Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Ash Stratocaster: Assembly

Today I got the polishing finished on the body of the Ash Stratocaster. One round with Meguiars ScratchX 2.0 was enough to complete the shine and allow me to move on to assembly. I decided that I really liked the look of the white pearloid scratchplate with the gold hardware, and was keen to forge ahead with getting all electronics moved over from the original scratchplate. With this done (and the back of the scratchplate shielded with copper foil at the same time), it was on with the neck, the tuners, the bridge and the tremolo springs, in short order.

The bridge saddles needed to be raised quite a lot to get above the 22nd fret and allow me to intonate the two E strings. The neck heel is quite high off the guitar body, and I'm hoping it won't lead to overly extended saddles when all is said and done. Anyway, I got the E strings intonated with only a slight tweak to the saddle's factory positions, and followed this up with the installation of the back cover plate.

The gold hardwre and white pearloid really set the blue off nicely.
The gold screws and neck plate give the back some style as well.
In the end, to get the new scratchplate to fit between the bridge and the neck was a bit more effort than I had envisioned. Strat scratchplates are all the same size right? Wrong. Unbeknownst to me, the new scratch plate was a little larger than the original plain white one that I used to do my mock build. In the end I needed the help of my trusty dremel to take some material away from around the neck heel before the bastard would fit. In the end it all worked out however!

Tomorrow I'll be gunning down the home straight with this build. I have just to shield the control cavity with copper foil, ground the shielding, and solder the output wires to the jack. Three whole solder joints! You gotta love a Stratocaster kit huh? By tomorrow afternoon this baby should be singing.

Once she's making noise, I can take my time with doing a good fret levelling and creating a nice low bone nut. All this, with a generous helping of Dr Ducks to condition the rosewood fretboard, should result in a nice low action and a slick feel. Fingers crossed!!