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The Black Strat Project - #1

The Guitar That Launched A Business....



Project Start: October 2008
Project Completed:  January 31, 2009

Last update: May 12, 2012

July 4, 2011: In looking back over the last 2-1/2 years at this initial Black Strat project a lot of innovation and change has come about in the production of our custom Black Strat parts, kits and assemblies.  We've learned a lot along the way in how to accurately replicate an authentic Black Strat pickguard assembly. Our current production of Black Strat parts and assemblies are considerably more complex, unique and that much more authentic to the original than the one depicted below, but none-the-less, it was the starting point that lead us through many series of improvements, enhancements and changes. With the acquisition of both the NOS and Relic version of Fender's Custom Shop Gilmour Strat's, we now have a lot more insight for a number of details that make the difference between a simple knock-off and an accurate reproduction.  We're proud to be able to provide our customers with products that are the most authentic in production outside of the Fender Custom Shop.  Take a look at our Black Strat Parts page for a complete listing all of our updated and most current designed Black Strat parts, kits and complete pickguard assemblies.

Seymour Duncan's Custom Shop Hand Scatter-Wound "SSL-1C DG" Pickup - We now have a supply of this pickup that a lot of you serious Gilmour Black Strat builders have sought after. You will not find these anywhere else except in David's original Black Strat or Fender's Custom Shop Gilmour Signature Series Black Strat.  These are original, authentic Seymour Duncan Custom Shop hand scatter-wound pickups. These pickups are available separately or installed in our Complete Black Strat Pickguard Assemblies.

Complete Project Build Components

  • 2008 Fender 1962 Re-Issue Stratocaster Body, Black
  • 2008 Fender 1957 Re-Issue Stratocaster Maple Neck, 21 Fret, 7.25" Radius, V Shape
  • 2008 Fender 1957 Re-Issue Gotoh Vintage Style Tuning Machines
  • 2008 Fender 1957 Re-Issue Vintage Serialized Neck Plate
  • 2008 Fender 1962 Re-Issue Output Jack Assembly
  • 2006 Callaham Vintage S Model Bridge Assembly w/Custom Super Short 4¼" Tremolo Arm
  • Seymour Duncan SSL-5 Custom Staggered Bridge Pickup
  • Fender Custom Shop Custom '69 Middle Pickup
  • Fender Custom Shop Fat '50s Neck Pickup
  •  Black 1 Ply 0.090" 11 Hole Pickguard (Custom Routed For Mini-Toggle)
  • Fender Accessory Kit (White)
  • Fender Vintage Strap Buttons
  • Fender 5-Way Pickup Selector Switch
  • CTS 250k "No-Load" Tone Control Potentiometers (Audio Taper) [Quantity 2]
  • CTS 250k Volume Control Potentiometer (Audio Taper)
  • 0.022 uF 100 Volt 225 Series Sprague Polyester Orange Drop Tone Capacitors [Quantity 2]
  • Treble Bypass Filter (AKA Treble Bleed Filter)
  • SPDT Mini Toggle Switch
  • GHS Boomers 10-48 David Gilmour Signature Series Strings
  • 2008 Fender / SKB Hard-Shell Case
  • Conductive Adhesive Copper Shielding Foil
  • Dremel Rotary Tool Nose Piece Attachment For Routing (Craftsman #53141)
  • Hi-Speed 1/8" Straight Router Bit (Craftsman #53090)
  • Custom Routing Jig For Mini Toggle Switch Hole Slotting
  • Custom Stainless Steel Recessed Mini Toggle Switch Mounting Bracket
  • Miscellaneous Wire, Pickguard/Output Jack/Tremolo Cavity Cover Screws & Felt Washers
NEW TECHNICAL INFORMATION: June 22, 2011 - Be sure to read our detailed technical comparison we performed with two of the Fender Custom Shop Gilmour Black Strat electronics, NOS and Relic in relation to our custom Black Strat pickguard assembly electronics.  This is a "Must Read" article for anyone building their own custom Gilmour style Black Strat... Read the complete article here.

