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Thread: Fender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now

  1. #16
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    It didn't take any artistic urges or desires about making what I'm thinking a reality,
    finishing the cherry Strat by making a sugar maple leaf to cover the previous cord input hole,
    it meant it was time to start working on the semi-solid-body. At least I felt like doing that.

    I spent $36 three years ago on a half-pint of 1SHOT lettering enamel, the most expensive paint,
    getting a new colour, metallic copper. The Haida only used one metal, copper, and only for decoration.
    My big decision was not using a sign-painting brush, meant more for long lines and straight edges.
    I decided to use a half-inch art brush with a bevel, being good with bevel brushes painting rooms.
    I had to be taught how to use 1SHOT and sign-painting brushes, probably more complicated than you think.

    yeah, I can think that's complicated...
    but with the memories and histories of The Jimi Hendrix Experience,
    looming over me in the background, I wanted to be as visually artistic.

    When I got the front horns and around the neck painted, I sat it down to look back and see what I thought.
    The copper looked like it didn't belong, a harsh contrast with the wood, so I wiped it off right away.
    This got me going, and I'm so lucky, because I don't have a wide range of 1SHOT any more,
    just a few left-over cans. 1SHOT needs to be activated to paint with, so it does last a long time in the can.
    I bought a quart of tan seven years ago when I was painting the interior of a car I used to have,
    and it looked close to the light brown I painted the original line around the sides with.
    When I started painting with that, I remembered the Haida use tan as a background colour,
    when the artwork is brown and turquoise, not the red, black and white I was thinking of.

    Firing up the paint, painting along with the bevel brush, was so comfortable.
    Even though I'm hand-painting it looks precise enough to look manufactured.
    Wait a minute! That's what I used to do, be a professional sign-painter.
    And it's a good thing I've still got steady hands and fingers.
    I'm going to go downtown for some lunch and then the library to make sure I leave it alone for a while.
    I also want to glue the top of my second semi-solid-body to the middle section and get some clear-coat on it,
    so I don't stain the wood when I finish carving it for pickups and decoration.
    All this... makes me feel like I'm living a musical life... oh... and then I get to play it.

    I'm back to edit just like I went back to take a different photo from the first ones.
    PopeFrancis made a comment, short on font, but long on intent, not realizing at first what he meant.
    That was about the middle east and "oil and Jesus".
    I retook the photos to get this can of "Exode Reducer V158" into the action, a low odour mineral spirits.
    That's a Pratt & Lambert product, a very old, almost antique can, a paint supplier in Fort Erie.
    But the Pratt is the Pratt from Pratt & Whitney, when they made airplanes for the world wars.
    I have to acknowledge the war effort it took for some of my supplies, and what my clan did.
    My fathers' one uncle built the towers at the airport when British pilots came over to learn,
    and I painted the new lettering after they were rebuilt with metal cladding.
    I felt some family history when I was doing that, even if I truly don't want any war.
    I only use these mineral spirits for expensive brushes, and paintings that put my head through.
    Now it's part of my semi-solid-body, thanks to you, PopeFrancis.
    And yes, "Free Trade" and "globalization" put Pratt & Lambert out of business many years ago.


    Fender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-semi-solid-body-jpgFender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-cherry-strat-2-jpg
    Last edited by John Watt; Apr-26-2018 at 19:30.

  2. #17
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    As we look further into the arcane, and as some would say, insane, semi-solid-body build story,
    we are seeing here the second semi-solid-body, working again on that for the first time in over seven years.
    It took a lot of almost non-stop criminal action against me, including being made homeless four times,
    to keep me from even carving or sanding the top a little more.
    I shouldn't say carving. Both semi-solid-bodies were made from the same piece of board,
    and the grain is so dense and complicated I have to shave it with Olfa blades and sand it down,
    or else pieces pop out, why I call it popcorn wood.
    That's one of the reasons I wanted to put some clear-coat on it for the first time.
    If I'm getting close to where I want it to be, I want to seal the wood to strengthen it,
    so I don't start chipping off around the edges, having one already.
    The photo that shows the guitar with Minwax Polycrylic and the art brush,
    also shows the first semi-solid-body watching from the background.
    That's like wolves with Inuit up north, moving like shadows around the edge of the camp,
    looking to see how their extended family, two parts husky, one part wolf, are doing.
    I'm seeing my guitars as being two-thirds creations of mine and one-third Stratocaster.
    The third photo shows the look of the Polycrylic as I'm painting it on.

