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ShredBilly Axe .. Half Explorer/Half Tele. Orthopedic chop on a Tele body.


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Hello all. This is sortof part 2 of this thread I posted over there in Happy Pants Land ....




If you wish to avoid the tgp thread, I'll paraphrase it here ..... in short, I have a shoulder issue that really hurts like hell when I play the guitar. I injured it at M-60 Machine Gun School (yes, it's actually called that) back in 1981 when I was in the USAF. The last 5 or so years it has been really getting bad. The VA says I have to quit playing and go on 10mg of Methadone every day. Piss on 'em! I figured out a way to keep the angle of my shoulder constant and keep the pain level down to something tolerable while keeping the narcs to either zero or a very minimal amount. I hate them things! (Ever try building an amp or a complex pedal when on narco-pain meds? It can get very expensive very quickly. I just hate that crap ... being on those goofballs just completely gets in my way!) Anyhow, this guitar is the first of a few cuts I'm trying out to suit me a bit better. I had been goofing around with an Explorer and a Dean ML. The upper cutaways allow my shoulder to remain in a very natural position when I use one of those axes. But the weight .... ugh. And I'm a little fekker too, like Tommy Shaw. So the idea of me hiding behind a billboard sized Explorer (looking a lot like a little kid playing his dad or big brother's axe) didn't work. So I got out my blue masking tape, a sharpy and went out and bought a $35 jigsaw and some router bits for my drillpress.


Here's the first *proof of concept* guitar.


** Solid Alder (unfinished) Warmoth Tele body. $129.

** Seymore Duncan Quarter Pounder pickups with teh coils taps.

** "Pop-up" switches in volume and tone knobs activate teh coils taps. No need to tug upward to engage the switches, just push down on them and they sorta *pop up* into play. Push down on them again to lock them back into the "down" position. WAY easier to use than "pull-up" type switch knobs with a pick in your fingers.

** 250k pots.

** .047 ceramic tone cap.

** Gotoh "MIM" style bridge .. brass plate/stainless saddles.

** Flat black pickguard.

** Unfinished Padouk neck with standard profile and 24-3/4 conversion scale.

** Strat head (just to piss off the purists).

** 1-11/16 nut.

** Stainless frets.

** Ebony deck.

** Compound radius (10 to 16 inches, nut to fret 22).

** Planet Waves locking tuners.

** All screws, neck plate, strap buttons, neck screws, string ferruls ... all stainless/all Callaham.

** Strap button has been mounted dead center of the neck plate (I drilled a small hole in the neck plate right between the two head-most neck screws, and put the upper button there ... like a Flying V).


It balances wonderfully, can be played straight up and down/vertically (like Dimebag) or horizontally (like Johnny Cash/others) .. or anywhere in between. It is easily the single most comfortable hunk of wood I ever strapped around my neck. Period. My wrist angle and should position are the same no matter whether I'm playing right there next to the saddles or over the neck pickup .. my wrist and shoulder never change their attack angles.


Mega comfy. It's like a combo of a V and a Twanger. The ShredBilly Axe. The Fastback.


My brother said "Wow, that really looks fast" .. hence the "fastback" moniker. Fender "amplifier" knobs. Nice and large, the small tip allows great clearance for the pickup selector. The numbers are upside down from the player's POV .. but so what. I like weird.


My apology for the crappy workmanship: Ok ... so first off ....... I am NO KINDA WOOD GUY. I am a metal worker ... many call me the blacksmith of pedalbuilders (usually in an uncomplimentary fashion). So the chatter marks from the under-sped router bit chucked up in a 3600 rpm drill press and the other non-wood guy errors go with the territory. I am all about function. So I don't care that because I used a 1/2 inch radius corner bit the Les Paul type jackplate doesn't look very nice, or that the rear curve I cut isn't perfectly radiused. This axe is for playing out. For gigging. I put a couple of smears worth of some sortof of stain we had left over from a bathroom remod we did, and then slobbered on 3 or so coats of lemon scented furniture oil I use on unfinished fretboards when I restring. First I sanded it to a wonderful "worn out" 120 grit ... using "used" 120g emery cloth. !!! So surface repairs will be a total snap on this one. A bit of sanding, some stain, and a slop of lemon oil .. all done.


With the big cushy shoulder-friendly Levis strap it weighs in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces on a certified US Postal scale.


