Making Amends for a First Time Builders' Faux Pas


Hey, all.

I'm a first time Warmoth builder and new to the Warmoth forums.  I already submitted this for GotM August, so I apologize for having done things backwards :)  Someone mentioned that having an unboxing thread or an in progress thread was appreciated rather than just having a guitar show up in GotM out of nowhere.  I had no idea people would care, but it's awesome that they do!  In order to make amends and bring everyone into the fold on my thought process for the build, I wanted to create a new thread here.  Next time, I'll be sure to document the whole process in the right order, from the beginning :)

I'm 37 and have been playing guitar since I was about 12.  I've got a bunch of guitars that I've been collecting since I was a kid - American Fat Strat Deluxe (Mid-90's), Roland VG-Strat (2010's) that I put Fender Custom Shop '69 pickups in, CIJ Fender 50's Tele Reissue (Mid-90's) with Bigsby and Texas Special pickups, Martin HD-28, Burns' Brian May Signature, Les Paul Standard (2002), Schecter Bass, and Danelectro Longhorn Bass.  I'd still love to get a Gretsch and a Rickenbacker some day.  That said, I stumbled upon Warmoth, was incredibly impressed, and thought, it seemed like it would be really cool to build something totally custom, unique, and super high end for the cost of getting another guitar that a bunch of people have.

My main axe has always been a Stratocaster, especially my mid-90's Fat Strat that I got when I was around 16.  I love the strat neck, look of the body, and single coil sound (Hendrix, Knopfler, and SRV probably being the biggest influences on most of my playing -- there's some EVH and Jerry Garcia in there, too -- the latter influencing the flexibility I was looking for).  Since it's a Fat Strat and has a humbucker in the bridge, I could never get that 'Strat bridge' tone.  I always thought about putting a coil split in it, but never did.  I play everything from jazz through to (wannabe) shred, with blues / blues rock being my 'sweet spot'. 

While I prefer the single coil sound, I love the humbucker sound, too.  I wondered if I could get something that could do it all.  That's when I discovered the Seymour Duncan P-Rails pickups (essentially 4 pickups in one - single coil rail, P-90 (for some Neil Young goodness), series humbucker, and parallel humbucker (this has actually become my favorite).  I knew these were the ones!

In the process of researching the P-Rails pickups, I found some combos that used the Seymour Duncan Vintage Rails pickup in the middle position with push/pull wiring that allowed for the full spectrum of scenarios while keeping the guitar clean.

Since I'm a 'Strat guy', I was looking for having a Strat electronics layout, but not necessarily with another 'Strat'.  I also don't have any hollow/semi-hollow guitars, although the Brian May is chambered.  The Tele is one of my favorite guitars and Warmoth offers both thinline and chambered Teles with the Strat contours/sculpting.  Ultimately, the thinline version didn't allow for the strat electronic layout, so I went with chambered.  This was perfect! -- Something a bit different, yet still familiar.  Admittedly, the f-hole is purely cosmetic, but I wanted it.

For the neck, of course it had to be a Strat neck!  That said, I was interested to see what a standard strat width and profile would feel like with the slightly shorter Gibson scale.  I don't really care for the Gibson necks in comparison to Fender necks, personally, but thought this might be an interesting combo.  I thought, "Let's give it a shot!"

Body Woods -- I went around and around with this.  All my current electrics are stained or painted 'standard' woods and finishes.  I wanted something 'special' -- high grade and natural...something that had an almost high-end acoustic vibe.  I was initially looking at a rosewood top, influenced by George Harrison's rosewood Tele, but I ended up going with a satin finish birdseye maple top on a chambered, roasted swamp ash body -- the swamp ash stemming from both my existing reissue Tele and Fat Strat.

Neck -- I've always preferred maple necks on strats, again, back to my Fat Strat.  I wanted something beyond the normal quatersawn or rock maple.  So, flame it was.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to go with a maple fretboard as it just all seemed a little to needed some contrast.  Ebony is also bright sounding, like maple, but gives the contrast.  The Macassar Ebony has caramel veins running through it, giving a more rich appearance (the photos don't really show it, though).  Macassar it was!  I love abalone dots, so that choice was easy.

