My goal was to make a Strat-shaped guitar with a big LP-style sound. I mostly play hard rock bordering on metal, and sometimes when noodling around at home I play a little clean blues bordering on rock. I'm extremely happy with it, though if you look closely there are a few signs of my amateur work. That's all cosmetic, though, and it sounds like a million bucks. Unfortunately the bridge pickup is a little harsh-sounding for my tastes but the neck and neck+bridge positions sound very LP-like. I may replace the bridge pickup at some point.
This is my first Warmoth project. Thanks to everyone at unofficialwarmoth.com and everyone at Warmoth, especially Gregg and Spike. :headbang:
Black korina/black korina hollow Strat, recessed string-through TOM bridge, SD Custom 5 and SD '59 pickups, contoured heel, all chrome hardware, vol/tone/3-way (rotary). I actually like the back of the body better than the front, which is unusually dark and stripey, but it's nicely bookmatched so it looks just fine.
Ebony fingerboard, rosewood neck, Strat headstock, Schaller locking tuners, Warmoth pro construction, compound radius, corian nut, stainless frets.
Body and neck both came from the showcase.
I wanted the controls to look very minimal. There are simply three chrome knobs in a line parallel to the neck, a la Telecaster.
The volume pot is push/push and will be used to tap the humbies. The switch is a 4P3T rotary affair from Mouser (part # CK1062). It has a long, plastic shaft. I trimmed the shaft and drilled a hole through it for the chrome knob's set screw. The pots are 500K and the tone cap is .22 uF.
The circuit is fairly straightforward. I contacted Seymour Duncan to confirm that the schematic they list on their site is hum-cancelling when both pickups are on and tapped; turns out you have to swap which coil gets tapped out to get the cancelling to work.
I bought some "natural" colored grain-filler and some pure tung oil from Woodcraft, and a chunk of red oak to test it on. It seems "natural" means "white". I tried darkening it up with some acrylic paint but it took a whole lot of paint so that it became difficult to sand off.
So I went back to Woodcraft and got some "mahogany" grain filler. When I got home and opened it up I was dismayed to find that it has the color of Pepto-Bismol. I tried it out on my oak and it dries to a reddish color. By adding just a little black acrylic I could change the color of the wet filler to a nasty greyish purple, which dries to a dark brown. The tung oil warms up the color further so I decided I'd roll with it.
I sanded the body to 400 grit, which revealed a little flame in the wood. I applied grain filler, perhaps too thickly, and it took a ton of 220 sanding to get it off. I smoothed it out to 320 and the grain seemed quite well-filled, so I decided one coat was enough. (Turned out I was wrong there; the oil really shows every bit of unfilled grain, so it doesn't look completely filled. I don't mind.) I sanded it to 400 again and began applying tung oil.
The first two coats were 50% tung oil and 50% mineral spirits. The other two coats were pure tung oil. Each coat was applied by rubbing the body with paper towels dipped in the oil. Between each coat I waited 24 hours and scuffed the finish with 0000 steel wool.
It could use some more oil to get a glossier finish, but I've always preferred satin, and anyway I'm not patient enough to spend weeks oiling it!
I installed the tuners a little inexpertly so they're not perfectly aligned with each other. Only one of them was sufficiently "off" that I redrilled the hole to reposition it. Without close inspection they're basically in line now. I added a chrome Warmoth logo to the headstock. Bling!
I shielded the control cavity and its cover and wired it up. Unfortunately I was a little drunk when I did this so the solders are a bit messy, but it all works and is very quiet even when tapped.
The setup was done by Spruce Tree Music in Madison, WI. The intonation is perfect and the action is good.
New, I added tru-oil to the body... it's glossier now. I've got some MUCH nicer pictures, too, now that I borrowed a real digital camera:
New, sound clip!! Recorded with the built-in mic on my Boss BR-600. No effects, straight into my Carvin V3 into a Mesa 4x12. The neck and bridge samples are on the same channel, the "split" (by which I mean both pickups tapped) is on the clean channel. (Don't hate, I know it's not great music, it's just so you can hear the sound.)