The "Blackmore" Project: Building of a Dream Guitar

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by skhan007, May 5, 2011.


  1. skhan007

    skhan007 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,843
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    NoVA
    This project is definitely one that exemplifies the pinnacle of my aspirations of a guitar player. Thinking back to some of my earliest childhood memories, I repeatedly 'borrowed' quarters from my parents to put into the jukebox at our favorite family restaurant to hear "Smoke on the Water" over and over again. This of course led me to eventually own the Machine Head album, which led me to Highway Star, Lazy, Space Truckin'... and then to all the other Purple albums. The 70's were an awesome time to grow up.

    Now, many years later, I am fortunate enough to know Ritchie Blackmore's guitar tech from the Rainbow/Purple years. He has sold me a set of pickups used by Ritchie from one of his strats that he smashed on stage in 1986. These pickups (along with a lot of other salvaged parts from smashed guitars) were in storage in the "Deep Purple" spare parts road case. Now, they're going to be the centerpiece of my Blackmore tribute strat, which is being built by William Raynaud at WR Guitars (thanks to those of you who recommended him).

    Here are the pickups and the story: Ritchie's tech told me that he accidentally dropped one of his strats, then ended up smashing it on the spot! These are original Lace hot golds from the mid-80s and came with proper documentation from Ritchie's tech of being used/abused by Ritchie Blackmore. It's actually an honor for me to have these pickups- used by one of my biggest influences.

    I'm going to have these installed in a WR Guitars custom made Blackmore Strat like Ritchie's pictured below. I will plan to have a beer with my new guitar, once it arrives and the pickups are installed! Build pics to follow!

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. skhan007

    skhan007 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,843
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    NoVA
    This is going to be a set-neck strat, like Ritchie's, with mostly vintage specs. Here's how the neck is getting started...from a freshly cut supply of birdseye maple and Brazilian rosewood...

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Drowned Rabbit

    Drowned Rabbit Black Beauty Beats Burst

    Messages:
    2,288
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Cool!

    This will be a fun thread to follow
     
  4. xntrick

    xntrick Member

    Messages:
    3,626
    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Location:
    chicago area
    very cool, would luv details on how easy or difficult it is to scallop a neck...
     
  5. skhan007

    skhan007 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,843
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    NoVA
    Yeah- I decided not to do the scalloping at this point. I may have it done at a later date, but for now I chose not to do it. Something I really have to think about.

    From what I've been told, by Ritchie's tech (who teched from 1985-1995), the Fender scallop is incorrect. He says he can do the "proper" scalloping if I send him the guitar, which is a possibility.
     
  6. Route234

    Route234 Member

    Messages:
    8,773
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    northern VA
    Looks like a really cool project. I like the idea of a set neck strat. The neck looks nice so far.
     
  7. skhan007

    skhan007 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,843
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    NoVA
    Here's the board applied to the neck with the double action truss rod installed. There's a really cool feature regarding the truss rod, which I will share in a future post...

    [​IMG]

    Position dots and side dots are installed here...

    [​IMG]
     
  8. edgarallanpoe

    edgarallanpoe Member

    Messages:
    1,452
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    Blackmore is one of my faves. This looks like an awesome project. I can't wait to see it finished.
     
  9. stan p

    stan p Member

    Messages:
    1,066
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2003
    I am surprised there are not too many of these built. Richie's strat is really a well thought through instrument with kick ass sounds!
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
  10. technomancer

    technomancer Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,140
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Very cool, great project. Looking forward to watching this progress
     
  11. alikoa

    alikoa Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Location:
    Istanbul
    I'd actually advise you not to believe most of what Dawk says. It's not about his workmanship or anything, and I'm not being specific about these pickups, but he kinda likes claiming 'mysterious secrets' and not prove them.

    Anyways, still it's an interesting project. By the way, why did you go with a set neck structure? Blackmore doesn't actually use set necks, but I still like the idea as I already have a bolt on Fender Blackmore Strat.
     
  12. IPLAYLOUD

    IPLAYLOUD Member

    Messages:
    4,489
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2006
    Location:
    Long Island NY
    What a very special Guitar. The center of any collection.
    A guy who works with my G/F buildng guitars works on Blackmore's Guitars now here on Long Island. He's been doing it for a bunch of years. Never met him...RB's guy brings them in. All kinds of Instruments.

    RB was the reason I bought a new Strat in 1976...natural, just like his.
     
  13. edgarallanpoe

    edgarallanpoe Member

    Messages:
    1,452
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    I thought that he glued all of his necks into their pockets? I know his custom shop strat was a set neck.
     
  14. alikoa

    alikoa Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Location:
    Istanbul
    He did glue them, but still kept the bolt on system. He glued and also put the bolts on, I think it was to make the neck stronger or something.

    He never used a guitar like that Custom Shop model, but again that's a cool guitar.
     
  15. skhan007

    skhan007 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,843
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    NoVA
    Understood. I know Ritchie never plays any of his signature gear (the set neck strat, the Engl amp, etc.). I just thought the idea of a set neck strat would be very logical. I have many set neck guitars and for the most part, feel the set neck construction is just conducive to better sustain and resonance. Ritchie was definitely on to something when he started gluing those necks into place.
     
  16. alikoa

    alikoa Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2010
    Location:
    Istanbul
    It actually sounds great to me. I'd love to play a set neck strat some day. By the way I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the p/ups, as I didn't like the Laces I had. I wonder how the 'Dawk touch' made them sound like.
     
  17. skhan007

    skhan007 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,843
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    NoVA
    Here's the back of the neck being shaped. It will be a late 60's chunky U-shape (I currently own an all original 1970 strat, so this neck shape is one of my favorites).

    The neck will be 9.5" radius, 21 jumbo frets, and have typical Fender tuners...

    [​IMG]
     
  18. skhan007

    skhan007 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,843
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    NoVA
    Here, my friends, we re-defining the term "Magic Bullet"

    William had recommended the use of a double-action truss rod. The set neck guitar really needs this to make sure it can be adjusted when needed. A single-action truss rod, like used in old Fenders, is not as good, especially with the set neck. I really wanted to maintain the 70's look of the "Blackmore" strat, so I had this idea:

    How about a double action truss rod with a removable "false" bullet at the top. It simply pulls off like the cap to a pen to reveal the access to the modern double-action truss, but retains the old 70's look of a bullet truss strat. I actually am pretty proud to have figured out an idea like this on my own! :bonk

    William is making it a reality... here's some pics of the neck with and without the "Magic Bullet." The finishing work and vintage tinting, when completed, will really clean up nice and make for a good look. Also, the jumbo frets are installed here...

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  19. skhan007

    skhan007 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,843
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    NoVA
    OK, the lightweight swamp ash is in!

    Looking forward to seeing this come together!

    [​IMG]
     
  20. skhan007

    skhan007 Supporting Member

    Messages:
    6,843
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2007
    Location:
    NoVA
    She's coming together...literally!

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     

Share This Page