Blue Strat replica (Weezer content)

kerouac

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First post and fourth Warmoth - probably the one I’m most proud of.

This is based on Rivers Cuomo’s original blue Warmoth from 1994. I tried to get it as close as possible - right down to the exact bridge, which took over two years to find.

It’s not done just yet, as I have a 90s era neck (similar to Vintage Construction, but 22 frets) that will be going on it after it’s cleaned up and re-fretted.

Some info on the original:

https://warmoth.com/index.php/blog/weezer-warmoth/

Currently working on a replica of the red Fender that was used early on, but some of the details are a bit of a mystery - will have to make some “educated” guesses.

 

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JohnnyHardtail

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319
Interesting project.    Do you know the reason for the unusual bridge?

Do you agree with the comment on the blog page about the neck pickup being "probably a Super Distortion 2" ?
 

kerouac

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Guessing it was due to a possible Jake E. Lee influence. I believe it was loosely copied from the bridge on one of his guitars.

Yes, the Super 2 DP104. It does seem to have the right sound.
 

booneh

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19
Very curious what the bridge actually is. I haven’t seen a Charvel bridge with the correct screw layout. I thought maybe it was an old Gotoh but ruled that out. Sorry to bring this back up but I’ve been down a rabbit hole about it lately.
 

bagman67

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8,235
Very curious what the bridge actually is. I haven’t seen a Charvel bridge with the correct screw layout. I thought maybe it was an old Gotoh but ruled that out. Sorry to bring this back up but I’ve been down a rabbit hole about it lately.

This story of one man's quest to replicate Blue gives some ideas:

 

booneh

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This story of one man's quest to replicate Blue gives some ideas:

I think this article is where the bridge mystery started for most people. The Jake E. Lee/Charvel connection seems to be a dead end. It’s similar but not the same. My guess is that it was a bridge Warmoth sold back in the day, and Jason Cropper thought it’d sound better. Kerouac’s bridge looks exactly the same.

As a show of good faith, here’s what I’ve been able to gather about the red Strat:
• Body: 90s-ish Fender Strat. Probably import. Looks like Torino red to me.
• Neck: replacement, probably Warmoth. Roller nut, looks like Fender LSR. Possibly Sperzel tuners. A big fat string retainer, looks like a Hipshot to me.
• Bridge: six screw trem, chrome. Probably screwed down to the body.
• Pickguard: tortoiseshell. Probably hand-modded, which explains the pickup surrounds. The bridge surround is cream, the neck is black.
• Pickups: black Seymour Duncan JB bridge, black Seymour Duncan hot rails middle, red and yellow Dimarzio Humbucker From Hell neck, with coil split.
• Volume: looks like a black Gibson knob with gold insert to me, but it’s hard to say. Probably a push/pull pot for the neck coil split.
• Tone: no knob. Likely a black ice control, since Karl mentioned the wiring for the blue Strat was based on the red.
 

kerouac

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Very curious what the bridge actually is. I haven’t seen a Charvel bridge with the correct screw layout. I thought maybe it was an old Gotoh but ruled that out. Sorry to bring this back up but I’ve been down a rabbit hole about it lately.

It's an ESP Special T. It's similar, but with different spacing (54mm) and not as heavy. It originally had chrome saddles, but I think Rivers swapped his out for string savers too (there's a slight gap between each saddle, suggesting the 52mm spacing)

ESP offered them on the Jake E Lee signature model and also separately. This one was actually from an ESP Strat body that I found on eBay (coincidentally 1994 and sonic blue) - the neck pocket was stamped California Customs or something like that.

I did have the Charvel bridge initially - sounded a lot brighter and wasn't as loud unplugged.

I think this article is where the bridge mystery started for most people. The Jake E. Lee/Charvel connection seems to be a dead end. It’s similar but not the same. My guess is that it was a bridge Warmoth sold back in the day, and Jason Cropper thought it’d sound better. Kerouac’s bridge looks exactly the same.

As a show of good faith, here’s what I’ve been able to gather about the red Strat:
• Body: 90s-ish Fender Strat. Probably import. Looks like Torino red to me.
• Neck: replacement, probably Warmoth. Roller nut, looks like Fender LSR. Possibly Sperzel tuners. A big fat string retainer, looks like a Hipshot to me.
• Bridge: six screw trem, chrome. Probably screwed down to the body.
• Pickguard: tortoiseshell. Probably hand-modded, which explains the pickup surrounds. The bridge surround is cream, the neck is black.
• Pickups: black Seymour Duncan JB bridge, black Seymour Duncan hot rails middle, red and yellow Dimarzio Humbucker From Hell neck, with coil split.
• Volume: looks like a black Gibson knob with gold insert to me, but it’s hard to say. Probably a push/pull pot for the neck coil split.
• Tone: no knob. Likely a black ice control, since Karl mentioned the wiring for the blue Strat was based on the red.

