Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Red Quilted Strat Build - Part 4

Got some parts in for the Strat over the weekend. Tim at Bare Knuckle Pickups is winding the Mothers Milk set this week - hopefully ready by the end of the week. That's what I love about this type of build for my customers - the pickups are being hand wound just for this guitar, not just off the shelf - each step of the build is shown to my customer so he knows he is getting a truly custom guitar made just for him:

Soldered the pots, capacitor, switch and jack socket. Always making good mechanical connection between the tinned ends and the terminals. I have twisted the wires together from output jack to minimise noise pickup. I plan to solder the ground wire from the output jack to the grounded lug on the volume pot – this enables more room on the back of the pot for just the ground wires from the pickups – it is more likely that the pickups will be changed than the output jack at a later date.

Started work on the Nut - this can be really time consuming to do a proper job. I have taken a measurement from the necks nut slot and filed the nut to the appropriate width for a snug fit.

Snug fit:

Marking the string slots. This is a really important step - making sure the strings are correctly spaced makes for a better playing guitar. Here I am using my String Spacing ruler. If you space the strings equally, they don't feel equally spaced. The thicker bass strings seem crowded together. Each gap between strings has to be slightly different to feel right to the player. The String Spacing Rule is slotted so I can quickly mark the string positions onto the nut. I have marked the two outer string positions onto the nut, sliding the rule over the nut to find a set of slots that matches the two marks. Mark the nut with the corresponding positions on the rule.

Time for my trusty nut files - note how they are all gauged for each slot. For example the bass E string on a set of Ernie Ball Super Slinky strings is 0.042" - The file is exactly gauged to that measurement and also cuts the bottom of the slot rounded to match the string:

Here I have marked the slots and slightly cut them (filled with pencil lead so you can see the slots):

Installing a set of strings to aid in the nut filing process - note I have cut the string 2.5 times the distance between the posts. This allows for the proper 3-4 string wraps around the post for correct string to nut angle.

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