Gold strat build - now complete!

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MegiiMegii Frets: 878
edited July 31 in Making & Modding
Most unexpected - was perusing around the web, noticed that Northwest Guitars have some finished strat bodies in at the moment. Kind of liked the daphne blue, but then noticed this one http://www.northwestguitars.co.uk/vintage-gold-stratocaster-electric-guitar-body-2-piece-american-alder/ - I think that was yesterday. Anyhow, this morning I stupidly google image "gold strat" and come across this image, of what to me is about the prettiest guitar I've ever seen...



and now I've ordered the Northwest gold body, eek! Planning to follow the look above, pretty much, so next job is to source a nice rosewood board neck. Didn't think I was going to do any more partscasters, especially strats, since I've done 2 that I like. Thought I had enough guitars in general really, but...
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1852
    You can never do too many, @Megii ; :)    Good to see you around
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    Thanks @Andyjr1515 - not been very active for a while I know, but nice to have a build thread started. - just beginning this build has cheered me up enormously anyhow, so it's worth it from that point alone. Looks like I've just found the right neck in the forum's parts section, so things are looking good. This will probably be about my easiest ever project - the body is already finished for one thing. Just a case of source the right bits, drill holes of the right size in the right places, bit of soldering, and assemble - not like some of the amazing stuff I've seen you tackle, but it keeps me happy, and hopefully I'll have a great guitar at the end. :)
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  • SargeSarge Frets: 1520
    Gorgeous looking body!
    Though you could have saved yourself a potential headache by getting a Northwest neck too, my all maple one is superb! 

    following! 
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    Sarge said:
    Gorgeous looking body!
    Though you could have saved yourself a potential headache by getting a Northwest neck too, my all maple one is superb! 

    following! 
    Thanks @Sarge - glad to hear you got a great neck from Northwest Guitars. Not so long ago I had a bit of trouble getting a decent tele neck from them - had to send one back, then the replacement was only just acceptable. From what you say, it sounds like I was just a bit unlucky with that, and maybe their usual is very high, in which case I'm pleased to hear it. Anyhow, I have a very good-looking Allparts neck on the way now, so all is good.

    The body has arrived this afternoon - I'll have to get some pictures done but it does seem excellent - nice and light, the finish is fairly thin for a poly, and well done, and it has a nice hollow resonance when tapped. Also got an ivory pearl pickguard and backplate on their way, and will have to look at what else I'm going to need, not least the pickups.
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    edited June 11
    Did my first bit of work on things this morning - basically sanding the side of the neck pocket to allow the Allparts neck I've bought to fit nicely. Also getting the base of the pocket flat and smooth - there was some build up of paint around the edges. Took an hour or two, just going slowly and carefully with some 250 grit sandpaper and a flat block. Tested at regular intervals, and seem to have got things to the point where its a fairly snug, but not desperately tight fit, and there's just a tad of wiggle room to fine tune neck alignment although by eye it looks good.

    Just a few pics anyhow, the neck has a bit of birdseye figuring on it, which is a nice bonus, plus I like the colour and grain on the rosewood. If I was being picky, I'd have gone for a headstock truss adjust, possibly 10mm holes for modern tuning machines, but all the other boxes are ticked for what I prefer - 12" radius, 22 jumbo frets, nice fairly slim C profile, and general good quality.







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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    edited June 11
    Still to decide how to finish the neck - think I may go Danish Oil, just a thin application, and going for a smooth, natural wood kind of thing. Could go with Tru Oil for a bit more of a built up (but still thin) finish, but I may just use that on the front of the headstock. Also whether to stain the neck slightly or not - I think I'm leaning towards not.

    Have ivory pearl pickguard and backplate in the post, and still loads of other bits to source of course. Will be all straight chrome for the metal hardware. Was thinking I'd widen the holes on the headstock to take modern sealed machine heads, but now I'm reconsidering, and may go for some Wilkinson vintage Kluson style - they keep the weight a bit lower for one thing, and perhaps a bit more elegant.
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  • stickyfiddlestickyfiddle Frets: 9443
    This looks great! Any idea on pickups & wiring yet?
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    This looks great! Any idea on pickups & wiring yet?
    Cheers @stickyfiddle - some ideas but not set in stone. Given I really shouldn't be spending money on another project right now :D I may go with an inexpensive pickup option, at least initially. I'm thinking either Vanson Classic Pro or Ironstone Silver - both come in at £38 a set. Something in the classic strat, 6 to 7 ish K ballpark area anyhow. But who knows if something good pops up in the forum classifieds. If I don't get on with the cheaper option, I can always upgrade to Mojo, Oil City etc. without having lost much.

