That Dire Straits Sound. Fender Strat 57/62

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by Rigormortis, Nov 14, 2006.

  1. Rigormortis

    Rigormortis Member

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    That's a really well made ash body, in hot rod red. I'm not crazy about that color red, though I do like some of the other retro colors.

    I think the ash body is what I'm after, but most of the retro-painted ones are over an alder body. The two woods are very different in themselves, but I don't know what difference it would make to the sound. Fender used has both woods over the decades (as well as poplar, which they discontinued).

    Alder is not shock resistant (dents easily), while ash is very shock resistant. White ash is about twice as strong as alder in most ways and is 1/3 more dense than alder. That might translate to something in the sound, though.

    Though the thought of actually putting a guitar together is compelling, I can't believe that fitting a neck to a body is as simple as just screwing it on. It might be that after I get a good neck and all the fixings, I would have just as well bought that one Mark Knopfler guitar already made from MF.
     
  2. wildelectric

    wildelectric Member

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    Re: That Dire Straits Sound.

    [quote author=Rigormortis link=topic=11047.msg144431#msg144431 date=1163782509]
    Do all the Highway Ones have jumbo frets?

    OK. Here's what I'm thinking of doing: I'll get a 57 body and a 62 neck and make my own Strat.

    Has anyone done this? Is it cost effective? Is it hard to get right?
    [/quote]

    Have you ever heard of a man named Stevie Ray Vaughan? Blues player out of Texas, had a sunburst Strat he named "#1" that was a '59 body with a '61 neck. The thing had an upside down vibrato, though, which must feel odd until you get used to it.

    :)
     
  3. SG John

    SG John Well-Known Member

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    I have a real '62 body with a late eighties '62 reissue neck. It's pretty easy piecing together the American Fender stuff. Beware of Mexican and Japanese though. I have a mongrel Tele that I wanted take the "62 RI Strat neck off of it for a different Strat body that I have.

    So I bought a brand new Tele Deluxe neck off of Ebay( I played one of the deluxes at GC and liked the shape), and the Mexican necks are close but not close enough for the screw holes to line up. They are also not far enough out to just drill new holes. If I want to use that neck, I'll have to pug the holes and redrill, or just get another body.

    Mix and match as you wish, just make sure the country of origin is the same... just because nothing ever just "bolts right on." ;D
     
  4. Rigormortis

    Rigormortis Member

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    Yeah, I've been a fan of Stevie's since the early 80's, when he did the guitar work in Let's Dance, and then went on to his more well known stuff. I used to go listen to Jimmie whenever he played nearby, when I was in grad school at The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. The Mighty Kingsnakes were also an awsome band in that genre and from the same region. I was pretty sad when Stevie was killed.

    But anyway, thanks for the warning about the bodies and necks!

    I found a good website on body woods, which answer a lot of our other questions in this forum about sustain and brightness of tone.

    http://www.warmoth.com/guitar/options/options_bodywoods.cfm

    I'm starting to get so many options that I've come to that inevitable point in all projects where the path doesn't seem so clear cut anymore. The retro paint is cool, but I'm starting to really like the idea of a project guitar with a clear finish on ash.

    Here's something from Guitar One that contradicts some things I'd read about Sultans of Swing: "Knopfler for this track used his ’61 Fender Strat, with its three-way pickup selector switch delicately set between the bridge and middle positions, creating a spongy, out-of-phase tone that has since been made much easier to achieve, with the advent of the five-way selector switch. Says Knopfler, 'I think there were quite a few five-way switches installed as a result of that song.' "

    So, here's what I think I want:

    Body--Ash with '57 shape. Either Lake Placid Blue or natural. If natural, I'll do the final touches myself, including some relief and smoothing on the heel. If natural, I might have it recessed from the back to avoid that large guard and show off the wood a bit more.
    Neck--'62 with either maple or rosewood fingerboard, something like the SG neck or 335.
    Pickups--All single coil. Probably two vintage Texas style in neck and middle and a noiseless single coil in the bridge.
    Tremelo--probably GOTOH. I'm thoroughly impressed by GOTOH stuff.
    Pick Guard--Solid color, probably white or cream.
    Knobs, to match.

