Monday, March 4, 2013

ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE strat renovation

This is the zombie strat I recently renovated. It features:
Seymour Duncan Blackouts active pickups
 Fender locking tuners
blocked tremolo (a la Clapton)
mini-toggle boost switch (connected to jumpers on middle and neck pickup)
Henessee strap locks
machined brass inserts in neck joint
distressed finish
bullet casings
zombies breaking through barricade
bullet shell position markers
blood spatter pickguard
Walking Dead homage back plate
apocalypse-battered headstock
maple neck
3 joined piece body (alder or ash)

Gretsch Roundup tribute...

This guitar has a design inspired by the classic Gretsch Roundup. It features an orange- stained body, wood-burned designs, tooled leather-bound sides, a set neck, P-90 pickups, and a special wiring mod derived from GUITARNUTZ.COM. Though it has P-90s, this guitar is effectively SILENT due to its virtually perfect grounding and shielding.


That being said- this guitar does have some issues. I didn't anticipate the polepiece spacing being wider than the neck- I compensated the pickup position as best I could to accomodate this. The neck pickup's bass polepiece (string 6) is farther out than I would like, but it still picks up the string.


The finish is a meld of a semi-gloss finish I applied and a gloss stringed instrument lacquer that I decided to apply later. The finish is not what you would call pristine, but it does cover the body and neck. Since this was a renovation and partially an experiment, I feel less guilty about this fact.


The neck is too narrow- I don't know why. Apparently, that's just how they made the Bradley Les Paul copies. As a result, string 6 and 1 are closer to the ends of the frets than I would prefer. As seen in the video, you can play and not experience problems, but if you wanted to add a lot of aggressive vibrato, you would be likely to pull the string over the edge of the fingerboard and frets. If you think ahead and vibe "into" the neck, you wouldn't have problems.


The bridge and string and stop tailpiece posts sit a little too far to the right on the body, which meant I had to make a custom bridge and a custom string retainer to compensate. The saddles are fully adjustable, so the intonation is perfect- I had just "assumed" that the original post holes would be the same position as on the original top. When I clamped and glued the neck in (with hide glue) apparently it was shifted slightly... which mean the posts had to be adjusted. BUT, after originally placing the posts I did some cosmetic flourishes around the post holes... a totally amateur mistake. (Sigh) So I had to make those extra pieces, and now it's fine, but not what I would classify as ideal.


So, there are some great things about this guitar (wiring, artistic designs), and there are some less than pleasing things to me (imperfect polepiece alignment, a finish that isn't "flawless," bridge posts set slightly to the right requiring a modified bridge and retainer, and outer strings positioned a little too close to the edges of the frets.


I just hate not having things absolutely perfect. I will be glad to keep this guitar, unless someone likes it enough to buy it-  but I will only let that happen if that person knows exactly what the instrument is. Worst case, a learning experience for me that ended up with a functional guitar.