    The tan colour on the first semi-solid-body has that 1SHOT lettering enamel shine,
    but that will be lightly sanded with 600 grit sandpaper and covered with Polycrylic, to get a satin finish.
    That's after I sand it down and give it a second coat.
    I'm looking at it, thinking I could lighten the tan colour with white, so it would blend with the body more,
    but the more I look at it the more I realize I like it the way it is.
    It finishes the guitar in a way that makes me think I don't need to add artwork around the sides,
    or paint substitute purfling around the top. I've been fantasizing about that for years.
    I can see putting brass domed studs that Mennonites use on their carriages around the sides,
    having two different sizes of those, all new. That would be very three-dimensional,
    and the 3/4" diameter half-globes would reflect stage lighting all over the place.
    I just thought of darkening the tan a little, using that for graphics around the edge you can't see right away.
    That would let the tan look good from a distance, and add detail when you're looking up close.
    That would let me use Haida style, do some ravens/crows, anything I want.
    If it's not a strong visual presence from a distance, it's just a texture, and up close, what you see.
    That's probably what I'm going to do.
    If you see the side of a face with hair sweeping up from a severe downward keyboard head motion,
    yes, that'll be the as-yet-to-be-titled Frederik Magle.
    I think I'll put him beside the Straplock on the side, because these forums have been uplifting me for many years.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Fender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-s-s-b-5-a   Fender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-s-s-b-6-a   Fender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-s-s-b-7-a  

    Fender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-s-s-b-8-a  

  3. #18
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    This is about a new music store in Toronto, doing business mostly online.
    It's like having offshore prices for everything from new guitars to do-it-yourself kits.
    I'm going to use a link for a left-handed Stratocaster D.I.Y. kit, for $149 Canadian.
    They have lefty Les Pauls, Telecasters, 335's and an f-hole acoustic electric.

    This site showed some Trev Wilkinson product, so I looked at his British domain.
    He prices left-handed bridges the same as right-handed.
    When old school American manufacturers can be pricing single coil pickups at $150,
    Trev Wilkinson puts his name on his brand that cost $10 here in Canada.

    The Solo Guitar Gear link came activated after I used a previous link to cut and paste,
    and that activates all the font after it, so I'm putting a link to Trev Wilkinson next.

    I really feel like I'm having a left-handed day, and it usually doesn't come that way.

    https://www.jhs.co.uk/brands/wilkinson

    https://www.solomusicgear.com/produc...y-left-handed/

  4. #19
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    I'm not necessarily here because onacarom has pushed this thread way down, way down,
    not at all, because I've got a final observation to make after really looking around.

    I'm willing to say there is one big difference between Fender Stratocasters and all the rest.
    Fender routs the body and leaves wood sticking out past the routing for the tremolo unit and springs.
    The tremolo block is pulled to the wood by the springs and is a rest for the tremolo block.
    Every other non-Fender guitar I've seen is missing this.
    When you set up a Stratocaster tremolo unit,
    you're supposed to be able to slide a Fender Heavy Thick pick under the tremolo plate from behind,
    getting it in half way, so it's not the plate being pulled down against the body that stops the block.
    That's just a stress point, the springs pulling the tremolo unit in a horizontal direction,
    when it's the plate being pulled down vertical against the body to stop it.

    If a Strat is set up properly, breaking a string is part of the design.
    The ball end shoots out and hits your abdomen, and you feel it,
    and the string takes off like an arrow, usually between 20 and 30 feet.
    If you're thinking you're playing a Strat that's set up and tuned properly,
    and it doesn't do that, please, think again.

    long are the round-wound strings,
    tight, is the tuning,
    I know this guitar of mine,
    will never detune, as I play it.

    a tremolo like that, will never die,
    as long as I, keep it from rusting.

    deep, are the bends I use,
    high, I've got four octaves,
    when the stereo panning moves around,
    I miss the air moving, when it's over.
    guitar solo

  5. #20
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    Here's a new addition to my photo library here, a letter from President Robert Godin.
    It's said that over 75% of studio musicians around the world use a Godin guitar.
    That's mostly about the electronics, being able to plug it in to almost anything,
    and sound really good.
    I bought an Art & Lutherie acoustic so I could sit out in the backyard where I was living,
    and practice singing songs and writing them.
    I sent them a webmail asking about the low-gloss finish they had,
    and got one back, asking me to prove I wasn't a manufacturer.
    They were interested in my guitar, sharing some email, and all that was good.
    What I didn't know was that Godin owned Art & Lutherie guitars.
    I never would have guessed, because the Art & Lutherie guitar I bought, the "Ami" model,
    was advertised as being made out of fallen wood, silver maple and cherry, with a rosewood fretboard.
    That made it very inexpensive for the quality instrument it is.
    It also had a raised plastic ring around the sound-hole, not inlay, that was a really good finger rest.