    I'm not so sure of the strings and the electronics. Any suggestions/comments?
     
  5. Rigormortis

    Rigormortis Member

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    Here's another option--building it all from parts.

    Ash body from Warmoth--$190
    Strap Holders, gold--$7.00
    Set of single coil pickups, Dual Calibrated from Rio Grande-- $190
    Gotoh Wilkinson Tremolo, gold--$100
    Copper Shielding Tape--$8.00
    CTS Brand 250k Pots & 047 Caps-- $30
    CRL Brand 5 Way Switch--$14.00
    Wiring--$6.00
    Pick guard in parchment w/black edge--$28
    Vintage Strat® Volume and Tone Knobs in parchment--$12
    Planet Waves Jack and cover, gold--$16.50
    '62 25 1/2" Scale 21 frets, Fender neck--$200
    Neck plate, gold--$10
    Gotoh Kluson Tuners, gold--$38
    __________________
    Total for Body & parts--$602
    Total for Guitar--$848

    The there is still a question of how the neck might need a setup.

    It would be a lot of fun though, finishing the body and shopping for all the parts!
     
  6. TNT

    TNT Active Member

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    Fun of putting it all together yourself: priceless
     
  7. Rigormortis

    Rigormortis Member

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    [quote author=TNT link=topic=11047.msg144972#msg144972 date=1163983538]
    Fun of putting it all together yourself: priceless
    [/quote]

    ;D

    What are my chances of making a guitar that's better than the $300 Fender Strats out there?

    I read this review about theready-made Mark Knopfler Strat with that same red ash body you found:

    "I own an older Stratocaster that makes SRV wannabes weep as it goes from surf to sweet to dark; then evil. This is the only production one I ever picked up that sounded like it. So, if that is what you want, then I'd check this one out."

    And...

    "Exceptional
    Features: 10
    Quality: 10
    Value: 10
    Overall: 10
    Elmquist from Pennsylvania
    Experience: I own it
    Background: Studio Musician
    Style of Music: Miscellaneous
    Product: Fender® Mark Knopfler Signature Stratocaster Electric Guitar
    Sep 7, 2006 - I have been playing guitar for 65 years and I must say this is the best Start I have ever played. The balance action and quality is #1. I can even finger pick as well as flatpick on this guitar. You will not go wrong in buying this guitar! "

    So that guitar is $1300. That's a bit more than I wanted to pay for a Strat, but the playability of that guitar is probably without question.

    I don't care all that much about the looks and nothing for the signature, but I do want a really nice guitar, since I already have two guitars that are just barely good for practicing.

    Or, I could get this $140 kit: http://www.guitarpartsusa.com/item--Saga-Guitar-Kit-Fender-Stratocaster-®-style--PROD282

    The whole kit costs less than the RioGrande Pickups I selected!
     
  8. TNT

    TNT Active Member

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    To answer your first question I'd guess from your list of parts that you have an excellent chance of making a better guitar than a production line low price Strat and I would venture to guess paint application notwithstanding that it would be a better player than an $848.00 Fender Strat.

    For that money you can get a pretty sweet G&L though.
     
  9. Rigormortis

    Rigormortis Member

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    Please tell me about the G&L.

    I think putting one together will be fun, and I know I'll learn a lot. I already have!
     
  10. Rigormortis

    Rigormortis Member

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    After seeing the bare wood necks and bodies that Warmoth has, I decided to put my '57 worn Lake Placid Blue Strat project on hold for a while. I'm thinking of making something more woodsy for this first project, something I can shape a little myself and try to get a vintage feel going. I wanted an ash body, and I found a unique teak neck with ebony fingerboard. I like the idea of keeping it pretty raw.

