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The xgp strat build

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by brokeGradStudent, Dec 4, 2020.

  1. brokeGradStudent

    brokeGradStudent TDPRI Member

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    Hi all, I've been a lurker here for over a year, but just made my account to share my experience of building my first Stratocaster. A little background, I'm in grad school (as my username suggests) and cannot afford to do a Warmoth DIY project without eating ramen like I was a freshman in undergrad. I also have a philosophy that a good guitar shouldn't have to be insanely expensive and that some non-botique parts can be high quality.

    I initially started to process this build because I wanted to add a strat to my collection. I had a Squier SE for all of 2 weeks, but the trem system was beat to crap, the Gotoh tuners I bought it with had seen better days, and frankly I found someone who paid nearly 2x what I got it for and was stoked for it even with my reservations.

    My first plan was to get an unfinished ash strat body and finish it myself, but renting a space with poor ventilation quickly decreased my interest in that. Instead I went with Guitar Fetish XGP for the body and neck. I read a lot of terrible reviews of what was happening, but the price was too good to ignore and a check of internet archive showed that there were some changes to the description (and maybe product recently) so I sprung on a clear gloss ash body and an amber maple neck with 22 frets. With a little hardware added, I got both for 190 shipped.

    Before I get into what I think of the body and neck out of the box, I'll also be using a MusicLily Steel Tremolo system that looks a lot like the fender ultra bridge (35 on amazon), a cheap 3-ply pickguard with shielding on it, a blender mod pot set from ToneShaper (30 on amazon), Fender locking tuners, Dunlop locking buttons, various hardware from Guitar Fetish of little matter (heavy screw plate, string trees, jack plate, etc.) and my personal favorite, variable width alnico pickups from a Chinese maker that Darrel Braun previously compared against the SD Zephyrs - they aren't quite as composed when distorted, but I'll take my $980 over that any day (<$20 on amazon for the set). All in, I'm under the price of a classic vibe and will get much better hardware that I can transfer to other builds if I choose.

    Now onto the body. I wasn't expecting much and their is some reason to believe it would be a boat anchor. reviews have not been kind to the weight of these and my box shipped as 11.5 lbs. It came looking all things considered, great. It is a 3 piece for sure but it blends decently. My only issues with look with it is that it has has some denting under the top horn on the front and lower horn on the back, but I'll be the only one to ever notice these - especially since a pickguard covers the majority of the front one. I'll just call it a $100 body character mark. Functionally it feels fine. It is just under 6 lbs, but with a 1.2 lb neck and 2.5 lbs hardware, I'm looking at ~9.5 lbs which is fine for a cheap ash strat in my book. There is excess finish in the neck joint that prevented the neck from going in perfectly, but I imagine I'll be able to sand that out in seconds. There is also one clearance hole on the back of the body that I'll have to drill a little more out to drop the screw in, but the other 3 were great. XGP seems to no longer route twice because there is finish inside the cavity, but this isn't a big deal to me. I'll be covering it up with copper tape anyways.
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    IMG_1649.jpg IMG_1650.jpg IMG_1651.jpg IMG_1652.jpg IMG_1653.jpg IMG_1654.jpg IMG_1657.jpg


    For the neck, this was actually a huge surprise for me. The amber isn't as perfectly matched to the body as I had hoped, but it looks great. It's a modern C shape and I'd believe a 12 in radius as reported on the website. Frets came leveled from GFS which I found shocking. Maybe I'm lucky. There was some buffing compound left on the frets but I don't mind that. The neck feels like it could get gummy easily, so I'll likely sand it with steel wool to make it quicker. black dots all look good, maybe slightly imperfect at the 12th fret sides. The nut feels okay for now, but might be a smidge high. No scarf joint to be found on the back like previous angled XGP headstocks. I'll also have to widen the tuner holes with a reamer, but that's a quick and easy job.

    Overall, I'm very impressed with these parts and look forward to sharing the rest of the build. I'll add more pictures in the reply.
     
  2. WalthamMoosical

    WalthamMoosical Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Welcome to TDPRI and keep those pics coming!
     
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  3. brokeGradStudent

    brokeGradStudent TDPRI Member

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    IMG_1659.jpg IMG_1660.jpg IMG_1661.jpg IMG_1662.jpg IMG_1664.jpg IMG_1665.jpg IMG_1666.jpg IMG_1667.jpg IMG_1670.jpg IMG_1672.jpg
     
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  4. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I bought one of those bodies for the guitar I'm not building. Don't ask... I am not an XGP fan by any means and have had poor experiences with wood parts from them. However, that said, my gripes were with Tele bodies & misalignment between the neck pocket, pup routs, & ferrule holes. Despite that, I built a real nice Esquire from one, which figured into buying the Strat body.
    The neck for the guitar I'm not building should be here next week.
     
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  5. brokeGradStudent

    brokeGradStudent TDPRI Member

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    Oh, while this looks all around decent, it's far from exceptional. Drop in and go is not the way to describe this. Setup will be a hassle to be sure. I would not buy a string through from them based on plenty of previous posts showing terrible routing of the through holes. The trem was largely the reason why I was okay with this body. Otherwise I may have gone with Rosser or Warmoth unfinished.
     
  6. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    Its your nickel, but I wouldn't keep the body or the neck. They would both go right in the box back to GFS. I think you would do much better elsewhere for the same or less money.

    What is that thing on the front of the body shaped like a number 7? Is that under or in the finish? If that's the dent you refer to, I couldn't live with that for $100.

