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WRGKMC

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Picked up a set of these generic 59 PAF's with Alnico 5 magnets.   I have a Plexiglass Flying V needing a different set.  I had put a set of Filtertron/TV Jones Clones in there and didn't like the sound I got.  I've bought a couple of sets of mini humbuckers from this guy that sounded pretty good.  Not sure if they are Artec pickups or whether he actually makes them.  The parts used are definitely identical to others.   

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What I like most about these is how they retain a clean bright edge when gained up. They have a more aggressive touch running clean too.  I'm thinking about getting a second set of these to put in my Epi Dot.  The Dot originally had tamer/darker sounding Epi pickups which had a less aggressive tone likely based on a potted 57 PAF.  Very generic sounding and simply passible when cranked.  These 59ers have that aggressive edge without the mid boost.  Just what that DOT needs.  Their winds are vintage too with a Neck having 7.5K and Bridge 8.6K.  The set was $38 which isn't bad at all for a decent build.  They aren't Seymour or Gibson but I wasn't looking to spend that kind of money on a Novelty guitar. 

While I was out shopping I found a decent body for one of the spare Strat necks I have.  The one I bought is supposed to be Maple and have a finish.  The pic they posted doesn't look like Maple to me.  This one looks more like unfinished Popular to me but they did mention the photo looked different. Doesn't matter what kind of wood it is once its been painted.  Something like this bight be OK natural.  I have several guitars with all maple bodies and necks. The tone isn't as bright as you'd think, though the weight can be higher then I prefer. 

I had to get a bunch of hardware too, Bridge, Back plate, Jack plate  and a couple of other odds and ends.  Normally I make my own bodies but I don't have a router for doing the bridge and pickup route like this, Plus for $21 including shipping?  I cant even buy the wood locally at that price, plus the labor involved.  I got one really nice Tele  neck for a build too.  I have the wood for that one Its simply a matter of finding the time to get it done.   

 

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This seller has multiple body listings This one below looks more like maple to me.  The one above he other listings as Barrel Wood, whatever that's supposed to be.  Real barrels are typically made of Oak. Guess I'll just have to wait and see what shows up. 

As far as finish goes I'll likely do this one using Tung oil.  I have 3/4 of a can left which is plenty. It will yellow the wood for a more antique look which will match the Yellow lacquer neck I have too. I already have the pickguard and pickups too so I wont have to mess with that much.  I should be able to complete this build for under $100 in parts and have a pretty decent player when I get done. 

 

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Edited by WRGKMC

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I finally got this one built. Had several complications along the way.

First, The body really had me spooked when I first got it. I swear I never had a guitar body so light.  At first I thought someone was playing a joke on me. The thing is ,made of Candlenut Wood which is darn near as light as Balsa wood.  A normal start body weighs between 7~8 Lbs. depending on the wood type.  This one cant weigh more then 1.5~2Lbs tops.  It had me worried about whether I could actually put screws in it and have them hold but so far so good. 

I first stained it with some Blueberry Stain I got at Home Depot, then used Tung oil which seems to be my favorite lately.  I could have left the stain slightly lighter but its still not bad as is. The wood was fairly soft and it did soak up the stain quite deeply so I didn't have much of a choice besides thinning it.  Tung oil works well with oil based stain so there is no rejection.

The mounting of the electronics and hardware went as planned and uneventful.  Strats are one of the easiest guitars to assemble so long as you take a little time to measure things out. 

I had the choice or 4 different necks including a really nice Tele neck with a rosewood fretboard.  I settles using the all maple Strat neck with the large headstock.

While waiting for some additional hardware to arrive I went to work touching up the frets.  That's when I discovered something very wrong. The neck had thin SS frets and a dual action Truss Rod which means it could be pitched forward or back.  Something definitely didn't look right so I used my notched straight edge to first try and get the fretboard level but I could only get the high or low side level leaving the other side bowed back or having too much relief.  I may have been able to compensate using extra high frets and leveling them but the neck looked twisted which pretty much meant a lost cause.  

Then I noticed the fret board got progressively thicker near the nut on the high side. It wasn't just a little either it was almost 2mm thicker compared to the other side. Whoever made this one totally botched plaining the thing properly.  I figure what the heck, it was a new challenge and I didn't like those thin frets anyway.  I cracked out my electric sander and straight edge and went to work leveling the thing. The work went better much then I had hoped. Had it dead level as best as I could get it short of using a belt sander.

