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Old 03-14-2013, 09:07 PM   #1
MrFlibble
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NGD (sort of): fun times with partsbuilds.

What do you do with a random Strat neck, a Warmoth Jazzmaster body that you never got around to using and several boxes of bridges, pots, jacks, switches, capacitors, resistors, magnets and pickups?

Why, you buy some Wudtone paint and lock yourself away in your garage for a week!


Okay, so this really isn't exciting. The cost of putting this together, given I'd forgotten I even had most of these parts, was somewhere <£40, and the total value is about, what, -£50?

I've had these Swineshead pickups for a while. Love the look but the sound was a bit too thick for what I wanted out of this guitar. So I took 'em apart and MacGyvered a winder.
Wound the neck with 42 AWG to 9k and stuck in an A8 magnet; a more aggressive sound than your typical PAF copy, without being a totally overpowered metal machine. Kind of like a SD Jazz or DM PAF Pro with tighter bass.
The bridge is 41 AWG wound to 11k and has a ceramic magnet. The tone is much less compressed than most bridge pickups but the ceramic mag keeps the power just about balanced with the neck. The tone is similar to a stacked P-90.

The only other thing of note is the tone control. I hate standard tone controls. Some of my guitars don't have 'em at all and the ones that do have them disconnected. I already had this pickguard cut for two controls, though, so what do? Make a tone control that rolls of the low-mids, instead. Stick a 0.001uf cap across the two outer lugs of a linear pot and you've got yourself a control that takes out some of the lowest frequencies; enough to rebalance the 6th and 5th strings with the others, not enough to make them disappear completely or effect the 1st and 2nd strings. This lets me switch between chuggy-chuggy heavy low strings or a completely balanced output across all six strings and at no point is the overall output effected much, unlike a split/parallel/tap.


So, full spec:
2-piece extra-light basswood (Warmoth)
Maple neck, rosewood fretboard (taken from a MIM Strat)
Fender adjust-o-matic (tune-o-matic with a 9.5" radius)
Wudtone 'surfer girl' wipe-on finish, mixed extra-strong.
Parchment pickguard and knobs
Switchcraft toggle
Rewound Swineshead ebony/rosewood pickups:
- 9k A8 neck
- 11k ceramic bridge
CTS 500k linear pots
Bass roll-off tone control
Switchcraft jack
D'Addario .0105 strings with an Ernie Ball .050 6th tuned Eb Standard


Excuse the shitty flash



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Old 03-14-2013, 09:41 PM   #2
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HNGD doesn't seem enough... But I've got nothing else.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:45 PM   #3
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Damn son, that looks really ****in good.

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Old 03-14-2013, 10:10 PM   #4
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That is fantastic.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:22 PM   #5
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beautiful. awesome guitar!

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Old 03-14-2013, 10:35 PM   #6
dannyalcatraz
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Instant classic!

It looks like it would be at home at a beach party...how does it sound?
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:41 PM   #7
Sid McCall
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That paint job is INCREDIBLE. That's like, my ideal finish. I've never seen anything like it. Great work!
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:27 PM   #8
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Awesome. I don't really care for Jaguars, Jazzmasters, Mustags, etc. I like this, a lot.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:56 PM   #9
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looks nice flibble.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:38 AM   #10
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Is that grain (semi-opaque) or a result of the hand wipe (streaks)? Looks very nice.

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Old 03-15-2013, 03:48 AM   #11
MrFlibble
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ippon
Is that grain (semi-opaque) or a result of the hand wipe (streaks)? Looks very nice.

Wudtone's finishes are all very thin and sit in the grain so they're both slightly transparent and slightly textured. They are used without grain filler or even sanding sealer. How much the grain shows through depends on the wood. Something like basswood which doesn't have much figure to it—and what figure it does has is very subtle—leaves you with an almost-solid finish. From about ten feet away it just looks like a solid finish that's just been left in the sun a bit too much; the edges and contours are a slightly different shade to the flat top and back. From within five feet you can start to see the grain show through and up close you can see (and feel) the texture of the wood/finish.

This is the back, shows how much of a texture there is. Again, this is basswood, so it's not very drastic. I also mixed the paint darker than usual; a thin finish like this is obviously going to wear quicker than a thick gloss poly finish, so I made it extra-strong for now so once it does start to fade it doesn't go completely pale.


Top is massively underexposed with strong flash to highlight the texture, bottom is how it looks in normal light.

They do various colours, aged tints, gloss finishes and silver and gold grain highlights. Mine's just plain satin, since it's not like there's much you can do with basswood; the gloss ones with metallic grain highlights on swamp ash look amazing.
http://www.wudtone.com/2012/03/23/finishing-diykits/

And this is the same finish I used but mixed lighter, with a gloss top coat and used on swamp ash.




