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

Temped to swap the body of my strat but should I?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Blazer, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity

    Dec 2, 2003
    The Netherlands
    blond strat 1.JPG
    This is my 2002 Fender seventies reissue Strat "Debbie" which I really love for how she plays and how she looks. Her neck in particular is exquisite.

    But as is the case for many of the ash body strats I played, she has a big dose of ice pick to her sound, so I'm tempted to switch her body in favor of an alder body which would give her some more bottom.

    The candidate for this conversion would be THIS body.
    DSC01750.JPG Which from what I found out is very likely a Japanese JV series 57 reissue body, the marking in the neck pocket hinting it was made in 1982.

    For those who wonder what the deal is with the lightning bolt below the bridge and the lines running down: the body was cracked and the intention of the original owner was to rout it out and inlay a piece of wood on there but never got around to do it.
    This picture shows the crack to good effect, the dot next to the strap button is a long dowel I drove in there to reinforce the joint after I glued it shut. The Dowel runs sideways all the way to the output, that crack will NEVER cause any grief.

    So what is my issue of marrying that body to the neck and hardware of my Debbie?
    Fitting that body would mean that I had to convert it to the three bolt neck fitting, which means filling the bolt positions and re drilling them and routing out a place for the micro tilt to fit.

    The second option is to drill the neck for four bolts but I'm hesitant to do so because if I decide to sell my Debbie on, I want her to be in undamaged condition and when somebody takes the neck off, they'll see that I haven't tampered with it.

    So what should I do here?
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  2. Jim622

    Jim622 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Apr 1, 2011
    Far N.E. Philadelphia
    Make it a Tele. Really though, keep the pics coming I want to see how she comes through
  3. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Personally, I would NOT make that body swap - but that's just my personal inclination.

    Are you unhappy with the brightness of the bridge pickup, primarily, or is the middle pickup, and neck pickup too "ice-picky" also?

    If it's mostly in the bridge pickup position, mount a metal baseplate under the bridge pickup (available from Fralin, Callaham, or custom made). Also, if your bridge pickup isn't wired to a tone pot - DO THAT!

    I find that of the three Strat pickups, the bridge pickup more than the other two NEEDS to be governed by a tone pot!

    Given a metal base plate under the bridge pickup AND wiring it to a tone pot... you should be quite happy with the moderation of highs from the bridge pickup.

    I would expect that there may only be a very slight difference in reduction of brightness when going from the ash to the alder - nothing DRAMATIC, nor very noticeable!

    BUT, I would expect you would hear much more significant differences (reducing the ice-pickiness) through changes in pots, capacitor, and pickups.

    So, unless you really just want to see and feel a totally different body when you're playing her - I'd make the changes I suggested above first and stick with the original body.

    If you must use that second body... build it up with other parts into a complete guitar.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
  4. Andy B

    Andy B Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Mar 16, 2003
    Try changing the bridge saddles to brass before you swap bodies. Should help tame the ice pick.
    Jim622 likes this.
  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Apr 18, 2014
    Near Detroit, MI

    Make the body swap because it'll be fun to have a relic guitar to play. Or buy a neck and some parts and have a second guitar ;)

    Wood won't fix your 'ice pick' tone though. Find a lower kohm volume pot, put a fixed resistor across the current volume pot outer lugs, lower the pickup heights, turn the tone knob, change the tone caps, put the bridge pickup on a tone knob (jumper the switch), and/or change the pickup(s).

    SheldonP, Mad Kiwi, Obsessed and 2 others like this.
  6. fraser

    fraser Tele-Holic

    Sep 8, 2007
    Hamilton, Canada
    Give it a single vol and master tone.

