Building a "Gilmour Black Strat" for a couple hundred bucks!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by Ron Daniels, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. Ron Daniels

    Ron Daniels Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario Canada
    I'm making some progress on a super low-budget black strat that I'm building.

    It has a PLYWOOD body that I got when I bought 2 complete, working S types for $60 CDN.

    That's $30 each!!!! I couldn't resist buying them to make 1 nice guitar (NYP is a solid 3 piece body and a nice neck with a 2 way truss rod), and one Black Strat replica.

    I liked the neck, so I'm re-finishing it and reshaped the headstock.

    All I've done (or will do) to the body is to remove some stickers, polish off some scratches and fill the screw holes so the pick guard and tremelo screws (trem off of NY Pro) will fit right.

    If it sounds good with that body and our Big Money pickups, I'll use it as a loaner/demo at local shops that carry my pick guards.

    If I'm not happy with it with the ply body, I'll buy a piece of Alder and teach my son how to use my templates and router to "remove everything that doesn't look like a Strat"... I'm not 100% sure if the guitar will remain black if we get some Alder. I can't bring myself to NOT stain and clear coat a nice grain!

    I'm switching over the superior hardware from the New York Pro that came as part of the deal (it's a nice hunk of wood and a nice neck, so it's getting top quality hardware and a complete re-finish).

    I went without stain for the maple neck, but I'm using an oil-based polyurethane that has a significant yellow-brown hue to it, so it's got a bit of a vintage look to it. The frets will be leveled, and dressed, and I'm building a new bone nut. The plastic nut is already at the land-fill...

    The headstock will be branded "JD Custom". Even if I wasn't selling pickups under that brand... it just plain looks better than a blank head-stock.

    New York Pro and Sovereign. Package deal. $60 for both!


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    Headstock with extra wood added and then re-shaped.

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    Filling in old tuning machine holes.

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    Trim and sand flush.

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    Flame maple veneer to hide joints. I still need to sand down those 2 clear coat sags, ad the logo and do the final clear coats.

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    Pieced together with Big Money pick guard (looks grey because plastic film is still on it).

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    Headstock logo will look like this. Simple, but soooo much nicer than a headstock with nothing on it!

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    By the way, if you like these sort of projects, make sure you head over to my YouTube Channel at My YouTube Channel.

    I'm doing a promotion where if I get to 1000 subscribers by the end of the month, I'll do a raffle for a hand-wound loaded Strat pick guard. Rules are in the "about" section of the channel.
     
  2. Ron Daniels

    Ron Daniels Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario Canada
    Great reply on the free pick guard promotion so far! Lots of great comments from the viewers and good pace of new subscriptions.

    Keep up the great work guys!
     
  3. Ron Daniels

    Ron Daniels Member

    Messages:
    46
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario Canada
    DONE!

    To convert/restore this guitar I:

    - completely refinished the neck
    - modified the head stock shape and installed curly maple veneers
    - installed better tuning machines from another guitar (and installed new friction washers in those from yet another set of tuning machines)
    - leveled, dressed, crowned and polished the frets
    - made a small truss rod adjustment
    - built a new nut out of bone
    - cleaned and polished the body (no point in doing more... it's plywood)
    - installed a better tremelo taken out of a New York Pro
    - installed JD Custom (my own) Big Money (Black-Strat tribute) black, single-ply loaded pick guard (CTS pots, CRL Switch, mini toggle for neck pickup, Orange Drop caps, treble bleed circuit, Switchcraft jack)
    - set up to low action with tremelo floating about 1/8" up at rear

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    I was considering building an Alder body for this guitar, but I may not bother, now that I know how good it sounds and plays.

    If you want to learn more about what it took to convert it, keep an eye on my YouTube channel...

    JD Custom YouTube channel

    I took a lot of photos and video, and will be posting a couple of "how to" videos on the channel soon.
     
  4. Ron Daniels

    Ron Daniels Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario Canada
    Video # 1. Covers the drilling out of the headstock tuner holes and the painting of the logo on to the headstock


     
  5. Ron Daniels

    Ron Daniels Member

    Messages:
    46
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario Canada
    Next video in the series. Clear-coat and polish of entire neck...





    Enjoy!
     
  6. Ron Daniels

    Ron Daniels Member

    Messages:
    46
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario Canada
    Next video in the series on the modification of this guitar...

    Level and dress frets, install nut.

     
  7. Ron Daniels

    Ron Daniels Member

    Messages:
    46
    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario Canada
    Next installment of my "how to make a cheapo neck into a very, very nice neck" video series is up...

    This one covers setting up the nut, the action and the intonation, as well as a side-bar on making a less ugly backplate.


    Enjoy!





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