||The Red Stratocaster
I bought this one with the intention
of turning it into a David Gilmour clone. However, I found that the
DG pre-wired harness I bought a short time later actually went better with
the creme Strat I owned. So I started tinkering
with this one....
on middle pickup
Control: Push-pull pot
under the middle (tone) knob.
Function: Throws the middle pickup
electrically "out of phase" (or "in" phase, depending on who you talk to)
with whatever other pickup it is combined. The middle pickup is normally
wound in the opposite direction as the neck and bridge so that, when selected
in combination with either of the remaining pickups, the 60 cycle (Hz)
hum you normally hear with single coil pickups is canceled out (if you
know what "phase cancellation" is from trig or physics, then you already
understand this concept).
Control: Push-pull pot
under the voume knob.
Function: This is a simple SPST
(single pole-single throw) switch which adds the neck pickup to combinations
where the neck pickup would otherwise not be present. This gives
you at least two additional combinations of pickups. If you already
have the bridge pickup selected with the 5-way blade switch, then add the
neck pickup, the combination is usually described as Telecaster-like, but
I guess that would depend on your pickups among other things. As
you have probably already guessed, the other combination is all three pickups
at the same time via the bridge/middle pickup + the neck. I found
neither combination to be particularly special.
switch under the rear tone knob. Originally this switch came
with an extremely long shaft and a "chicken-head" knob. I wanted
to maintain the stock appearance or the guitar, so I cut the shaft down
to a length which would accommodate a standard Strat knob. Of course,
with a smaller knob it was next to impossible to change positions on the
switch. I broke into the casing of the switch (it was a closed frame
type) and removed one of the two ball bearings which hold the contact dial
into its original position.
Function: This is a rotary switch
which selects different values of capacitors across which to run your signal.
This drops out different frequecies to give you several interesting starting
points for your sound. This particular switch has 6 positions, the
first of which does not involve a capacitor and is, therefore, a bypass.
These can also be found on B.C. Rich guitars of the past as well as on
B.B. King's "Lucille" model by Gibson. (Incidentally, I tried his
guitar in the store one day, and did not find the effect to be as dramatic
as on my Strat, probably because of different values of capacitors.)
I bought this varitone as a kit through Torres
Function: Placing a very low value
capacitor (.001 microfarad) across the appropriate lugs of your volume
knob (or knobs) will keep your tone from loosing the high frequencies (i.e.
||Coming soon(er or later).
Tuners - I bought new tuning
keys to replace the originals which ended up on my
Strat a while back. These are Klusons and are of much higher
quality than the originals. They are also more reminiscent of the '50s
era Stratocasters, which was what I was aiming for.
Neck gloss - The wood on the neck
was originally unfinished maple, but I put a thin coat of clear gloss over
it. This keeps it cleaner and allows greater precision when bending
strings (your fingers glide across the neck rather than scrape erratically
across the grain, especially how it does on rosewood fretboards).
Strats in the '50s used to be smothered in gloss, but they have backed
off over time for some reason. This option costs $50 from Warmoth,
for example. I paid $3 for a can of spray gloss and did it myself.
The finish comes off the frets shortly and your guitar is fine. Your
results may vary, but I had no problems getting the desired feel.
Update: Since this
page was created, I sold the creme Strat and modified
this one to have the same EMG/David Gilmour electronics as the creme Strat
did. I also added some more tricks to it as well over time.
Check out the red Strat v.2 and also my Evolution
of a Guitar article.