Thursday, 12 September 2013

Strat with a hint of Ricky

I bought a pair of Toaster style pickups ages ago in a sale on the off-chance I might make a Rickenbacker one day. But the reality is I never will, it's just not my kind of guitar. So I had a thought........
Take one Strat, two pickups and a three way switch. Maybe add a black jack socket plate and add a pair of chrome knurled knobs. Result? A Stratenbacker. Or Rickencaster. Maybe ;)

She sounds interesting, nowhere near as thin as I was expecting. The bridge pickup is particularly sensitive to handling noise and will howl if too much gain is used at high volume. But I like it - the sound has some real interesting overtones and a pretty chunky sound. Time to gig the thing and see how we get on!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Firebird.....part 1

Hi Folks
I've had some time recently to make progress with my Firebird build. I'd gotten it to the stage where I had the body shaped and the neck joint cut and the neck roughed out with the truss rod fitted. It didn't take much work to glue in the neck, sort out a wenge fingerboard and do some routing for the control cavity.
Some changes from the original Gibson design (actually, the Firebird was designed by Ray Dietrich, a famous car designer of the time). I have put the jack socket on the end of the body like a Les Paul rather than on the top front of the guitar. The SG has a similar layout and I hated it on the SG, so on the end it goes.  The guitar also has a glued in neck instead of neck through like the original. There are just as many Firebirds with broken headstocks as Les Pauls, so it obviously isn't a stronger method of construction!
Tuners/machineheads. The early guitars featured banjo style tuners, the later non-reverse and budget version used regular tuners. I've gone for regular tuners as the only banjo style ones I can find are the delicious but expensive Steinberg ones.

So the next step is frets followed by routing out for pickups (going for mini humbuckers) then I can string her up and see how she sounds. Finish is going to be a solid colour - I fancy vintage white but metallic red is also on the books. Or gold....... ;)


Friday, 14 September 2012

Another Strat....

Hi Folks
Yes, another big gap in Blogging :(
Been busy though - completed the 70's Strat respray and have built another Strat.
This one is inspired by Claptons' "Blackie" and has a maple neck and a one piece body of some African timber I picked up from my local timber merchant. Somewhere between Ash and Alder in grain and colour and with a lovely tap tone to it.
I've done a little more "relic-ing" on this one than I usually do and I'm rather pleased with it. Nitro Cellulose is definitely the thing to use if you wish to age your guitar quickly as the newer super lacquer are just too tough ;)


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Old Strat

HI Folks
Work has been taking up my time too much recently, so guitar builds have been taking a back seat. Saying that....
A friend has a 1976 Strat that he loves playing but hates looking at. It has has the neck planed flat and a refret which has made the guitar playable, but the fingerboard looks horribly new on such an old guitar. I really want to remedy that! Also the paint. Now, we all know old guitars look awesome, better than Relics, yeah? Not this one. Think POS :)
In the '70's Fender went over to Poly as a finish. It's not so much a lacquer as a thick layer of epoxy - no joke! It does not age nicely. And this guitar looks like someone has tried to repair it in areas with varnish at some point. My friend wondered if I could spray a black sunburst around the edges (the guitar has a natural finish). After much discussion and soul searching over "ruining" the guitar and its resale value it was decided that a refinish was wanted.
So I'm currently scraping poly off the body - not a nice job. But it has to be done, you definitely are not sanding it off ;)
More soon,

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Eddie Van Halen

With the release of the new Van Halen album I've been going back through the back catalogue of VH stuff - I was a huge fan when I started learning guitar and he was a huge influence. In recent years I had given up on them as too many years have passed. I mourned and moved on.
Thankfully the new album is awesome - if they can stay together throughout this tour without any serious ego disagreements then the future may indeed be rosy.
So I'm making a Musicman EVH as a kind of tribute.....
I've glued the book matched maple top to the body and started on the birds-eye maple neck. She's gonna be good....... ;)

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Strat Piccys

So I waited as long as I could before wet sanding the Strat. I had doubts about the lacquer - had I put on enough coats to allow me to level sand her without cutting through? I started wet sanding with 1500 grit Micromesh (awesome stuff, by the way!). I managed to remove pretty much all the low spots without removing coloured lacquer so decided to leave adding more lacquer. I lightly buffed out the finish to a satin sheen and started to assemble the components - it all went together pretty smoothly (which left me somewhat surprised, if pleased).
I need to do a final fret dress (the fourth fret is slightly high) and then she's good to go!


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Fire Away!

The Strat is sat there drying out (and I'm trying no to pick the thing up every five minutes and gawp at it!). So I took another look at the Firebird - time to put the neck on. A quick re-think on the neck joint was in order - I was going to go for the usual Gibson long tenon thing but decided to go for the PRS full-width neck style. Took me ten minutes to stick some MDF guides around the actual neck to lay it out and then drill out the waste and plug in the router. And it left a lovely tight joint!