In The Beginning...
Before OverDrive Custom Guitar Works was even a gleam in my eye....

This Gilmour style Black Strat project was simply built for my own personal amusement and enjoyment, I had no idea it would be the building blocks for a full blown dedicated Strat parts resource in less than 3 months. But that is exactly what happened in March of 2009, OverDrive Custom Guitar Works was born...

Electronic parts, pickguard and components all laid out prior to assembly.  Seymour Duncan SSL-5 Custom Staggered bridge pickup, Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s pickups (neck), Fender Custom Shop Custom '69 pickups (middle), GHS Boomers 10-48 strings, Fender white accessory kit, all black 1 ply 0.090" black vinyl pickguard (with clear protective sheeting still affixed), Fender 5-way pickup selector switch, two CTS 250k no-load tone potentiometers, one CTS 250k volume potentiometer, custom stainless steel mounting bracket for recessed mini toggle switch, SPDT mini toggle switch (neck / bridge pickup mod.), tone capacitor.  I swapped out the "Seymour Duncan" white with silver logo'ed pickup cover that came stock on the SSL-5 with a plain white fender cover in the final assembly.  Since each of the Custom Shop Fat '50s pickups in the set of three are of different resistance and inductance the pickup designated "neck" (blue dot) was the only one used out of this set for my neck pickup.  The set of three pickups in the Custom Shop Custom '69 pickups are all of the same resistance and inductance so it made no difference which one was used for the middle pickup.

 

The custom made routing jig/guide (clear Acrylic) used for precise routing of the small elongated hole in pickguard for the recessed mini toggle switch.  Using the rotary tool with the routing base attached the clear routing jig did not allow any lateral movement of the rotary tool, it only allowed for forward and backward movement required to create the slot.  The pickguard is held securely in place sandwiched in-between two pieces 3/16" thick 7" x 10" acrylic sheets (free remnants at a local Tap Plastics) held tightly in place with four 6-32 mounting bolts which align with two of the perimeter pickguard mounting screw holes and two of the pickup mounting holes.  In both of the clear acrylic sheets there is a 3/4" hole in the location where the slot is to be routed to allow access of the routing bit on the top side and clearance on bottom side.  The actual jig itself is made out of 1/2" square acrylic bar stock and held in place on the top sheet of acrylic with "Acrylic Cement" which is a solvent type bonding agent that has the consistency of water and is a applied with a hypo-type applicator.  The bond that the acrylic cement produces becomes as strong as the acrylic itself for it literally fuses/melts the two pieces together. 

This jig precisely aligned the rotary tool/router in the correct position and orientation for routing of the small elongated hole so when the mini toggle switch is mounted in the stainless steel recessed mounting bracket it would position the switch lever so it would protrude precisely centered through this small elongated hole.  It worked out great, when the toggle switch is flipped in either the up or down (on) position the toggle lever has approximately 0.030" of clearance between all edges of the slot... Perfect!

Normally when the toggle switch is in the up position, towards the pickups it is in the OFF position, when it is down (ON) it selects or activates the neck pickup.  But of course this orientation of the switch can be which ever way is most comfortable and desirable for you and your particular playing style.

 

Close up of the routing jig with a freshly routed pickguard still sandwiched in-between.  The pickguard pictured secured in the jig was the first pickguard to be routed with this new routing jig and it worked out perfect.  All my calculations and measurements that went into constructing this jig worked out exactly as expected and produced the desired slot length.  This new routing jig is a dream to use in routing these slots for the recessed toggle switch, there's no guess work, everything is secure and the slot can only be produced with the fixed length of 0.300" and the width of the router bit of 0.125".  When I decided to start selling these pickguard's pre-routed for this recessed mini toggled switch I figured it was best to make a new and refined routing jig to streamline the process and help eliminate a lot of the variables that could be easily introduced with my original and very basic routing jig.  The original jig worked fine for my first personal project, but this one is so much better and accurate for small scale production work.


