The Guitar Gallery Forums - The Guitar Legacy of Matsumoku

Q&A, discussion, and information for the labels covered by The Guitar Gallery (Specifically and exclusively guitars made by Matsumoku up to 1987)
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 Post subject: Re: Urchin U60T
PostPosted: Thu 30 Sep 2010 08:23 PM 
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Joined: Sat 22 Aug 2009 03:59 PM
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Location: BC, Canada
Looks awesome Barry! You've inspired me to get moving on my Ibby LP (I know, I know not a Mat) resto-mod project that has been sitting for close to a year. I only hope the end result can come out close to yours. :clap:


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 Post subject: Re: Urchin U60T
PostPosted: Fri 01 Oct 2010 09:19 AM 
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Virtuoso
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Location: St. Catharines, Ontario Canada
Hey thanks man!
Sometimes you just have to roll up yer sleeves and plunge into it ya know? Nuthing virtuous about it.
This is the second "rescue" Mats for me and by far the one with the worst damage.

I confess that there were many times when I looked at it and wondered if it might just be better of to forget about it and sell it off as a "project" and be done with it. But, as long as you don't have the pressure of an unrealistic deadline, you can take the Swiss Cheese approach and before you know it you'll hit a critical mass and the inertia which held you back will suddenly start to propel you forward for a change!
Best of luck with your project.
_______________________________________________________
Some Comments & Impressions

I've got this curvy gal still sitting out in the music room, primarily because, believe it or not, the finish is still off-gassing (curing) a little bit. I figured it would be wiser to let it "air" rather than close her up in the case. This is good though, since I can grab it and noodle away on it when the muse strikes.

My first impression is that it has quite a different "feel" from most of my other Mats, and despite the extremely light body which is riddled with cavities and whittled away to next to nothing, it feels quite solid and surprisingly well balanced. I expected it to be neck-heavy, but it isn't demonstrating that at all. And I haven't measured it but I do find the neck to be wider than my Westone and Vantage models; feels closer to my Vintage 'Tele' actually, so I'm guessing the intent was to emulate a Fender feel. Not the most comfortable for me initially, but after playing awhile I adjust.

I find it awkward to play standing up. Maybe it's just a perceptual thing, but there's so much "meat" missing from the bottom because of that sweeping curve and pointy horns, I find that there ain't much to rest my right arm on. My elbow is hanging out there in space! As a result it's a distraction for me. The neck also seems to be very long, of course it isn't. Again it's a perceptual thing, I feel the same way about SG's, something about the small body I guess. Nevertheless, I always feel like I'm "reaching" wa-a-a-y up there for the first position chords.

Sitting down, is quite a different experience; quite a comfortable and normal feel. If you look just at the outside contours of the body, that makes sense, it still has a somewhat classic guitar shape so it fits nicely over the leg. It's only when standing that you notice the big chunks of missing body, which throws off your tactile relationship to the guitar.

In the final analysis I guess this was designed to be a Metal head, shredder axe, and consequently played and held like one. Every picture I've seen of one being played shows it as low slung (somewhere around the waist) with the neck tilted sharply upwards. From that perspective the body "feel" doesn't enter into it; it's laying against your thigh at that point. It's only when you try to hold it in a "normal" playing position that you experience what I've described above. I tend to hang my guitar somewhat higher than most lead players, being mostly a rhythm player and a singer who has to be wary of the boom mike and music stand, etc. (Not as high as Dave Matthews though!)

Pick Ups
I still haven't finalized the pickup adjustments, but they are suitably hot performers, as befits a shredder. The bridge is a stamped MMK45, but the neck has no markings. (You can look back in this thread for pix.) So far, to my ears, the neck seems to have a nicer sound and performance even though the measured output is lower, 7.5 K versus 11.8 K. I need to fiddle a bit with the heights to find the sweet spots; the high end is cutting, but the bottom is still a bit boomy. And it sure doesn't take much to drive this baby into distortion territory! Don't really need to use an overdrive setting at all.