Hardware -- I'm not a fan of gold, personally, although I think it would have looked good with this build, and since I knew I wanted a rear route for the clean look, I wanted to go with chrome knobs.  I chose the schaller, staggered locking tuners because I love locking tuners and didn't want string trees, again for the clean look.  I went with the LSR roller nut because it has been good to me in the past.  I was originally wanting to put the 2 pt. Fender tremelo on, but it didn't fit the route that Warmoth offered.  I researched the Wilkinson tremelo, and it seemed to be an even better is!

This guitar was less than a Ric 360, but it still was an investment and something very special to me, so I wanted it 'built right.'  There's a luthier here in town (Austin, TX) that has worked on guitars for Bob Dylan, Gary Clark Jr., etc., and I've had him set up my guitars in the past with outstanding results.  He's got the only plek machine in TX.  I wanted him to build it -- no chances :) 

The guitar turned out EXACTLY like I imagined, in every way!  Warmoth is INCREDIBLE!

Have a great day, y'all, and happy building! :)



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Thanks for the the post Kingua.

The forum is relatively niche, so it is appreciated when newer members get involved and participate. Post pics, shoot the breeze and that sort of thing.

For information: Warmoth does offer a rout for the two post Fender trem, its called the American Standard tremolo or American Standard Strat. The six screw one is called vintage six screw or something like that.

Welcome to the forum kingua - the only thing you really need to to do around here is take no notice of me. I have peculiar tastes and opinions in most things and may have been drunk, wired or asleep when I posted in the GOTM voting thread.

That's a helluva guitar and the best possible way to make an introduction here. (You can take notice of that if you like.)

Assume the back is trans brown over the roasted swamp ash(?)
Thanks, everyone!  It means a lot!

@Fat Pete, I took no offense to your comment.  Quite the contrary -- it got me to dig a little deeper into the forums and discover that the community here is actually interested and involved :)

The back is actually clear over the roasted swamp ash.  I thought about doing a brown stain on it, but I came across this video,, when I was in my obsessive / choosing parts phase and watching every warmoth video I could find.  Adding the clear over roasted woods makes the wood way darker than one would expect.
It's a really beautiful guitar.
there was really tight competition this month (as usual).
I had to double check who I voted for, wasn't sure if it was yours or not (I sort of flipped a coin).
Thanks, Seamas :)  It was an incredibly tight competition.  I was blown away by the entire lot!  3 of them were REALLY outstanding to a special level, but all are absolutely worthy of bonified awe.  To be honest, I knew Rgand was going to win as soon as his guitar showed up...very well deserved!...just such a cool idea, and being so hands on.  I'm truly honored to have been runner up!

It's incredible what y'all build and incredible that we have Warmoth to provide the foundation!
When I do another (which will likely be a while), I'd love to do a true hollow body -- maybe a Mooncaster?  Since I got the natural thing out of my system, I think I'd like to go for paint.  It seems that the 'stock' choices for the Mooncaster are all premium tops / stain-clear only(?).  I had a strat years ago with an Ocean Turquoise metallic finish with matching headstock.  I'd love to get something in that finish again! 
kingua said:
When I do another (which will likely be a while), I'd love to do a true hollow body -- maybe a Mooncaster?  Since I got the natural thing out of my system, I think I'd like to go for paint.  It seems that the 'stock' choices for the Mooncaster are all premium tops / stain-clear only(?).  I had a strat years ago with an Ocean Turquoise metallic finish with matching headstock.  I'd love to get something in that finish again!

A metallic-finished Mooncaster with matching headstock? It would be a repulsive, vile thing and you would likely be shunned by all guitardom, if not all humanity.

(Please stop stealing my dreams.)
I did a bound satin finish Seafoam Green Mooncaster a year or two ago, so I know they've done them in the past. But, I just went into the builder to see if I could reproduce it and couldn't. Rules may have changed, or there may be a call-in requirement. Sometimes the online builder doesn't give you options that the factory will agree to do if you call and ask.
The builder's never given options for opaque finishes on 'fancy' tops, so if you want a solid colour on maple you have to call as they only list figured stock. 'Plain' woods allow all the finish choices.