'87 Vester restoration

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NippleWrestler
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'87 Vester restoration

Post by NippleWrestler »

ResterVester?

This was $20 from TradeMe. It was listed as a Vesta. The headstock, fingerboard and pickups were entirely blacked out with sharpie. The pickguard was hacked out to accommodate a humbucker. The wiring didn't work. No strings. Missing tuners. But it was $20. The plan here was to make a workable strat for hardly any money. It didn't make sense to get a $20 vester and put $500 of hardware into it, but I also didn't want shitty stuff. 2020 is brilliant for that.

I can do wiring, fretwork, woodwork etc myself if I have the bits. So off we go.

I gave it a clean. Isopropyl alcohol dissolves marker ink. 250ml of ipa, a roll of paper towels, and a set of strings later:

Image

'Improved' aesthetically but still shite. The guitar still doesn't work plugged in and it plays like ass. We can go deeper.

I wanted to see why the wiring doesn't work. That came with a nice surprise.

Image

That now lives in my Les Paul custom.

It came to pass the pots were toast, probably from the hackjob soldering and pinched wires.

So I sorted:

New pickups.
New nut.
New tuners.
New pickguard.
New string trees.
New electronics.
Fret dress.
Setup.

Image

The pickups are Donlis DS53. That might not mean much to anybody but here's an analysis which goes into some technical detail:

https://www.strat-talk.com/threads/donl ... et.421842/

I didn't see the point in putting $200 pickups in a $20 guitar, but $35 pickups I can understand and since a pickup is only ever going to be wire, magnets and some flatwork, a well designed pickup consistently made will sound just fine. These pickups are great. They could be $150 and nobody would argue if they had a trendier name. A5, 6k bridge and 5.6k other places. The pickguard is an AliExpress special. Made for an 11 hole USA strat.

Behold.

Image

Well made neck tbf. Unsurprisingly because these are Korean Squiers bearing a different name. The reason the Vester brand came and went was due to them being awarded the contract to produce Squier brand guitars for Fender. They did that, but also produced their own brand to the exact same specs, but slapped their logo on them and undersold the Squiers. They subsequently lost the contract and shut shop. Has a rosewood skunk stripe and the really annoying heel truss rod adjustment and the body is made of plywood just like the MIK Squiers of the time.


Image

The tuners are Jin-Ho. Who? They're the same guys in Korea who manufacture Grover, Tonepros, and Wilkinson tuners (not the other hardware which is made by Sung-Il) on contract, but they do their own line with their own name on them. They're just fine, on the level with Grover, but they're about $25:

Image

Whacked a NuBone nut on there. NuBone is Graphtech Tusq. It's the offcuts and flashings melted down and repressed. Because the colour is not entirely uniform GraphTech sell it under the NuBone name for $5 a nut and it's 100% the same as tusq.

Image

Wired for master vol/tone so the bridge pup has a tone control. And yes I play that way. Like Anika Moa, Eric Gales, Scott Reeder et al.

It sounds like a strat and feels like a strat. Has a great quack and the pickups are really dynamic and responsive to touch, so much so where I need to concentrate a lot more on what I'm doing. I think that trem block is off an MIM as it has the same stamps but I'm not 100% on that. They could all come from the same Asian factory.

Vesters. Cool guitars.

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Re: '87 Vester restoration

Post by The Scarecrow »

Awesome read, and a solid result. I like the mindset of not spending a fortune to make a bargain axe sound playable when a reasonably priced set of good quality components get the same result. I owned a couple of Vesters in the last 90's/early 00's (a Mod 700 aka 335 clone and a butterscotch tele) and both of them were on par if not better than Squier/Epiphone equivalents. The 335 was actually better sounding and playing than a mate's Epi by a longshot.
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Re: '87 Vester restoration

Post by NippleWrestler »

The Scarecrow wrote: Wed Feb 17, 2021 11:23 am Awesome read, and a solid result. I like the mindset of not spending a fortune to make a bargain axe sound playable when a reasonably priced set of good quality components get the same result. I owned a couple of Vesters in the last 90's/early 00's (a Mod 700 aka 335 clone and a butterscotch tele) and both of them were on par if not better than Squier/Epiphone equivalents. The 335 was actually better sounding and playing than a mate's Epi by a longshot.
We're pretty spoiled in the 21st century for affordable stuff of a very high quality where everyone has a path to market.

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Re: '87 Vester restoration

Post by Olderama »

I remember that wow what a transformation
Nice one
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Re: '87 Vester restoration

Post by smallface »

NippleWrestler wrote: Wed Feb 17, 2021 11:29 am
The Scarecrow wrote: Wed Feb 17, 2021 11:23 am Awesome read, and a solid result. I like the mindset of not spending a fortune to make a bargain axe sound playable when a reasonably priced set of good quality components get the same result. I owned a couple of Vesters in the last 90's/early 00's (a Mod 700 aka 335 clone and a butterscotch tele) and both of them were on par if not better than Squier/Epiphone equivalents. The 335 was actually better sounding and playing than a mate's Epi by a longshot.
We're pretty spoiled in the 21st century for affordable stuff of a very high quality where everyone has a path to market.
Pretty sure I met you in the early 00's and showed you an awesome Vester SG that I had. Some of their stuff is actually very good. :-)
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Re: '87 Vester restoration

Post by StrummersOfThunder »

Nice work

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Re: '87 Vester restoration

Post by Bg »

Awesome
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Re: '87 Vester restoration

Post by GrantB »

Vester necks were indeed pretty good. I had an Olympic White Strat Stage Series. From memory is sounded muffled and body was heavy...but the neck felt good. This looks cool. Like the wear on the board.
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Re: '87 Vester restoration

Post by Bg »

GrantB wrote: Wed Feb 17, 2021 3:28 pm Vester necks were indeed pretty good. I had an Olympic White Strat Stage Series. From memory is sounded muffled and body was heavy...but the neck felt good. This looks cool. Like the wear on the board.
you're probably thinking of the MDF series...
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Re: '87 Vester restoration

Post by NippleWrestler »

GrantB wrote: Wed Feb 17, 2021 3:28 pm Vester necks were indeed pretty good. I had an Olympic White Strat Stage Series. From memory is sounded muffled and body was heavy...but the neck felt good. This looks cool. Like the wear on the board.
I had an olympic white one too. The stock pickups are garbage and the electronics are bargain basement too but they're solidly made guitars. Good bones as they say.

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