    Wiring - I'm liking this one, that someone posted in another thread a few days ago:


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  • @Megii Hi, that is going to be one beautiful looking strat. I've heard of Northwest guitars, but never dealt with them. The finish on the body looks brilliant and having 25 guitars, one of the few colours I've never owned or indeed played, is gold. I've also never built a partscaster, but a friend of mine has who has a lot less building / modding experience than me. I've played it a few times and I can't imagine a guitar playing any better than his partscaster. I'll be watching this with interest. Wish you all the best. Looks amazing. 
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    @Megii Hi, that is going to be one beautiful looking strat. I've heard of Northwest guitars, but never dealt with them. The finish on the body looks brilliant and having 25 guitars, one of the few colours I've never owned or indeed played, is gold. I've also never built a partscaster, but a friend of mine has who has a lot less building / modding experience than me. I've played it a few times and I can't imagine a guitar playing any better than his partscaster. I'll be watching this with interest. Wish you all the best. Looks amazing. 
    Cheers very much for the kind words @JudasVigilante ! much appreciated. I've not had entirely great experiences with Northwest Guitars (as I said somewhere above) but they do seem like decent people who will try their best to fix any issues, and the service is always fast. And I have to say the body I've bought is very good indeed, and the price was good too.

    This will be my 5th parts build - I've done 2 strats, a tele, and a guitar of my own design using a neck I had spare - previously, I used guitarbuild.co.uk for the bodies, and finished them with Tru Oil or Wudtone. So it's a first to have bought a pre-finished body, but it's kind of nice to make life easy, plus I couldn't resist that gold. Like you, I built up experience modding guitars and fixing things, learnt about the electrics/wiring, and taught myself how to level/dress the frets and do the nuts. At some point I realised I knew enough to be able to do a good job putting a guitar together from parts, and that was that. It's great fun - give it a go if you fancy the idea.
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  • paulnb57paulnb57 Frets: 1177
    Ive finished a couple of Allparts necks with just two applications of Tru Oil, its an amazingly silky smooth finish.......
    Stranger from another planet welcome to our hole - Just strap on your guitar and we'll play some rock 'n' roll

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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    paulnb57 said:
    Ive finished a couple of Allparts necks with just two applications of Tru Oil, its an amazingly silky smooth finish.......
    Cheers @paulnb57 - I'm used to working with Tru Oil from previous build, so that's useful to hear about, and I guess I may well go with that option. I do seem to have enough Tru Oil left to easily finish a neck as well. :)
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    edited June 12
    So - think I've just ordered all the other bits I need, bit of a mammoth session on ebay. Came to just under £130 of stuff, so with £270 already spent on body and neck, I should come in at just under £400 for the build, which I guess is not bad - I've spent closer to £500, or a bit over, on some builds before.

    Things purchased:
    -strap buttons/screws
    -black strat knobs & switch tip, trem arm tip, spare black pickup covers (don't need it all, but cheaper as a bundle so may as well)
    -CRL 5-way switch
    -chrome strat jack plate and socket
    -Wilkinson WVPC trem bridge - I've already got a nice cold-rolled steel block to fit this (Vanson Guitars) so I just bought the cheaper zinc block version
    -copper foil for shielding
    -6 chrome pickup screws and springs
    -Set of Vanson Classic Pro Alnico V strat pickups, flat poles i.e. no stagger, which fits what I wanted. Will see how these go anyhow, they are made with fibre bobbins, cloth wire etc. like pricier pickups, so I'm optimistic.
    -Set of Wilkinson WJ07 EZ lok chrome machine heads - have used these before and like them. This means I will have the job of enlarging the holes in the headstock to 10mm.
    -chrome pickguard screws (already have a few spares, so just needed to buy 12)

    Amazing how it all adds up. Haven't forgotten the string tree - already got a unused modern Fender-style spare one. Also haven't forgotten the nut - I will be making one from a bone blank I got previously and never used. Already have suitable pots, capacitors and wire for the circuitry. Already have an unused neck plate and fixing screws.

    Bye bye to 400 quid anyway! D 

    EDIT - just realised I'm cheating on the spend, as I've already ordered the pickguard and back plate - another £18, so in fact I'm just under £420 for the build, still not too shocking.


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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    Too blingy? I'm wondering - hopefully the chrome hardware and black pickups/knobs will cool things down a bit, and give me a look like the Suhr image I posted at the start of the thread. But anyhow...



