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My first and only strat build thread

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by P Thought, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I have four home-rolled teles hanging on my wall, all made from the TDowns blueprints. No more teles for me, as much as I enjoy playing each one.

    I wasn't going to go there, but it's been bugging me that I don't have a strat, and I just ordered a neck from Warmoth, a one-piece roasted-maple boatneck with the 1 3/4" width I like at the nut. . . . The guy who sells me my firewood says he has pieces to make a one-piece body from old-growth Douglas Fir, which is what I have had in mind in case I ever did break down for a parts strat. I plan to finish it with Formby's tung-oil finish like my teles have.

    I have in mind the SSS pickup configuration, and I plan to have a trem bar. I'm not sure whether I'll buy a loaded pickguard or gather all the parts together separately.

    I gave my router to my son, but I'm sure I could borrow it back for just a day or two. . . . Can any of you recommend a good set of 1:1 printable plans from which I can make accurate templates, so that parts will all fit and work right when I get them together?
     
  2. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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  3. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I've never had a strat, never played a tremolo. Any suggestions about which kind to rout for, use here?
     
  4. Treadplatedual

    Treadplatedual Tele-Holic

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    Two-point trems a la American strats are relatively easy to do, and keep tuning a little better than 6-screw vintage trems. Fender, wilkinson, gotoh, and hipshot all have nice version of that.

    But really, if you've never had a trem, just do what i did and build a hardtail strat! I hate all the trems I've currently got or have ever used.
     
  5. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    Here's what I use for plans. And this may or may not give you some insight but I've learned a lot from this video. It's been posted here many times.
     

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  6. tigger

    tigger Tele-Meister

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  7. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Thanks, everyone. Very helpful.

    This will proceed slowly, perhaps very slowly--as I've said there is no hurry--but I'll post developments from time to time. The neck (for me that's the starting point for any guitar project) will arrive in a week or two I think, and I'll dawdle over to the woodlot sometime soon.

    Some years ago my son made the body for my first blueprint tele. I might try to con him into crafting this body for me, using the resources here to guide him. He has tools and skills that I don't have, and I ain't proud.
     
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  8. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    MMMMMMM!!! Maple!

    roasted neck.jpg
     
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  9. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The neck's here now, and it seems dandy. The paperwork with it says it's OK to use it unfinished--the warranty's still good--so that's my plan.

    I read several of @Ronkirn's excellent links, and I'll read the rest of them before I cut any wood. I've been looking at template possibilities, and my son says he'll be happy to give the body a shot, but after he cleans his garage. I know I said I'm in no hurry, but. . . .

    Warmoth says they might make a body from my blank, but only if it's kiln-dried. I read a little about wood-drying kilns on the internet. Not what I expected--takes longer than I thought--but it looks doable, and still faster than air-drying green wood. My son says he has some pieces of old-growth that he's collected, downed from the winter's big snow storm, and I still need to contact the firewood guy about next winter's firewood anyway. Definitely a stack of blanks and some stickers are called for, and maybe a kiln will come together. I do have a room dehumidifier. . . .

    I still think I want to use a trem, so that when the guitar is done I can play like Jeff Beck. @Treadplatedual, I hear what you're saying, and will consider it. I plan to use split-shaft tuners, and I have some bone nut-blanks left over from some of my tele projects. I'd really like to hear from more of you about trem assemblies and trem routs you've had success with.

    Past that my parts list is a blank slate, and I'm open to suggestions and recommendations. I'm thinking about ordering a set of pickups, not sure which ones, from Don Mare. I love his work, have it in a couple of my teles, and if I order soon, his 20-week wait won't hold me up at all. I don't want to be changing pickups after the guitar is built.

    I also have some dye left from one of my tele projects, and I'm thinking about a) making more than one body while I'm at this; and b) putting a hand-rubbed dye burst on at least one of the bodies. I think I can do a better job than I did last time, and I'll experiment with some scrap fir first.
     
  10. slick4772

    slick4772 Tele-Meister

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    Maybe a silly question - but wouldn't roasting the neck after it is built possibly affect any glue used in the construction?
     
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  11. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    A revolting development: a couple weeks ago the wood guy brought me two nice-looking one-piece blanks. I shellacked the ends of them, but already they're both checking badly. I'm afraid they're not going to work, not for bodies anyway. I see now why Warmoth doesn't sound excited about cutting bodies from Doug Fir blanks I provide. Learning. Back to the search for wood I guess.

    It might be that I have to give up on my one-piece idea, and look for a well-aged or "reclaimed" rough-cut 2 x 8. (Edit: while I'm giving up on stuff, I'm thinking hard about what @Treadplatedual said about tremolos. Seems expensive, finicky to install, and generally above my pay grade as a luthier, not to mention as a musician. I've worked a long time on my hand tremolo; maybe I'll just stick with that, plus if I really have to whack a whammy I could install a Bigsby on one of my teles a lot more easily.)