Next I had to put a finish back on it.  The neck had a really nice yellow finish which I wasn't going to be able to match without buying yellow lacquer. I instead put a coat of lacquer on it followed by 2 coats of Tung Oil. Looked really good so I went ahead and installed the frets then did another coat of the Tung oil over the frets to seal their edges. Other then one small blemish near the nut I really cant complain.  I only had one fret that wound up being a little high so I removed very little material leveling and re-crowning and it plays like a dream.  Its a wider Strat neck but its not chunky.  It actually plays allot like my old LP Deluxe did.

I still have a little cosmetic work to do and I want to find some different caps for the tone controls which wound up being a bit too mild.  

Best part by far is the tone of this thing.  I knew the body would resonate quite a bit because it had a bell tone when I tapped the body. I thought the wood would make a decent Xylophone if cut up.  With it all tweaked and cranked up I quickly realized this things sounded more like a Semi hollow body then my actual semi Hollow bodies do. The sound is really bright but not lacking in full range sound at all.  If anything I call it a bright Jangle with just enough bottom end so it doesn't sound thin.  Its almost three dimensional because the acoustic sound mixes with the electric making it sound three dimensional.  Cranked up and tapping the body I can male any of the 6 strings self sustain with the A string being dominant.  No problem getting Strat Midrange Talk Tones from this one. Cranked its has excellent chime harmonics at all the fret intervals. This thing rocks plus the floating bridge is working well. That graphite grease under the bridge makes it come back to perfect pitch. 

I have some gold hardware mixed with silver.  I had ordered a chrome jack plate but received gold.  Now I'm debating on making this one gold or chrome all the way.  No rush at this point.  nothing special on the pickups either.  They are actually noiseless Squire pickups which have ceramic magnets. I know that's sacrilegious for a Strat but they actually sound quite good both clean or driven and don't have low output issues like the TX Specials have in one of my other Strats. 

In all its a tad neck heavy but it doesn't neck dive.  Its light weight makes it practically unnoticeable when strapped up.  I cant weight to do some recordings with this one and see how well it mixes with other instruments.   The most I might have to do is a little fret polishing here and there and its good to go.   

 

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4 minutes ago, WRGKMC said:

A normal strat body weighs between 7~8 Lbs. depending on the wood type. 


More like 3.5 - 4.5 pounds for a raw (unfinished) alder or lightweight swamp ash body. Seven and a half to eight and a half pounds is the typical weight for an entire strat, maybe a tad more in some cases (especially in the case of the 70s era ash bodied examples) - but you're right in thinking that a 2 pound strat body is extremely light. I've never heard of  candlenut wood being used for a guitar body before, but it sounds like it's an inexpensive alternative wood that's really light in weight - kind of like paulownia wood. 

In any case, your project guitar looks like it turned out really nice - I like the overall look of the finish - well done! :cool2: 

So... how does it sound? Does the wood feel resonant? 

 

 

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Happy New Build Day. The guitar looks really good. The combination of the finish and the tortoise pickguard turned out well.

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9 minutes ago, DeepEnd said:

The combination of the finish and the tortoise pickguard turned out well.

 

Agreed - that was a really good pickguard choice for use with that body finish IMO. 

 

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Actually those unfinished photo's weren't delivered.  The large cavity is called a Boat route and is typically found on Squire Strats.  The vendor had a tracking number that showed delivery in Chicago and I live in Houston so I got a refund and reordered through another company.  The body I did wind up getting had a HSH routing which I actually wanted in case I wanted to try some other pickup combinations.

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23 hours ago, Phil O'Keefe said:


More like 3.5 - 4.5 pounds for a raw (unfinished) alder or lightweight swamp ash body. Seven and a half to eight and a half pounds is the typical weight for an entire strat, maybe a tad more in some cases (especially in the case of the 70s era ash bodied examples) - but you're right in thinking that a 2 pound strat body is extremely light. I've never heard of  candlenut wood being used for a guitar body before, but it sounds like it's an inexpensive alternative wood that's really light in weight - kind of like paulownia wood. 

In any case, your project guitar looks like it turned out really nice - I like the overall look of the finish - well done! :cool2: 

So... how does it sound? Does the wood feel resonant? 