All solid core 22 guage wire was used when practical. I didn't go so far as to replace the pickup leads with solid core (really now ... that's a bit far, que no?). 60/40 leaded solder (sorry Mother Earth .. it just sounds a bit better than the RHOS stuff ... I'm a selfish corporate soul-less pig .. sorry). But I used ZERO aresols on this one if that makes up for anything! And it's still passive, so no evil 9volt batts either! Sorry 'bout the lead.










Looks like something Billy Gibbons would play .. at least to me it does ....










Here's the hunk I chopped off. I used it to test the different router bits, as well as test the couple of finishes I wanted to try out. On the big hump on the left I used the stain ONLY, on the little hump on the right I used lemon oil only. Haa! Guess what? I settled on the stain under the oil, so in the end I used both! Doh!




I tried to follow the lines of the "hybrid" pickguard when I lopped off the lower horn.


Well, so there is Proof of Concept #1. It sounds RIPPIN'. When the knobs are "DOWN" the pickups are tapped, and they have a very cool "MIM" type Tele tone .. a bit more trebly. When the taps are not used (knobs in "UP" position) the pickups get nasty. The bridge pickup is simply rippin ass awesome. Enormous nuts. The neck pickup could stand to have a bit more hair. But that's a non-issue for this axe. Y'see this body has a "multi-rout" that I asked them to do for me at the neck pickup hole. It can handle anything from a Tele single coil (as shown) all the way up to and including a full-on soapbar. So I have a lot of options I can try in that postition.


I am so completely impressed with this first attempt, that I plan on an entire stable of these Fastback ShredBillies. Alder, Mahogany, Basswood (that stuff sounds so fat!) and perhaps a single pickup all maple one with a 16 inch shredder neck .. just for kicks. And I'm totally diggin the hashed out look of the thing, too.


I plan on using a Stetsbar trem .... no routing needed for it so the already chopped body will retain a lot more of the tonewood with the Stetsbar as opposed to a std Fender type trem, which requires a huge hole hacked out of the heart of the guitar's vocal chords.


So there it is guys, the follow up to the Telex concept.


Thanks ... Brian Cale.

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Very, very cool. The wiring looks awesome, too. I think a little more curve on the upper bout - something more akin to the line on the lower bout - would've been absolutely astounding, though. Kind of a tulip/bloom shape, coupled with the newly cut lower horn. Maybe for my own project, one day.


p.s. The lower horn on one of my customs matches yours to a tee. Great minds, I guess.

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That x'd my mind many times. Or a V body with a Tele bridge.


That 5 inch section that is parallel with the strings ... starting right at the corner of the bridgeplate going back 5 or so inches towards the fat end of the body is what I need to keep from kicking my shouder out at an angle when I play. That 5 inch platform lets me keep my shoulder/wrist at the same angle as it is when you play an Explorer and you put your arm in the "crick" of the body. Well, that sweetspot *crick* was just made 5 inches long on that Shredbilly. The guitar feels exactly the same to my picking arm/hand/wrist no matter what I do with the guitar, no matter which way I "point it" or which end of the picking area I want to use.


Inspired by the access given by a V or ML. Of course only in that sweetspot though. ;)


I think an Explorer head on the neck would look mega-sick. That neck is on it's last leg. All 4 bolt holes are "toothpicked" at this point. It's been on/off of several guitars at least 30x. And Padouk isn't as wear-worthy as Maple when it comes to screw holes. So I'll be ordering a new stick for it soon. Gonna go with a formula I've settled on as of late: Boatneck/24-3/4 inch scale/1-5/8 nut/Stainless frets/Roller nut/unfinished. I'm toying with having it scalloped as well. Not so much for bending acrobatics, but more so for lo-gain tapping. In the manner that is used with the Chapman Stick. So anyhow, the Explorer head might look kinda bitchen on this one. The roller nut and Explorer headshape should be ok for *moderate* trem use. So it'll be mated with that Stetsbar I mentioned.


I'm a trem moron, so I'm nut sure if a roller nut is the best way to go. The Stetsbar is set in stone, so whatever would work well with that....

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You've actually made a semi copy of the Kay Solo King.

Haa! So it seems! Except you'd have to cut that thing nearly down to the pickguard. I actually considered (and still have been) just going with a dead straight line on the top edge rather than the kinked topline. Seeing that thing makes me consider it even more ... I like!



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