    Better news: I just received a set of templates I ordered off e-Bay. They look very suitable. They're made of 1/4" MDF; I'll use them as masters, to make routing templates from some 5/8" plywood I have around. (edit: I just noticed the templates are for an HSS strat. I wanted SSS, not sure how I did that, but I guess there's time to straighten it all out.) (more edit: it occurs to me that maybe all that is wrong is that I'm not very smart. That humbucker rout should accommodate the single bridge pickup just fine--it's all covered by the pickguard anyway--and give me the option of using a different pickup later.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
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  12. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    @slick4772, that was just a photo set. The neck came roasted from Warmoth. I didn't really heat it in the oven! It has a great feel to it, should be the best part of the whole guitar.
     
  13. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    This project has been stalled a while.

    I bought a couple acoustics, spent my guitar money on other stuff, my daughter had a baby (our first grandchild), we bought a fifth-wheel just in time for the COVID shutdown. . . .

    I was a little disappointed about the fir blanks, and maybe put off by the HSS thing with the templates, though I'm sure that was my fault for not paying attention.

    I have done some sporadic shopping for parts, and I am surprised at how much everything costs, like tuners, bridges, trem systems. I found a rough-cut 2 x 12 lying around, thought maybe I should just give up on the one-piece body thing and use that.

    Today I cut a chunk out of that board, thinking I'd get a blank thicknessed and glued, then maybe cut out the shape and decide what to do about the fact that I gave away my router.

    The board is weathered and gray, and I guess I didn't look at it closely enough. Another surprise as soon as my skilsaw bit into it: the unmistakeable smell of cedar. Maybe I'll make a body or two anyway for practice. Maybe I'll like a cedar strat.

    Anyway, there's been quite a lot of re-thinking going on about this. A thought struck me, and it seems like a good idea. Soon as our local mom-and-pop store reopens, I'm going to buy a MIM strat from them. I'll strip it down, copy the cavities from it when I rout my body, then use its parts to finish my parts strat. Then I'll sell the body and neck for whatever I can get. Any parts I just can't live with I can replace later, but this way I can get something on the road.

    These templates. Does anyone know, if I rout for the HSS, will the bridge single-coil fit in the same cavity, just with a different pickguard?
     
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  14. Fred_Garvin

    Fred_Garvin Tele-Holic

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    HSS should work for either. And you could always do the swimming pool rout. As far as the tremelo goes, I would try a 2 point. And get some locking tuners!
     
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  15. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    I would use 3 singles from Deneb-Tone and wire to 3 mini-toggles to get those series/parallel tones, neck-bridge tones that all the Tele guys want and all 3 in parallel or series if ya want.
    Tremolo: I would use the Kahler or JM/Jag trem and a good rollor bridge over the traditional Strat choices if I could. If Strat style, I'd go the 2 point route.
     
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  16. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    If you use 3 singles, make the neck and bridge use separate tone pots and just volume for the middle. You'll be glad you did.
     
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  17. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I ordered a "Junior Watson" set of singles from Don Mare. I have his pickups in two of my blueprint teles, and I like them very much. One thing about partscasters is you can spread out the cost of them over time, so instead of it seeming like you bought one expensive guitar, it's like buying a series of cheap ones, only you're not stuck with any cheap guitars, and you get a really good free one at the end!

    Don works by himself, so there's a substantial waiting period; that's why I'm ordering pickups now. I still have to buy tuners, the trem/bridge gizmo, a pickguard, knobs, switches and other hardware. I'll order those over the next few weeks. I bought a router and a couple bits, so I can start on the body. I'm starting to warm up to the idea of cedar, having such a nice board on hand and all, though I did have fir in mind from the start. I need to find somebody to plane the board to thickness and square up one edge.

    Several times I've pulled the neck out of its box and imagined it attached and making nice noises. It's a great-feeling neck, and I can't wait to get this going!
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
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  18. Newbcaster

    Newbcaster Tele-Holic

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    Lowes has some great doug fir flat sawn 2x4s

    I just rotate them and glue them together and run them thru my ridgid thickness planer.

    If you sift thru their pile and put it back when done they don't mind and you can make the glue lines all but disappear.

    I did that on my wonderboy build.

    Doug fir is the most sonorous tone wood, imho. All the stiffness of maple and still a relative of spruce. Stuff rings like a xylophone.

    Tremolo. Get a Wilkinson vintage space Wilkinson and large aftermarket brass block and vintage style bent saddles.

    Pickups: vintage wound alnico3s

    Don't forget to reverse the headstock, paint it lipstick Red, and gold hardware with white pickguard. Gotta love hank marvin!!!

    Newb
     
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  19. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I charged my account at the hardware store, and brought home a new router and a couple of bits. I had given my other router to my son, to prevent myself from making a bunch of more guitars. This is just one more, I promise. :)

    I'll slow down another month or so on the parts acquisition, give myself time to recover from the pickups and the router. I might soon burst into action on a body, even if it ends up being just for practice. I'd still like to use the Doug Fir if I can. The hygrometer I ordered arrived the other day. I'll try to figure out how to work it.
     
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