 

 

I don't disagree.  I think those weights may have been for a loaded body.  Warmouth says the average Strat body weight is 5 lbs. and the complete guitar 8lbs which sounds about right.   One thing for sure, if a regular Strat is 8 lbs,  the one I built is half that weight. 

I played it again all last night for about 5 hours tweaking its settings to as close to perfection as I could get it.   I have the tremolo floating with 2 springs and can wobble the chord and have it come back to perfect pitch.  Playing chords is a dream on it too. 

I do have the high E and B strings hanging a bit.  I used cloned Kluson style tuners (without the split shaft)   I think the cheap plastic adaptor bushings I used  are pinching the tuner shafts a bit and the thin strings aren't producing enough pull.  I'm going to smooth and lubricate them when I change strings and see if that helps, if not I'll get some better tuners.  I went with the Kluson type for a reason. The strings angle down close to the headstock which produces less friction on the string trees. This helps reduce string binding and seems to help with the tone too.  Between that and having Traditional l Fender Bent steel bridge saddles really bring out the fender tones in a string.  Those thick metal saddles have a different tone to them. 

The other thing is I used the cheap plastic nut that came with the neck.  Didn't cost me anything and I can decide if I want to go with Bone, Brass, or graphite nut.  So far the guitars tone has been telling me bone is the ideal match for this one. 

 

The Tortoise shell pickguard did wind up being a good match on this one.  I was tempted to try something like an orange sparkle, but got lazy.  I already had this one with the pickups loaded so it was mounted first.   I got a set of locking strap locks for $2 and used those as well.  I figured with a guitar this light it might slip playing so locking its own strap on there wasn't a bad idea. 

Like I said, I'm in no rush to do any more at the moment.  I'm going to just play it for a month or two and let the finish cure till its rock hard then give it one more sanding to make the body smooth as glass then give it one final coat of Tung oil so its as smooth as a factory guitar.  As of now the finish has some grain lines which create highlights.  I have enough coats on there now where I can sand it smooth as glass then apply one last coat for a mirror finish.  After that I can simply use some swirl remover and paste wax to finish it off. 

I like using Tung because of its durability.  It doesn't scratch or chip like Lacquer does when you ding it. 

Its as darn near as hard as poly when you get enough layers on there. Poly cant be easily patched or sanded when it gets beat up.  Removing its a PITA too.   Tung is not as easily repaired as Lacquer is where you melt the new layer into the old, but since it does have allot of varnish in it and even if it goes on like layers of an onion it covers up what's below quite well so its second on my list for musical instruments.  I just wish they made in an aerosol can so you could spray it on like spray paint.  It would be allot easier to apply without the use of foam brushes and dealing with drip and brush marks. 

 

 

 

 

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I went and weighed the guitars on a digital scale. Surprise, surprise.  I used my Les Paul just to confirm the scale was working right and it weighed 11Lbs as the specs for that model are published. 

I next weighed my 80's Made in Japan Strat.  It came in at 9 Lbs.  It may have been a few ounces lighter before I replaced the neck with a large headstock replacement but also given removed that Fender version of a Floyd  tremolo It likely broke even at 9 lbs. 

After that I weighted a Squire Strat. It has a Boat route so the body has less wood, but its also got a fatter then normal neck.  That one came in at 8.8 Lbs. 

Then I weighed my new light body build. 4.4 Lbs.  That's half the weight of the others. 

 

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Thanks. 

I liked the tone and weight of the Strat so much I ordered a tele body from the same company.

The neck I have for the Tele is a rosewood 22 Fret and I already have all the hardware and pickups.

The only thing I'll need to get are the through body string ferrules and a pick guard and I'm good to go.

What I'll try on this one is mixing the stain with the Tung oil so its thinned out and I'll be able to add coats until I have the wood darkened exactly the way I want it instead of using stain and not being able to control how much absorption the grain gets. 

 

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Why not.  I have all the supplies so matching wont be hard. 

I bought a red shell pickguard for $4.75, instead of the darker brown which was more expensive/ I figured the red would have slightly more contrast from the body in case the body comes out dark.  Had to buy more pickguard screws, 100 for $3.25 and string Ferrules $8.32 for a dozen.  The body was $35, Bridge and control plates were $5 each, jack and plate, $1, Pickups were $6 for the pair and the neck was $21.  By the time I get the finish on and knobs its likely to cost me $100 in parts plus my labor. 

When you compare that to the Affinity Tele I bought for $175 a couple of years ago, I'm really not saving any money because the quality will be about the same.

