dimanche 1 septembre 2013

Cort Sterling S3000

My first guitar.

When I started to play guitar for good, taking some lessons back in 99, I had no idea of the different guitar brand existing, so my criteria was the look along with the price.

Internet auctions were also starting and I discovered there some models, a cheap second hand guitars would be my choice.

I like a lot the stratocaster shape, i got a store catalog coming along with a tab magazine where several brands fit my taste : jackson PS, ibanez RG, yamaha Pacifica and those Cort S series having this twisted body and long sharp horns I loved that much.

My other wish was the Floyd Rose. It looks that good, it makes the guitar agressive whatever it does, I even didn´t know what or why, but it was a must. A friend first lent me a Charvette with a Floyd, I didn´t like indeed, but the machine gun impression it gave went over it.

Auctions made the thing well, after I tried a Cort S2550 in a store I found the same but with a Floyd Rose and HSH pickups instead of HSS, It was my Cort Sterling, almost half price the equivalent. model in store.

As a cheap first guitar I tried several changes, mainly pickups and cabling, pots for push-pull, and the   tuners machine head that broke for excellent Schaller.

It´s a very good guitar indeed, very light, good sounding, the neck shape is just perfect : thin, wide, mild radius (I think 14"), thin very hard frets (almost no mark after 15 years !!!).

A very good Lo-Pro Floyd Rose

The Floyd Rose is a Lo-Pro, for Low Profile, the fine tuners activates specific levers, not the nut screw blocking the strings as the standard Floyd does. It results in a flatter bridge giving a smooth shape to the guitar.
Having both types of Floyd, the Low-Pro is also more precise in the fine tuning because of the specific lever having a flat profile to the tuning screw, while the standard has a cylindric profile as it´s a screw itself, the tuning screw splips on the round surface giving a variable action as you turn.

Some kind of mahogany

The body make has been a mystery for long. My first post in Harmony Central stated It would be alder with no more clue.
It´s for sure lightwood, much lighter than my heavy ash Fender Lead II, it´s pale and smooth as I've routed the sides of the central pickup routing to fit a Seymour Duncan Hot Rail. Then It made me think of basswood.
I finally solved this question thanks to an ad sold on eBay about sterling series, this is made of Kalantas.
Calantas is a Toona timber, aka Philippines Mahogany, a cheaper alternative to true sweetenia Mahogany. Note that Philippines mahogany reference is used also for shorea timber, a teak like wood used for garden furniture.
Thus the mystery is not totally cleared yet.

Pickups and wiring

The original wiring features a 5 way switch, intermediate positions 2 & 4 split the humbucker coils. The tone pot has a push pull that split the coils of the humbuckers used alone.
I added a second push pull to explore more pickup combinations, it´s just a research use, no real application when playing, I've finally found my wiring diagram requiring a superswitch though.

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