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  1. #1
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    Default Current Guitar Project: Alder Strat

    Hey All:

    So one of the three ongoing guitar projects I've got happening is a simple Alder San Dimas-style Strat. (The other two being a Warmoth VW quilt top and a Wolfgang Special re-finish with binding and a Sustainer system.) My attempt with this one was to build a guitar for under $250 that I'll still really enjoy playing. After a crazy summer that involved moving and traveling, I've finally gotten back to work on all of them. Much to my fiancée's dismay, my work has been mostly occurring on the dining room table, as I have yet to actually set up any kind of a shop space in our new apartment.

    This morning the Strat actually started to look like it was finally on its way, especially after I did a quick mock up by dropping in the pickups and setting in a trem.

    My original color idea a was a trans burnt orange. What I've heard about orange being a difficult color is true. It didn't help that my original sealing job was not-so-great. (I'm still fairly new to this.) So after some sanding, I used a barely-diluted mix of the orange dye and applied it to the body the other night. This morning I brush sealed it again, which really helped even the finish out. It now actually looks closer to a burgundy than orange, but the wood grain looks good and things are mostly consistent, so I'm going with it. (As a backup I was prepared to scrap the transparent finish idea and paint a flat color.) So tonight and tomorrow it'll get its final sanding, and then I'll start the clear coat.

    A quick opinion poll: Do you like the black trem in the attached photo, or do you think chrome would be nicer? I have both as options, and I'll do all the hardware to match with either.

    Info on the guitar:

    Body is a KNE alder San D
    Neck is a Mighty Mite compound radius Strat w/ R2 Floyd nut
    Pickups are Guitar Fetish hot PAFs
    The Floyd trem will either be an old black Peavey (Wilkinson) or a chrome Gotoh
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    Andrew, does paint adhere and thus change properties to an extent differently on various woods, or is it more or less uniform? If this is the case, are there chemicals that can be added to the paint before application to counter the effect?

    When I used to paint cars in my youth (early 1980's), there were additives such as "fish eye solution" that could change the properties of the paint and offer a remarkable affect in the finish. Surely by now this technology has advanced at this date. I say certainly as one need only look the astounding paint jobs on today's custom cars that would have been unthinkable at the time I was involved.

    I dunno, yet the notion occurred to me regarding taking a guitar project to a hot rod shop for a paint job. Any thoughts?
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
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  3. #3
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    11.17.15 @ 08:56 PM
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    I'd go with the Gotoh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
    Andrew, does paint adhere and thus change properties to an extent differently on various woods, or is it more or less uniform? If this is the case, are there chemicals that can be added to the paint before application to counter the effect?

    When I used to paint cars in my youth (early 1980's), there were additives such as "fish eye solution" that could change the properties of the paint and offer a remarkable affect in the finish. Surely by now this technology has advanced at this date. I say certainly as one need only look the astounding paint jobs on today's custom cars that would have been unthinkable at the time I was involved.

    I dunno, yet the notion occurred to me regarding taking a guitar project to a hot rod shop for a paint job. Any thoughts?
    This is question much more suited to someone here with more experience than me. To date I've only painted a headstock for one of my guitars, and it was a basic spray can thing. I do know that proper priming is vital to a successful paint job, and my guess is that seals the wood so that it won't have an undesired affect on the paint properties and, ultimately, the color.

    I've found I don't like clear coating at all. It's a time-consuming, messy process--all confounded extensively when one (me) doesn't have decent "pro" facilities for doing so. I've pained my way through these three projects so far, but it's likely I'll either buy finished bodies from now on or find another way to do it--like bringing a prepped guitar body to a trusted body shop for its clear coat.

  5. #5
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    Alder Strat Update: At the moment I'm briefly taking a break from painting the control and pickup cavities with conductive shielding paint.

  6. #6
    Top Of The World thebrownboys's Avatar
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    I like the black trem. Gives it a warm feeling along with the burgundy color of the wood.

