasonics might work. Guitar Fetish has some options too. At the moment I think I am leaning towards the TV Jones or Guild DeArmond now that I read that spec correctly. The Guilds are made in Korea and half the price. The TV Jones are available in a number of varieties. As far as looks, I like the ones the resemble the Dynasonic best.

Maybe I'll do some reading tonight and place an order in the morning.

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I think I've decided on the TV Jones T-Armond. I had them in the cart and thought, "That's a lot of money..." The other thing is that I haven't nailed down a color scheme yet, so I might play around with that. It could be that I want the Guild DeArmond Dynasonics that come in white.

Playing with the headstock early this morning.

headstock_template.thumb.png.39124a916d3201ba81656fe27fa74f82.png

This is just a template I did in Illustrator. The cool thing is that the geometry of the headstock lines up with the tuners I have to provide a straight string path, which is a look I was after. Where I feel I screwed up is I should have gone with a paddle headstock to have more material to work with.

I've previously assembled a Carvin bass kit and this was the headstock I sketched out then:

headstocksketch.thumb.png.cecaf0785d45d6255dc90ae3b0a1d918.png

And then it actually looked like this:

018_headstockfront.thumb.jpg.12a438e61421fade8280506110f2f734.jpg

I was kind of hoping to do something similar. You can see on the tuner side that instead of being straight, it is curved. I don't really have enough wood to work with here to do that. I could glue on a piece of wood, but that's not a road I want to go down. I'll print off some paper copies of my template and do some sketches (I can't freehand in Illustrator so well).

Went through my bin of guitar parts and I already had an unslotted TOM in nickel with thumbwheels. AllParts has a rosewood base with studs. I'll probably order that along with some pots today.

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Ordered pots, bridge base, and some other stuff from AllParts. I don't understand how I can never get all the parts I want from one place, especially if your name is AllParts. What they didn't have was a nut blank I was satisfied with.

Sketched some headstock shapes. Not sure I care for either of them. The one on the left is in the vein of the one I did for my bass, but I almost feel like it's too much. The one of the right is kind of an anti-design. It's about as boring as you can get without leaving the paddle exactly how it is. I plan to come up with some sort of name/logo/doodle for the headstock and that design gives me more real estate to do that.

headstock1.thumb.png.66b1dcecb07a06934d8571bd8b1ab9c6.pngheadstock2.thumb.png.e7d6307f8b270a26010977702252266b.png

Also, I have a new top contender for color, though I don't know exactly what shade it will be and it could be that I'll just end up mixing and testing it as I go. Here's a mockup:

mockup_tan.thumb.png.ab3ee2903832e8edce9d4c82d02c48a9.png

I'm stuck with white binding, so I didn't think Olympic white would contrast enough. The closest thing I like in a Fender color is Desert Sand, but in my mind I'm going for more of latte foam kind of color. Almond. Something along those lines.

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Stuff has arrived so here's a layout shot:

01_layout.thumb.png.56ece354a81c5a1e92fdb2d994b71e49.png

Forgot to include the tailpiece. Also, I still need knobs. By accident I had some cheap plastic knobs at one point that were nearly identical to original Coronado knobs. If I can find those again, I might go that route. On the pricey side of things, there are some Etsy sellers who do knobs with buffalo nickels that I quite like. I kind of want do do something different than just nickel/chrome knurled knobs. I even briefly considered chickenheads. We'll see. As part of this fit I have a 0.5 degree neck shim in place. It is more than enough to accommodate the bridge I have. The bridge base still needs to be sanded to more perfectly fit the contours of the body.

Went with the TV Jones T-Armond pickups. I think I'll make some sort of surround trim pieces that mimics the original pickup shape.

I've done a little bid of sanding and attempted some repair work on the front. The wood has shrunk a bit at some points around the bound f-holes. I tried to fill in the gaps with super glue, but now I think I should have used epoxy.

 

Here's my neckplate:

415335902_02_neckplate.thumb.png.f0e67d25213527b309169e6ea0fb23b5.png

Might spring for something engraved special for this project, but I wanted something for now and this might be good enough. Mostly it couldn't be blank. I can't believe how much the simplest parts cost.

03_binding.thumb.png.972da76eef4842337bc6222d200cc172.png

04_binding.thumb.png.22e3a0c8fb84bc323393d45411e36290.png

A couple shots of the binding and sanding scratches from a previous owner. The sides were stained with what I'm guessing was basic wood stain. It is into the binding on the sides and I'm not sure how deep it goes. Since the binding is already worn, I'm not sure if I want to take too much off to see if I can get it white. As this isn't a build from scratch and I'm using a vintage body, I'm not prepared to do things like replace the binding. So I have to decide on a balance between preserving some of the original mojo and putting a new finish on it.

For the sake of authenticity, I'm going to use a nitro finish. Bought a quart and I'm going to pick up a basic HVLP gun. Planning to experiment with tinting the nitro myself.

Beginning October 4 I am switching to part time at work, so I hope to knock out some work on this during that month. Also have some exterior home improvement things done before winter gets here.