Bridge
As mentioned elsewhere, I don't know what affect, if any, the new chrome bridge is having on the tone. The replacement has a considerably lighter block than the one which came with the guitar. Since I have no intention of using the tremolo portion of the bridge, she's held down to the body by 3 tension springs and all appears solid. That cutting high end may be partly due to the bridge??

Little Feet
These models originally had little rubber feet on the tip of the bottom horns which allowed the guitar to stand up without sliding forward. I don't think I've seen a picture of what they looked like so if anyone knows I'd appreciate a picture. Judging by the cut of the end they would appear to have been somewhat triangular. I have the screw holes but that's all!

I'm also trying to find a suitable material or an off the shelf item that I could modify. Any suggestions? These were an unusual shape and fairly small by the looks of it.

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 Post subject: Re: Urchin U60T
PostPosted: Fri 01 Oct 2010 09:35 AM 
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Virtuoso
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Joined: Sat 08 Nov 2008 01:35 PM
Posts: 2385
Location: Rock City Canada
Amazing job Barry :yeah:

:clap: :rockwoot: :jammin: :hyper: :goodjob: :thumbsup:

Lots of work went into saving this guitar. I really enjoyed following all the steps and effort you put in. It really looks like a killer axe.

Again,... :goodjob: :bow:

P. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Urchin U60T
PostPosted: Fri 01 Oct 2010 09:51 AM 
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Virtuoso
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Joined: Wed 29 Apr 2009 12:32 PM
Posts: 3558
Location: St. Catharines, Ontario Canada
Cheers Pierre. I appreciate it coming from an accomplished restorer! :up:

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 Post subject: Re: Urchin U60T
PostPosted: Sun 21 Nov 2010 04:39 PM 
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Gallery Friend

Joined: Sun 21 Nov 2010 04:21 PM
Posts: 4
Hello everyone!

Wow, Barry, you really are my hero. It was so breath-taking to read this epic story on restoring this Urchin gem back to glory! :cheers:

I've had a lot of love for this particular guitar model ever since I bought my first one over 21 years ago, and wouldn't part from it for a million years, you know, it fits like a glove... Last February I bought a second U-60T from Sweden and haven't regretted that deal either (also later got a similarly designed reproduction, Aria U-1, but that's a whole another story). Btw, just purchased my first U-70 and at the moment I'm waiting to get my hands on it when it arrives to Finland. :D

Any of you who are into Urchins are most welcome to join or visit that aforementioned Facebook group of ours, and maybe share some of your gained Urchin wisdom with others. When I first put the group up, I thought maybe ten human beings would ever join it, but whadda ya know: we just got our 100th member!

Best regards, and hoping to read more of these fascinating tales of guitar rescue,
Marko


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 Post subject: Re: Urchin U60T
PostPosted: Sun 21 Nov 2010 07:14 PM 
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Virtuoso
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Location: St. Catharines, Ontario Canada
Madbert wrote:
...Wow, Barry, you really are my hero. It was so breath-taking to read this epic story on restoring this Urchin gem back to glory!...
Gosh Marko, thank you for the kind compliment. Very much appreciated!
Believe me when I say that I didn't plan on such a complicated restoration when I bought it, but that's what happens sometimes when you strip off the paint and have a peek under the hood! But once you've started you don't have too many options. :D

Do you have any comment to add about the neck pickup? Is yours "unmarked" and with quite a lower output than the MMK45 in the bridge? I was puzzled by the lack of identification and the lower resistance reading.
Quote:
Best regards, and hoping to read more of these fascinating tales of guitar rescue
Well, there are quite a few here in these forums, not just mine. We have a lot of talented and dedicated Matsumoku guitar nuts here who have done just amazing work in bringing battered old gits back from the dead!