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  • BluesyDaveBluesyDave Frets: 303
    Love glod Strats.....For me it would have to be a mint green plate.  Looking forward to seeing the finished guitar.
    No Darling....I've had that ages.
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    Love glod Strats.....For me it would have to be a mint green plate.  Looking forward to seeing the finished guitar.
    Cheers @BluesyDave, I'm sure that would be good - anyways, it's not a lot of trouble to change to a different plate if I change my mind, but I'll press on for now.
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  • mistercharliemistercharlie Frets: 325
    Perfect. 
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    Cheers @mistercharlie - it is undeniably blingy, but the more I look at it, the more I like it... :D 
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  • paulnb57paulnb57 Frets: 1177
    I don't think its too blingy at all and it mirrors the Suhr that inspired it pretty well, once the hardware is on it will be different again.....
    Stranger from another planet welcome to our hole - Just strap on your guitar and we'll play some rock 'n' roll

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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    paulnb57 said:
    I don't think its too blingy at all and it mirrors the Suhr that inspired it pretty well, once the hardware is on it will be different again.....
    Cheers @paulnb57 - I suspect, and hope you're right about that. I do have a spare dark tortoiseshell guard and backplate that I've just tried, and these definitely work with the rosewood and gold. So that's a fallback at least, but I'll continue with the pearl and be optimistic things will come good.
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    Remaining parts arrived today - still haven't done very much proper work on the build, but did just do a bit of a mock-up, and for my taste, the chrome and black parts do seem to make the whole thing work. Love it in fact!






    Will have a bit more work to do getting the neck to work right - needs a bit of thickness taking off under the 22 fret extension, and will probably need a small shim under this end in the pocket, but nothing drastic. Also probably a mil or two taking off the pickguard where it butts up to the neck. But this sort of stuff is usual I've found. :)
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  • paulnb57paulnb57 Frets: 1177
    Looks fantastic! I knew it would be ok once the hardware was on, proper classy!
    Stranger from another planet welcome to our hole - Just strap on your guitar and we'll play some rock 'n' roll

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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    paulnb57 said:
    Looks fantastic! I knew it would be ok once the hardware was on, proper classy!
    Yep, pleased to say you were right @paulnb57 - I admit I was not at all sure for a while. It's more of a greeny-yellow-ish kind of gold compared to the Suhr I was copying, so I thought that might be a reason it would be less good. But it seems great in it's own right now, so I'm chuffed. Just got to get off my arse, do some proper work, and build the thing now...
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 10937
    Looks superb! Anyone tried that wiring before? Sounds intriguing
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    axisus said:
    Looks superb! Anyone tried that wiring before? Sounds intriguing
    Cheers @axisus ! Won't be a substitute for a guitar with good humbuckers of course, but I still think it would be useful to have a couple of thicker, hum-cancelling settings available.
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  • DougDoug Frets: 116
    That looks bloody nice!
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    Doug said:
    That looks bloody nice!
    Cheers @Doug - it's a big incentive to get the build done I must say. :)
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    Just to document some minor, but time-consuming progress on the build, - headstock on the Allparts neck was drilled for vintage Kluson style tuners, and I really prefer the modern sealed type. Anyhow, decided to go ahead and widen the holes with a round section file. Perhaps not the proper way to do things, and it certainly made for a time consuming job - I just did this a bit at a time over the last few days. Got there in the end though:





    Another time consuming job on the neck next, which is making a nut to fit the curved-base slot - I have a couple of bone blanks (see above) so will use one of these. Then more neck jobs loom - needs the wood filling back a bit under the 22 fret extension so it can fit over the end of the pickguard, needs a fret level and dress (note sharp-looking fret end in pic above), and needs a finish applying of course. :)
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1852
    I did a partscaster recently for someone I know.  I'd forgotten just how time-consuming lots of things to do with strats are!  Looking good :)
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  • MegiiMegii Frets: 878
    I did a partscaster recently for someone I know.  I'd forgotten just how time-consuming lots of things to do with strats are!  Looking good :)
    Yep, one does tend to forget. Got the difficult bits of the nut making done yesterday, although it still needs final shaping and slots cutting of course. But I now have a piece of bone that fits in the slot closely, including the radiused base - I got this by attaching 250 grit wet and dry to the fingerboard with double-sided tape, and then just carefully using this to sand the curve onto the the bone blank. Started by sawing one the bone blanks I pictured in half, then just sanded it down to the required thickness - this time 250 grit taped to the flat surface of my fret leveling beam. Whole process took ages, predictably, but it's worked, which is the main thing.


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