1960s Fender Partscaster Duo Sonic Electric Tenor Guitar

This is what happens when you want a "Warren Ellis tenor" but you want it to be the real thing instead. It's very much the real thing, too: a '60s narrow neck with a 22 1/2" extra-short scale, '60s body in a rustic Mary Kaye-style refinish, original bridge with a purpose-fit one-piece adjustable saddle, and quality fittings and hardware throughout.

It, of course, sounds alarmingly-good -- a nice, Tele-like snarl at the bridge and clean, chimey sounds from the middle and neck positions. The sustain is actually really surprising on this instrument, too, considering the short scale length. It's an old Fender in its bones, though -- there's a reason folks pay through the nose for these old planks with strings.

It arrived here as a body, neck, new pickguard, and original bridge. It's now had a refret, new "aged" Gotoh tuners, modded headstock work, new GFS Metal Foil pickups hiding under Mustang covers (they sound like somewhere between Strat, Danelectro, and DeArmond pickups), a new one-piece saddle, fresh wiring harness and bits, and a refinish on the body.

The refinish involved mostly-ridding the body of a yucky "walnut" finish and then applying this look. This look is Speedball white ink washed, drybrushed, and rubbed into the grain like a stain, minor buffing-up, and then a few coats of lacquer. It looks a bit like old kitchen cabinet "milk paint" -- though with a satin, really-thin finish that highlights the grain. I wanted it to feel like old wood rather than look new. It also helped disguise some of the staining and ills of previous refinish work.

Post-work it plays fast, easy, and bang-on. It sounds good tuned in fifths or in open tuning as in the video above.


Unknown said…
Jimmy, those pickups sound GOOD. Well done putting this back together, Jake.
Reese said…
Everything about this sounds and looks damned good. Its a Duo Sonic moment in Wildwoodland, of late. But can we just all groove on the lovely Maple figure and those CLAY DOTS in the neck for a minute? I'm sorry: was I shouting there?
Zyb said…
Love Your work and play !