  7. #7
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    Well I just ordered a bunch of black hardware pieces for this guitar. I'm usually not a fan of black or gold, but once the color on this thing became the red-ish that it did, I started to think black would give it a whole different character.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewThomas.net View Post
    Well I just ordered a bunch of black hardware pieces for this guitar. I'm usually not a fan of black or gold, but once the color on this thing became the red-ish that it did, I started to think black would give it a whole different character.
    yeah i think i agree, it'll keep it very sutble almost stealth like, which is cool (in my opinion anyway.....but then again i'm so unhip its a wonder my ass hasn't fallen off yet!)
    http://www.facebook.com/Tommywho5150

    And with that I'm off to the kitchen to make myself a lesbian omelette...LLFHS in response to one of Graeme's post's


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  9. #9
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    10.18.13 @ 05:01 PM
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    Just put a set of those same GFS pickups in my el cheapo epi les paul -they sound great. Can't beat the price. What do you think about their sound?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kissmyace View Post
    Just put a set of those same GFS pickups in my el cheapo epi les paul -they sound great. Can't beat the price. What do you think about their sound?
    This will be my first time trying them out, so I'll let you know once they're wired up.

    I can get get both Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio pickups for close to wholesale, but it's still a lot more $ than this pair of GFS pups, so in this "economical" guitar project I thought it was a good idea.

  11. #11
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    I used that same Mighty Mite neck on the Generation 1 Frankie I just gave my buddy at the end of the summer. I hadn't heard a ton of positives about those, but when I'm over there and play it, I think it's a great neck for the money. I was lucky to pick that one. The next project that I build for myself, I'll probably go with a Mighty Mite. Is the hockey stick heastock an option with any of their necks? Kind of gives away what I want to build for myself later, doesn't it.

    Love that color (from the pics, it's not that far off from the Townshend LP Deluxe # 5 I'm beginning to build for my bro - but I'm nowhere close yet). However, I'm responding too late because I dig the chrome a bit better, but I'm sure the black will be cool. Is that color lighter in person than it seems through the pics? I'm just trying to picture that with the black hardware in my mind. If it is as dark as I'm seeing, I was thinking the chrome would give it a bit more "pop". But then again, it kind of depends on what you are going for. What's the cost difference in the hardware for black? I've never bought any black hardware before.

    Cool project.

    Keep us posted.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cokemach1 View Post
    I used that same Mighty Mite neck on the Generation 1 Frankie I just gave my buddy at the end of the summer. I hadn't heard a ton of positives about those, but when I'm over there and play it, I think it's a great neck for the money. I was lucky to pick that one. The next project that I build for myself, I'll probably go with a Mighty Mite. Is the hockey stick heastock an option with any of their necks? Kind of gives away what I want to build for myself later, doesn't it.

    Love that color (from the pics, it's not that far off from the Townshend LP Deluxe # 5 I'm beginning to build for my bro - but I'm nowhere close yet). However, I'm responding too late because I dig the chrome a bit better, but I'm sure the black will be cool. Is that color lighter in person than it seems through the pics? I'm just trying to picture that with the black hardware in my mind. If it is as dark as I'm seeing, I was thinking the chrome would give it a bit more "pop". But then again, it kind of depends on what you are going for. What's the cost difference in the hardware for black? I've never bought any black hardware before.

    Cool project.

    Keep us posted.
    The Mighty Mite neck was also a budget decision--a "blem," because the tuner holes on the back side of the headstock have some slight chipping around them (that the tuner backs will easily cover up). So it was a $60 neck. For future projects, coke, check out AllParts necks; they're top-notch and roughly in the same price range as the MMs. Unfortunately, though, I don't think either company produces them with the hockey stick headstock. I see ones on eBay occasionally, and we know both Divebomb and Frankenstraat make them.

    I did order all the necessary black hardware parts for the guitar this morning. Thanks for making a vote anyway, coke. Originally I thought the same as you--the black kind of gets hidden, and the chrome brightens it up more. Black and gold do tend to be a little more expensive on average. Buying all new stuff wasn't exactly staying with my original plan of keeping this custom guitar cheap; I literally had everything except the toggle switch already in chrome.

  13. #13
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    right on.

    i'm sure we'd all love some pics along the way. they don't haveto be good either, just some phone cam snaps.

    i like the idea of black hardware.

  14. #14
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    Tonight was final sanding night, and then the dye required a few touch-ups. Tomorrow I'm going to start spraying clear on this thing. I'm going the spray can route, because the damn brush-on clear varnish I bought for the Warmoth guitar, though nice, is a major pain when it comes to wet sanding. This thing won't by any means have a perfect finish; I'm just hoping for "pretty nice."

 

 

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