NGD, but not for long!

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by SixStringSlinger, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Just received this Squier Mini Strat for a project I have in mind:

    unnamed-1.jpg

    This was a Goodwill find, so as you might expect it needed a little cleaning and TLC. I took her apart, cleaned her up and put back together the bits I'll be keeping (everything else going in my spare parts collection). Here's how she looks next to her older sister:

    unnamed.jpg

    I like that the fretboard kept that streaky quality even after I oiled it up (first time I've ever had a fretboard both look and feel dry).

    So why am I removing parts? What is this project. I'm gonna build me an electric Cuban trés. I was inspired by these videos:





    It seems simple enough. The only things that need to change are the bridge and the nut, both to accomodate the trés' three pairs of strings. I'm also going to replace the electronics with something ore robust. The controls for sure. I'm thinking of what to do, pickup-wise. And the pickguard will follow whatever comes of that.

    With that in mind, I have some questions/concerns I'd appreciate some guidance on:

    1) Re. the nut: I've never "made" a nut before. Obviously I can buy a blank one, but I've never shaped one or made notches for the stings. Any resources on this? Practice makes perfect of course, but it'd be nice to have a little theory beforehand. I have a couple of acoustics that can use new saddles. Would that make for a good stepping stone into nut-crafting? Also, how about tools? I can't imagine I'll be making nuts often (only needed one in half a lifetime of playing), but I imagine what I'd need to do the job is a little specialized.

    2) The bridge: The guy in the video talks about a Gotoh bridge, presumably a 12-string one. The trouble is that, on an instrument with 6 strings (or six pairs), none of them is centered as the middle course must be on a trés. He mentions that it's modified. Could he have drilled a center hole in the bride and just installed one of the saddles there? Do you know of any other suitable bridges that wouldn't need such modification?

    3) Also about the bridge: Assume the new bridge doesn't perfectly match the holes on the guitar. I'm comfortable with plugging holes and drilling new ones, but where a new screw that at least partially touches the plug has to resist the pull of the strings at tension. I assume a bunch of toothpicks and wood glue won't do it. How about a more closely-sized dowel?

    4) Just collecting opinions here, but what do you think, pickups-wise? The lipstick in the video sounds good. The Mini Strat has a swimming pool route, so I can pretty much do whatever I'd like. What would you do? Single pickup? More pickups (say maybe three lipsticks) for more tonal variation? Gold foils may sound good here, though I already have a goldfoil-equipped guitar.

    5) How bout electronics? I recently modded my Strat for one volume, one master bass cut and one master treble cut, and I'm enamored with this setup.

    6) Depending on what I decide re. pickups and electronics, I'll need a new pickguard. Know of anyone who makes custom ones that'll fit a Mini Strat? Or at least blank ones I can cut myself?

    7) The tuners seem ok, but the backs are a little banged up, enough so that I'll replace them if the price is right. Any leads on replacement tuners that will fit the post/screw holes for these trapezoid-style ones?

    Also, it's staying pink.
     
  2. BFcaster

    BFcaster TDPRI Member

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    +1 on the pink!! No joke, for that project it'll look great! A real Caribbean vibe!
     
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  3. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Friend of Leo's

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    If you're plugging holes for the bridge, then I'm sure he said he moved his 12-string bridge across a bit so that a string pair (either the D or the G) were centered.
     
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  4. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Friend of Leo's

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  5. Deeve

    Deeve Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    neat project

    won't you need 3 more tuners on that headstock?

    Peace - Deeve

    edit - am I just seeing a shadow, "suggesting" 9 strings?
     
  6. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Thanks! Most seem to be red or black, and the few pink one's I've seen say "Hello Kitty" above the pickguard, so I was excited when this one came up.
     
  7. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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  8. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, I think you're just seeing shadows of the strings, perhaps due to multiple fluorescent lights in his garage. A trés (Spanish for "three") has six strings strung in 3 pairs. The traditional tuning, low to high, is G-C-E, with the G's in octaves and the others in unison (though the E is sometimes in octaves, as well).
     
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  9. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Lipstick pickup sounds good. C.B.Gitty.com has many CBG type pickups to choose from like a single rail Strat type, Gold Foil, 3pole/4 pole hb's or minibucker.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
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  10. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Wow. Nice project. It makes a tres sound yet more up to date or something. A very fun sonic area to explore.
     
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  11. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Yeah, I'm excited to put it through some modulation effects, particularly.
     
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  12. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Afflicted

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    1. Nuts take a little practice, but they're not massively difficult - you can do it! If you use bone, go slowly and carefully as the density can change within the same piece, so it takes ages to file up to a certain point then suddenly the density changes and you've take off a mm in a few strokes. The blanks are fairly cheap though, so buy a few and don't worry if you make a mess first time. You can use a small saw to start the slot off then you'll need appropriate files, although if you can't afford something designed for cutting slots those little welding torch nozzle cleaners do work to widen a slot if you're not in a rush.

    2. I've made toploader ashtray style bridges before from scratch. Buy some L section steel and cut it to the size of the Squier bridge with the L section sticking up at the back, and put holes in the base to mount it. Then drill the L section so you can mount Tele style brass saddles into it, and more holes for the strings to pass through in the correct locations for a Tres. You can notch the saddles slightly as well to help with spacing, which might be a good idea as the middle strings might be a little splayed out getting them around the middle saddle screw. Another option might be a single bar with a screw on each end - the Eastwood Mandocaster has this.

    3. Making the bridge from scratch gets you round 3!

    4 & 5. You need rail pickups to work with the string spacing SD Hot Rails, Lipstick pickups, Charlie Christians, anything with a bar down the middle rather than individual pole pieces. Single volume and tone sounds good.

    6. Most pickguard makers will make you a guard from a template of your original for a small upcharge.

    7. Should be plenty, give All Parts or WD a call and tell them what you're looking for, they'll tell you what will fit.
     
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