Lawsuits and other assorted solder issues

Today’s Benchcapades  (trademarked, don’t even think of stealing that gold) brings us this wonderful 70’s ‘Lawsuit Era’ Ventura LP Custom copy. I put some quotes in there because it’s a topic of much debate, what is and what isn’t. Hell, I’ve seen stuff from the 80’s labeled as lawsuit guitars. There’s been so much written on the subject of 70’s Japanese imports infringing on Fender and Gibson TM’s already, and I’m not turning over any new stones here. This guitar has the open book headstock, so I’ll call it a ‘lawsuit’. Done. Let’s move on.



Pretty, innit? I love these guitars. Call it low self esteem, but I think I prefer them to the real thing. This one is in for some electronics issues, so let’s pop it open.


Wow, that’s funny. Thought the knobs were just on wrong, but it’s wired with volumes on top, tones on the bottom. Makes sense, just veers from tradition.


And most folks just like things the way they’re used to. To keep it original, our customer didn’t want to rewire it to Gibson configuration. I agreed. Gives it more personality.

The issue was intermittent output and no bridge pickup output at all. The selector didn’t cut out with both on, so I knew it wasn’t a grounding issue with the bridge pup. Checked solder joints, no solution yet. Until…


When they stripped the wire, a little of the lead jacket got hacked and if you bent the wire, it contacted the ground. A little heat shrink insulated it because there wasn’t enough wire to cut and strip again. Since this is the pickup lead and we’re trying to stay original, I made a judgement call. I think I’m OK with that, so we’ll move on.


Still trouble. So we follow the lead to its next point, where it meets the coil wires at the base plate. That dangling bit of soldered goodness is the ground wire. It came loose and was kind of rubbing against the base plate, just enough to work 37% of the time. I lpulled the neck pickup to compare and saw that it was attached to the pickup leg. See example R.


example R.

After scuffing, we solder the leg and attach the ground to match.

Great. Bridge output now strong, but still intermittant at the input so we swapped out the jack with a shiny new Switchcraft and it’s AWESOME! Sure it has low frets, a skinny neck and a slightly too low radius, but that’s the fun. It’s got beef AND jangle, the kind of funky tones perfect for blues, punk and Metal Zone-slathered garage rock. So go out and grab all the Ventura,Bradley, Cortez and Hondo LP’s you can before the Ibanez and Cort collectors wise up. Like I said, low self esteem.

Thanks for looking. We stopped blogging for a bit, so until we catch up, try some of our older posts and be sure to email or call with any questions about letting us help with your next project. We’re here to help!



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