The variable speed Dremel MultiPro rotary tool I used for routing the small elongated hole (0.125" x 0.300") in the pickguard for the recessed mini toggle switch lever to protrude through for the neck and bridge pickup modification.  I set the rotation speed to approximately 8,000 to 9,000 RPM's which is just a little bit faster than the lowest speed (5,000 RPM) this rotary tool is capable of and no melting or chipping occurred indicating it was not too fast nor too slow.

 


Close up detail of the router nose piece attachment and the 1/8" straight router bit.  The 1/8" shank, 1/8" straight router bit is a Craftsman #53090.

 


Close-up of the pickguard after the 0.300" x 0.125" elongated hole was routed out for the recessed mini toggle switch lever to protrude through.

 

The rear side of pickguard with the custom stainless steel recessed mini toggle switch mounting bracket in the position/location as it will be mounted and secured with the volume and tone potentiometers.  After constructing the recessed mini toggle switch mounting bracket all edges were cleaned up by filing / grinding of all sharp edges and corners and then finished up by bead blasting which produced the dull, flat and smooth appearance.  I chose to use stainless steel for this bracket for it's added stiffness and ability to remain clean and not rust or oxidize through time as ferrous steel would.  Plus I had a few large sheets of this stainless steel in stock in the shop from a previous unrelated project (darkroom sink).  The thickness of this bracket is 0.030" which allows each of the two securing potentiometers to still have enough threads protruding through the pickguard for adequate fastening with the mounting nuts without resorting to the long shaft versions of these potentiometers.  Pictured above is the very first recessed mini toggle switch mounting bracket I made and it was bead blasted after final grinding and filing of all the corners. Now I polish them with a buffer instead of bead blasting, the end result no longer looks dull and flat gray in appearance, they now take on a nice shine.

 

Rear side of the pickguard showing the volume and tone control potentiometers mounted in place which secure the stainless steel recessed mini toggle switch mounting bracket to the pickguard.

 

Close up of the top side of the pickguard just after installation of the volume and tone potentiometers, the 5-way pickup selector switch and the recessed mini toggle switch.  Notice the very small amount of space to the left of the toggle switch in-between the toggle lever and the edge of the elongated hole (approximately 0.030"), this same amount of space is the same on the opposite side when the toggle switch is in the "On" position or flipped to the right as pictured above.  This small amount of space is ideal in order to keep your slot for your toggle to protrude through at it's smallest possible size and still allow for the full throw of the toggle switch without hitting the pickguard when the switch is in either the on or off position.

 

Close-up detail of pickup control electronics after all wiring was completed.  All connections were done with 22 AWG hook-up wire with RG174/U mini coax for the main audio lead from the output jack to the volume potentiometer which provides a shielded central audio lead.  In order for the Seymour Duncan SSL-5 to be in phase with the Fender pickups when selected together the SSL-5 must be wired in reverse, the SSL-5's black wire connects to the selector switch and the SSL-5's white wire connects to the ground (If you are using all Fender pickups then wire them all the same with the white wires connecting to the 5-way switch and black wires to ground).  Both of the no-load tone potentiometers have their own Sprague polyester 225 series 0.022 uF 100 volt tone capacitor.  I intend on swapping out the neck tone capacitor with a 0.01 uF since the neck pickup needs less roll off of the high frequencies.  It's still a little experimental at this time but I feel that those two tone capacitor values will suit me fine, just need to get her apart, again!  I have modified the tone potentiometer connections to the 5-way switch to provide a separate tone control for both the bridge and middle pickup and a separate tone control for the neck pickup.  To achieve a tone control for the bridge pickup you install a jumper wire between the two inner most terminals on the 5-way switch on the side where the connections from the two tone potentiometers connect (outlined below in the wiring diagram).  I have added a treble bypass filter on the volume potentiometer to help preserve the high frequencies when the volume is rolled down.