    This letter from President Robert Godin was totally unexpected.
    It should give you confidence in my semi-solid-body design,
    if he can say I have my own innovations and guitar concepts.
    Another summer has gone by and I haven't finished refinishing again.
    One day, one day soon.


    Fender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-robert-godin-jpg

  6. #21
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    This might be the most incredible co-incidence in my entire life, unless you count mutual orgasms.
    You have seen how my guitar playing evolved as having the bass strings on the bottom with the highs on top,
    what basically is having a right-handed neck on a left-handed body.
    That was Mr. George Benson convincing me that playing my right-handed Stratocaster upside-down worked.
    He said the pads of my fingers were there to push down the bass E string, when I get into jazz playing,
    and were also there to dampen the lower strings when the guitar was active with feedback.
    He said I didn't have to scrunch up my fingers to play lead on the higher strings,
    and was pulling the strings down to bend them or stretch them in a way you can't when strung as usual.
    So I wanted to put a right-handed neck on my mail order left-handed guitar.

    I had a neck left over from an older conversion, using offshore guitars.
    I measured it, I held it to the mail order neck, and it looked the same.
    I put it in the body and used a screw for the hole in the corner of the bottom left,
    and it went in. I got a piece of wire and pushed it into the other holes,
    and it went it all the way, and so did the screws. I started giggling out loud.
    I screwed the neck on tight enough to hold it, wanting to keep the holes as fresh as possible,
    for the final tightening, and used a piece of ordinary string to see if it was aligned,
    and it couldn't be any better. This wasn't the only wonderful thing about it.
    This right-handed neck has one more fret on it... yes... more notes... amazing.

    These two photos show how the neck looks from the front and back.
    If I can remember, this neck came from a guitar made in Malaysia.


    Fender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-sam_0614-jpgFender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-sam_0616-jpg

  7. #22
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    Here are some new photos to show work on a second left-handed tremolo unit.
    The photos in Slavis' Machine Shop show how Slavi cut down a right-handed tremolo block,
    to make it the same depth as the original Fender.
    These blocks are made half-way to be both right or left-handed, before you finish machining them.
    All I have to do is drill the string inputs on the lefty side and it will be ready.

    The other photos show my 1972 Fender Stratocaster tremolo plate and block,
    with the Fender plate and machined Fender block, with the mail-order Strat unit.
    You can see the rough grinding of the offshore Strat and see how bad the angle is.
    It's not below the six screw holes, but half-way across, making it a bad pivot point.
    I'll have to get out my grinding tool and work on that, not caring about losing some chrome.
    I want it to feel as if it's floating as easily as possible, and can be adjusted to do that.
    When I'm going for half-tones, quarter tones, cascading ascending and descending micro-tones,
    I want to feel natural about it, even it it's an aspect of my playing that is dependent on technology,
    not my fretting fingers. May the phase be with me.

    In case you're wondering about the 1972 Fender block and how it got chopped,
    and tack-welded back on, yes, it gets rough under that surface plate,
    a tone war that never stops... evolving from one build into a semi-solid-body.
    I can dream. Maybe one day I won't just be toned and tuned,
    I'll be toned, tuned and tanned in a truly touching kind of way.


    Fender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-slavis1-jpgFender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-slavis2-jpgFender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-sam_0657-jpgFender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-sam_0651-jpg

  8. #23
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso John Watt's Avatar
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    It's been nice, thinking about using a Haida theme for my semi-solid-body.
    If I have one instrument, and I do, it has to be natural wood, that's for sure.
    I got away from my original violin style look, curving the edges, losing the top and side ridges,
    so I had to paint it. I was going to paint Haida symbols, black, red and white, around the sides.
    I priced some industrial stickers where a computer scanned them and printed them out in a row.
    Instead of painting for over a month for the detail and accuracy Haida artwork demands,
    I could have stuck them on in under a half hour. But I'm not doing that.
    Here's my Haida thoughts of today, what my life is, what I want my guitar to be.

