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10/04/2010 @ 01:31 AM:

The AT Custom Red Quilt Maple/Poplar Strat
Serial Number: 1201025
Completed: October 2010

The AT Custom Red Quilt Maple/Poplar Strat was completed on October 2, 2010.

For a couple of years I'd been thinking about this project--brainstorming mainly about building a guitar around a set of Burns Tri-Sonic pickups (known most famously for their use by Queen's Brian May). I was looking for a body made from a darker tonewood, either mahogany, basswood, or poplar. The one I ended up using came from a builder on eBay. The quality of the work was there, and the 1/4" quilt top won me over. The plan all along was to dye the guitar red in tribute to Brian May's Red Special and also my friend Jeremy Ylvisaker's Baldwin/Tri-Sonic guitar. I acquired a Mighty Mite birdseye maple/rosewood fingerboard neck (rosewood was another "dark" wood requirement) and collected the other parts along the way. I found myself literally stressed out about fitting the Tri-Sonic pickups into the pickguard; they are larger than traditional single coil pickups. I couldn't easily buy a pre-fabricated pickguard, which meant the best option was to route one myself from a blank. Unfortunately I lacked the facilities for doing that kind of work well. So when my favorite off-brand pickup company, GFS, introduced their version of the Burns Tri-Sonic--in a regular single coil sized shape--the decision to go that way instead was easy. GFS also manufactured a pickguard routed for the traditional Brian May six-switch configuration, which in turn helped alter my original plan to do typical three-pickup/five-way switching; instead each pickup gets two mini switches--one on/off switch and one normal-phase/reverse-phase switch. The numerous pickup configurations offer multiple tonal options and combinations. The rest of the guitar is fairly standard. I'm not a fan of the traditional Strat trem (being quite picky about tuning stability), so I likely won't ever insert the arm; the tremolo will stay in a fixed position. During the finishing process I attempted to do a natural wood masked binding. That attempt failed when red dye seeped beyond the masking tape. Disappointed, I opted to paint on a white faux binding. This thankfully accomplished the top binding touch-of-class look I appreciate so much.

Pictures of this guitar in progress, along with my other current and completed guitar projects, can be found on my MySpace and Facebook pages:


Body: Solid Poplar/Quilt Maple; Red Dye; White Faux Binding; Poly Finish

Neck: Mighty Mite Birdseye Maple/Rosewood; C-Shape Profile; 9.5" Radius; 1 11/16" Tusq Nut; Medium-Jumbo Frets (22); Graph Tech String Trees; Satin Finish

Pickups: GFS Brighton Rock Vintage Correct Single Coils

Electronics: Alpha 250K Volume & Tone Potentiometers w/ Black Strat Style Knobs; 2-Way Pickup On/Off Mini Switches (3); 2-Way Pickup Normal-Phase/Reverse-Phase Mini Switches (3); Switchcraft Jack w/ Black Strat Style Jack Plate

Hardware: Black Modern Style 2-Point Tremolo; Black Gotoh Mini Tuners; Black/White/Black Pickguard; Black Tremolo Cavity Cover; Black Neck Plate w/ Black Plastic Gasket; Black Strap Buttons


May_Strat_18 (195k image)

May_Strat_19 (186k image)

May_Strat_17 (214k image)

May_Strat_13 (192k image)

May_Strat_14 (232k image)

May_Strat_15 (133k image)

May_Strat_16 (118k image)

thumbnail 001thumbnail 002thumbnail 003thumbnail 004Photo Chronology: 1996 to Today
thumbnail 005thumbnail 006thumbnail 007thumbnail 008Please feel free to peruse these memories from the AT photo archives.

Andrew Thomas