Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

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Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Chris Richards » Tue May 30, 2017 4:52 pm

Hi all...

Well, here's my latest, I decided to throw my toys out of the pram a bit with this one. I'm getting sooo fed up with Strats and Teles and wanted to do something that was exciting for me.

Firstly I love some of those really quirky European guitars of the '60s (Eko and the like) with their sparkly finishes and outlandish design features, the slight trouble is that sometimes they look more like a Guitar Hero game controller rather than a musical instrument. I also LOVE art deco stuff, just the lines and bold colours, anything art deco always attracts my eye. Anyhow my thoughts with this guitar was to combine these two things.

AND I've got a bit of a thing for Glam Rock, I know it wasn't quite the same in the States, back here in the UK we had T-Rex, The Sweet and Slade thumping it out in the '70s ...(And... Slade released Come on Feel the noise in 1973 ten years before Quiet Riot, mind you I love Randy Rhoads guitar solo in that song).....And EVERYTHING was covered in glitter!

Anyhow back to the guitar. One feature is the six three pole pickups, I wound these my self, centre ones are reverse, they're connected up simply via two 5 way switches so it's kinda like having two sets of Strat pickups. The body is built sandwich fashioned so I could incorporate an equator rebate to fit a chrome strip. The pickguard was a right ol' mission to build but I really liked the way it turned out, the tailpiece is a modified Jazzmaster/Jaguar...And the finish is Pre cat cellulose, silver metalflake over coated with tinted lacquer and the back is plain cream. The headstock again art deco influence and faced with the sparkly finish.

This guitar was a load of fun to do and its got me excited about building more again, I have to apologise to a fellow member as I said I was going to build a 5 string bass next but I got distracted, anyhow the important thing to me is, please be honest in expressing what you REALLY think of this guitar it will be fun to find out what the different opinions are, if you hate the thing I really won't be upset, if there's bits you like and bits that you don't like that's great too.
Chris Richards
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Beate Ritzert » Tue May 30, 2017 5:50 pm

Mixed feelings. Interesting, really interesting. I really like the combination of colors. I am a bit unsure if i might like the sound of the split pickups; especially the bridge pickup might sound really sharp (even shrill?) on the treble strings - that's a lot closer to the bridge than even on a Telecaster.

A guitar like this one would be usable in glam rock, maybe surf music and German dance floor music as the possibly way better instrument compared to the German Fasan/Klira/or so guitars- but who plays the latter?

On the other hand: are You sure the body shape is "weird enough" for playing glam rock?
I am not sure if i would use that guitar on stage although i am pretty brave in this regard (this is me a few weeks ago with my synth guitar tuned in fifths):
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Bob Francis » Tue May 30, 2017 8:16 pm

That has that 1960's metal flake happiness oozing out of it!
I like it.
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Jason Rodgers » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:23 am

Dude, are you kidding me?! This is crazy cool! Good on ya!
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Randolph Rhett » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:06 am

There is literally NOTHING I like about that guitar... and yet in a way that makes it super COOL! The difference is that while the esthetics could not be farther from mine, it is beautifully executed. Kudos.
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Chris Richards » Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:05 am

Thanks for the comments guys...Loving reading them! Much appreciated. I was hoping that it would be a "Love/hate" kinda thing, after going to the effort of building it "blah" comments would have been disappointing.

I suppose I could say a few things about the build. The body is built in a sandwich fashion which enabled me to cut the rebate for the equator chrome strip, I have to say that this was a tricky job as I wanted the chrome strip to have a mechanical fixing as well as glue, but judging the paint thickness made this difficult, so once it was painted I carefully cut a slight dovetail into the rebate so the edges of the chrome strip kinda gripped the recess and with the strap buttons its worked out pretty solid.

