S-type guitar build (yes, another one...)

MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
So what was it I was saying about not doing any more builds, having too many guitars already etc. ? Wrong anyhow it seems, for I now have two builds going on at the same time - a thinline tele, and this one, which is a return to the s-type guitar theme (I've already done three s-types previously). Just something about the design fascinates me, and I do love playing this type of guitar. Also one reaches a point where one has too many spare guitar bits hanging around, and it's all too easy to think "I just need these couple of bits, and...". Plus for me it's a form of therapy - seems to help at the moment. I do like the guitars I produce, although one day I may end up giving a few away to promising young players or something like that.

The current build will be a surf-green body (2 piece American alder from Northwest Guitars), Mighty Mite maple neck (which used to be part of my walnut-body strat), aged pearloid scratchplate and chrome parts. The pickups are a "Bluefire" set from Maida Vale Pickups - i.e. chap on ebay who makes them - very good value at around £50 ish a set. This thread is not going to be a detailed blow by blow account of how the guitar is put together, more just a few pictures showing progress up to the complete instrument. So... pictures :-

Had to drill the holes for the trem pivot screws, probably the trickiest bit of the whole build:
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Getting things lined up nicely so I could mark where to drill various fixing holes:
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Wilkinson trem unit, with steel block and solid steel saddles, great value and in my humble opinion superior to the traditional strat type with the bent steel plate saddles:
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Spring claw for the trem block installed:
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Remarkably, I have not had to do any filing of the scratchplate, either around the bridge unit, or at the neck pocket - everything lines up perfectly, and fits beautifully.
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So, that's it for now, and more later. :)


Comments

  • LesterLester Posts: 1,672Member, Moderator
    edited September 3
    Megi said:

    This thread is not going to be a detailed blow by blow account of how the guitar is put together, more just a few pictures showing progress up to the complete instrument.

    I would love photos and an explanation of how you set the trem once everything is in place as that is my topic of learning that got put on hold in April and I will return to shortly.

    Other than that, I have no intention of ever building a guitar from scratch but I do enjoy following the builds that get done here.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Lester - I never managed to thank you when I received the Joe Pass DVD that you posted from Croatia - I am most sorry. Have felt bad about it ever since to be honest, it was very kind, and most appreciated I assure you, and sorry again.

    I'm no great expert on trem setup, but will do my best, thank you Lester. My plan with this one is to have the trem floating, so that I can just put in a bit of downward bend, or vibrato. Obviously won't be the kind of setup that allows for mad dive bombs or other pyrotechnics. Previous strat builds I've done have just had the trem held flat against the body with 5 springs, but I may well set one of those up for a floating trem also (may as well have the variety, since I will own 4 strats, no point having them all the same).

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,075Member, Moderator
    I lock down the trem on my Strats too. Months since I have played a guitar, though there is one in the cupboard behind me.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Jocko said:

    I lock down the trem on my Strats too. Months since I have played a guitar, though there is one in the cupboard behind me.

    Good to hear from you Jocko! Get that guitar out the cupboard! :D

    I confess that I have tended to regard tremolo systems in general as akin to the work of the devil - i.e. mad Heath Robinson contraptions with springs and whatnot, bound to affect the tone adversely not to mention the tuning. Fitted to otherwise perfectly good guitars merely to allow for some daft larking about, and not really needed for any good musical reason. But maybe I was wrong lol - lately I'm thinking it might be nice to be able to do a bit of subtle pitch bending on chords. I don't think I'll ever be drawn to the world of divebombs and all that stuff though, not really me.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    So, have got this one finished - this is thus my number 6 build, not to mention my 4th strat. I have to say it has it's own character, as they seem to. The maple neck seems to work very well with the alder wood body - the guitar has both crispness and definition, along with a good bit of body and weight to the tone. Really very happy with the Maida Vale Bluefire pickups I used - in fact surprised how good they are, and I would say a bit of a bargain at 50 ish quid a set. It was a little tricky sourcing covers for them, due to the non-standard 48-50-52 mm pole spacing, but very glad I gave these a go.

    Another great thing I tried is the Dan Armstrong blender wiring circuit - it keeps the basic strat operation, which I think has to be there, and adds some useful extra sounds in an elegant, simple to operate kind of way. The series sounds are not quite the same as a proper humbucker, but very handy to have available (especially if the band is getting loud near the end of a gig). Also, the ability to blend in a bit of "out of phase" I really like - it's kind of even more stratty than a strat, with a reduction of the bass frequencies.

    Anyhow I'm just going to bung up the photos of selected bits of the rest of the build, and the finished guitar - hope you like it! :)

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  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    edited September 20
    The Axesrus locking tuners I used are really really nice, can recommend these highly.

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    Lester, apologies as at the moment the trem is just set up hard against the body with 5 springs - will post a bit more with details/pics when I set it floating. :)
  • LesterLester Posts: 1,672Member, Moderator
    Lovely, absolutely lovely guitar! At the start I thought there was no way I would have chosen that green but now my thoughts are that if I saw someone playing that guitar I would think that they knew exactly what they wanted from their guitar as it is so unique.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    Lester said:

    Lovely, absolutely lovely guitar! At the start I thought there was no way I would have chosen that green but now my thoughts are that if I saw someone playing that guitar I would think that they knew exactly what they wanted from their guitar as it is so unique.

    Thank you Lester - I admit it's a colour I was a bit surprised to find myself choosing. Great if I've managed to win you over to it anyhow - I think the key was choosing the right aged pearl scratchplate and aged white shade for the pickup covers and control knobs. Also the light maple neck.
  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,075Member, Moderator
    I am the same. It would not have been my choice of colour but it looks fandabbydosey.
  • ESBlondeESBlonde Posts: 941Member
    Lovely work.
  • MegiMegi Posts: 7,190Member
    edited October 1
    Jocko said:

    I am the same. It would not have been my choice of colour but it looks fandabbydosey.

    ESBlonde said:

    Lovely work.


    Thank you both! Having had the guitar around for a while now, I am very pleased with it - the combination of maple neck and alder body works very well, giving a nice snappy, lively attack from the maple, and the alder adds body and fullness to the tone. Or at least that is what I believe, speaking as someone who believes different types of wood do change the character of a solid body guitar (not everyone does I know).

    Anyhow this is strat number 4, and currently is getting used a lot, because I'm having a bit of a change around with the other three strats I've made. I'm converting them all to the Dan Armstrong wiring above, because I like it so much, and also fitting some nice alnico 2/5 strat pickups to my ash body strat - this has had a red-silver-blue Lace Sensor set in for a few years, which were very good and versatile, but I feel I'd like the guitar to be a classic strat now, and have other guitars for humbucker sounds when I need that.
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