Customizing an RT650 - Jemsite
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-08-2004, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Argentina
Posts: 1,635
Customizing an RT650

I ve got a really cheap RT650 with a couple of Di Marzios in it. Im going to customize it with the Luthier that worked on my 2 previus projects (a bird eye maple S and a Custom PGM, both of wich have a thread of their own).

I really like the Starfield SJ cabriolet with its bird eye maple top. And the Luhier has stock of this wood.

The idea is to replace the photoflame with a bird eye maple veneer, and replacing the pearloid pickguard with a wood pickguard (probably a figured cocobolo or another figured wood). I would probably do a figured wood trem cover also.

For the time being Im undecided about a couple of things:

1) The bird eye maple top coulour: green, blue, red or sunburst?
2) The wood of the pickguard and cover
3) Do I go for a HH lay out or for the original HSH lay out?
4) Do I make a custom neck or do I leave the original one and add a matching veneer on the headstock? (Im leaning towards the later since it would reduce the price of the job by half). I could replave the original dot inlays with bird eye maple dots though.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-08-2004, 11:28 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Bozeman, MT
Posts: 916
No comments on the color, but I'd make 2 other recommendations as long as you're doing this work:

First, as long as you're changing the color you might as well convert the neck joint to a quasi-AANJ. The RT neck joint has no bevel to it, and it definitely gets annoying sometimes.

Second, the Viper necks on the RTs are great necks. I wouldn't change it if I were you. BUT, you should replace the Magnum locking tuners with Sperzel graduated height locking tuners. The headstocks on the RTs aren't angled, and there aren't any string trees. So there isn't sufficient downward pull on the strings as they pass over the nut. With every RT I've had (5), some of the strings either have phantom tones or tend to pop out of the nut at inconvenient moments.

Oh yeah, I'd keep the HSH, but that's entirely personal preference.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-08-2004, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Argentina
Posts: 1,635
I was thinking about adding string trees instaead of changing the tuners. I also noted the problem.

I think this alternative would be a lot cheaper.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 12-08-2004, 12:35 PM
stratoskier's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Bozeman, MT
Posts: 916
True, string trees are much cheaper. But I tried some roller-style trees on one RT and wasn't satisfied with the results. Those TZ's are actually nice trems, but with the trees I got the usual "nut hangup" and tuning problems. The chrome Sperzels can be picked up for around $45-50 on auction, and you could probably sell the Magnum lockers for around $25. The Magnums are excellent for tilt-back headstock guitars, but I've become a big believer in the staggered height units for straight headstocks.

Just my (humble) opinion, of course.

Oh, I looked at your JPM pics, and if your luthier does anything like he did on that guitar, this RT will be sweet!
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dot inlay , dot inlays , locking tuners , neck joint , pearloid pickguard , string tree , string trees , viper neck

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