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Discussion Starter #1
The FU is for "fixer-upper".

Guy was selling an old Vantage for $80 on Kijiji, so I pulled the trigger. These are well-made Matsumoku guitars. I gather it was a project for him that he simply couldn't find the time for.
Body and neck are stripped down to bare wood. Nice light mahogany wings and a center block that I think might be alder. Neck and frets are in decent shape, and tuners feel good. Pickups are Gotoh. All wiring needs to be redone, but that's what I'm looking forward to, in addition to honing my finishing skills. I looked for pics of a similar model but couldn't find any with this complement of controls and toggles. They don't look like aftermarket installations though. Control knobs will clearly require replacing.

Like many Matsumoku guitars, they have bolt-on necks even though they can look like they are set neck. There is a quasi neck-tenon that extends underneath the neck pickup, but is secured by bolts from the back, allowing it to be joined to the body at the 19th fret.


 

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Nice score. I've owned several Vantages over the past two years and still have one. None of them had that many toggles though - I suspect yours is an aftermarket install. Same goes for those modern saddles and the slim volume & tone knobs, I suspect. Great project guitars though. Nicely balanced and I've always found them very playable. Congrats!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks.

The routing of the control cavity looks original and specifically makes room for at least one of the toggles (the lower one). The upper two toggles are SPDT, which I gather was used for coil-cancelling, and the third is DPDT, which might have been used for phase-reversal of one of the pickups. All the wiring is cut, with leads hanging out, so difficult to tell how it was wired originally. But two of the pots have caps to ground and use all three lugs. Possible someone might have tried to wire the tone controls like the Peavey T-60? On the other hand, why have coil-cancelling switches if you're going to do that, since the Peavey circuit already implements coil-cancelling at one extreme.

I'm going to mull over what sort of controls and wiring I'd want. I tend to be a master volume/tone kinda guy myself, but I do like the "Contour" control that Reverend and G&L guitars use to trim the bass. So, three pots would cover that nicely. I'm not big on phase-reversal, but ever since trying out the "half-phase-reversal" found on the Jerry Donahue model Tele, Id be curious about what it yields with a dual-HB setup.
 

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I think those earlier Peaveys would be cool to base the wiring on. I love the tone knob on those things; below 7 you’ve got single coils and above 7, you’ve got humbuckers. I always thought that was a pretty cool feature, and very versatile.

Sweet guitar for $80. I would’ve jumped on that too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Took the pickups out to get a sense of what I'm working with. Interesting.

The neck and bridge PUs measure 10k and 12k, respectively, which seems about right for level balance. But the interesting part is that the neck PU has two leads (hot and midpoint) plus committed ground, suitable for coil cancelling, while the bridge PU has three leads - two "hots", midpoint, and unassigned ground - suitable for BOTH phase-reversal and coil cancelling. These must have been added over the years, because I see no indication of Gotoh PUs with two rows of Allen-key adjustable slugs used on any models.

Looking at the description of what appears to be the original model - Vantage 600VS - Vantage Guitars MIJ - I suspect that the earlier suggestion that two of the switches were aftermarket mods is probably accurate. The route for the side-mounted output jack is more ragged than the routing of the control cavity. So it looks like somewhere in the last 35+ years, someone had decided to install an output jack in a new suitable location, and use the former output jack hole to install an additional control, in addition to the two more toggles. Imagining the output jack top-mounted, and just the one toggle, makes the guitar conform to the catalog picture. Thankfully, I don't plan on, nor have to, pop any additional holes into it. I have all the holes I need.

I may also attempt the "Peter Green" mod. This could be interesting.
 

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Nice! I have a Matsumoku built no name brand (very similar to the Vantage design) that I cant put down since @greco was kind enough to help me fix up. It has the same saddles and switches by the looks of it. I hope you enjoy yours just as much.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So here's how it looks now, after a bit of sanding, two light coats of amber shellac, and some nice new knobs from NextGen. You will note some screw holes between the bridge pickup and the bridge plate. While musing about how to wire it, I slid a Roland GK-1 pickup I have in that space, and was surprised to see that the screw holes in the body and that pickup lined up. S0 perhaps a previous owner had attempted to use it as homebrew Roland GR-300?


And below is how I decided to wire it up. The neck pickup has two toggles assigned to it. One (not shown) disengages the tone control for an instant treble-restoration. The other toggle introduces a low-end cut. I may change the cap value to a smaller/lower one, like .0068uf.

The bridge pickup goes through a phase-reverse switch, and on to a Peavey T-60 tone control. That control goes from single coil with no treble cut, through full HB mode with no treble cut to full HB with treble cut. I used a smaller tone cap value for the bridge pickup than for the neck PU. The two pickups then go to the selector, and on to a compensated master volume.

One of the interesting things about this wiring scheme is that, by virtue of the phase-reverse switch, I can change which of the coils on the bridge pickup is used when the Tone control is rolled off to coil-cancelling mode. I was hoping that the low-cut switch would permit something similar to the way the Jerry Donahue Telecaster provides a very Strat-like sound when a bass-cut neck pickup is combined out of phase with the bridge pickup. Not hearing it yet, but it does sound different.

I've never used or even heard these Gotoh humbuckers before. Not even sure they are adjusted right, but that will come in time. They ARE, however, somewhat overwound for my tastes, something I was hoping that the low-cut and compensated volume would help with.

Any way you slice it, though, a whole heckuva lot of tonal flexibility and range of sounds, for two pickups. The toggle that came with the guitar for phase-switching is not functioning reliably, so I think I'll install a new one tomorrow. I have to say, however, that I do NOT like the location of the pickup selector on the upper bout. SOOOO much wire running back and forth. Fortunately, I had some 4-conductor shielded cable.
 
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