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New Guitar Build: Strat with F-Hole


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fhole2.jpg

 

fhole_1.jpg

 

So, I had a pretty bad day today. Major argument, etc. Anyway, that's not important. What is important is that I decided to utilize my anger/frustration/depression for a good cause; building a new guitar out of random parts I had around (and some I picked up so that it would be functional). The nice thing about it is it kicks total ass.

 

I had bought this american strat neck from Steven a while back and intended to put it on my stereo strat, but it didn't seem to jive for whatever reason. I had also been trying out these zexcoil pickups in the neck and middle of that guitar and, while they sound really nice, they didn't match the vibe of the other pickups that well. However, I had a spare univox humbucker from the 70s that was from the neck of a hi-flier but which i thought was too dark for the neck (as far as I can tell it's exactly the same as the bridge pickup besides screw orientation)...and I had that neck in a corner by my desk...and had picked up a cheap refinished strat body that someone had routed an f-hole into for whatever reason makes you think that's a good idea...

 

So, I picked up some nice tuning machines so it wouldn't suck; got some pickguard screws so it would be a guitar and cobbled together the electronics from miscellaneous switches I had around combined with a 1Meg pot, a knob, a jack, and jackplate, I had around (mostly from my stereo strat before it became what it is); combined a variety of spare bridge saddles I had around; and had a white pickguard with the right pickup configuration/layout.

 

Well...I hate white pickguards on anything but white guitars, so I took a paint pen I use for marking the Shoe pedals and did sort of an impressionistic "black pickguard"

 

Then of course, I took some shielding tape and another paint pen and made a new f-hole.

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Oh yeah, the electronics:

 

Ok, so this thing looks like it came from a 90s grunge band but the electronics are actually fairly sophisticated and also almost dead quiet.

 

The Zexcoils are a pretty new pickup type/brand. They are 6-coil pickups but they are also split in the middle like a split coil (think P-bass type humbucker). They use very strong neodymium magnets that stick like crazy to every piece of metal from the backside but the pole pieces diffuse that field in such a way that the top of the pickup has a very weak magnetic pull on the strings (or other metal objects). The neck is voiced as sort of a hot alnico V sound and the mid is voiced more like an alnico II.

 

These are literally the most noiseless pickups I've ever used. They are quieter than every traditional humbucker I've tried (including the bridge pickup I have in here) and literally contribute no noise even in my RF-infested apartment. They are a touch dark/more compressed I found with a 250k pot so that's why I went with the 1Meg (also the Univox pickup is sort of darkish itself). Anyway, since they are split coils and have 4-conductor wiring, the switch next to the volume knob crosses the two pickups, so in the neck and middle positions you get half the signal from each pickup. Mid Bass Strings + Neck Treble Strings in neck position, the opposite in middle position. The other switch puts neck + mid in series which should sound amazing with the bridge pickup in parallel (2 position) except that apparently the phase on univox pickups is opposite that of the zexcoils so...well I'll reverse some wires when I need to change strings next time.

 

The univox is awesome on its own. I have no idea what it's made of (maybe one of you knows) but it's very hot and pretty clear despite being only a 7.9k humbucker. It's a distortion monster and pairs super well with marshall-type amps. Has a bit of a white stripes vibe to it, actually. Lots of character.

 

So, that's pretty much it. No tone knob. I never use them anyway and they roll off some high end.

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Bummer, already?


Anyhow, that guitar looks cool. I have a random junk guitar that I mess with sometimes. How do those funky pickups sound?

 

 

Ha ha i meant saturday was a bad day.

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:)
Gotcha, so this was an overnight project.


Those pickups seem pretty interesting, maybe they'll come up with a cool Tele pickup some day so I can try one.

 

They do have one, actually. For the bridge.

 

[video=youtube;r8hR-mdwo1k]

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Hmmm, I might have to check that out when they start selling it, I've been looking for something interesting to put in a tele. How does you thing play, you got it all set up and everything too?

 

 

Yeah, plays awesome and sounds good. I did all the intonation/action adjustments.

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is it very superficial like a slight stamp, or does it really cut out some wood?


obviously it was for appearances - so I wonder why a decal was not acceptable...

 

 

I actually thought it was a decal when I bought it (on ebay) but no, it's like...3/4" deep. Was considering filling it with wood filler before applying an offensive sticker, but...well I didn't have any wood filler.

 

Tone chamber!

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