Tuesday, September 8

The Parts-o-caster: Part IV - Body

Having done all of that strenuous work on the neck, it's time for some body work!

Here, we have the body all by itself. It's a little deceiving with the flash, as the blue sunburst is a lot more subtle under natural lighting. Regardless, it really is beautiful. Originally I was looking at a natural finish, but I stumbled upon this one and it took me back to a blue-burst Strat I saw when I was shopping for my first electric guitar. I like that this isn't a super-common finish, and that it really works with the other colors in this project.

The body itself is Alder. Though I looked at a lot of other woods, I wanted a classic sound, and it definitely delivered.

So to start, I first assembled the bridge. It's a standard, modern-style floating tremolo, and the first step was to put the bridge saddles onto the bridge plate. That's just a simple matter of threading the screw through the holes and sliding on the springs, followed by the saddles. Intonation will be adjusted later by adjusting these screws, but I just gave them a ballpark depth.

Next, I attached the bridge to the body itself by screwing in the six screws along the front. Following the advice of a lot of people when it came to actually making the tremolo work and do so stably, I tightened down the screws on the end, leaving about 1/8 of an inch of play in each of the other ones. This gives the bridge some room to move so that the tremolo can do it's job, but it also gives the bridge the needed stability to keep things in tune. But we'll come back to the rest of the tremolo assembly a little later on...

The only other major bit of work to be done to the body is attaching the neck. It's a very, very simple process. The neck and body are both of the 4-bolt variety, so there was no extra drilling or hole-filling to do. The body's neck pocket had "Mickey Mouse ears", meaning that it was routed with rounded corners, a lot like the ears on that famous rodent. What's good about that is that it accepts pretty much any after-market neck that you could want. What's bad is that it makes getting a tight fit pretty much impossible, which means that you lose a little sustain and tone. But apart from making my own body, I don't really see a good way around this.

And so, I simply fit the neck into the pocket, flipped the whole thing over and bolted the neck plate to the body. Again, I was careful to tighten the bolts pretty evenly so as not to warp anything, and voila!

Next post, the guts.

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