    When I was making signs from a shop in Port Colborne, I got a gig with Fabricland.
    I made a 19 and a 1/2 foot by 5 foot rooftop illuminated sign.
    Here in Welland, the biggest piece of sign plastic was four feet tall, usually, as big as it gets.
    But the company in Toronto that buys Lexan from the United States to distribute it in Ontario,
    gave me a nice account, a personal account, because they got off on my ability to work with it.
    Instead of a sheet of quarter inch standard sign plastic, I got an 1/8 inch sheet custom cut,
    right off the railroad car roll, twice, for two signs, five feet wide and nineteen and a half feet long.
    This was a huge sign, but with materials half the thickness it was lighter than a smaller sign could be.
    Total cost to Fabricland, $3,500 for each sign, for Welland and Cambridge, a total of $7,000.
    You can see I like rounding numbers out for when I do my income tax.

    Fabricland phoned and asked me if I would come to Toronto to get paid, so I said yes right away.
    I knew I could grab a musician friend and trip around downtown Toronto, scoping out music stores.
    Fabricland divided Ontario into four quarters, and offered me a quarter if I became a sign-maker for them.
    That came with a big shop and employees, and they said they had two new stores ready to go.
    I said no. I said if I was playing guitar in a band I wouldn't have got into such big signs,
    and this was enough big work and big money to get me back on the road again, starting a new wave band.
    yeah... a jazzy and classical influenced jammy new wave band. My new drummer just came from a country Juno Award win,
    and he wanted me to break him into the rock music business.

    I said that Fabricland doesn't have any original Canadian native artwork for fabric patterns, being a shopper myself,
    and that Haida artwork was my favorite.
    A couple of weeks later they phoned again and said they contracted a Haida artist in B.C. to make a new design.
    I bought some as soon as it came in.
    When you see this big, the verticals don't look straight even though they are, another Haida optical illusion.
    When you see Haida artwork, usually the red and black on a white background,
    if you concentrate on a pair of eyes or shapes, your stereo vision makes an optical illusion,
    what could look like the wingtips or arms reaching out around you, a really amazing effect.
    I had a four foot wide shelf I made with a big curved piece of clear plastic forming a half-circle dome.
    I placed this fabric behind that with a soft back light, and I'd sit in the dark and stare at it,
    always inspiring some creative thoughts, or a peace beyond my understanding.
    When a Mohawk friend came over and saw a couple of my Haida artwork copies, really big,
    he said he saw the spirit of the Haida, a wonder-full compliment.
    I said it was just a lot of hard work and using a sign projector to get all the lines down perfectly.

    When I play my first semi-solid-body, my dream of making it out to B.C. and spending time in a Haida village,
    sitting in a long house, sensing the spirit... partaking in what they have resisted against foreign military intrusion...
    yes... Russians came ashore, followed by the British and then the Americans... but they only found a rocky shore...
    and Canada shows up to take the measure of that shore... but no-one tries to go inland any more.

    Captain Cook was the first European to sail up the east coast of North America, looking for a Northern Passage.
    When he first met Haida, they came out in ocean canoes and paddled quickly around his boat, singing for an hour.
    When he waved them aboard they climbed all over the boat, singing for another hour.
    Captain Cook said it was the most amazing thing he ever heard, better than European choirs or operas.
    He said he couldn't imagine what it took to make men sing like that, so high and so low, so expressive.
    When he came ashore for a meeting, they took him to an ocean-side building on stilts that held over 600 people.
    They moved boards from the ceiling and walls for more ventilation.
    He was amazed to see Haida in costumes and masks acting out their meeting, as a way of welcoming him.
    The Haida might have not survived European intervention, their ocean lined with a kelp bed full of sea otters,
    except for one fact.
    When Captain Cook was on his way back, returning to Hawaii, those natives killed him and most of his crew,
    for the diseases and devastation their weapons brought to them. At that time, the Haida were lost to European history.
    They still are.
    When Jimi Hendrix visited British Columbia, playing in Vancouver, he met with some Haida elders.
    The Haida are famous for their oral histories, describing the ice age and the great world flood Noah described.
    Jimi used some of their words as lyrics... "the echoes of glaciers from long ago".
    There are going to be a lot of echoes in my semi-solid-body, and a few ghosts too,
    with a resonance of our new millennium blues... cancer blues...
    When I'm on a long distance bike-hike, seeing those striations leading into Lake Erie...
    those echoes of glaciers from long ago...

    Toking is now legal this month in Ontario, sold by the province. I'm going for a totem.



    Fender Stratocasters: what they were and rebuilding what's out there now-haida-artwork-jpg

  9. #24
    Lieutenant Commander, Concertmaster
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    That....was some really good story you know... I totally made that till the end and this was epic!
    You made some good job, pal. Some time ago I was trying to perform something equal, using this article as a start point - https://musiety.com/the-art-of-makin...memade-guitar/
    It is totaly good piece of information to start with but of corce your epic adventures is the best I've read so far!

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