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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Question about Garcia's Alligator strat

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by televiking, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. aegert

    aegert Tele-Meister

    108
    Nov 25, 2009
    long island, n.y.

  2. aegert

    aegert Tele-Meister

    108
    Nov 25, 2009
    long island, n.y.
    This is the Guess I should just forget about this thread and realize it took to long to finish ...Bump LOL
     

  3. beach bob

    beach bob Friend of Leo's

    Jan 31, 2008
    South Florida
    Naw Aegert, I've been checking this thread, though I haven't been to the TDPRI much lately. That's one, anyways! :D

    It looks very cool indeed. Nice work. <thumbs up>
     

  4. aegert

    aegert Tele-Meister

    108
    Nov 25, 2009
    long island, n.y.

  5. aegert

    aegert Tele-Meister

    108
    Nov 25, 2009
    long island, n.y.
    I got to Jeff Mattson and he is going to check it out. He said that he would love to play it on a 72-73 show with DSO.. stay tuned. I will put up some sound samples in the next week
     

  6. sjohnbruton

    sjohnbruton Tele-Holic

    901
    Aug 13, 2009
    Mobile, AL
    Aegert, I absolutely love this thread. I've been watching it for many months now. I am just starting my Alligator build and your info has been priceless. Thanks. I look forward to hearing samples.

    Two questions for you: Is the back tremolo cover on Jerry's Alligator the stock white? (I have never found a photo of the back.) And which stratoblaster circuit did you use? (I have found a few different schematics online.) Any info will help. Thanks again.
     

  7. aegert

    aegert Tele-Meister

    108
    Nov 25, 2009
    long island, n.y.
    1) As for samples.. Jeff is playing it on 12/26 in a mattson baraco and friends show at sullivan hall in NYC. I will get you samples then...

    The guitar is unbelievably precise. No mudd at all. Very sensitive to touch and pick attack.

    2) there is no trem cover as the trem cavity is blocked and filled :)

    3) I used an original late 70's alembic stratoblaster but the stratoblaster is a jfet clean boost anyway so any circuit will work. Since mine is in a fully shielded cavity there is no need for the mods for rf rejection. the one i used had a pot for gain control but I have set it to unity gain as the one in the real alligator had a fixed resistor doing this. So general guitar gadgets clean boost pedal would be a good schem to start with. Here is a drawing of the alembic with board layout drawing and semi parts list:

    [​IMG]

    I wired the switch to a 13 jack to act as the on off switch with insert of plug into jack. There is no bypass in my build

    The big thing here for the tone in order of importance IMHO is

    1) Brass Nut / Brass stop tail ( the v4 with brass block goes to far IMHO. the guitar sounds like Garcia 72 even acoustically)

    2) Jfet

    3) Shielding (full even PU's)

    They are all important but the shielding acts as an eq to the circuit. don't discount that.
     

  8. sjohnbruton

    sjohnbruton Tele-Holic

    901
    Aug 13, 2009
    Mobile, AL
    Aegert,

    Thanks for the info. Any chance of pictures of your block and fill job? What did you fill the cavity with? I know you mentioned it earlier in the thread, but on the original did they fill the entire rear cavity with epoxy?

    Also, how did you measure the unity gain setting of the blaster? Was it by ear, or did you measure output by some more precise way? I plan on using a fixed resistor once I measure the setting of the trim pot.

    Finally, in the interest of true "clone" status, may I suggest you check out Bulldog Guitar Straps out of Cornwall, England. Their "Style C" in brown leather with a square brass buckle is the closest thing I can find to Jerry's Alligator strap.

    http://www.bulldogproducts.co.uk/gstraps_c.htm

    Merry Christmas, John
     

  9. aegert

    aegert Tele-Meister

    108
    Nov 25, 2009
    long island, n.y.
    John
    I didn't fill the cavity I started out with a hard tail body but simulated the fill. I spoke with Frank Fuller and he said that they filled the cavity with a wood block and epoxy wood filler. It was done to teh back route as well. Complete fill.

    The gain I measured with my rms meter but by ear would be good enough. You can figure out unity gain by calculating the value of the resistor as well.. here is a circuit that is a basic buffer with self biasing of a j201... it will yield great headroom and unity gain.
    [​IMG]

    I have a few original buckles and they are being made into straps right now ;-) Although that strap looks spot on. maybe a sight bit narrow..
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010

  10. sjohnbruton

    sjohnbruton Tele-Holic

    901
    Aug 13, 2009
    Mobile, AL
    Aegert,
    I agree about the Bulldog strap looking a bit narrow. My best estimate puts Jerry's strap at about 3 1/8" wide. But without going through the expense of a custom leather worker, it's close enough for Rock n' Roll. :)

    Do you know what shape/profile Alligator's neck was? Most of the vintage Fender clones are either in "C' or "V".
     