Post some pix of your Urchins! We live to look at guitar porn! :hyper:

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Last edited by Barry on Mon 22 Nov 2010 08:05 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Urchin U60T
PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov 2010 12:10 AM 
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Virtuoso
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Joined: Tue 26 Oct 2010 11:50 PM
Posts: 162
Got an Urchin foot fetish :D ???

Image
Image

The rubber bottoms are flat where the feet touch the body ,I forget if there is supposed to be a black felt pad or cork between the foot and the body but I'm thinking it was cork washers ,it was a log time ago . The tops are a bit concave so that the screw countersinks flat . The rubber is brown , not black .Personally I leave the feet off of my Urchin because the rubber is so dried out . They will just crumble away
(sorry bout the shots, I don't take good pics) . For a replacement type rubber washer I would try the type that you use when you fix your leaky water taps , same type of hard rubber . Grab a pack with multiple sized washers in it , I'm sure you'll find a suitable replacement in there , if they are all to big then there should be enough meat on the biggest one to fabricate your own . You might also have to whittle the edges a bit to male them rounded , but hey , for a couple of bucks why not try it


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 Post subject: Re: Urchin U60T
PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov 2010 06:55 AM 
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Gallery Friend

Joined: Sun 21 Nov 2010 04:21 PM
Posts: 4
Barry wrote:
Believe me when I say that I didn't plan on such a complicated restoration when I bought it, but that's what happens sometimes when you strip off the paint and have a peek under the hood! But once you've started you don't have too many options. :D

Would you have bought the guitar if you had known how much work it will require?

Barry wrote:
Do you have any comment to add about the neck pickup? Is yours "unmarked" and with quite a lower output than the MMK45 in the bridge? I was puzzled by the lack of identification and the lower resistance reading.

Hmm... I have a vague memory that they were both the same model, in the neck and in the bridge, but I have to check this out later tonight to make sure.

Barry wrote:
Post some pix of your Urchins! We live to look at guitar porn! :hyper:

Haha, okay, I'll try and find time soon. When that U-70 arrives, I will immediately take tons of photos, believe me. :devil2:

Lurchin wrote:
Got an Urchin foot fetish :D ???

:D I made these just by cutting rings from some thick rubber that was meant for heavy furniture feet. Btw, the newly made Aria U-1 doesn't have those rubber feet at all, another tiny detail that shows less quality than in the original Urchins... :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Urchin U60T
PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov 2010 08:02 AM 
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Virtuoso
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Joined: Wed 29 Apr 2009 12:32 PM
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Location: St. Catharines, Ontario Canada
Lurchin wrote:
...Grab a pack with multiple sized washers in it , I'm sure you'll find a suitable replacement in there...
Thanks for that suggestion. I would think though, that tap washers might be too hard and would slide on the floor rather grip it? But I'll certainly put them on my list of things to look at. :up:
Madbert wrote:
Would you have bought the guitar if you had known how much work it will require?
Hard to say. It was obvious that a new paint job was needed, but in this case, there was no way to see the body crack and repair at the neck pocket. So that came as a surprise!

As for the headstock, that was my own fault for not paying attention to that funky "shingle" TRC. I should have been suspicious but I wasn't even looking closely at the headstock, except to see the APII logo; I was more focused on the neck and frets, and of course the OHSC. Lesson learned, the hard way. :doh:

All in all, the reason I went after it was because of the scarcity of these things around here. I hadn't seen another one before, nor since.

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 Post subject: Re: Urchin U60T
PostPosted: Mon 22 Nov 2010 11:07 AM 
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Joined: Sun 21 Nov 2010 04:21 PM
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Barry wrote:
Do you have any comment to add about the neck pickup? Is yours "unmarked" and with quite a lower output than the MMK45 in the bridge? I was puzzled by the lack of identification and the lower resistance reading.

I checked this, in both of my U-60T's the original neck and bridge pickpups were all MMK45's, so it seems that someone's replaced the neck pickup in your guitar.

To be honest I don't like much about the tone of the MMK45's, and they tend to give a lot of feedback pretty easily.


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