 

Rear of the pickguard assembly showing the addition of the adhesive copper foil shielding to help reduce noise from external sources.  As the pickguard came from the manufacturer it only had aluminum foil shielding in the pickup selection switch and volume/tone control section.  I completed the shielding on the rear of the pickguard by the addition of conductive adhesive copper foil.  The adhesive on the copper foil shielding is conductive so all overlapping pieces are conductive to one another.  The two lower holes in the pickguard's aluminum shielding make contact with the two small copper foil tabs extending out of the body cavity shielding at two of the pickguard mounting holes as pictured below. 

 

My Personal Black Strat Wiring Diagram
With SPST Mini-Toggle Switch Modification To Activate Neck Pickup
Tone Potentiometers are "No-Load" 250K Audio Taper
Volume Potentiometer is a 250K Audio Taper

Wiring diagram with mini toggle switch to activate neck pickup.  When the mini toggle switch is in the down position (as viewed with the guitar in the playing position) the neck pickup is turned on in parallel with which ever pickup(s) are selected with the 5-way pickup selector switch.  If you have the 5-way pickup selector switch in position 5 (bridge) and mini toggle down (on) then both neck and bridge pickups are active in parallel with each other.  If you have the 5-way pickup selector switch in position 4 (bridge and middle) and mini toggle down (on) then all 3 pickups (neck, middle and bridge) are active in parallel with each other.  In positions 3, 2 and 1 of the 5-way pickup selector switch there is no reason to use the mini toggle switch (turn on) since the 5-way pickup selector switch provides the remaining pickup selections.  Notice the small jumper wire on the 5-way pickup selector switch that connects the inner most terminal connections on the 5-way switch on the side where the wires from both tone controls connect.  This enables a tone control for both the bridge and middle pickups.  Each tone control in the above diagram has it's own 0.022 uF capacitor.  But by installing different value tone control capacitors on each tone potentiometer you can vary the amount of darkening of your tone based on how much you turn the tone control down.  With values such as 0.047 uF you'll loose treble from your tone quite quickly, using values such as 0.01 uF you would loose treble more slowly as you turn the tone control down.  Since the bridge pickup is intended to be a more brighter sounding pickup you might just want a subtle amount of tone control by using a 0.01 uF capacitor, this would allow more rotation of the tone control before the high treble rolls off, it would be a less sensitive adjustment.

This is not an exact replica wiring diagram of "The" Black Strat, but performs the exact same functions with the addition a few beneficial enhancements.  This is not the wiring diagram we provide with our "Black Strat Parts Kits, Assemblies or Recessed Toggle Switch Brackets".  They are more specific and true to the original.

Based on published information by Phil Taylor, David Gilmour's Black Strat utilizes a single .050 uF ceramic disc tone capacitor which works with both tone potentiometers for neck and middle pickup tone control, it does not have the addition of the bridge tone control modification and does not include a treble bypass circuit or utilize "no load" tone potentiometers.  These additional enhancements are what I feel are beneficial and just make good sense.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  If you are NOT using a Seymour Duncan pickup in the bridge position as indicated above and using a Fender pickup, then DO NOT reverse wires on the bridge pickup connections, you would want to wire your Fender pickups all the same with the white wires connecting to the 5-way switch and black wires connecting to the ground. 

 

After application of the adhesive copper foil shielding in the body cavities to help reduce electrical interference.  Notice the two small copper tabs in the upper portion of the picture, these tabs protrude over to the pickguard mounting holes and make contact with the shielding on the pickguard and when screwed in place it makes contact with the body cavity shielding, pickguard shielding and ground. 

Notice in the lower portion of the photograph just right of center and in-between the neck and middle pickup routing cavities.  This is the location of one of the factory drilled standard '62 pickguard mounting screw holes.  The '62 body has this one differently located mounting hole on an 11 hole pickguard, and since the pickguard manufacturer I selected did not offer a pickguard with '62 mounting hole patterns I simply drilled the one hole in the body just to the right of it required to attach the typical 11 hole pattern pickguard.  This new hole is just to the right and up a small amount as viewed in the above photograph.  The hole I drilled was a lot cleaner with smoother chamfering than the factory drilled holes.  It's as if Fender doesn't quite care as much for surface finish of these holes since they will be covered by the pickguard.  If you'll notice the 6 bridge mounting screw holes, they have nice clean factory chamfering quite similar to the hole I drilled which is necessary to have a good clean mating of the bridge plate with the face of the body to allow for smooth bridge rocking or tremolo use.