    I lower the pickups to match my setup, and wire them with a single volume and single tone pot for all pickups.
    If I did find them too trebly, that would solve it

    If those are Japanese pickups though, I have an 83 sq series strat, the stock pickups are a bit shrill and metallic sounding. So i replaced the pickups in that.
    But the stock ones would work with this setup.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
  7. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    I've done that with two of my four Strats... Master vol and Master Tone... kind of "Tele-like". I like 'em that way.

    fraser likes this.
  8. fraser

    fraser Tele-Holic

    Sep 8, 2007
    Hamilton, Canada
    Ya DHart, it just makes more sense to me.
    And it’s simpler lol.
    I do however just leave the three knobs, I’m lazy.
    I’ve always thought about using that unused pot for a blend or boost or something,
    But that makes things more complicated. Screw it.
    DHart likes this.
  9. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Silver Supporter

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    Yeah, body wood is not the first thing I'd consider when fixing "ice-picky". :)

    I'm not one of those "type of wood is irrelevant in an electric guitar"guys--though I'm prolly not super-far from em. lol

    But you got pick-ups, pots and caps that can be changed quite easily, and that I reckon are more likely to change your tone in a predictable way.
    DHart and Obsessed like this.
  10. fraser

    fraser Tele-Holic

    Sep 8, 2007
    Hamilton, Canada
    Indeed Jupiter, I have ash bodied strats, I’ve played alder, ash, basswood, maple and plywood bodied strats for almost 40 years. I never noticed a large enough tonal difference to make the wood the culprit to a bad sound.
    It’s the electronics.
    Ydwen Jones, DHart and Jupiter like this.
  11. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Friend of Leo's

    Aug 10, 2018
    In space with Ziggy
    Swap one for a big bag of weed and think it over for a while.
  12. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    :lol: Yup.
    Andy B and Chunkocaster like this.
  13. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    Blazer I played with a guy since my teens who had a 70s natural strat and he could make it scream. I would not change that guitar unless you did not like the sound. You could always do a Lowell George and modify the rear pickup or all sorts of mods. But, IMHO, I'd keep the 70s authenticity ( including the neck shim), because some 70s strats sound pretty darn good. JMHO
    DHart likes this.
  14. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Friend of Leo's

    Aug 17, 2017
    Essex, UK
    Blazer, I'm no connoisseur but that looks like a really nice Strat as it stands.

    I haven't played a lot of guitars but I have a Fender MIJ 70s reissue Tele with an ash body. The pickups seemed okay when I first got it but the bridge pick up (in particular) was very bright and no amount of fiddling with amp settings could get the sound where I wanted it. I contacted a pickup manufacturer and they produced what I wanted. I'm now really pleased with it.

    It's your guitar so you do what you feel best - but I'd try changing the electronics as the first step.
  15. omahaaudio

    omahaaudio Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 21, 2015
    The existential question remains... If you change the body of your Strat will it still be the same guitar or, in fact, another guitar with your old neck and hardware?
  16. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity

    Dec 2, 2003
    The Netherlands
    I should have mentioned the fact that I already changed the bridge pickup in favor for a Seymour Duncan quarterpound pickup and have wired the controls in such a way so the tone pot works on the bridge pickup.

    But for some reason Debbie simply doesn't handle high gain sounds well and I don't want to fit hotrail pickups in there. Perhaps I should look at Dimarzio HS pickups, since that's what people like Yngwie Malmsteen and The Edge are using

    As for the black body, I'll probably look for a fifties reissue neck and put it on there.
  17. Bruxist

    Bruxist Friend of Leo's

    Oct 12, 2010
    Kentucky, USA
    You might try a Cavalier SRV Bengal Tiger in the bridge.

    Bengal Tiger Strat® bridge pickup - want more Strat® bridge output and increased midrange? This Strat® bridge pickup uses taller .781" AlNiCo V rod magnets which allows lots more coil wire turn count, and that turns the bridge position into a smokin' afterburner of fat tone and output! This pickup is an option only for the SRV Tiger Set, or available as a single purchase. 42AWG coil wire over AlNiCo 5 magnets, approximately 9.5k resistance.
  18. trouserpress

    trouserpress Tele-Meister

    May 4, 2015
    If you really, really like that neck you'd never want to part with it. And if the position of the outer two holes do match their counterparts nothing would keep me from trying out if body and neck go together well. Given all that you then might as well drill 2 moe holes into that neck.
  19. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

    Feb 10, 2009
    Well, according to internet wood doesn't matter so it may be a waste of time.
  20. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity

    Dec 2, 2003
    The Netherlands
    But 18 years of having built guitars taught me otherwise.
    Zepfan and mefgames like this.
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