The pickguard, I thought would be quite easy but it turned out to be a bit of a mission to get everything right. Regarding the pickups, Yes it does sound different but I'm not sure whether it's a "good" difference, certainly not bad but I think that if I do a MKII I may just go for lipstick tubes, altogether simpler...But hey ho you have to do these things!
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Brian Evans » Sat Jun 03, 2017 7:40 am

To me it evokes National, Supro and Danelectro, therefore I approve and like it a lot! In keeping with my current colour theme I might have it in candyapple red, but green is good too. Lots of precedence for split pickups, no issues there. Tone is what counts.
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Gordon Bellerose » Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:40 am

This guitar harkens back to an age when anything was possible, and imagination ran rampant with "space" things.
The only thing missing is a great honking fin like a 59 Cadillac!

I love the pickguard, love the green metal flake, and dislike the pickup combo.
But, never having heard it, I could be very wrong!

Distracted from building a 5 string bass, to build this? Hmmmm. I think we can forgive you! :D
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Adam Savage » Mon Jun 05, 2017 9:11 am

Wow. Reading your description, I really didn't think I would end up liking it at all, but it's a stunner. The single thing I find off-putting is the headstock - to my eyes it looks a little too long, and the edge could either do with some contouring or more art-deco lines.
That green sparkle finish is superb.
What does it sound like?

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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby David King » Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:01 am

Chris, I love this guitar and would love to hear it. Great sense of design and immaculate execution. Could we get a close-up of the pickups?
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Chris Richards » Tue Jun 06, 2017 5:06 am

Thanks again for the comments...It is much appreciated, and what I was hoping for! I love building guitars especially when I have that "light bulb" moment when I start designing them and I can't stop mulling over individual features, sometimes it's frustrating and I come to a conclusion to just keep it simple and fit standard parts but other times like taking a hacksaw to the tailpiece on this guitar add quite a bit I think.

The pickups are simply 3 pole Strat, thin ply flatwork and alnico 5 magnets with about 6000 winds of 42 gauge wire, I was a bit worried that the overall resistance was low due to the windings only going around 3 poles and thus shorter but the volume from them is good. The covers are simply "cut and Shut" Strat dipped in an unmixed pot of yellow and brown lacquer so they look like the pickguard. Disappointingly they don't sound that different from a normal guitar but I guess that could be seen as a good thing, the switching is very simple and just an extension of a standard layout so it's very easy to use and not confusing.

I'm going to make another but use lipstick tubes and I'm not a huge fan of Jazzmaster/Jaguar trem units but I do love the look, I want to go hardtail so trying to think up a visually appealing bridge arrangement.

This guitar is also chambered as I intended to cut an F hole but decided in the end it looked good without one so that is something I could consider for MKII.
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Mark Swanson » Fri Jun 09, 2017 9:23 am

I made some pickups like that too. I liked mine! But I am not a fan of the cloth wire. There is no advantage to it at all other than the vintage look and vibe it gives. It's better and quieter to use a smaller, thin shielded wire. So much easier to work with!
    Mark Swanson, guitarist, MIMForum Staff
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Clay Schaeffer » Sun Jul 09, 2017 7:46 am

I like it! Has that Supro Sahara vibe to it.
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Douglas Martins » Fri Jan 26, 2018 12:49 am

I love this guitar.
It totally has a Supro/National/Italian guitar vibe to it.
The headstock shape is great!
and I confess to a weakness for large metalflake....
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby John Clifford » Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:17 pm

I love the pick guard and the knobs - where did you get those? Also, the chrome strip is totally awesome. Gives it that 50's diner look!
The fretboard wood doesn't look right to me. I think I would have gone with maple. If I saw it in a store, I would definitely want to pick it up and try it, so there you go.
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Dan Hehnke » Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:36 pm

Awesome execution, and looks great!
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Chris Richards » Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:02 pm

Thanks again for the comments..

To answer a few questions: Regarding the pickguard, I purchased sheets of plastic, cut out the individual pieces and glued them to a backing sheet. The knobs are an ebay purchase that I thought looked a bit art deco.
The equator strip worked out really well and is just chrome "D" sectioned plastic with a sticky back, although I didn't rely on the stick back to fix it to the body, the rebate I cut was dovetailed so the strip has a mechanical fixing.
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Re: Sparkly guitar, with weird pickups!

Postby Paul Rhoney » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:56 pm

Really love what you did with the pickguard.
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