 

A few close-up photographs of the back side of each of the pickups.

Neck Pickup

Fender Custom Shop Fat '50s neck pickup.  Notice the blue dot on the one pole piece, second from the right, this denotes this pickup as the neck pickup.  Each pickup in the Custom Shop Fat '50s set has different characteristics and for them to be correctly identified Fender has color coded them.  The bridge pickup has a red dot and the middle pickup is simply silver with no color coded pole piece but it is reverse wound for hum cancelling in 5-way switching positions 2 and 4 and it also has yellow and black leads indicating the reverse winding.


Middle Pickup

Fender Custom Shop Custom '69 pickup (middle position).  Initialed and dated by long time pickup manufacturer Abigail Ybarra of Fender.


Bridge Pickup

Seymour Duncan SSL-5 Custom Staggered bridge pickup.

Something Special For The Serious Gilmour Black Strat Builder...

Seymour Duncan SSL-1C DGSeymour Duncan's Custom "SSL-1C DG" Pickup - We have limited supply of this unique and rare pickup that a lot of you serious Gilmour Black Strat builders have sought after. You will not find these anywhere else except in David's original Black Strat or Fender's Custom Shop Gilmour Signature Series Black Strat.  These are original, authentic Seymour Duncan Custom Shop hand scatter-wound pickups. These pickups are available separately or installed in our Complete Black Strat Pickguard Assemblies.

The completed Black Strat body assembly.  Ready to go, ready to rock!

 

Back side of body showing the 1 ply white vintage tremolo cavity cover.

 

Close-up detail of the Callaham Vintage S Model Bridge Assembly.  I used to have the bridge mounted with the top plate flush with the body of the guitar (see note below).  It was not set up or adjusted to be free floating.  You could only loosen the tension of the strings with tremolo use.  It's a good idea to apply some melted paraffin wax to the threads on the 6 bridge mounting screws to help lubricate them during installation into the body.  I installed the two outer most bridge mounting screws first (without any tremolo springs installed) and screwed them in just until the rear of the bridge started to rise off the body a fraction of an inch and then backed them off just enough so the bridge sat flush back on the body.  This ensures that the bridge will sit flush with the body without and pressure downward on the front edge of the bridge with the two outer mounting screws.  I then installed the remaining 4 inner bridge mounting screws down to a point of about 1/32 of an inch from the top plate for stability.  Once all 6 screws were in place I installed the tremolo arm and rocked the bridge back and forth (without tremolo springs) to check for ease of movement and for any binding of the mounting screws.  It was nice and smooth, no binding at all.  You want your bridge to be free of any binding or friction on the mounting screws to allow for smooth tremolo use and tuning stability.  The three tremolo springs were installed and adjusted/tensioned to provide just enough back pressure on the bridge to retain tuning stability and to keep the rear of the bridge flush with the body, but when you use the tremolo arm it does not take much pressure to lift the bridge.  The tremolo springs are tight enough to not allow any bridge lift during extreme string bends.  There is that happy medium of tremolo spring adjustment to allow easy tremolo use but still stay stable in tuning.  Of course all tremolo spring adjustments are performed with the stings installed and tuned to playing pitch. 

October 23, 2009:  I have since made an adjustment to the bridge on my Black Strat to have it set up as "Free Floating".  I feel that it is much smoother and are able to achieve a more subtle tremolo effect.  With it mounted flush you are required to have some amount of excess spring tension to retain the top plate of the bridge flush with the body and the initial amount of pressure required on the tremolo arm to break the bridge free from sitting flush with the body does not allow for smooth tremolo use.  With it free floating about 1/8" off the body you then have the ability to increase tension on the strings as well as loosen.

