01/04/2008 @ 12:57 PM: I'm proud to make my first post of 2008 another announcement of a completed custom guitar!
I have never seen a custom guitar through to fruition this quickly. I purchased the body and most of the hardware in mid-December. (The neck I had previously stocked.) Quickly this one became the candidate to execute two of my pending ideas: a "simple" hardtail two-humbucker guitar, and a natural oil-finished body.
I'm still wrestling with the poly clear coats on a few of my other projects (a terribly difficult thing to accomplish in an amateur setting), so for this Thinline Strat I opted to do a natural oil finish with a wax sealer. The approach is not unlike finishing a piece of furniture and takes only some simple elbow grease. To the body, which has an alder back and figured maple top, I used a Birchwood Casey gunstock refinishing kit. First I stained the backside walnut, then I applied several coats of Tru-Oil to the entire body over the course of several days, lightly smoothing each coat over with steel wool when dry. Lastly, I applied two coats of finishing wax and then hand buffed. The result is a very "natural" look to the wood along with a bright shine--but not a high gloss shine like a poly finish.
Again, Ted Vig at My Music Store helped finalize this axe: He initially did the wiring and soldering, and in February 2008, when I opted to swap out the original Mighty Mite neck with a new AllParts neck, Ted installed a bone nut and dressed the frets. (Ted is THE BEST!)
Pictures of this guitar in progress, along with my other guitar projects, can be found in the photos section of my MySpace page: www.myspace.com/andrewthomassolomusic.
This Thinline Strat sounds as good as it looks, and I have reached a point now where I am very confident in my knowledge of tonal woods and electronics to comfortably pick what combination(s) will achieve the tones I wish to hear. With this guitar and its predecessor, the blue sparkle ash Strat, my first reactions after playing each were nearly identical: "Yup. That's what it's supposed to sound like."
Body: A&D Semi-Hollow Alder/Quilt Maple; Walnut Stain (Back & Sides); Natural (Top); White Top Binding; Tru-Oil/Wax Finish
Neck: AllParts SRO Maple/Rosewood; C-Shape Profile; 12" Radius; 1 5/8" Bone Nut, Jumbo Frets (22); Graph Tech String Trees; Tru-Oil/Wax Finish
Pickups: GFS Vintage '59 Humbucker Bridge & Neck w/ Chrome Covers & Chrome Mounting Rings
Electronics: CTS 500K Volume Potentiometer w/ Black Strat Style Knob; 3-Way Pickup Selector Switch w/ Black Tip; Switchcraft Jack w/ Chrome Jack Plate
Hardware: Chrome String-Thru Hardtail Bridge; Schaller M6La Mini Chrome Tuners; Nickel String Ferrules; Chrome Neck Plate w/ Black Plastic Gasket; Chrome Strap Buttons
February 2008 - Photo w/ New AllParts Neck