Friday 16th May ’08
I am finally breaking a promise I made to myself years ago.. I am building my own version of leo fenders masterpiece, the Stratocaster… although I think that his real masterpiece was inventing the electric bass!! I took the outline of the original and modernised it somewhat..
the template is cut roughly to size on the bandsaw..
and then the edges are carefully sanded on the bobbin sander.. in this pic you see the small vacuum cleaner I hooked up to clear the dust.. MDF is a very very unpleasant material to work with.. unfortunately it does the job very well..
once the first template is done it is used to make more..
.. and then it is on to the timber.. my plan is that I will build a range of instruments.. cheaper than my custom options, but still totally handbuilt.. and they will be exclusively built out of UK sourced timbers.. in this case it is a single solid chunk of Yew.. (you can’t get more English than that!!)
.. I’ve started taking Bud for a five mile run (I’m lazy so I go on the mountain bike!) .. and today half way through he met with a friend..
Fox red labs are very rare.. but pretty.. even when the other dog is pulling a face as stupid as that one!!!
Once roughly cut out to within a few mm of the outline the top is planed flat.. this is where really really need a sander thicknesser…(anyone fancy buying me a late birthday present??)
the template is screwed to the chunk of Yew
and here she is when the router has been used to cut her to shape.. Bearing cutters are just the best thing to use when building guitars!
the second template is then modified.. this is the most time consuming part of my job.. jigging up, neccessary unfortunately .. but at least it doesn’t take me a week to draw up the plans on a conputer prior to punching it into a bloody computer operated router! .(my pet hate is builders who say they build custom guitars but in reality just chuck them through a CNC machine and offer you a different set of hardware on one body shape and call it custom .. Organic guitars spring immediately to mind!!
anyway.. the pickup holes are predrilled..
and here we go.. an interesting shot no??
.. Bud and Jasper are in their standard position and Giles, our most recent familial addition, seems to spend his day walking around behind me or watching whatever I’m doing.. he’ll be quite a good guitar builder in a few months!!!
once routed out you start to see my idea’s for this guitar.. the pickups will be directly mounted to the body from the rear.. (which in all honesty was the idea of the Wizard pickups collective!!) and the rest of the controls are in the original strat positions..
the rear rout is where it gets interesting.. obviously yet another template has to be made!!
a very large round-over bit is used to round over the edges of the body.. front and back,..
and then the carving is performed.. obviously a generous forearm contour..
and then the back carve.. again as a sop to strat players everywhere it is pretty much as Fender designed it.. the problem here is that the trem system negates most of my custom back carving work..
.. here’s what the pickups will look like.. very tight
and obviously a standard Fender type bridge will be used.. of course it will be a very good quality bridge in the end..
just to give us an idea of what she will look like I pulled an old rosewood strat neck out of store.. anyway, I honestly want your opinions on this design.. be brutal if neccessary but I need customer feedback.. the goal is to design and build a range of six instruments.. strat, tele, les paul (RF obviously..), PRS and a couple of basses.. I will build each instrument totally out of UK sourced (or re-cycledtimber.. (fingerboards might be an issue here) and will add hardware as they are ordered so each guitar will be delivered within ten days of each order.. basically Tania (my wonderful wife) is now pregant with out first child (YAY) and I need to ramp up my earnings somehow to pick up the slack.. mmmm .. what do you think??