Sunday, 22 February 2015

Ash Stratocaster: Unboxing.

With the Ash Thinline Cabronita hanging waiting for the primer to dry, I thought I'd start a new build to keep me sane. It's a Pitbull Guitars STA-1, and is only the second Stratocaster I've ever built. The first went to my niece Siena as a birthday present and my wall has hung Stratless ever since. This kit was purchased at the Pitbull birthday sale back in September, and I'm really glad that I can finally get started on it.

Right out of the box the kit looked great. The neck is straight, with a nicely figured rosewood fretboard. The 3-piece ash body also has some great figure in it. I was intending a solid colour for this baby - I've always coveted a surf strat - but now this figure is giving me pause. No need to decide now - it's a decision that I can ruminate on for a few dozen days of sanding.

Do I really want to paint over all that grainy goodness?
The mock build went together very quickly. The assembly of the strat kit is very straightforward, with only the position of the bridge to be established. To be honest, the tremelo cavity really doesn't leave much room for error here either. There's only a couple of mm play vertically and horizontally within the cavity, and with the pickguard also taken into account, it's pretty easy to see where the bridge should go. Anyway, just to be safe I consulted the Stewmac Fret Position Calculator to validate the vertical position of the mounting screws, and used the two E strings down the length of the neck to determine the optimal horizontal position. In no time I had the neck mounted, the bridge screwed in and the tremelo spring claw installed. Easy as bro!

The good old strat really is about as simple a kit as you will find. It's the perfect kit for all beginner builders to start on and I recommend it everyone out there!

Mock build completed. The Strat is a great first build.

The back is as nice as the front, despite a bit of duck leakage.
There was only one small issue - looks like I used a little too much Dr Ducks to lubricate my neck screws on installation. You can see in the photo of the back of the guitar that the oil has soaked into the body a little. Some of this will come out during sanding, but it might play havoc during staining. Hmm, it might just make the solid finish a no-brainer. Anyway, on with the headstock shaping and the sanding!