Yeah, most likely. Interestingly the bridge is still in use today on Rivers' backup guitar.

Thanks for that. Jason said in a fairly recent podcast that it was MIJ - so that would narrow it down to an E-series Fender or Squier. I'm using a basswood body from Warmoth, since I'd just end up stripping all the other parts if I got an 80s MIJ Strat.

String retainer and nut are Wilkinson. They were sold as a set back then.

I'm not sure on the bridge pickup. I think Karl had said it was most likely a TB-59, but I can't see a logo - so it's possible that it could be a Dimarzio as well. Gold pole pieces as well.

As for the black ice. I don't know about the red Strat, but I've never been convinced that the blue one had it. Just two volume controls.

Reason is that he didn't use a channel switcher and would use the guitar's volume control for cleaner sounds. There are also a few examples where he has the neck pickup muted and switches to the bridge pickup on full.

But yes, as far as the bridge goes - there is a company on eBay selling replicas of the original one (supposedly the ESP is a modified clone) but with the inverted color scheme. Not cheap either.
 

booneh

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19
What a great find. I didn’t realize JEL had an ESP signature too, there’s that Japanese connection. Thank you for sharing that. It’s more of a curiosity. I want to make a guitar based on a number of famous humbucker strats, but may end up using a modern bridge if I ever get to working on it, unless something cool like this turns up.

I wish there was just one close up of that red guitar. I’ve never actually seen the middle pickup. Sometimes the knob looks like a knurled Tele. Some sources say a JB and some say a 59. It may be something else like you say, but a 59 would probably cover the most ground between them. Some of the hardware looks gold, but some of that is film halation from the pictures.

I’m doubting that there’s a black ice in the red now. But I’m still thinking there’s one in the blue, and his subsequent strats. You can see him controlling both pickups with volume 1, usually cranking it into distortion after changing pickups, then tweaking volume 2 after that. It seems to be a distortion tone control rather than providing any actual distortion. With it low his tone is tight and growling. With it up, it’s more fuzzy or fluffy. the effect would be subtle with such low output pickups, but the red was even lower so it probably wouldn’t work at all. I might be wrong but that’s what I see.
 

kerouac

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What a great find. I didn’t realize JEL had an ESP signature too, there’s that Japanese connection. Thank you for sharing that. It’s more of a curiosity. I want to make a guitar based on a number of famous humbucker strats, but may end up using a modern bridge if I ever get to working on it, unless something cool like this turns up.

I wish there was just one close up of that red guitar. I’ve never actually seen the middle pickup. Sometimes the knob looks like a knurled Tele. Some sources say a JB and some say a 59. It may be something else like you say, but a 59 would probably cover the most ground between them. Some of the hardware looks gold, but some of that is film halation from the pictures.

I’m doubting that there’s a black ice in the red now. But I’m still thinking there’s one in the blue, and his subsequent strats. You can see him controlling both pickups with volume 1, usually cranking it into distortion after changing pickups, then tweaking volume 2 after that. It seems to be a distortion tone control rather than providing any actual distortion. With it low his tone is tight and growling. With it up, it’s more fuzzy or fluffy. the effect would be subtle with such low output pickups, but the red was even lower so it probably wouldn’t work at all. I might be wrong but that’s what I see.

No problem. If I were doing another one and didn't have the ESP bridge, I'd go with the Warmoth 54mm hardtail (narrow spaced Strat) and some string saver saddles. I don't think the added mass on the ESP affects the sound significantly - it's noticeably lighter than the Charvel. Plus if you found the correct bridge later on, you wouldn't have to modify the body.

I have a few pictures. Best guess is that the middle pickup is the neck pickup from Jason's telecaster. Previously it was a hot rails type pickup.

It's smaller than a Strat pickup (slight gap on the right side)

blue album sessions.jpeg

weezer93_2.jpg

As for the distortion circuit, another possibility is that it's wired for a master volume with a separate volume for the neck pickup. The second control does seem to affect the overall output of the neck pickup. The Bizarre 1996 video of Say It Ain't So is an example. Right before the first chorus.
 

booneh

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No problem. If I were doing another one and didn't have the ESP bridge, I'd go with the Warmoth 54mm hardtail (narrow spaced Strat) and some string saver saddles. I don't think the added mass on the ESP affects the sound significantly - it's noticeably lighter than the Charvel. Plus if you found the correct bridge later on, you wouldn't have to modify the body.