The neck is a very good build however and I'll be using an compensated 3 saddle bridge and I'll likely put a mini humbucker in the neck which I already have on hand.  I'll just need to Dremil the pick guard and widen the route to fit it. Should be simple given how light that wood is. The only tough part to this project is setting the bridge and the finish work which I really do hate.  That reminds me I need to get some more foam brushes.  That's another $5. 

All those little things add up so its not like you're saving allot unless you buy parts in bulk. That's why I bought a pack of 100 screws and things like strap buttons by the dozen.  If 12 cost the same as 2 you have several instruments that cost less to build.  Of course earning the money back is another story.  The necks I buy have cheap stock frets and I typically re-fret them with the super jumbo frets.  A high quality fret job can add allot  of value to the instrument especially to someone who actually gets to play it and fee that difference.      

 

 

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I'm still adding Tung oil in this pic.  As of today its nearly done.  I might do one more coat after sanding away a few speckles.

I don't have any drips at all this time either.  I took my buddies advice and screwed a handle on the body which lets me angle the body flat (or any angle) while applying the finish.

I wasn't able to get to a hardware store to buy foam brushes but I did get a pack of 1.5" brushes at a Dollar store  to apply the rest of the coats.  I was worried it might leave brush marks but it actually worked out better then the foam brushes did.  Foam brushes are good for one pass and have issues creating small bubbles.  The brushes create brush lines which quickly fill in and smooth out. 

This is two coats after the stain thinned with Tung oil was applied.  I can see more grain then I did on the Strat.    By the way the body in the second pic is a standard tele cut. The camera angle makes the right horn fat and the left horn thin. 

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 Looking good so far. 

Ive had the same bubbles issues with foam brushes and oil finishes. Rags and brushes work much better.

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5 hours ago, mrbrown49 said:

 Looking good so far. 

Ive had the same bubbles issues with foam brushes and oil finishes. Rags and brushes work much better.

I did same; thinned the poly and wiped it on with folded paper towels. Seemed like one molecule thick. The only way I knew it was going on was the dark purple oil paint I mixed in. The purple was to kill the green tint you got at certain angles. That part worked more or less. I ended up with two brownish alder Carvins.

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I think part of it too is using the same brush for several coats.  If I use it during the day and wrape the brush up between coats I'm OK. If I wrap it up overnight, some of the Tung oil cures and gets applied in fine chunks the next day.  It feels like air bubbles but its actually hardened Tung oil particles. 

Doing it the right way, cleaning the brush with thinner after each coat doesn't make sense cost wise.  If I bought a large can of thinner it might cost $10.  I can buy 40 brushes at a Dollar store for that much and simply throw them away like I have been.  Would the quality be better with high quality brush cleaned each time?  Maybe, but i doubt it.  The whole thing doing a DIY build comes down to few things.  Saving money over simply buying a factory built guitar is definitely one of them.  You can wind up spending allot more then needed simply by doing things the way you think they need to be done based on what's others have told you or what you've read. 

I'm all for finding smart ways of doing things that wind up costing less.  You need to be willing to take chances and experiment finding them too. They don't always work.  Example, I tested the 4 main chemical finish types (Water based (acrylics), alcohol based (lacquer and shellac), Oil based, (Tung/linseed), and  Plastic, (poly) finishes) in combination with each other and some definitely wont work.  I put clear poly over Oil based enamel  once. Looked great at first till it dried. Then It peeled off like sunburn in huge chunks.  It wouldn't stick to the oil based finish.  I did get clear Lacquer which is alcohol based to stick however.  I'm also able to use Tung over Lacquer or vice versa without any problems at all.  The only one I wont use is the Acrylic stuff.  Heard too many nightmares of it being used on instruments. I wouldn't want the crap to peel off from sweaty skin either. Granted it may dry hard when dry but just about anything water based can soften when wet.  Lacquer too  can also be melted by applying alcohol or additional lacquer so you need to know your chemicals and how they react.    

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1 hour ago, RaVenCAD said:

Maybe I missed the link, but where are you buying these parts so cheap?  