    Here's a really good deal on quality alder bodies that I have personally bought. No ash, but very nice bodies. They have flawless finishes and everything routed in the right place and the right size. Neck fit is perfect with both Fender and aftermarket Fender spec necks.

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_odkw=&_ssn=goodbuy711&hash=item2d145e4a3d:g:gLoAAOSw8WZfIS8z&item=193615252029&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2046732.m570.l1313&_nkw=strat+body&_sacat=0

    Here is what they look like in the flesh. The sunburst is so good I am using it to re-body my '57 AVRI from Mary Kay White to sunburst. The CAR is likewise gorgeous and I will build a 60's stile strat from it.

    IMG_3196.JPG IMG_3203.JPG

    As far as necks go, the XGP is cheap and like you say, appears to have been fret leveled. I personally can't get past the headstock. It's a thing for me. maybe not for you.

    Stratosphere on eBay has a 21 fret all-maple neck by WD for $106 incl. shipping. That is worth the difference to me to have a quality neck.
     
  7. GGardner

    GGardner Friend of Leo's

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    Welcome aboard. I was a broke grad student too a lifetime ago. What are you studying?
     
  8. brokeGradStudent

    brokeGradStudent TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the heads up on that. I did want a transparent body, but those eBay ones do look good otherwise. Especially having the stud mounts done would be amazing. As far as neck profile goes, I’m not trying to fool anyone that it’s a partscaster and it really doesn’t bother me.

    As far as what I’m studying, biochemistry. My world is at a halt from supply shortages though. 2-3 months to get what would normally be overnight.

    An update: the bottom side of the neck was not carved to fit at 25.5 scale length into the body with the 22 frets. It is instead 26 inch. I contacted gfs when I saw this and will update y’all when I know the outcome. I am also going to request a refund/significant discount on the body. If I get the refund I’ll be going for the sunburst on eBay.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
  9. Festofish

    Festofish Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Beautiful body.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2020
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  10. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    GFS is great for hardware but on wood products, it's the luck of the draw. I ordered a spalted top XGP Tele body on a build for a buddy and it was so good I couldn't believe my luck. The time before I ordered a Mary Kaye White Strat body and it had a plank of greenish gray wood bordered by normal wood color pieces that showed through the semi-transparent white like a sore thumb. I had to send that one back. I haven't bought from them since but at least it ended on a high note.

    That ebay seller advised that he stays away from wood finishes other than sunbursts and painted because the matching of woods on a multi-piece body is too complicated for his
    suppliers who mass produce. That along with the complaints/returns would further increase his costs. He prefers to stick with what he does best to provide a consistently good product at a low price.

    Re: The neck scale issue on your neck, your pics show an undercut so I don't know why the scale would be off. Do you have the neck fully seated with fretboard extension on top of the body when measuring the scale length?
     
  11. brokeGradStudent

    brokeGradStudent TDPRI Member

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    Ah that makes a lot of sense on the sunburst. I have it in my eBay cart while I’m working to return the body now (any issues with gfs returns?)

    there’s a slight overhang, but it’s about 1/4 of an inch too short and the body/neck combo wasn’t good together. It’d take either a ton of sanding or routing to fix that, and I’d rather have my money back than go through that.

    Out of curiosity, do you have one with a contoured heel/how is the body contouring? The pictures online show it to be heavily contoured which I prefer, but just wanted a real world experience.
     
  12. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    The ones I have purchased all had standard heel.
     
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  13. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

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    Welcome to TDPRI. :)
     
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  14. brokeGradStudent

    brokeGradStudent TDPRI Member

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    Small update, thanks to you folks (especially @stratisfied), I've decided to return the ash body and go with the goodbuy body instead. I got the 3.9 lb 2 piece ash with studs pre-drilled in sunburst.

    Depending on how the returns process goes with GFS I'll either go with another XGP neck or go a different route if they give me a hard time. I could theoretically swing a Warmoth neck. Would likely go pretty basic with a compound radius, and SS frets being the only difference between that and other licensed necks. Input?
     
  15. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    Be sure to use shorter neck screws on that contoured heel! I am glad I could help and know you'll be happy with the body when you get it.
     
  16. brokeGradStudent

    brokeGradStudent TDPRI Member

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    Thanks! The plan is to drill pilot holes to the correct depth and cut down the screw. If that proves too tricky with my bolt cutters, I'll just get something at a hardware store.
     
  17. brokeGradStudent

    brokeGradStudent TDPRI Member

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    I took the neck to a luthier in town. They confirmed that the neck was build incorrectly and pointed out that the finish is too thick/not properly routed to fit a standard strat on any guitar. With that in mind, I decided to dip a bit into savings to fund a Warmoth Neck. I just wanted to make sure that everything was exactly what I wanted on a 3 figure neck. Got a plain maple and Indian rosewood c shaped neck with 22 SS frets, Tusq nut, and a compound radius. I won't get the neck until February so I'll probably open a new thread then with a brief recap.

    GFS has yet to respond about returns but I'll make it happen one way or another.
     
  18. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    My experience with GFS is that they will take it back. They may require you to first pay the return shipping and upon inspection they will refund purchase price and return shipping if the item is defective. I guess that is their way of separating out the changed my mind returns (no return shipping refund) from legit items with issues. They are a little slow to respond to emails. I just call, request a return authorization and send a follow-up email with pics of the issues for reference.
     
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  19. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Holic

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    Did you get squared away with GFS?
     
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