I have a few pictures. Best guess is that the middle pickup is the neck pickup from Jason's telecaster. Previously it was a hot rails type pickup.

It's smaller than a Strat pickup (slight gap on the right side)

View attachment 58598

View attachment 58599

As for the distortion circuit, another possibility is that it's wired for a master volume with a separate volume for the neck pickup. The second control does seem to affect the overall output of the neck pickup. The Bizarre 1996 video of Say It Ain't So is an example. Right before the first chorus.
That’s interesting, and good to know. Obviously his newer guitars still sound good with the Warmoth bridges. A Gotoh is a pretty good visual match too.

1664386867797.jpeg

I recently saw this picture as well. The Hot Rails was white. But now that you mention the Tele pickup, I’m definitely seeing it, which explains why some people said it was a “lipstick pickup.”

The bridge saddles aren’t original either. It’s hard to make out, but they don’t look like modern style Fenders, they’re that squat shape that a lot of high mass bridges had in the 80s. They actually look just like the ESP bridge’s original saddles. Which is lucky for you, but invites lots of other questions about that bridge.

I rewatched a video of them playing “Lullaby For Wayne” in 93 recently and noticed that Jason turned down his Telecaster with both knobs, too. So the blue Strat’s wiring was probably based on that guitar, not the red.
 

kerouac

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16
That’s interesting, and good to know. Obviously his newer guitars still sound good with the Warmoth bridges. A Gotoh is a pretty good visual match too.

View attachment 58606

I recently saw this picture as well. The Hot Rails was white. But now that you mention the Tele pickup, I’m definitely seeing it, which explains why some people said it was a “lipstick pickup.”

The bridge saddles aren’t original either. It’s hard to make out, but they don’t look like modern style Fenders, they’re that squat shape that a lot of high mass bridges had in the 80s. They actually look just like the ESP bridge’s original saddles. Which is lucky for you, but invites lots of other questions about that bridge.

I rewatched a video of them playing “Lullaby For Wayne” in 93 recently and noticed that Jason turned down his Telecaster with both knobs, too. So the blue Strat’s wiring was probably based on that guitar, not the red.

I remember seeing that picture several years back. Must be from 1992. The pickup was likely swapped out when the paint was scraped off.


I’m not sure about the saddles on the red one. I’m going with string savers on the replica, but it’s possible that they’re the same type as the 80s brass bridges like you say. Doesn’t look like they’re raw finish though.


The ones on the ESP were a bit different. I think I still have them - I’ll post a picture if I can find them.


I have an idea of what the wiring was. Just not sure of the exact pot/cap values, but I suspect the middle pickup wasn’t functioning.
 

booneh

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I remember seeing that picture several years back. Must be from 1992. The pickup was likely swapped out when the paint was scraped off.


I’m not sure about the saddles on the red one. I’m going with string savers on the replica, but it’s possible that they’re the same type as the 80s brass bridges like you say. Doesn’t look like they’re raw finish though.


The ones on the ESP were a bit different. I think I still have them - I’ll post a picture if I can find them.


I have an idea of what the wiring was. Just not sure of the exact pot/cap values, but I suspect the middle pickup wasn’t functioning.
Yeah, that picture’s from 92, and the pickup definitely got swapped, it’s just the only well-lit unobstructed shot I’ve seen of it. I’d like to imagine that it’s the same hot rails that ended up in Brian Bell’s Melody Maker but there’s no evidence of that.

The string saver classics would look good on there. Since it’s unclear what the bridge pickup is, it’s always going to be a little influenced by the blue Strat. And getting 100% is going to be impossible. Warmoth doesn’t even sell a period correct neck anymore.

It might be just my interpretation but I’m seeing PRS/Mann Made keyhole saddles. Getting the real deal is ridiculously expensive, but you can get knockoffs on eBay.

1664665316205.jpeg

It’d be interesting to know for sure exactly what worked. Karl mentioned it was capable of some very weird sounds, but that’s not super helpful. The only pickup I’ve ever seen selected is the neck, and I know Rivers used the coil split for cleans (which is the “Only In Dreams” tone). Everything but the neck pickup and the volume pot would be cosmetic or experimental.

Doing all this research has gotten me kind of wanting to make my own. I’d probably throw a Free-Way switch and a Tremol-No in it to make it even more versatile.
 