 

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On 9/25/2021 at 10:08 AM, u6crash said:

Stuff has arrived so here's a layout shot:

01_layout.thumb.png.56ece354a81c5a1e92fdb2d994b71e49.png

Forgot to include the tailpiece. Also, I still need knobs. By accident I had some cheap plastic knobs at one point that were nearly identical to original Coronado knobs. If I can find those again, I might go that route. On the pricey side of things, there are some Etsy sellers who do knobs with buffalo nickels that I quite like. I kind of want do do something different than just nickel/chrome knurled knobs. I even briefly considered chickenheads. We'll see. As part of this fit I have a 0.5 degree neck shim in place. It is more than enough to accommodate the bridge I have. The bridge base still needs to be sanded to more perfectly fit the contours of the body.

Went with the TV Jones T-Armond pickups. I think I'll make some sort of surround trim pieces that mimics the original pickup shape.

I've done a little bid of sanding and attempted some repair work on the front. The wood has shrunk a bit at some points around the bound f-holes. I tried to fill in the gaps with super glue, but now I think I should have used epoxy.

 

Here's my neckplate:

415335902_02_neckplate.thumb.png.f0e67d25213527b309169e6ea0fb23b5.png

Might spring for something engraved special for this project, but I wanted something for now and this might be good enough. Mostly it couldn't be blank. I can't believe how much the simplest parts cost.

03_binding.thumb.png.972da76eef4842337bc6222d200cc172.png

04_binding.thumb.png.22e3a0c8fb84bc323393d45411e36290.png

A couple shots of the binding and sanding scratches from a previous owner. The sides were stained with what I'm guessing was basic wood stain. It is into the binding on the sides and I'm not sure how deep it goes. Since the binding is already worn, I'm not sure if I want to take too much off to see if I can get it white. As this isn't a build from scratch and I'm using a vintage body, I'm not prepared to do things like replace the binding. So I have to decide on a balance between preserving some of the original mojo and putting a new finish on it.

For the sake of authenticity, I'm going to use a nitro finish. Bought a quart and I'm going to pick up a basic HVLP gun. Planning to experiment with tinting the nitro myself.

Beginning October 4 I am switching to part time at work, so I hope to knock out some work on this during that month. Also have some exterior home improvement things done before winter gets here.

 

Watching with internet and anticipation 

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The binding looks pretty pitted in those pix...is that from the sanding or long term 'abuse' [poor storage/exposure]?

You might try a mild bleaching agent [like peroxide] on that stained binding to lower the contrast....depending how deep it goes...it won't totally 'whiten-up', but it could lighten it..stain bleed into binding is common error made by novice refinishers. I know, I've done it. Which is why I have a couple of guys on the hook for the paint/stain/sealing for my repair/mod work [oh, I have a spraygun and can mock up a 'spray booth' in an hour, but it is a headache I can do without :thu:]

No decision on tuners yet? You have some great options, since the headstock is not pre-drilled. You could also forego the typical 6-in-line and go 4-2, like Music Man, just to be a little different. Are you painting the headstock to match the body color?

Funny, I never noticed how 'flat' the bottom of a Coronado is until I looked closely at your pic.

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The binding is pretty pitted. It was that way when I got it and I would guess from sanding. I will look into trying the peroxide thing. Fortunately it's only on the sides and the top binding isn't stained. There is some brutal aging around the f-hole binding. I'll smooth it out as best I can, but it's not going to be perfect.

Tuners are vintage style staggered height inline. I had them on hand from a previous project that didn't work out. I do intend to paint the headstock the same as the body. 

Bought a cheap spray gun with a 0.8mm nozzle. I have a screen printing studio in my basement, and can turn my washout booth into a spray booth in about 10 minutes. Pigments should be here sometime next week. There will be some serious tests first.

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Modest work while lounging in the living room this evening. Made a cardboard cutout to prewire my controls. If possible I'll wire them in a way that they can't be seen through the f-hole.

IMG_20211003_220445488.thumb.jpg.89e099ac2050570744690c933127ed26.jpg

After doing this I realized the shaft on the pots may not be long enough and I did a test fit on the body.

IMG_20211003_220426633.thumb.jpg.f480de1870847b97d93010869c043f11.jpg

It fits if I don't use a nut on the bottom side. There is still a lock washer.

Didn't have any luck using peroxide on the binding. Scraped it a bit with a razor and didn't improve it much. I might just have to accept some of those stains.

Pigments for lacquer and epoxy showed up today. If time permits tomorrow I will work up a mold for the pickup rings and get those poured.

IMG_20211003_221728989.thumb.jpg.3450837fd33d310a0dfe3b23ad5ab1ed.jpg

Also got knobs ordered today. Pretty excited because I found some cheap that look just about like the generic originals.

Sorry folks, this is going to be a slow one.

 

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You might try a more 'strident' bleach, but if the stain has been in the binding for many years, likely you will never get it all, short of replacing the binding. The drawback with bleach is you could also wind up damaging the core material, or creating 'white' spots on the wood.

I could have told you that scraping won't work because the stain has been absorbed into the material [which is what it is designed to do], it is not just a surface stain, so a 'mechanical solution' [sanding, scraping] will not achieve the goal.

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