Tuesday, 22 July 2003

Strat Projects - "Guitbass" (part 1) and the "Falcon"

Here are a couple more Strat-style projects that I've put together from my box of assorted guitar bits and pieces.
Strat Projects
The red one at the top of the photo was based around a Falcon (never 'eard of them, guv) body and neck that I bought on eBay for only £12. The body is made of the weirdest material. I thought at first it was MDF, but I'm not entirely sure about this. Inside the control cavities where it hasn't been sanded and polished up it looks like solidified foam rubber! It is actually very dense, and the finished guitar sustains very nicely. The scratchplate and electrics came from a Squier Strat, although I had to modify the plate to accommodate the longer than usual 22-fret neck. Unfortunately I cut away more scratchplate than I really needed to, so am considering filling up the "hole" between the end of the neck and the scratchplate with some kind of white plastic material. This guitar, despite being a real cheapie, actually plays and handles really nicely. I still want to sort out the wiring some more, as I'm getting more hum than should be present. Humming Stratocasters seem to be haunting me at the moment!

The sunburst guitar is one I have mentioned before several times, namely my "Presidents of the USA" style "guitbass". This is a three-stringed guitar tuned C sharp, G sharp and C sharp (an octave higher than the low C sharp). To allow for the low tuning the strings are very heavy gauge - I forget the gauges I bought now, but I think the lowest string is a .062 gauge. In fact, this string was so heavy that I had to drill the hole in its machine head bigger to accommodate it. This tuning is designed for power chords - just place a finger at any fret, and you get route note, one fifth above and one octave above. It's actually something of a riff-monster and now I'm beginning to question: Why get overly complicated and use a 7-string guitar for these low heavy riffs when you can do the same thing with a 3-string?

However, the electrics are old and knackered - only the middle pickup seems to be working. I've been thinking of replacing the other two pickups, but what I'd really like to do would be to equip this instrument with a single humbucking pickup in the bridge position. This will require a little routing in the body to allow for the larger pickup, and also a new scratchplate, which I will probably have to cut myself. (Single humbucker Strat-style scratchplates seem to be virtually non-existant from all the suppliers that I have checked). I'd also only want the one volume control and no tone. I'm not a fan of passive tone controls; I consider them usually to be virtually useless at the best of times.

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