La Hwa Sa

Thursday, June 29, 2023

So, a couple of years ago I salvaged a guitar that my former boss from Guitar Center was gonna trash. The guitar was in bad shape with all this filth, a missing tuning key, and I think an input jack that was crapping out. Restoring would probably cost an arm and leg for the company so I think my former boss was looking at a loss rather than a gain on this. I took it home and closeted it for years.

Welp... just the other day I found the guitar snoopin' around the closet hallway. And yes the condition of the guitar was at the same state when I found it sitting in the can at the Guitar Center warehouse. For awhile I wanted to have a guitar I could bring to play before work and during lunch to dish out some ideas. I needed something to occupy my time rather than dick around and buy shit during my break times. And when I found this piece of junk I immediately got excited to turn a junker into a worker.

My first objective was to see if the guitar actually outputed sound. I connected it to my amp and started touching the pickups. Luckily the pickups were responsive so it gave me insentive to continue on. I turned the volume and tone knobs up and down to smoothen out the scratchy breakup. There's still a bit of it, but just enough to not be a nuisance. I actually took out the input jack to see if there were any adjustments that needed to be made, but luckily not too much. I think I just bent the part the 1/4 inch plug met to get stronger contact.

Next was to clean the guitar. Already the body suffered quite a bit of dents so banging it on a wall or floor would not make me feel some type of way. I actually did the worst thing and sprayed some clorox bleach on it (and honestly I didn't want any germs staying alive so I hit it with that nice nice house cleaning lol) and began to wipe it down. I also disassembled the tuning keys. The nut on the guitar was almost out of place, but I hit it with a rubber hammer and aligned it with the bridge saddles as best I could. I brushed the bridge saddles with some clorox and a toothbrush and got most of the dirt and grime out. I also cleaned the nickle plated pickups (needs some work, but I'll do more later).

I ordered some cheap tuning machines from Amazon ($20), bought some new strings from my former job, adjusted the action a bit and presto!!!!!!! The guitar came back from the dead. Honestly.... this guitar is pretty sick. The 5-way selector switch needs to be replaced, but for now it's playable. I started playing the guitar right after I had done the adjustments.

Now it doesn't sound anything like "Big Red" (my red stratocaster), but I've never owned a guitar that had two humbuckers on a strat body, let alone, a two humbucker strat with a 5-way selector switch. The tones sound pretty good and with this setup it has a bolder sound for sure on the neck and bridge pickups. Everything in-between doesn't sound too bad as well. I did some research using the Fender Serial Generator and found out its a Fender Blacktop Stratocaster.

This guitar was produced from 2010 - 2014 and it seemed like it was overlooked. The prices on these are still affordable and it seems as though no one really gave a shit about them. And for the the last few weeks I realized this is probably one of my favorite guitars I've played. It's a Mexican Stratocaster, but jeez there's a lot of personality to it. It plays well, sounds good and just has a good weight to it. I'm happy that this thing exists.

Not all great guitars need to be expensive. Sure, buying a guitar with a cool body, paint job and neck type with a high price is something to be desired, but are you playing the guitar for aesthetics or you playing to make sounds? You can do so much with a piece of wood, strings and pickups. And it won't make you sound better if you spend thousands of dollars on a guitar. You gotta put the work in and just get good.

I named her "La Hwa Sa" lol. I love Hwa Sa from Mamamoo and I dedicated this guitar to her. I don't know why, but there's something sexy about it. The sound and look (here I go talking about the aesthetics ha) just told me "La Hwa Sa". I don't know.. whatever. She's a fav of mine.

The guitar plays well enough. And maybe might be my main for certain things I write. It doesn't need to be fancy. It just needs to play well. That's all.

I've been having fun playing guitar these days. I try to discover stuff as much as I can and honestly I'm trying out new tunings that could help with new recordings in the future. I might want to illustrate that more in the months to come.

- Arthur