    Here's a picture I did of the components all put together.

    [​IMG]


    These descriptions might not still be there, since I just bought 'em! Merry Christmas to myself!
    Body
    Neck

    I'm having them put a graphite nut on it, since the can do it with the aid of their computer-aided machine.

    I'm putting some gold Gotoh Kluson tuners and a Gotoh Wilkie on it. The pickguard will be tortoise, and the control knobs vintage parchment.

    The p'ups will be RioGrande Dual Calibrated set of singles. The selector will be 5-way, though using matchsticks to jam a 3-way in between does have some appeal. :wink:

    I'm still not sure which caps to put on to make the tone pot work the best. I think the neck is going to be pretty bright, with that teak and ebony. I guess I'll ask Rio Grande. Any suggestions?

    I would have just ordered the RioGrande p'ups, but they are pretty expensive, and maybe there are some good  alternatives. I play blues mainly, on my 335 and SG, and I'm hoping to discover a Fender Strat sound of my own, starting with something more familiar. Like at the moment, I'm hoping to start off with a "Brothers In Arms" sound. (Wouldn't we all?) But if I jump on it and I sound just like SRV or Jimi Hendrix, I'll take that too. :p

    I'm going to try to work with the teak and ebony and do something unique with their brightness. I almost said "bling" but that word just falls off the page for me.

    Anyone have a link to some .033 caps? I have the .022 and .010 covered for the humbuckers on my Gibsons. And I can find the .047.

    (I had some P-90s in my SG and replaced them with 57's, mainly because one was having some troubles and I wanted to try something different. I don't really miss the P-90s in that one. I went from .1 with the P-90 to .022 with the '57. Yeah, I was kinda surprised to see the .1s in there! )

    How you play--what you do with your fingers is almost everything. And the amp is so much of the sound. I don't expect to capture a sound with caps 'n pups. I just want to get in the ballpark.
     
  11. Rigormortis

    Rigormortis Member

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  12. NeoConMan

    NeoConMan New Member

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    Very impressive! Most cool indeed!

    Here's a shot of my current Fender stable, minus a couple projects in the works.
    2005 Ash Tele
    1993 American Standard
    The natural Strat was home made with American Fender parts, including Dove P-90's.
    2005 Black American Deluxe belongs to the kid.

    "Bomber Harris" Neo
     

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  13. nvosmeier

    nvosmeier New Member

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    Re: That Dire Straits Sound.

    [quote author=Rigormortis link=topic=11047.msg144431#msg144431 date=1163782509]
    Do all the Highway Ones have jumbo frets?

    OK. Here's what I'm thinking of doing: I'll get a 57 body and a 62 neck and make my own Strat.

    Has anyone done this? Is it cost effective? Is it hard to get right?
    [/quote]
    I am putting together a 62 sunburst body, 62 vintage bridge, mint green knobs and pup covers, custom shop texas specials with a warmoth pro reverse cbs headstock compound radius maple neck with med. jumbo frets, vintage finish and shaller mini-locking tuners. I am still waiting on the neck to be finished as it is a custom order, so i have put a mim neck on it in the meantime.

    I put it together and set it up last week. the texas specials sound pretty good to me, IMO. Cost effective? Not at all, with the neck over $400.00, i'll have close to $1,000.00 in it. But, it was fun to put together using the parts I wanted.
     
  14. Rigormortis

    Rigormortis Member

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    Those are nice Fenders, neoconman! I like the black and gold one for the colors. The three-color burst is nice too, kind of a darker version of my cherry burst. I did that cherry burst with the Fender three-color combo, using the tobacco brown as a spatter on the edges.

    Nvosmeier, I have about that in mine too. PLUS, I put in probably a hundred hours finishing the body and getting everything set up. But it's been fun. You're smart to get the parts pre-finished. Make sure you show us pics when you're done. The guys at Fender-Talk are always into talking about projects and helping. I couldn't have done mine without them.
     

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