What My Builders Are Up To: Strats!
Strats, baby! First up is Graeme’s first build, on a really pretty piece of alder. Alder is a classic and wonderful sounding wood for electric guitars and Strats in particular, but it’s often very plain-grained. I’ve read that Fender generally uses it for guitars with opaque finishes, but you wouldn’t want to cover this body up. All it needed was a little Tru-Oil for finish, and he got this gorgeous color.
An Allparts neck, noiseless Duncan pickups, and Fender hardware get the rest of the job done. I’ve had the chance to hear Graeme play this guitar several times in jam camp, and he gets great tones out of it. And he’s got another Strat or two on the drawing board!
The second guitar was a particular treat to be involved with, for a few reasons. First, I’d never heard a pine Strat. Leo Fender used pine for some early Teles, but the classic Strats have always been ash or alder, with only a few exceptions. Second, the builder, Jay W., pulled off a very cool hand-applied sunburst, which is not easy to do.
And third, the pickups and hardware on this guitar are all from Callaham, the high-end parts company in Virginia. The pickups are Callaham’s, specially ordered from Lindy Fralin, and they sound great. They deliver some of the best position 2 Knopfler tones yet, and they nail the Sweet Home Alabama tone. I got jealous, I admit. The hardware lives up to Callaham’s great reputation. I have one of their bridges on a Strat, and I don’t think you’ll find better metal work in guitar parts.
Once (twice!) again: gather great parts and put them together carefully, and you really can’t miss getting an amazing guitar. Fun!