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Spud

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929
Can someone explain the allure or awesomeness of Weezers music? I don't get it. :unsure:
 

booneh

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Can someone explain the allure or awesomeness of Weezers music? I don't get it. :unsure:
I think it’s a particular combination of musical ideas that either work for you or don’t. Like kettle corn. Or Hawaiian pizza.
 

kerouac

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Yeah, that picture’s from 92, and the pickup definitely got swapped, it’s just the only well-lit unobstructed shot I’ve seen of it. I’d like to imagine that it’s the same hot rails that ended up in Brian Bell’s Melody Maker but there’s no evidence of that.

The string saver classics would look good on there. Since it’s unclear what the bridge pickup is, it’s always going to be a little influenced by the blue Strat. And getting 100% is going to be impossible. Warmoth doesn’t even sell a period correct neck anymore.

It might be just my interpretation but I’m seeing PRS/Mann Made keyhole saddles. Getting the real deal is ridiculously expensive, but you can get knockoffs on eBay.

View attachment 58621

It’d be interesting to know for sure exactly what worked. Karl mentioned it was capable of some very weird sounds, but that’s not super helpful. The only pickup I’ve ever seen selected is the neck, and I know Rivers used the coil split for cleans (which is the “Only In Dreams” tone). Everything but the neck pickup and the volume pot would be cosmetic or experimental.

Doing all this research has gotten me kind of wanting to make my own. I’d probably throw a Free-Way switch and a Tremol-No in it to make it even more versatile.

Yeah, definitely possible. I'm guessing they chose the TB-59 based on the sound of Ric Ocasek's 50s LP Junior.

I managed to get a period correct neck for the blue one. Spec is close enough, but will need to be drilled properly for the Sperzels. It's essentially Vintage Construction (single acting truss rod) but 22 frets.

IMG_5900.jpg

IMG_5901.jpg

That's what I thought I was seeing.

That's true, though I recall reading about Ocasek trying to get them to use the bridge pickup more. Interestingly if you listen to the isolated guitar from Say it Ain't So (bridge) and Undone (solo), you can hear the bridge springs resonating. Apparently they ended up filling the cavity with paper towels to prevent it.

I think it’s a particular combination of musical ideas that either work for you or don’t. Like kettle corn. Or Hawaiian pizza.

Yep, though there are lots of different 'eras' too. For me it's also the guitar sound on the first album... one of my favorites of all time.
 

stratamania

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9,205
Until this thread, I honestly thought Weezer, were just a made up band used in a video on Windows 95 in a Happy Days setting. They must be known more in the US, probably.
 

booneh

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Yeah, definitely possible. I'm guessing they chose the TB-59 based on the sound of Ric Ocasek's 50s LP Junior.

I managed to get a period correct neck for the blue one. Spec is close enough, but will need to be drilled properly for the Sperzels. It's essentially Vintage Construction (single acting truss rod) but 22 frets.

View attachment 58632

View attachment 58633

That's what I thought I was seeing.

That's true, though I recall reading about Ocasek trying to get them to use the bridge pickup more. Interestingly if you listen to the isolated guitar from Say it Ain't So (bridge) and Undone (solo), you can hear the bridge springs resonating. Apparently they ended up filling the cavity with paper towels to prevent it.



Yep, though there are lots of different 'eras' too. For me it's also the guitar sound on the first album... one of my favorites of all time.
Given that finding out the neck profiles at this point is very unlikely (apparently they were thicker than the very thin original Japanese neck) I think that neck is dead on for the red and the blue. Your thoroughness is impressive.

I’ve been wondering lately if the bridge pickup is original. There were Japanese Fender Contemporary Strats with vintage hardware but with a Dragster humbucker in the bridge, and I’ve seen them in torino red (bright red). I’m not sure the availability in the US, but apparently that pickup is very low output and chimey, so it could work. And they look right. A lot of people pull them from their Jaguar HHs, so you can still find them.

Those first two records are some of the best rock recordings of all time. They way Chris Shaw captured the guitars on the first album is pure magic. Dave Fridmann’s drum engineering on Pinkerton is a favorite of mine as well. I still get something out of most Weezer albums these days, but those first two are unbeatable.

Until this thread, I honestly thought Weezer, were just a made up band used in a video on Windows 95 in a Happy Days setting. They must be known more in the US, probably.
It’s at this point that I recommend listening to “My Name Is Jonas,” you should instantly know if this is a rabbit hole you want to go down.
 
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