Experiences building your own 80's fat strat?

Kapo_Polenton

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553
I'm not a pro player, just a bedroom warrior.. I've built and amp and a few pedals so I figure I could put together a strat from manufactured pieces. Being a huge 80's fan of guys like Demartini and Jake E Lee etc.., I am interested in putting together something like a MIM strat body with a bare neck so i can be a total poseur and put a charvel or other decal on it. Anyone have experience with doing this? the neck is what concerns me, any problems with these MIM necks or other necks? I don't want to spend 400$ on a warmoth neck and i have played one mighty mite neck which I kind of dug. It was sufficient for me, looked good, and the frets didn't hack up my fingers like a few newer production fenders do. How do you know/ensure that you get good frets etc..? I don't know that much about guitar finishing but i am assuming i could do minor tweaks and learn as I go.

I'm planning on using a standard trem and a JB SH4 in bridge and SH-3 in the neck. Can anyone share their frustrations with necks and bodies and playability? (pretty much any strat project feedback) What are some things I should inquire about or look out for? Pick guards are easy to fit if the holes don't line up, that much I've figured.:dude

Thanks
 

Pete Galati

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1,680
This is one I'm in the middle of putting together. That's a DiMarzio Super3 from the mid '80s. The body and neck are from Warmoth. And those are just empty Strat pickup covers filling the routes.



These are all parts I had sitting around, so.... so far, I haven't spent anything on this project.

This is sort of on hold right now because I stopped working on things when I broke my leg. But I think this'll work out better than my regular Strat attempts.

This is the cut down pickguard I'm planning to use. When I took this picture, it had a Super Distortion pickup in it:

 

Kapo_Polenton

Member
Messages
553
Nice project.. did you paint the body yourself? Have ou priced putting these together vs. buying a base line cheapo and raping it for parts? And no problems with neck fitting body I assume?
 

Pete Galati

Member
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1,680
Nice project.. did you paint the body yourself? Have ou priced putting these together vs. buying a base line cheapo and raping it for parts? And no problems with neck fitting body I assume?
DiMarzio says they introduced that Super3 in '94, so I guess I was way off the mark about when I got that one!

I didn't paint that body myself. I think it's Warmoth's Sonic Blue. Both the body and neck are from their "Showcase" section. Their neck pockets tend to be a very tight fit with their necks. One of those things where you have to push them into place, but not so tight that you have to worry.

If I was to add up all the money I spent on parts, it'd actually be rather expensive. But it's all parts I bought some time ago.

Probably around $350 each for the body & neck
Maybe about $150 for the Hipshot bridge and diecast Gotoh tuners. The bridge cost about $40 extra for the steel block.
About $100 for the Super3 because I got that one directly from DiMarzio because nobody was carrying them. It was in my Les Paul for several years.

So there's probably roughly $1000 in it.

It doesn't have what I'd call an appropriate color for an '80s Frankenstrat. It'd be tempting to repaint the body, but I just couldn't think of anything. Something flashier would be better. Like red.

If I haven't finished it by Spring (it's too cold to paint anything right now) I'll get a few cans of bright colorful paint, and just pore them on the body and let them dribble off randomly. Save me the trouble of trying to think of something.
 

Kapo_Polenton

Member
Messages
553
Ouch! It adds up eh? I was hoping the neck would not be that much.. I may got he Allparts route. I have that same super distortion III. I hate it lol.. bought it in 93' I think... had it for years but it never really lived up to its description for me.
 

Pete Galati

Member
Messages
1,680
Ouch! It adds up eh? I was hoping the neck would not be that much.. I may got he Allparts route. I have that same super distortion III. I hate it lol.. bought it in 93' I think... had it for years but it never really lived up to its description for me.
Allparts makes some nice necks. I like the ones I have a lot.

I have a lot more in this guitar than you'd need to spend. You could use an Allparts neck, which would cost you a whole lot less. Use an unfinished body from USACG (or just about anywhere else) for way less then $200. Paint it yourself.

I switched from the Super Distortion to the Super3 because the Super3 is supposed to be more mid heavy. I'm not really sure if I'll use the Super3 when I wire it up though. I also have a Super2 that isn't currently being used, and that might be a much better choice for this kind of guitar.

I bet you could build one for less than $400 total without much trouble.
 

Rock Johnson

Member
Messages
4,745
It's probably cheapest to buy a reasonably inexpensive Strat or stratoid guitar to use as your basis, then change parts out as desired.
 




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