  11. aegert

    aegert Tele-Meister

    108
    Nov 25, 2009
    long island, n.y.
    I can't vouch for the necks profile. I used a early 60's c profile for comfort. It was probably a baseball bat or a v...
     

  12. sjohnbruton

    sjohnbruton Tele-Holic

    901
    Aug 13, 2009
    Mobile, AL
    Aegert,

    More questions form a shamelessly chronic over-preparer......

    1. Did Alligator retain the stock Strat wiring/pickup selection setup or was it customized?

    2. I know Mr. Wald's site states that the frets were replaced with the "tallest available." Any idea what the fret size really was?

    Anyway, Merry Christmas, and God Bless us Every One!
     

  13. aegert

    aegert Tele-Meister

    108
    Nov 25, 2009
    long island, n.y.
    1) It had stock wiring with the strato-blaster post volume knob.

    2) I don't know what the tallest frets were then but Vintage jumbo's are what I used. Jerry played with pretty high action like I do. He used 10's. the word form Fuller was Ernie Ball Slinky's. So they are nickles. I have 11's on it right now for Jeff Mattson. I like 11's as well. With the longer scale it make the guitar lest chattery and bends for all the signature stuff very well.
     

  14. aegert

    aegert Tele-Meister

    108
    Nov 25, 2009
    long island, n.y.
    Ok Jeff Mattson played it last night for pretty much the whole show. I changed out the gain on the blaster after the 3rd song. They really were not playing dead music as Mattson/Barraco and friends. He did wheel out birdsong.. He was really trying to see how far it went. Strains of 72 DS/Playin's in teh jam. Sounds killer. This is my Aud recording which would be better than the sbd in the small venue. tell me what you think

    http://www.motb.org/alligator/birdsong.mattson.gator.mp3
     

  15. aegert

    aegert Tele-Meister

    108
    Nov 25, 2009
    long island, n.y.
    here is Jeff playing it! :) I can't decide if I am going to sell it.

    [​IMG]
     

  16. sjohnbruton

    sjohnbruton Tele-Holic

    901
    Aug 13, 2009
    Mobile, AL
    Great photo and audio clip! It sounds great. No way I would sell, but that's just me. Besides, that's why I'm building my own...

    On a side note: I read on the Stew Mac site that Fender did not start putting 5-way switches on the Strat until 1977. They were all 3-way unless they were modded aftermarket. After I read this, I went back and looked over all the photos I have of Jerry playing Alligator. I can't find one where he is clearly playing with a 5-way switch. Is there any reason to believe that the crew at Alembic changed or modded the switch when they swapped pots? Or do you think they kept the original 3-way switch? Just curious.
     

  17. aegert

    aegert Tele-Meister

    108
    Nov 25, 2009
    long island, n.y.
    It would have had a 3way. Players regularly put it in the in between position to get the hum bucking feature but Jerry played the middle PU 80% neck 19.9999 bridge .0001 LOL. Cumberland is probably a good bridge PU example. of course that is an exaggeration. using a 3 or 5 position makes no difference in the tone.. use a 5 poss. you will be much happier.

    As for selling it. I want to take my wife away on a vacation so this could be it.. Its either that or selling her LOL... We'll see. It sounds so killer.

    I am building up a new amp for it and a pre and mono block tube amps. here is the real 1966 Twin cab I just got. It will have a tye dye on it when all is said and done.

    [​IMG]
     

  18. Agitator

    Agitator Friend of Leo's

    Nov 22, 2010
    In transit
    I can't find a web link, but people have been forwarding me an email indicating that the Dead are going to be releasing a SIXTY-CD set of the entire Europe 72 tour this fall. Seems like overkill to me, but that will certainly contain a whole lot of Alligatory goodness. And if you're going to release an entire tour, that's probably the one to do (although I'm quite partial to the November 1972 tour through Texas and that region).
     

  19. aegert

    aegert Tele-Meister

    108
    Nov 25, 2009
    long island, n.y.
    Yes its true. Lemeiux said so. June-July.. It is this guitar
     

  20. Al Watsky

    Al Watsky Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 5, 2007
    New Jersey
    OP
    I work on many Alembics , a collector of mine likes them.
    That looks like an Alembic bridge to me.
    Goofy, but thats how they make em'.
    Lotsa brass, lotsa screws, nuts and bolts.
    Very stone ground hippy.
     

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