1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Bringing your older offset back to life.
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jingle_jangle
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1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by jingle_jangle » Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:00 pm

I picked up this Surfcaster in 2007 in pretty bad shape. It was complete and in pieces; the fretboard extension was broken off, one tuner and the serial number neckplate was missing, the wiring was janked, and the entire body suffered from polyester psoriasis. It was black with a yellowed MOTS pickguard, which had shrunken to where the straight edges were distorted and it had curled around the screws. The lipstick pickup cases were scratched and corroded, and the bridge had parts missing. The neck binding was missing in places, and so was the headstock binding.

I paid $220.00 for it and began collecting parts. I painted it Blue Burst last winter, didn't like how it looked, and stripped it and settled on a classic 3-tone burst with black sides and back, which was a color combo that Charvel never offered in '91. I handmade the tort guard and found replacements for all the missing parts. The Charvel script on the headstock was cleaned up in Photoshop and re-cut on a CNC vinyl cutter, then embedded in lots of clear.

It's been rewired and new pickups installed. Sounds very sweet and has a solid build quality. Strangely, it seems to have been strung at the factory in the Rickenbacker manner--with the octave strings on the bottom of each pair. I didn't notice this until I assembled and strung it last week. It is the factory nut, and the slots all fit the strings perfectly. There was factory varnish on the nut, too...does anyone else have one of these and if so, how's it strung?

So now, here we are--one month shy of four years since I first pitched it onto my garage shelf.

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estranged
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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by estranged » Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:23 pm

nice revival!

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Ex Lion Tamer
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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by Ex Lion Tamer » Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:54 pm

Very cool! I always had a soft spot for surfcasters. They're the mutant combination of my two favourite guitar styles: fender offsets and rickenbackers. I really like the three-tone burst and the tort.

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antisymmetric
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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by antisymmetric » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:14 pm

:-* Wow!
Watching the corners turn corners

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jbiscuti
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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by jbiscuti » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:33 pm

Nice burst! ;D ;D

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Veitchy
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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by Veitchy » Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:43 pm

Very cool. Tort truss rod cover is a nice touch 8)

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natthu
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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by natthu » Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:56 pm

Great save!... That is a beautiful looking guitar.

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mezcalhead
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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by mezcalhead » Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:52 pm

Lovely, I've always been intrigued by these, probably for the reasons Ex Lion Tamer has. The Fender aspects of it are slightly enhanced with the sunburst/tort combo I think.
Distance-crunching honcho with echo unit.

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danbind
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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by danbind » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:48 pm

That is absolutely gorgeous!
remember / to kick it over

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bterry
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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by bterry » Mon Sep 19, 2011 5:02 pm

Is that electric saw in the pic for scale? :P





Cool guitar...how would you describe the sound? Basically what you'd expect?

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Slogaze
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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by Slogaze » Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:42 am

jingle_jangle wrote:Strangely, it seems to have been strung at the factory in the Rickenbacker manner--with the octave strings on the bottom of each pair. I didn't notice this until I assembled and strung it last week. It is the factory nut, and the slots all fit the strings perfectly. There was factory varnish on the nut, too...does anyone else have one of these and if so, how's it strung?
Hey,
Congrats on completing such an amazing restoration/revival, it looks great.
I have one. It's strung with the thinner 'octave' string first, then the normal string,
(then it seems to be just same sizes for the 3rd, 2nd and 1st (GBE) strings).

Hope this helps :)
Last edited by Slogaze on Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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SignoftheDragon
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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by SignoftheDragon » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:42 am

I've been waiting for this thread ever since I caught wind of your project- She looks AMAZING all dressed up vintage-style! That burst & tort combo really suits the feel of the guitar's heritage, (really brings out the Fender side of the family) and it's nice to see a restoration/changeup done so well.

The grain in the basswood under the burst looks amazing too- nice and subtle. I don't know why they had to cover that up on the originals, as it looks great from what we can see under the transparent areas. Beautiful job on the finish!

I currently have 4 Surfcaster12s- they've been my main guitar for years. (actually #5 will be arriving tomorrow!) All of mine are factory stock with no mods, and are strung in the traditional order with the smaller strings on top. I've heard of a couple where they were re-nutted for ric-style string order, but always as an aftermarket modification. It would definitely be strange if yours came like that from the factory.

So, I'm curious, Jingle_Jangle- coming from the Ric player side, how do you like the playability on these?

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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by mapleglo330 » Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:24 pm

Wow, that's nice!

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smjenkins
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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by smjenkins » Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:30 pm

Man that thing looks awesome. Nice work all around. Do you have any before pics?

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trushack
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Re: 1991 CHARVEL SURFCASTER 12

Post by trushack » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:11 am

Wow. Insanely good work. That thing looks killer. Did Charvel ever do a Surfcaster like that in production?

Those Surfcaster seem to be very under-the-radar as far as guitar collecting goes. I rarely hear anything about them.

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