Unsurprisingly, I've already gone and ordered a couple of swamp ash bodies to try this on...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyalcatraz
how does it sound?
Hard to describe because I'm not aware of any other kind of guitar like this. The neck pickup sounds like a PRS or brighter Les Paul; you'd never guess it was a bolt-on. The bass roll-off changes it between a sort of Santana tone and a clearer Slash-like tone, that sort of ballpark. The 25.5" scale keeps it sounding just a tiny bit 'snappier' than a Gibson-like design, though. The bridge pickup is your typical hot-rodded Fender tone, like sticking a JB in a Strat or whatever; sounds a bit more like an LP Jr with the bass control down. Basically a good mix of classic rock/pop-punk/'British invasion' blues sort of thing. Nothing complicated, just a bit more power and clarity.

Funnily enough I can't see a good surf tone coming out of this any time soon.

Something I didn't mention before is that the space between the two pickups is also routed out. Jazzmaster routing is pretty extensive anyway, so with the middle taken out the body is about 50% hollow; the only solid wood is around the edges and the arm contour. I also used extra-tight screws for mounting the pickups, so nothing gets dampened there. As a result this is acoustically more resonant than my Thinline Tele or the Epi Dot I used to have. Some of that seems to come across through the pickups, too, which I'm guessing is why it doesn't sound quite so typically Fender-ish, even though the pickups are using very bright magnets and wire.

I may, if I can remember (been awake 48 hours now...) record a little sound clip or video or some such. I keep meaning to, since I get so many PMs and e-mails about my amp anyway. Shall update later if I do.
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Last edited by MrFlibble : 03-15-2013 at 03:50 AM.
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Old 03-15-2013, 04:02 AM   #12
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Well, it certainly seems like you have a special axe there, dude! Very versatile.

Happy accident, or was it sort of a planned experiment?

(PS: that stuff looks awesome on that swamp ash body! Best of luck with the future experiments!)
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Last edited by dannyalcatraz : 03-15-2013 at 04:11 AM.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:35 AM   #13
MrFlibble
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Totally random. Originally this body was going to be gold and the neck was going to go on a Strat, buy hey-ho.


Anyone wondering "hey, I've heard basswood is very soft and damages easily, is that true?", the answer is a resounding "yes". Very slowly and softly knocked it against my amp's foot pedal and there's a 6mm dent—well, gash, really—in the bottom edge of it now. Good job I wanted a worn look
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:41 AM   #14
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yeah it will dent up pretty quick.

it could probably eek a surf tone out of the bridge with the right approach.

looks great.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:53 PM   #15
Supernaut2k
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Looks really nice, so this is 25.5" like a strat?
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:17 PM   #16
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very nice the wooden pickups match it really well, too.

Just out of interest, which swineshead models did you have?
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:33 PM   #17
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"...and thus was The Evil Penguin Guitar Company founded in 2013..."
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFlibble
Wudtone's finishes are all very thin and sit in the grain so they're both slightly transparent and slightly textured. They are used without grain filler or even sanding sealer. How much the grain shows through depends on the wood. Something like basswood which doesn't have much figure to it—and what figure it does has is very subtle—leaves you with an almost-solid finish. From about ten feet away it just looks like a solid finish that's just been left in the sun a bit too much; the edges and contours are a slightly different shade to the flat top and back. From within five feet you can start to see the grain show through and up close you can see (and feel) the texture of the wood/finish.

This is the back, shows how much of a texture there is. Again, this is basswood, so it's not very drastic. I also mixed the paint darker than usual; a thin finish like this is obviously going to wear quicker than a thick gloss poly finish, so I made it extra-strong for now so once it does start to fade it doesn't go completely pale.



Very cool. They have a dealer here: http://www.byoguitar.com/Guitar_Kit...shing-Kits.aspx

I'm ordering Black Magic Woman and Hot Auburn to try on some Ash and Pine Tele bodies I have. Thanks!

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Old 03-15-2013, 10:06 PM   #19
MrFlibble
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ippon
Very cool. They have a dealer here: http://www.byoguitar.com/Guitar_Kit...shing-Kits.aspx

I'm ordering Black Magic Woman and Hot Auburn to try on some Ash and Pine Tele bodies I have. Thanks!


Yup, they're one of the few small UK companies that can be bought in almost any country. I hope they do well.

I'm gunning for Black Magic Woman myself. I'm thinkin' it will make a nice change from the usual black Strat look.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Supernaut2k
Looks really nice, so this is 25.5" like a strat?
Yes, though I might get a conversion neck for it to make 24.75". We'll see.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave_Mc
very nice the wooden pickups match it really well, too.

Just out of interest, which swineshead models did you have?
Warthog in the bridge and I forget what for the neck, Runaway, I think. The most standard A5 ones. Nice pickups, but when I chose they they were going in an LP and since that guitar is gone they've been sat here doing nowt. Might as well use the nice bobbins.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyalcatraz
"...and thus was The Evil Penguin Guitar Company founded in 2013..."
...

Not entirely fiction. 'S all I'll say for now.
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:09 PM   #20
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Keep me in mind if/when...

I buy what I like, and I spread the good news.
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