For those of you purists (or whatever they might consider themselves) who noticed and made mention of the saddle height adjustment set screws on the B and E string saddle being a bit long and installed wrong.... No, they were not installed incorrectly!  This has been pointed out that those set screws belong on the G and D saddles, but that's just how they came from Callaham, and I really didn't give them much thought or notice at the time of installation, besides, they have since been replaced with appropriate length set screws.  I just don't get why certain people just have to insist that one must be ignorant or don't know what they're doing by having such a small amount of extra height with a couple set screws, and could cause such a fuss, I just don't get it..... It's a non-issue.  I guess it just comes down to that no matter what you do, someone will go out of their way to look for things to find fault with, and will be most certain to point it out.  I've heard of this "constructive ctitisizm" thingy, but just being an ass is a different story.

Tremolo cavity, Callaham bridge block, tremolo spring claw and tremolo springs.  I prefer to have 3 springs installed, any more than that makes smooth tremolo use more difficult.  A grounding wire is soldered to the tremolo spring claw and is inserted through the hole in tremolo cavity and passes through to the electronics cavity on the front (top) side and is soldered to the volume potentiometer case along with the other ground wires.

 

Heel of the 2008 '57 Re-issue 21 fret maple neck and the Fender Custom Shop Fat '50 neck pickup.

 

Callaham Vintage S Model Bridge with the Super Short 4-¼" tremolo arm.  Seymour Duncan SSL-5 bridge pickup and Fender Custom Shop '69 middle pickup.

 

Close up detail of top side of the body, controls, pickups and Callaham Vintage S Model Bridge Assembly with the Super Short 4-¼" Tremolo Arm.

 

 Another close up detail photograph of the top side of the body from a different angle.

 

The 2008 '57 re-issue Fender USA 7.25" radius 21 fret "V" shape maple neck.  Also showing the 1957 vintage re-issue Gotoh tuning machines, Fender spaghetti logo and the single string tree.  Notice the blackening in the string slots in the nut, this is the product called "Slick Nutz" which is a liquefied graphite that assists in smooth string movement during tremolo usage or string bends and helps the strings return to correct pitch.  Slick Nutz is applied as a thick liquid for ease of application but soon after the moisture evaporates and the lubricating graphite remains.

 

The 2008 '57 vintage re-issue Gotoh tuning machines from the rear of the head stock.  If building this project again or if I was to replace the tuning machines I would go with the Kluson SD9105MN nickel tuning machines instead of the Gotoh, I feel they are better tuners.  I've got a set of them in stock, I might change them out at some point down the road....

 

Close-up detail of the 2008 '57 re-issue Fender USA 7.25" radius "V" shape maple neck at the 12'th fret.  It has a superb nitrocellulose lacquer finish throughout!  The USA '57 re-issue necks are very nice and don't compare to the newer American Standard maple necks.  The frets are vintage style so they are smaller than the medium-jumbo frets you'll find on newer Strat's.  The '57 re-issue necks have 21 frets.

 

Fender vintage serial numbered neck plate.  When installing the 4 neck joint screws it is wise to apply melted paraffin wax to the threads to ease and lubricate installation. Easy way to do this is to simply warm up the screws and touch them to the block of wax.  When the warm screw touches the wax it melts and adheres to the screw threads.  You don't need much, but it is better than dry screws.  You might notice this wax on factory installed screws when you remove them, especially the larger ones.

 

Nestled in for a warm nights sleep in the Fender SKB hard shell case.

Final Notes Of The Black Strat Build Project:

I designed and constructed the small see-through (clear) routing jig to route the small elongated hole for the recessed neck pickup toggle selector switch.  Sure, I could of simply drilled a large enough hole to allow for amount of space needed to accommodate the range of throw this mini toggle switch exhibits as it is recessed, but that would of put a 3/8" circular hole which would of looked terrible with the recessed toggle protruding through, you would be able to see directly into the pickguard and see the base of the toggle switch and it's chrome locking nut and washer.  I feel that the 0.125" x 0.300" slot is much more desirable and visual appealing.  I also could of simply mounted the toggle switch as it was designed with the small chrome washer and hex nut securing it on the top side of the pickguard (panel mount style/method), but that would simply look bland and typical and then the toggle lever would protrude approximately 1/2" to 3/4" above the pickguard surface and could be easily switched unknowingly by a simple bump of the knuckle.  It may seem like a lot of work for such a small feature, but I am a perfectionist (not always a good thing) and always enjoy a challenge, and sometimes it's the small things that make the difference between average and truly custom.

