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  1. #1
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    Default The AT Custom Red Quilt Maple/Poplar Strat!

    Hey Guys:

    Here's the write-up I did for my newest custom guitar.

    --

    The AT Custom Red Quilt Maple/Poplar Strat
    Serial Number: 1201025
    Completed: October 2010


    The AT Custom Red Quilt Maple/Poplar Strat was completed on October 2, 2010.

    For a couple of years I'd been thinking about this project--brainstorming mainly about building a guitar around a set of Burns Tri-Sonic pickups (known most famously for their use by Queen's Brian May). I was looking for a body made from a darker tonewood, either mahogany, basswood, or poplar. The one I ended up using came from a builder on eBay. The quality of the work was there, and the 1/4" quilt top won me over. The plan all along was to dye the guitar red in tribute to Brian May's Red Special and also my friend Jeremy's Baldwin/Tri-Sonic guitar. I acquired a Mighty Mite birdseye maple/rosewood fingerboard neck (rosewood was another "dark" wood requirement) and collected the other parts along the way. I found myself literally stressed out about fitting the Tri-Sonic pickups into the pickguard; they are larger than traditional single coil pickups. I couldn't easily buy a pre-fabricated pickguard, which meant the best option was to route one myself from a blank. Unfortunately I lacked the facilities for doing that kind of work well. So when my favorite off-brand pickup company, GFS, introduced their version of the Burns Tri-Sonic--in a regular single coil sized shape--the decision to go that way instead was easy. GFS also manufactured a pickguard routed for the traditional Brian May six-switch configuration, which in turn helped alter my original plan to do typical three-pickup/five-way switching; instead each pickup gets two mini switches--one on/off switch and one normal-phase/reverse-phase switch. The numerous pickup configurations offer multiple tonal options and combinations. The rest of the guitar is fairly standard. I'm not a fan of the traditional Strat trem (being quite picky about tuning stability), so I likely won't ever insert the arm; the tremolo will stay in a fixed position. During the finishing process I attempted to do a natural wood masked binding. That attempt failed when red dye seeped beyond the masking tape. Disappointed, I opted to paint on a white faux binding. This thankfully accomplished the top binding touch-of-class look I appreciate so much.

    Pictures of this guitar in progress, along with my other guitar projects, can be found on my MySpace and Facebook pages:

    http://www.myspace.com/andrewthomassolomusic
    http://www.facebook.com/GuitarSandwich

    Parts

    Body: Solid Poplar/Quilt Maple; Red Dye; White Faux Binding; Poly Finish

    Neck: Mighty Mite Birdseye Maple/Rosewood; C-Shape Profile; 9.5" Radius; 1 11/16" Tusq Nut; Medium-Jumbo Frets; Graph Tech String Trees; Satin Finish

    Pickups: GFS Brighton Rock Vintage Correct Single Coils

    Electronics: Alpha 250K Volume & Tone Potentiometers (Black Strat Style Knobs); 2-Way Pickup On/Off Mini Switches (3); 2-Way Pickup Phase-In/Phase-Out Mini Switches (3); Switchcraft Jack w/ Black Strat Style Jack Plate

    Hardware: Black Modern-Style 2-Point Tremolo; Black Gotoh Mini Tuners; 3-Ply Black/White/Black Pickguard; Black Tremolo Cavity Cover; Black Neck Plate w/ Black Plastic Gasket

    Photos














  2. #2
    Good Enough SLEEPER5150's Avatar
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    Awesome Andrew! Very cool switching system. How do you like those GFS singles? They look very cool. I have a set similar that I got off of one of the old Guild Brian May guitars.
    She looks so $#@!'n good ,so sexy and so frail....Somethin's got the bite on me, I'm goin' straight to Hell.

  3. #3
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    10.18.13 @ 05:01 PM
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    Looks great !!!

  4. #4
    Top Of The World 5150 Frankenstrat's Avatar
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    I said this on facebook and I'll say it on here, that is a sexy guitar. Great look to it!

  5. #5
    Forum Frontman Double Down's Avatar
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    God damn is that beautiful. Awesome job, AT.
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    VH with Dave ('78-'84) - The best years....the "real" VH.
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  6. #6
    Whoa, this is heavy! Jedi McFly's Avatar
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    The black hardware is so perfect for that guitar. Nicely done!

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the nice comments, guys!

    I'm pretty happy with this one. I've only had a few playings days with it so far, but I think this guitar will carve out a nice niche amongst my arsenal. (Uniqueness is now something I strive for with each guitar I assemble.)

    Quote Originally Posted by SLEEPER5150 View Post
    Awesome Andrew! Very cool switching system. How do you like those GFS singles? They look very cool. I have a set similar that I got off of one of the old Guild Brian May guitars.
    I guess Jay from Guitar Fetish worked on the Guild BM guitars and had his hands on the original. I can't compare the GFS Brighton Rocks to Burns Tri-Sonic pups directly because I've never owned a guitar with them, but I like what I'm hearing so far. They're beefy and gritty but play clean nicely. I'm personally very bored with the typical Strat single coil sound. These sound more like a good humbucker coil tapped (but a little better than that). So far I like them and the options the switching system offers. I'll report on them more as I play the guitar through different rigs.

  8. #8
    On Fire smithtone's Avatar
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    Awesome guitar, Andrew, and nice job all the way around. I've seen those pickguard wiring kits GFS offers and was wondering - how hard was the wiring job with those mini phase switches? Were the instructions/directions thorough and easy to follow?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtone View Post
    Awesome guitar, Andrew, and nice job all the way around. I've seen those pickguard wiring kits GFS offers and was wondering - how hard was the wiring job with those mini phase switches? Were the instructions/directions thorough and easy to follow?
    You have to be very precise, very careful, and very patient with the wiring. You also need a soldering pencil with a very fine tip.

    I would not recommend following the instructions that came with the kit. I found a few steps to be illogically placed. Moreover, there's a display of the wiring on the backside of the instructions, and it doesn't match what they're describing! Use the display to wire the switches, and wire the pots and everything else as you normally would. I destroyed three of the switches from the original kit trying to un-do a couple of things in order to make it work. (They're small, and any extra soldering pretty much fries them--especially when trying to unsolder something.)

  10. #10
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    Nice guitar! Sounds like you had to perform surgery to put that together! I'd probably slam the guitar on the floor trying to wire that together.

    Let us know how it sounds after you've jammed for a while
    \m/ Roll Tide \m/

    Check out my MUSIC

    "To not be heard is to not exist"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webbed1 View Post
    Nice guitar! Sounds like you had to perform surgery to put that together! I'd probably slam the guitar on the floor trying to wire that together.

    Let us know how it sounds after you've jammed for a while
    I really liked what I was getting with it clean through my Laney combo the other night. But this guitar was meant to have some grit behind it. I'll get it going through the 5150s on my next visit to my studio.

    The wiring job took about three hours. There were two small issues with solder dripping, but they were an easy fix.

 

 

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