12/23/2007 @ 10:48 PM: I completed a new custom guitar this morning--a blue sparkle ash "Fat" Strat. Despite having various new guitar projects in the works, I haven't actually completed one since my custom Tele more than a year ago. (This is mostly due to my decision to start painting and/or staining them myself. The process is terribly time consuming and not very easy in an amateur setting. I did not do the finish on this one, thus it came together in just a few weeks.) Unlike the Tele, I've been trying to find ways to make building guitars more economical. That has put me at looking for alternative parts builders and suppliers, taking on more of the assembly work myself, and combing eBay for deals on parts. (The tremolo on this guitar usually sells for about $175; I paid $25.)
Ted Vig at My Music Store helped with a couple of very important final aspects of the assembly of this guitar: He did all the electronics wiring and drilled the tremolo post holes (the lone bit of mounting I opted to leave to a seasoned pro).
I was a little disillusioned after my first couple of guitar projects went together as swiftly as they did. The several projects I have ongoing right now have all required very detailed preparation of routed cavities and parts, and as I mentioned earlier the finishing of a guitar body is tedious, messy, and slow. This new Strat was relatively easy, though I did have to go back three times to route the pickguard to fit the various other parts I'd chosen, plus the trem cavity required extra routing, and I had to play with neck shims about eight different times. To date I haven't ever used a Dremel tool on any one thing as much as this guitar.
I spent a good few hours this morning getting the setup right, and the thing plays remarkably well already; I'm usually tweaking for a couple of weeks after I complete a guitar.
If you're so interested, pictures of my other guitar projects are up on my MySpace page: www.myspace.com/andrewthomassolomusic.
Anyway, I'm always damn proud after I finish a guitar--most indeed the case here.
Body: Mighty Mite Solid Ash; Blue Sparkle Paint; Poly Finish (Factory)
Neck: Mighty Mite Maple; C-Shape Profile; 9.5"-12" Compound Radius, 1 5/8" Chrome Locking Nut; Medium-Jumbo Frets (22), Chrome Floyd Rose String Retainer Bar; Satin Finish
Pickups: GFS Fat Pat Boutique Humbucker Bridge & Neck w/ Chrome Covers
Electronics: Alpha 500K Volume & Tone Potentiometers w/ White Strat Style Knobs; 3-Way Pickup Selector Switch w/ White Tip; Switchcraft Jack w/ Chrome Strat Style Jack Plate
Hardware: Ping Chrome Licensed Floyd Rose Tremolo w/ Chrome EVH D-Tuna; Schaller M6La Mini Chrome Tuners; Black/White/White Pearloid Pickguard & Tremolo Cover; Chrome Neck Plate; Chrome Strap Buttons