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Stratrat

Here's where it all begins

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Kriss - I won't know whether the neck needs a shim or not until I get the bridge and everything mounted, string it up and do a setup on it. You don't need to shim the neck unless you can't get the action adjusted low enough without it. Otherwise, it's just a straight bolt-up fit.

As far as tools, you pretty much got it - so far it's been a drill and various drill bits, screwdrivers, hammer, sandpaper, a couple of "C" clamps and some scrap wood (I used paint stirring sticks that you can get at any hardware store.) When it comes to the electronics I'll use a soldering iron, solder, flux, wire cutters and strippers. For assembling the rest of the guitar it'll just be the drill and screwdrivers again.

Building a guitar isn't rocket science - especially if you use a pre-finished body and neck like I am on this one. If you're somewhat good with simple hand tools and can solder it's just a matter of taking your time, thinking things through and putting it together step-by-step.

On one of the other guitar forums I participate in, there are a lot of guys building their own guitars and posting very detailed threads about them, and I've drawn heavily from their experience to help me with this one. My hat is off to many of them who truly build their guitars from scratch - cut and route the bodies from wood blanks, do all the finishing, etc. - now THAT takes some talent! This one is actually a pretty humble project by comparison, but so far I think the outcome is going to be very good.

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Thanks for that, just a quick one are you going to wire up the pup's in the standard way (neck, neck-bridge, bridge) or do you have any other plans for it?

Best of luck

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Yep, just standard 3-way switching. I thought about wiring it for 4-way, but figured I'd keep it simple for now. If this one actually works and doesn't blow anything up the first time I plug it in, maybe I'll try something fancier next time. :D

I'm gonna have to hit the local shop today - I discovered that the Electrosocket and the Switchcraft input jack have different threads, and don't mate up. I even had a second Switchcraft jack, and that one wouldn't thread on either. One must be metric threads and the other SAE. Grrrrrrrrr.

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Looking good so far Stratrat, if it's ok with you and Clancy would it be possible to have this put on as a lesson when the project is finished, this is a great thread. and very educational.

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Got the control plate all wired and soldered today. A couple weeks ago I bought an instructional DVD that covers basic soldering and walks you through wiring up a Tele control plate, and I've been studying that thing so as to avoid messing this part up! The video was well worth the measly 20 bucks it cost me.

First step is to mount the pots and switch in the control plate and get everything in position for wiring. This part is so easy that a caveman could do it ;) :

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Now the fun begins! Time to refer to the DVD and a wiring diagram and "dry" wire everything - get all the wires and capacitors in place on the lugs to prepare for soldering. That little red wire up on the 3-way switch is a bear - it spans 4 switch lugs, and maneuvering the tinned wire ends into those slots and getting it secure is tight work!

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Here's the control panel with everything soldered in place, and all the solder joints double-checked for good flow - one tiny little flaw can lead you into troubleshooting hell.

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This is pretty much just a close-up of the tone cap (0.047 uf Orange Drop), and the "treble bleed" mod on the volume pot. It's just a 0.01 uf cap combined with a 100K resistor....it helps avoid the Tele's tendency to lose treble when you roll off the volume pot to clean up your sound - keeps your tone nice and bright.

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I also put the bridge assembly together. The bridge plate is a standard $7.95 Fender model, while the saddles are a Glendale "Twang" set. The E/A string bridge is aluminum, while the D/G and B/E are brass....this is said to maximize the 'twang' factor of the Tele (hence the name!). These are "compensated" saddles (note the front to back offset), which addresses the one gripe that many have had with the standard Tele 3-saddle setup - intonation.

(Note: YMMV on the intonation issue. I recently installed a standard 3-saddle set on my MIM Tele, and it intonates almost 100% perfectly!)

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If Clancy considers it worthy, I'd have no problem with it at all. In fact, I'd be honored. :yes:

I don't know if Clancy will read this thread, but I'd say it won't be a problem to move it to the lessons forum. It'll probably need some posts deleted so that it reads better. If you let me know when it's finished I'll arrange it for you Strat.

Doesn't look like it will be long now actually, you're making great progress.

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...Doesn't look like it will be long now actually, you're making great progress.

Yep, I was up to that point. I'm in a holding pattern now for a bit - I ordered my pickups from Don Mare and it'll be about 3 weeks before I receive them. I still have a few small details I can work on in the meantime, I'll post pics as I go. Once the pickups get here, everything should fall into place quickly.

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I got a few more things done on the "Sonicaster" today. First off was attaching the input jack to the Electrosocket and mounting it to the body. This involves centering it, drilling two pilot holes and screwing it into the body....no real big deal. People occasionally have problems with standard Tele jack cups coming loose - the Electrosocket is screwed in, so not much chance of that happening. You can really see the double binding on the body in this pic too:

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Next was centering up the bridge, control plate and pickguard and drilling pilot holes for mounting. This is a time to reeeaallly move slow and measure everything twice before drilling - screw this up and you ruin the whole appearance of the guitar! I also mounted the strap buttons for the Dunlop strap locks. Here's the pickguard and control plate mounted and screwed down, with the bridge plate resting in place - you can almost see what the finished product is going to look like:

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Warmoth does a great job of drilling their body holes very precisely to Fender specs. Here's a closeup of the bridge showing the mounting holes and the string-through holes in the body. The pic was taken at an angle, the top bridge plate mounting hole is actually perfectly centered despite what it looks like:

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Now it's just a matter of waiting a couple weeks to receive my pickups, mounting them up, stringing 'er up and mounting the string tree! For anybody who likes "techy" details, the pickups are being wound to 6.36K at the neck and 7.2K at the bridge - fairly "vintage" specs. Don Mare is very exacting and detail-oriented - when you call him to order your pickups, you tell him what guitar you're buying for and what kind of sound you're looking for and he will play various guitars with his pickups in them to give you an idea of what they sound like compared to each other. Yeah, a phone isn't exactly "hi-fi", but it gives you an idea. Based upon your input, he comes up with specs for your pickups and custom-winds them by hand.

One more gratuitous "artsy" pic of the guitar so far:

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It actually *is* a lot of fun. Being my first build it's gone very smoothly so far, and I've not only really enjoyed the process, I've also learned a lot! I was warned that it's addictive, and I can certainly see it - I'm already starting to plan my next build! :D

(fortunately, my wife is a very understanding person!)

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