Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Strat - Neck

All the necks I have built so far have been Gibson style necks - Fender did things slightly different so I was looking forward (and slightly nerv o us) to making this neck, especially with the wonderful piece of maple I had.
Fender made one and two piece necks - the two piece had a separate fingerboard but the one piece needed a lot more jigs to make. I chickened out and went for the two piece...

I have come up with a good way to make radiused sanding blocks so made an 18 inch one for this neck - it came in very handy when gluing on the fingerboard as a caul, too!
The rear shot shows the departure from the norm - I'm using an angled neck plate which gives a handy boost to upper fret access. I was doubtful it would really make a difference but it really feels good with no loss of clamping pressure.

I have some Tru Oil coming in the post today so will start applying this to the neck later. Really looking forward to using this as it gets recommended a lot.


Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Fire, Fire....

The Strat is coming along nicely - I'll be posting an update soon. I spent a while playing a Masterbuilt relic strat today at Guitar Mania in Poole - a lovely guitar (that looked like it had had the crap beaten out of it!) That certainly put the buzz into me for finishing my Strat - I'm heading out to the workshop right after this :)

A quick picture of my Firebird build - I have the body shaped and sanded and the neck has the truss rod fitted. I've been working out the neck angle (2 degrees) so I can get started on joining the neck to the body soon. Here are the components dumped together for a photo.



Saturday, 25 February 2012


Hi Folks
If you've been following the recent Gibson debacle over Rosewood you'll knot that in 2012 it's getting harder and harder to find (and use) the classic tonewoods that are in used in guitars. We all dream of finding a cheap stash of Brazilian Rosewood but it probably isn't going to happen. And if you build a lot of guitars what options are available?
People are increasingly concerned about the impact their choice of wood has on the environment. While I won't veer off onto that subject I can see that now is a good time to be experimenting with new species of wood - tomorrows Brazilian Rosewood could be sat unloved at your local timber seller. I've just returned from a trip to my local timber yard - this is the second time I have noticed boards of timber of species I've never heard off. I've bought planks of each one to try out and, while talking to the salesman, he told me they are ordering in quite a few new timbers in the near future.
So maybe today is a good time to branch out and try something different - who knows what you may find?


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Strat part 1

So - the Strat....
I've had a few Strats over the years, none of which have sounded and felt as good as a silver series Squier I bought new back in '91. Lovely guitar, nicely gigged into submission. I've had some beautiful Strats that I regret selling because a Strat is so darn beautiful that I want one in each and every finish. But back to reality.....
I've been trying various pickups in my Squier trying to regain the sound I had with a set of SD Alnico II's back in the day. After trying a few sets I ended up a cheapo set of Axerus own brand "Alamo" pickups, and very nice they are too. The spare sets were going to go back on the Bay then I thought "hey, let's make a Strat and use up the spare parts!".
So here we are - poplar body with 6mm thick curly maple drop top bent over the top (thanks to my vacuum bag!). Curly maple neck and board, hard tail, classic pickup and wiring. I slotted the fingerboard last night and need to make a radius sanding block to match the radius I want (9.5") then I can get the neck finished. And hopefully the guitar should fall together pretty quickly - that maple looks so good I can't keep my hands off it!


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Bass lives...

Hi Folks
I started this project in July last year and have been too busy to complete it. I really could do with now as I have some demo's to record so a couple of weeks of determined work has got her up and running.
I'm really pleased with the sound, quite modern sounding to my ears, with lots of variety available between the two pickups. I need to give her a little more fretwork to sort out a buzz on the g string but she's quite usable!
Next on the agenda is the Strat. Poplar body with curly maple drop top, curly maple neck. I've fitted the neck to the body this week so it actually looks like a guitar. More later this week.....