Monday, June 2, 2008

Putting it all together

Well, considering I had already put everything together before lacquering, this step was dead easy. In fact, the hardest part was having the patience to wait for the lacquer to totally dry. I’d recommend waiting several days, or even a week or two if you can bear it.

Be very, VERY careful with screws, screwdrivers, or any other item which might scratch your nice new finish.

It was a wonderful experience making this guitar myself. I highly recommend it. You’ll learn a lot and you’ll get an amazing feeling of self-satisfaction when you put the whole thing together and play it.

You should also take some time to set the guitar up right. Intonation, string height and neck tension will all make a huge difference to how your guitar plays. If you can’t set it up yourself, then consider taking it to your local guitar shop and paying a small fee for them to do it. I recommend learning to do it yourself though, but do be patient. It’s a learning process, so don’t expect to get it right first time.

Here are a few more pics of the finished guitar from various angles. Enjoy.

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions. I’ll be happy to reply.


Anonymous said...

stumbled upon your site. What a great job !
The pix are good too I know its no easy task cutting out a body shape and making it look professional but you've done a cracking job. One purely cosmetic criticism , could you not have recessed the back plates.It was something that stood out ,literally, in one photo.
Otherwise fab.

stu said...

Thanks for the comment. All criticism is gladly received. Actually, recessing the backplates was something I thought about a bit too late. Since it was a Strat, it was something I just didn't consider at the time, since Strats don't normally have recessed backplates (obviously guitars like Les Pauls, etc., do). In fact, the whole tremolo thing was an afterthought. At first I just had a hardtail bridge installed, but later changed that. I found that the tremolo affected the sound quite dramatically, and not having it meant I was losing out on some of the famous Strat tone (at least that's the way I feel - others may disagree). But yeah, a bit of better planning and I probably would have recessed those things. Once the lacquering was done, doing the recessing would mean risking the finish, and that was something I wasn't willing to do.

Anonymous said...

hey nice strat I was wondering exactly which tools you used

stu said...

Well, let's see. There were just two electrical tools: a jig saw and a drill. Apart from that, a round rasp, chisel, rubber mallot, file, sandpaper, little hacksaw. That's really about it. I also used a stand for the drill (just for the neck attachment routing) and some clamps were necessary for various steps.

Gary said...

Super job!! Love the lacquer finish, it would be nice if more factory finishes were lacquer, they are much easier to repair when scratched.
I know what you mean about the "baseball bat" ash wood you used. It is VERY heavy, but I wonder just how much tone difference it will make if you router out more of the body? If you like the tone now I would be hesitant about changing it to save the weight. But then that's just me.
I do a little wood work from time to time, and I own a LOT of power tools to do it with. But I remember building my very first black powder muzzleloader with just wood chisels, a hand drill, and sand paper mostly. It seems like it took me forever, but there was no internet back then and not much in the way of TV to distract me either. (Laugh) It turned out great! Even my friend that owned the gun shop I bought some parts from said it seemed better than the factory ones available at the time.
I used curly maple back then, but later built one with "bat ash wood" when the stock on a factory one cracked on me. I replaced it with that. It must have added 2-3 pounds to it! (Laugh) people at the range used to pick it up and look at it. Some though I had filled the butstock with lead!(laugh)
I would love to build a new Fender Strat, I have thought about it for years. I just never seem to have the time anymore. (Must be the cable TV! ;) )
Thanks so very much for your articals. I find them much more complete and informative than anything else I have found on line by far!
Please keep up the good work.