Guitar Building: An Alder “Strat” With Humbuckers
This is a nice two-piece alder body, with some interesting figure, perfect weight, and very nice resonance. It acts like it wants to be a guitar! I wanted a Strat-style with two humbuckers and a traditional whammy, and I wanted try out Peter Florance’s Voodoo ’59 pickups.
First job was to rout the body with my little DeWalt router and one of the new, thicker (and much improved) Stew-Mac templates. I used the screw holes to secure the template, instead of two-sided tape. No problems here. I wanted short-leg baseplates on these pickups, and Peter hooked me up. I installed the Wilkinson VSVG bridge (my favorite) and put together the three-ply pick guard with just volume and tone controls. The neck got a set of Gotoh locking tuners with the thumbscrews, since these have been working very well on my Bigsby Tele.
The weather (this was early this year) wouldn’t let me sand outside, much less finish, and I had a feeling this guitar would sound really good. I decided to go ahead and assemble it with the rough, unsanded body and play it that way for awhile. You can see the result in the last photo, warts and all.
Sure enough, it sounds and plays great! I love Peter’s pickups in this guitar. They balance exceptionally well and sound beautiful and responsive in all three positions. The neck in particular has wonderful clarity and plenty of fullness without being boomy. Great sound from either pickup played through a clean amp or with any of my pedals. Big fun!
If you’ve seen my band Swamp Ash lately, you know this guitar has taken over the number one spot. I did eventually take it apart again and sand the body, dye it RED, and topcoat it with Tru-Oil. I’ll show you all that in the next builder post. Thanks for reading! Comments are always welcome.