Here's a link to the Tele body. 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Polished-Unfinished-Maple-Wood-Type-Electric-Guitar-Bass-Barrel-Body-DIY-Blank/113838009465?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

Here's one type of Tele necks I've bought.  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Electric-Guitar-Neck-DIY-For-TL-Tele-Parts-Replacement-Maple-Wood-22-Frets/174115537418?_trkparms=aid%3D555021%26algo%3DPL.SIMRVI%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20190711100440%26meid%3D206d997ed5604d0ab8f65f45c141a54c%26pid%3D100752%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D10%26mehot%3Dco%26sd%3D312857725790%26itm%3D174115537418%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675&_trksid=p2047675.c100752.m1982

Here's the one I'm likely going to use on this Tele.  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Maple-Electric-Guitar-Neck-for-TL-Guitar-Parts-Natural-Yellow-Glossy-22-Frets/174019451947?_trkparms=aid%3D1110002%26algo%3DSPLICE.SOI%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20190711095549%26meid%3Dfab33bc279954b1fb84b1893c3855ff7%26pid%3D100047%26rk%3D3%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D174115537418%26itm%3D174019451947%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D1%26pg%3D2047675&_trksid=p2047675.c100047.m2108

You need to do some digging for the best pricing of course.  Those two as is are about $30 each. If you can get free shipping that's even better.  You figure $60 for the neck and body and you shouldn't have any problems finding the rest for $40 including the pickguard, Pickups, Bridge and control plate. I typically buy in bulk to save money too. 

I bought 18 Ferrules for the strings for $6. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Durable-String-Ferrules-Bushings-Gold-Cup-Style-for-Tele-Jazz-Guitar-Part-18-Set/352729873326?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

I could have bought a bridge that has top load and skipped that expense.  I think I paid $12 for the 3 saddle compensated Wilkerson bridge This one is a bit more but it was the first one I came up with doing a search.  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Wilkinson-Chrome-Telecaster-Bridge-Steel-Base-Brass-Saddles-Fender-Tele-WTB-CR/221693966058?hash=item339dfd76ea:g:h1MAAOSwzilZ0QWL

Paid $3 for 16 strap buttons.  Its unlikely I'll ever have to buy any more during my lifetime.  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Guitar-Bass-Chrome-Metal-End-Pin-Strap-Buttons-Locks-Cushion-Screws-16Pcs-D5H9/123873173350?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

Pickguard was $4.40  https://www.ebay.com/itm/3Ply-Standard-Tele-Guitar-Pickguard-8-Hole-Scratch-Plate-for-Telecaster-Guitar/183996532347?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&var=691685955034&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

Pre wired tele control plate with pots, switch, caps etc is $5  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Chrome-Tele-Prewired-Control-Plate-3-Way-Switch-For-Fender-Telecaster-Guitar/150801023840?epid=2118995825&hash=item231c710360:g:tSUAAOSwEetV7pxb

Alnico Tele pickups $9 https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Alnico-5-Guitar-Pickup-Bridge-Neck-Pickups-For-Alnico-V-Tele-Set-Parts/263518584357?hash=item3d5aee7e25:g:x6sAAOSwLilak4Rp

Probably paid about $10 for a set of tuners, $1 for a neck plate and another dollar for string trees.  That comes out to about $110 or less plus things i bought in bulk I don't have to buy next time.  I had the Control plate, pickups, Tung oil left over from other builds so I'm at about $90 on this build.  Of course you could count the most expensive thing, your time but I do allot of this while relaxing on weekends. 

You do have to be able to handle tweaking the instrument when its built too.  That Strat had a bum neck before I fixed it and re-Fretted it. Its a good way of building up your skills because you may not discover the flaws until they become self evident.  There again, if I botched a Fret job making a $30 neck play like a $125 neck I'm not going to be overly upset. I get maybe 1 out of 10 which aren't so good, and that's mainly because I mostly buy them straight from China.  I don't mind doing the re-fret so long as the neck shape is good. They don't normally sell necks with the super sized frets i used so no matter which ones i buy i typically re-fret them eventually.  If its isn't  twisted, bowed, cracked or built poorly with poor materials I can usually turn it into a player with a little extra work.  Most are in pretty good shape however only needing the fret ends smoothed out and maybe a little leveling done.  stuff most competent guitarists should be able to handle. 

 

By the way, That Muslady company has been very good on their deliveries both times.  The weight vs tone of those bodies is amazing. I like lighter woods since I been getting older. If it sounds good too who can complain.  They make a Tele body with the F hole and binding for $20 more which would be really cool for a build. 

