The Black Strat. Hardware installation. Getting ready for pickup wiring.

I’ve now got all the remaining bits of hardware to finally complete my version of Dave Gilmour’s iconic Black Strat. The specification draws heavily on a suggested parts list put together by Craig Wells at Overdrive Custom Guitar Works, in Stockton California. For my project, Craig has supplied one of his custom built acrylic scratchplates, which are faithful reproductions of Gilmour’s original. I need to drill the holes in the body, so that I can install the plate – and that also means fitting the pots and switches in place. It’ll then be ready for the pickups, and the wiring circuit. … More The Black Strat. Hardware installation. Getting ready for pickup wiring.

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The “Dragoncaster”. Second attempt at a scratchplate. And a possible finish?

I’ve done some running repairs to the “Dragoncaster” scratchplate template. I’ve also had a chance to offer it up against the body – to try and get the neck pocket deviation sorted out, and straightened up. With lessons learned from my first attempt at cutting my own scratchplate – I’m keen to see if I can improve my technique. I’ve also researched and sourced a possible candidate material for the scratchplate finish. … More The “Dragoncaster”. Second attempt at a scratchplate. And a possible finish?

12″ Ported Bass Cabinet. Rear panel and sound deadening foam.

To finish the Tolex covering – I need to complete the job on the back panel. This panel will need periodic removal – so I need to take a bit of care not to gum everything up with contact adhesive. Once the basic enclosure is complete – I can fit it out with acoustic “egg box” foam, to muffle any internal sound reflection. The end result should be a sturdy, air tight and acoustically neutral enclosure – ready for the furnishing and fitting of the front baffle, speaker and ports. … More 12″ Ported Bass Cabinet. Rear panel and sound deadening foam.

12″ Ported Bass Cabinet. Tolex covering, and fixture fitting.

The basic cabinet construction is ready for fitting out. The baffle, with its’ separate covering, speaker and port installation, will be a project all on its’ own. For now, I have to make cut-outs in the carcass to accommodate the handles and speaker jack socket. Then, the cabinet will get covered in Tolex. I haven’t done anything like this before – so I’m going mostly on instinct, although I’ve searched for a few tips by watching a few hours of YouTube instructional videos. What could possibly go wrong? … More 12″ Ported Bass Cabinet. Tolex covering, and fixture fitting.

The “Dragoncaster”. Cutting my very first scratchplate. Lessons to learn.

With my newly completed template for a scratchplate – I just have to try it out. I’m sure there are plenty of mistakes to make, and lots to learn – in terms of both process and technique. I need to be able to try a few different finish techniques as well, to get the “diffraction grating” effect Page achieved on the original. I might as well try to make a few, unfinished versions of a scratchplate – learn what I can – and make my mistakes and experiments on those. I have a piece of 3mm polycarbonate kicking around the workshop, from a previous framing job. It won’t matter if I mess things up. … More The “Dragoncaster”. Cutting my very first scratchplate. Lessons to learn.

The “Dragoncaster”. Making my own scratchplate template. Fun with a router!

Whilst the lacquer on the Dragoncaster body does its’ thing – I need to start looking for a solution for the scratchplate. I’d originally planned to have a couple of plates custom made – so I could experiment with finishes. However, the logistics at this stage are troublesome. Because of the crucial geometry between the neck pocket, pickup cutout and control panel rout – the plate needs to be accurate. My last attempt, making a template to send away didn’t turn out too bad – but there was a small issue at the neck pocket. I might have to do look at making the whole scratchplate myself – either way, I need to find a way of making a template that’s accurate, and up to the job. … More The “Dragoncaster”. Making my own scratchplate template. Fun with a router!

The Black Strat. First assembly. Starting to bring it all together.

I’ve got a growing number of boxes, from all over the world, arriving at Garageland. I’ve waited until I have a few, key components before I start the build. Neck, tuners, body and tremolo bridge will be the first to be assembled together. Then I can check the scratchplate sits properly, before I drill the screwholes and fit the plate. All the components on this build are genuine Fender, or specifically custom built for the job. So I’d hope that all the factory pre-drilled screwholes are accurately placed and dimensioned. Let’s see how easy it is. … More The Black Strat. First assembly. Starting to bring it all together.