Custom Stratocaster – Build

I usually enjoy a complete guitar build, something to get my teeth into and turn out something nice.  It helps to work with the customer first mind you, to make sure I get bits that work together.  The trouble with cheaper parts, from various places it can be a bit of a challenge!

At first It all looked good….

But before I even start, spot the first problem?  Yes, the body is cut for 2 humbuckers and a single coil but it’s come with a set of single coils!

The cavities may be bigger, but there isn’t enough space for the screws on the single coils…

That’s where they’re going to have to go.  

So I need to rout out a little more wood each side.

Just a little here and there…

Next problem, with the bridge.  I hate working with cheaper parts like this, It’s always worth getting genuine Fender or similar high quality parts if you possibly can, they fit and work far better.  The holes on the bridge don’t line up with the holes in the body!  I’ll re-drill them centrally so that the trem’ sits in it’s cavity and doesn’t foul on the sides.  Otherwise it won’t move properly.  The neck alignment might be a problem later on though.

The silver pickup covers were also very difficult to fit, very tight.

Next the nut, guess what, it doesn’t fit either, too long and too thick.

A little bit of sanding should do the trick.

At least the pickups and electrics fit, well fit on the pick-guard anyway.

I might have known it wouldn’t just drop in place though….

Something in there doesn’t quite fit properly…

Not enough space for the wiring in the single coil configuration, so a little more work there.

Looking at the little odds and sods, the tip for the tremolo arm is much too loose so I glued it into place.

On the other hand the tip for the pickup switch was too small so a little filling on the switch shaft.

The fret-board was very dry so some lemon-oil to bring it back to life.

With the strings fitted, as I suspected the neck didn’t line up properly….

So off with the neck and a little work on the neck pocket.

All it needs now is a standard 5 point setup.

No.1  The neck relief.  Amazingly about right!

No.2  The action at the 12th fret.

Of course I need to get the tremolo action right first.  It was a little high.

so tighten up the springs in the back.

With the tremolo set the action was still never going to be right, so up with the bridge saddles, starting with the outside “E” strings.

Once they’re in place set the remaining saddle heights, to match the fret-board radius.

No.3  The action at the 1st fret.  The bass E and A strings were a little high….

so cut the slots down a little.

While I’m at that end it needs a string tree on the 2 treble strings.

No.5  The Intonation, to make sure chords sound in tune all the way up the neck.

Just the last little bits then, the cover for the trem’ springs.

Just about fits…

Lastly, strap buttons.  establish the centreline

and then the mid-point…

about there then…

So there it is.  If there is anything else you need, from a re-string to a complete bespoke guitar then just check out www.guitar-george.co.uk

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