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On 1/7/2020 at 12:54 AM, mrbrown49 said:

 Looking good so far. 

Ive had the same bubbles issues with foam brushes and oil finishes. Rags and brushes work much better.

 

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I put the last coat on this morning. that's about 10 coats total.  It looking excellent with that thick high gloss. 

Its got a few dips in the finish where the grain changes and the softer pulp absorbed  the first few coats. 

The only thing I can do to make it flat as a mirror is to wait about a week until its cured and hardened up enough to use an electric sander on it then take off a couple of layers to level out the grain lines.  I'm probably not going to bother with all that extra work.  I can always do it later if the motivation strikes me. 

I'll let what's on there now harden till this weekend then give it a heavy paste waxing with Turtle wax.  (Turtle wax doesn't have silicone, its mostly carnauba wax).  The wax keeps the new finish from sticking to anything. After that I can go ahead and mount the neck and hardware.  I may use some swirl remove to smooth out any speckles left behind by the brushes. I did that on the other one and didn't have to add any more finish afterwards. 

The only thing I'll need to be careful of is drilling the holes through the body to put in the string Ferrules.  I don't own a drill press so I use a hand drill.  If I remember right I used an extremely thin drill to bore the holes front to back first.  Then I'd use a larger bit back to front. This allows me to correct any of the holes that weren't perfectly aligned so the ferrules are in a straight line.  Its not too bad once you have the right bridge mounting position.

I'm going to use a shielding mesh over the single core pickup wires too.  I found some at work someone was throwing away after a network installation which should do the job shielding the pickup wires for hum.  It wont be completely noiseless, single coil pickups rarely are, but between that and the copper foil on the back of the pickguard which is grounded you can make a standard tele pretty darn quiet for most high gain pedals. 

 

By the way I did a recording using that Strat I posted earlier in the thread.  I was using a slide on a blues original and It really kicks butt for tone.  I'll need to post a clip of both of these once I get this one done. 

 

 

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Here's what I wound up with on the finish.  This is about a dozen coats of Tung oil.  The color looks a bit more brown due to the yellow lighting in the studio but you get the idea.

 

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Bottom right. That chocolate tone is nearly impossible to get. Possibly boiled linseed and 5 or 10 years. I never found out. lol.

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Thanks for the list of parts.  I've been itching to do some DIY lately, so maybe this will be a project for me.

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I like that story where Eddie Van Halen would interview his guitar technician. He's hand the guy a box of spare parts and give the guy one hour to hand him a fully assembled and tweaked instrument.  Eddie is a very competent guitar tech himself so he knows what to look for in his hired help and as a player.  That test is a perfectly achievable challenge for not only for a good guitar tech/luthier but for many guitarists too. As they say the show must go on and being swift and accurate when it comes to guitar maintenance can make a huge difference in how well that instrument performs.

You wonder why a soldier isn't just taught to shoot his rifle, he's taught to disassemble then reassemble his weapon blindfolded.  Not all battles occur in daylight with 2 good eyes.  What happens if he's hit at night and has to convert two busted weapons into one that's working.  I've done shows where I've had to pull magic tricks out of my rear end in order to play a show and not all of them are as simple as rigging an AC cord left at home.  I've tad to do open heart surgery on instruments and amps when we were all too poor to carry spares.   

Guitar building may not critically important. I know many players who played for many decades and still don't know the proper ways to put a guitar string on, but i realize that's simply because they were never shown the proper way of doing it.  A little screw driver time can turn a sour instrument into a major player if you learn how and remember what you learn.  It may not save anyone's life but it can make the difference between putting on a show or looking like a fool because your gear acts up and you're clueless to fix it.   I have a long list of things I've done over the years to get through a show. many were invented on the spot when tragedy strikes. 

It can be anything from a blown tube to a busted cable. I drove 50 miles to a beach gig once and found I had a cracked preamp tube whe I got there.  There was no way I'd be able to drive home and get another so we put the word out to people there asking of anybody had an old tube amp or radio at home.  Sure as heck some guy a fe houses down had a table radio with a 12Au7 tube in it which I borrowed.  Sounded really good too.  I wouldn't have knowing to do that if I didn't have some experience working on gear.  We made it through the show and a few thanks over the PA made the guy feel like superman coming to the rescue.  A little basic electro mechanical experience gained from doing your own build can go a long way.  not only for gigging but studio work too.  You do what it takes to get good sound. 

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