I have a butchered old, off-brand guitar sitting under my bed, and I'm about ready to do something with it. The neck is good and straight, but the body is the bland-old basic strat shape that's been done so many times. The headstock is actually shaped more like an LP's is, so I think that it may not be the original neck. I've got all the wiring from it, but I don't think it'll be enough for what I'm planning. Tuners are good. It has a bridge, but I'de really prefer a bridge with a tremolo. Honestly, I would love a bigsby type of bridge. I think it would be epic, but there are budgets to consider. If this project gets rolling, I'de like to put it in the 100GBP competition. Anyways, here's my current plan:

I want to discard the body I have and build a semi-hollow (thinline) telecaster-ish body. My dad has plenty of woodworking tools, so this shouldn't be a problem.
My only questions:
#1: Are these bodies constructed of simply two pieces? A body with cavities routed out on either side, leaving a solid block in the middle for the neck, bridge, and pickup to sit in, and then a veneer over the top?
#2: Does this effect the sound enough to be worth the effort?

As far as pick-ups, I was wanting to only have a single humbucker (vintage if I can snag one off of ebay), but I want a bit more uniqueness out of tone than simply that. So I was thinking about placing a piezo inside one of the body cavities.
#1: Would the piezo even work? Would it pick up accoustic-y sounds?
#2: (speculate) How do you think these two pick-ups would sound together?
#3: Are piezos wired like normal pickups?
#4: Distortion and other effects will still work fine with this pickup combo, right?
#5: Should the humbucker be by the neck or the bridge? (I typically play over the neck)
#6: Can I use a wiring diagram set up for two humbuckers as a reference to wire this?

For aesthetics, I want something dark (I think...). I'm undecided on what kind of finish I want on the body (Suggestions?), or if I just want to leave it natural, or paint it a solid color. Either way, I'll be putting that exact same finish on the headstock as the body. The fretboard is rosewood. I might put some different kind of inlay at the 12th fret (Suggestions?) I'm going to be gluing another piece of wood onto the end of the headstock, extending it so that I can cut it to resemble a BC Rich headstock. I'm not sure at all what to do about knobs or a pickguard. That will probably depend on the finish I choose. I am thinking about binding. If I can't find a bigsby trem, I'm gonna put a chrome bridge cover (A fender Jazz one) on it. I might put a pick-up cover too. I don't know for sure.
#1: How hard is it to apply binding?
#2: Is there anyone who cuts inlay materials cheap?

Thanks in advanced.
Art is Vice. You don't marry it legitimately, you rape it...
-Edgar Degas
A piezo works when it is compressed. It might not work as well if you just place it somewhere in the body, it is not a microphone, so usually it's stuck under the bridge or something. That's where it works best.

You don't have to use them in unison, and you probably wouldn't. Consider the amount of feedback you'd get through an electric guitar amp. Plus, the frequency range on a normal electric amp won't handle all the frequencies of an acoustic piezo pickup.

They are wired the same, but usually need a preamp or the signal will be incredibly weak.

Distortion will work, it's interesting, but yes, it will. And if it doesn't work on the piezo, just turn it off and use your humbucker.

Put it wherever you really want. Neck is more mellow and the bridge position is more trebly in my opinion.

You can use a wiring diagram, but it won't be the same since you'll need a preamp for the piezo.

Binding is something you learn, i recently did it on my last build. It's not very hard, just get the right glue, and the binding tape. The binding tape helped so much.

Buy yourself a jewelers saw and do it yourself from a sheet, it's not impossible, just takes patience.
Wiring multiple piezos in series is actually BETTER (I hear).

The factual basis: It'll up the impedance, thus getting closer to matching the high-impedance requirements of a guitar amp (this is why acoustic-electrics use differant amps than a guitar).

BTW, I just scanned the posts. Forewarning.
What could I use to give me a sort of acoustic/semi-hollowbody sound? What do accoustic guitars normally use?

Or is there something else I should use entirely? I'm mainly looking for a uniqueness in sound. Preferably something that sounds accoustic... or... I don't really know how to explain it. The kind of sound you get from an OLD semi-hollowbody guitar.

Feedback would be an issue I didn't consider... but still. There must be some way.

How much are pre-amps?

What do you use to cut the groove around the edge of the guitar for the binding?

I probably will do the inlays myself... Thinkin about an "X" or a stick man

Wiring multiple piezos inside the body cavity could give me the sound I want? I really don't know what impedance is... Wouldn't this make feedback worse?
Art is Vice. You don't marry it legitimately, you rape it...
-Edgar Degas
Acoustic guitars typically use spruce tops. A piezo system is a piezo system. It's all in the position of the transducer and in the guts of the preamp.

You can make a preamp. They are piss-easy and cheap. I have one that sounds pretty good, I'm told. Never built it meself, but people seemed to like it. It's more of a buffer than anything. Converts the low-imp. transducer to a high-imp. signal.

Binding channels are cut with a router of some kind, like a dremel with a jig.

Impedance is the AC equivalent to resistance. I've never heard of anyone getting bad feedback from a string of piezos.

those links should help give you an idea of the body on the guitar.

