1961 Stratocaster build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by preeb, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    I wasn't taking any 60's builds lately because I was running low on real high quality pre-cites Brazilian RW boards. I'm expecting to re-stock in about a week and the client (who is a member of this great forum) was kind enough to wait for the wood to arrive. I hope the quality of the wood will hold to my expectations. I normally don't do this, but I'm going to start this project before the wood arrives...

    It's going to be a Slab Olympic White period correct 1960 strat with a few twists...
    1) A fat round soft V neck that will be nicer to play and will complement the dark sounding slab board with more highs and more sustain
    2) Medium tall frets for better playability
    3) The new AL2 special scatter wound pattern pu set - for fuller sound and better balance + usable bridge pu... (Same set I built for the 55 Strat - posted in this forum last month)

    in mid 1959, a few minor changes took place in the design so before I start I wanted to get exact measures of neck pocket depth, headstock thickness and side dot locations from my original guitar (which happens to be slab OLW as well...) and have it documented for this project.

    Neck pocket depth (I'll measure it without taking off the neck if possible)
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    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  2. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Headstock thickness
    [​IMG]

    Clay side dots
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  3. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Every project that involves thick slab BR RW fingerboard (mid 59 - mid 62) comes with a warning red light to me.... I might end up with a dark sounding instrument. The thick Brazilian RW is a hi frequency sucker which can be great for some guitars (or players) such as Basses, JazzMasters, SRV replicas etc... but a problem for others... For strat/Tele players, this will be great if they play REALLY REALLY loud... but most of us don't... so I'd better go for a little brighter guitar (After all, there are tone knobs.... even 2 of them...).
    I selected a highly resonant body and neck for this project.
    The body is a light alder 2 pc with a flat frequency response, not mid scooped and with very "open" and "loud" response to the tuning forks.
    The neck is old growth maple with great highs. Although it's a 1 1/6" thick blank I keep for 50's one piece necks I think it's the best neck for this project so I don't mind thinning it down to accept the RW board.

    If you'll notice, the Alder has a light creamy color (not redish) like the typical pre-cbs wood. The "red" ones tend to be heavier and scooped in tone for some reason...
    [​IMG]

    Neck has a beautiful headstock grain as well + the correct end grain (explained in my other threads)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  4. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    Here we go again.....excellent !
     
  5. Lostheart

    Lostheart Tele-Afflicted

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    Hey Gil! How are you? I see you're keeping yourself busy!
    Can it be that you're using "European Alder" (Alnus glutinosa) instead of "American Red Alder" (Alnus rubra)? To be "vintage correct" "American Red Alder" has to be used, bleached and stained yellow...no matter if it's going to be a transparent or a solid finish. I've done it and it's a tedious work.
    Oh...and the "American Red Alder" I have used was always very very light (almost too light for my taste)!
    Just wanted to throw that in.
    Looking forward to see this baby finished!
    Cheers and all the best,
    Sascha

    *wonders if we get to see the return of the infamous cheese sandwich*
    ;-)
     
  6. funff

    funff Tele-Holic

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    Woohoo! Best way to wake up on a Sunday morning .... another of Gil's build threads! :p
     
  7. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Hi Sascha,

    It's "American Red Alder" from the U.S. but I select the lighter pieces (in color and weight).

    What's your source for this light alder you mentioned?
     
  8. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    A couple of better shots of the blanks
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    [​IMG]

    Cut an the band saw
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    Thinned to exact thickness
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  9. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    and leveled flat
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Attached to first body template
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    Robosanded
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  10. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    again with a smaller Robosander in the tight curves
    [​IMG]

    Looks OK and ready to be flush routed on the router table
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    Spiral flush trimmer
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    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  11. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Done
    [​IMG]

    Neck mounting holes drilled
    [​IMG]

    Spring cavity will be routed and covered with another small template
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    Inertia block cavity routed. Note the template in the spring cavity for straight routing of the inertia cavity
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  12. Lostheart

    Lostheart Tele-Afflicted

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    My source? Well, my local lumberyard...
    I have two places where I purchase my wood...one of them always has Red Alder stocked and I've yet to find and purchase a heavy plank, the other one is a dedicated tone-wood dealer and has the nicest pieces of swamp ash this side of the Atlantic (in MHO).
    Both places have kiln and air dried wood (the red alder is usually kiln dried) but I always store it for a while before I use it anyways.
    They are both in the vicinity of 50 miles from my place so it's not that big of a deal to take a couple of hours off and go through their inventory.
    I've given up purchasing wood overseas and have it send halfway across the globe...it's just too expensive.
    I assume you purchase locally as well?!? Or do you have it shipped from the US?
     
  13. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    ... like that
    [​IMG]

    Neck mounting holes are countersunk on the back
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    Second template (routing) attached to top of body
    [​IMG]
     
  14. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Note the humped control cavity template accessory. It's used for the 11 screw pickguards (1959-1965). I didn't want to make a complete template just for that little change... I already have too many templates...
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    Neck pocket and pu cavities routed to the same depth as my original (see above)
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    Bridge top cavity routed and accurately connected to the larger enertia cavity
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    pu's and control cavity routed - the control needs to be much deeper...
    [​IMG]
     
  15. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    After the input jack cavity is routed the template can be removed.
    Now I'll rout the control and input jack cavities to 1.5" deep and use the shallow cavity "wall" as a guide for the ball bearing bit
    [​IMG]

    Done
    [​IMG]

    cleaned and inspected... all OK
    [​IMG]

    Time for body edge roundover. I use 9/16" Radius for those years (mid 1959- mid 1962)
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2009
  16. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Back is done
    [​IMG]

    and the front
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    another angle...
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    6 bridge mounting holes are drilled. This must be very accurately done, otherwise the bridge will not move smoothly...
    [​IMG]
     
  17. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Body comfort contours are marked. I will do them some other time since my vacuum container is almost full and this job creates a lot of dust... I mark them this way since I cut them manually and need to align the cutting angle to the sanding machine. The arm contour is a typical early 60's which is slightly different than the deeper mid 50's (see my 1955 Strat build for comparison)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Body will go to sleep and recover from the trauma. I'll let it breath for a while before final sanding and sealing...

    On to the neck...
     
  18. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    I get all my wood from the U.S. except for Brazilian Rosewood and a stock of old growth maple I have here.
     
  19. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Neck template holes marked
    [​IMG]

    and drilled
    [​IMG]

    They need to be drilled in the harder neck maple... I skip this stage with the softer bodies
    [​IMG]

    Template attached
    [​IMG]
     
  20. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    As usual... Robosanded.
    I try to leave practically nothing for the router to remove. The router only "kisses" the wood and leaves it smooth and leveled but the majority is removed by the sander
    [​IMG]

    Flush routed with a spiral bit
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    Center and nut lines are transfered to the neck
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    [​IMG]
     
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