I also designed and constructed the small stainless steel bracket that mounts between the volume and neck tone control to secure the recessed mini toggle switch.

After initial construction of the guitar the following adjustments were performed:

  • Each slot of the nut was "cleaned-up" ever so gently with appropriate sized nut files to allow for smooth, non-stick movement of the strings during tremolo action.
  • Slick Nutz graphite was applied in each of the string slots of the nut to provide nice smooth movement of strings through nut slots, Slick Nutz graphite was also applied on the underside of the string tree to reduce friction.
  • Removed the neck to make a truss rod adjustment for neck relief (twice).
  • Adjust each bridge saddle height for comfortable string height/action.
  • Adjust each bridge saddle for proper intonation.
  • Adjust each pickup height for balanced output.
  • Adjust tremolo spring tension to provide nice and smooth "free floating" tremolo action.

In Summary:

At the time of this writing I've custom built 8 completely unique Stratocaster's during the last 5 years and I'd have to say that at this point this Black Strat is the most satisfying with it's overall sound quality, playability and visual appeal... This project Strat will remain as one of my favorites.  I has a stark beauty all it's own.  Simply put, it is a dream to play, it sounds beautiful, plays smooth and lends quite well to the creativity that comes from an instrument that molds to you as one, and this is where musical creativity can truly begin....

The total cost of this Black Strat is based entirely on already possessing the necessary tools for assembly and setup, such as: 

  • Dremel hi-speed rotary tool.
  • Soldering iron.
  • Solder.
  • 22 Gauge Wire.
  • Wire cutters/strippers.
  • Assorted sized Phillips and slotted screwdrivers (PH1 & PH2).
  • 1/4" drive socket set.
  • Hex wrenches.
  • Feeler gauges.
  • 6" stainless steel rule graduated in 1/64" increments.
  • Capo.
  • Electronic tuner.
  • Possibly more that has escaped me for now....

If you do not have any of these tools, parts or accessories already in your possession your cost will be more.  Price also depends on the source you acquire your parts from and the quality level of the parts you choose for your build project.  One can always acquire lower quality or imported parts, but remember, often you get what you pay for... 

You will also need a good working knowledge of the entire guitar setup and assembly procedures, how to read a wiring diagram or schematic and how to solder efficiently.  You should also be proficient with using the hi-speed rotary tool in order to accurately route the small elongated slot in the pickguard for the mini toggle switch lever.

November 10, 2010: In pondering whether or not to sell this guitar I came to the realization that this single prototype Black Strat launched my business and one that is doing quite well and growing nicely, and if I was to sell it, at some point in time on down the road I'd probably be kicking myself and wondering why the hell did I sell it, it is the foundation of my business beginnings and launched a desire to build the best Black Strat replica pickguard assembly you will find anywhere...  So I think I'll hang on to this guitar, it'll always bring back memories of a time before OverDrive Custom Guitar Works as well as a time that began it all...

April 7, 2011: While reviewing this page this evening, specifically looking at my wiring, I realize how much my wiring skills have evolved and improved in the last 2-1/2 years and when I look at the wiring of this particular project I cringe at the thought of how ugly my wiring job was back then.  I guess after building hundreds of these electronics assemblies you perfect your procedures and methods and all by logic, you "should" get better.....  And I'm happy to say that I have.... Much better!

I will continue to update this page as more detailed or subtle build information comes to mind.  The current revision date is found at the very top of this page, if the date has changed since the last time you visited then new information/revisions or updated photographs have been added.  

Do you have a comment, question, suggestion or recommendation?  Please drop us a line, we'd love to hear from you.

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