Now, for acoustic tones... a piezo under/in your bridge can give you an "acoustic like" tone if you wanted.


a bridge like this actually ideal, as there is a piezo element in each individual saddle, allowing for a good, all around full tone with good impedance. But, that's 100% of the 100gbp build budget.

as for the combination of pickups, it's simple: a switch! Wire in a switch! You could (if you go with a single humbucker) use a 3 way switch to select one or both pickups. I personally would not recommend a single humbucker, because it really limits your tones, but: what kind of a sound are you looking for?

Me personally, I'd wire it up something like Single Coil - HB - Piezo with a series/parrelel or coil tap for the HB. You could use a 5 way switch to get you pickup selection as:
SC-SC/HB-SC/SC-Piezo or use push pull pots on the piezo and coil tap with a three way switch to allow for a combination of ALL the pickups.

Also, doing a stereo setup would be cool, if you wired it up in such a way that the piezo actually ran out a second jack so you could hook it up to a PA or acoustic amp or run it through a preamp... I mean, man I could give you a billion ideas on this one.

Ultimately though, it's up to you.

For the binding and inlay: http://stewmac.com/
that's a good place to start. It's not easy, but if you've got the tools, you can pull it off.

also, for a little further reading on the piezo idea:
these are what you can pick up at radioshack as far as piezo goes:
you might be able to mount one of those under the bridge plate and route for it and get a decent sound, I'm not 100% sure how that would sound.

And as far as "vintage" humbuckers go: you'll never find something "vintage" on ebay that's worth it for less than $100 or so, so, I'd suggest checking out:
for some good budget pickups, of course going Seymour Duncan and Dimarzio is a better idea, but, if you want something budget.

And, I'd like to see some picks of this guitar if you've got some.
Fact: Bears eat beats. Bears beats Battlestar Galactica.
You'll want to use a rabbet bit for the binding. I picked one up at lowes and made my own bushing to go on the bearing of the bit. The bearing was a half inch, so I turned a piece of delrin to be the right size and slipped it on. It works great.

Not to throw in a plug, but here is my build.


It's just got a piezo in the bridge, and it handles all sounds so well. It sounds purely acoustic, but works great for jazz, blues, and rock. Since it's a thin body, there isn't much feedback unless you're using really high gain. It'll handle my tube screamer on full drive, and my big muff at a pretty high gain setting. It's more versatile than I would have ever imagined. I was thinking about throwing a single coil in the neck though, but I find no need now.
Haha, sarcasm... yeah... >-> I walked into that one...

I gotta be honest, Jim... I'm having trouble following you... wtf is a transducer?

From the sounds of things, I'm thinkin I'll definitely stick a piezo all up under my bridge. But I think I'm still leanin towards one humbucker. Remember, I'm on a major budget and I'm not as concerned about tone versatility as I am tone uniqueness (That probably sounds stupid, I know). Thanks for the link to that site, I'll probably be snagging one of those Dream 180 pickups.

Dude, bring the ideas ON. The point of this project is pushing things, looking for a sound you don't get very often by using cheap parts and unique concepts. I'm open to ANY suggestions you got.

Elaborate on this stereo idea. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this, or what it would accomplish, but as complicated as it sounds, it must be something good.

What's the output in ohms of those 180s or a Piezo you think? Would it work with a black ice circuit?

I'm probably just gonna go with the 3-way switch. So I can go Piezo/Piezo-Humbucker/Humbucker. Is there a 4-way switch? So I can have an empty slot to use as a kill-switch? (Again... tell me if this is a stupid idea)

Spyro, is your bridge built with a humbucker in it? Made that way stock? or is it something you've rigged where you could pass the knowledge on to me? haha

Clarification: The carbon monoxide detector is being used as a pre-amp for the piezo, right?
Art is Vice. You don't marry it legitimately, you rape it...
-Edgar Degas
It's Pyro, but everyone thinks I have an obsession with a computer generated purple dragon for some reason.

Anyway, the bridge has the piezo in it, not a humbucker. I just bought an under saddle piezo, then made my own bridge for it.

It was much more cost efficient to use an acoustic style bridge too. There is no cost for a normal bridge with saddles and such, but there are some downsides. Of course the intonation adjustments aren't there, but it's not hard to get it fairly close. I build that bridge with some extra wood I had left over from my previous builds.
I meant Piezo. Typo.

So you just have an accoustic style wooden bridge? That's awesome. I hadn't thought of that. I'll probably be doing that myself.

So, current plan:
Telecaster style semi-hollow body.
Neck position 180 humhucker.
Wooden accostic bridge with a piezo.
BC style headstock.

Things I need to decide on:
Type of wood for top of guitar
Type of pickguard
Shape of soundhole

I got a question: Anyone ever tried to use wallpaper for a finish? Like the cloth covering, but paper should be easier to handle. Maybe even newspaper or sheet music or something... I believe it's called a decopage? (sp?)

Somethin like this with a pretty big burst around the edge http://thumbs.dreamstime.com/thumb_233/1202202180O5I7Xd.jpg
Art is Vice. You don't marry it legitimately, you rape it...
-Edgar Degas