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Meet Miss Cora (my latest Bullet Strat modding project) !

Discussion in 'Squier Strat Forum' started by Kid Klash, Jun 8, 2009.

  1. Kid Klash

    Kid Klash Strat-Talker

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    Last November, I bought my third Squier Bullet Strat... it was a fiesta red one, and my intention was to transform it into a coral colored replica of a 1961 Strat. Our winter was long and cold, which is why she took so long to complete (it's tough to shoot nitro lacquer out of rattlecans in the back yard when it's snowing and raining!).

    First I took it apart, and stripped the neck. The extra stringtree hole and the original tuner mounting holes were filled, the tuner shaft holes were drilled out to accomodate a set of gold Wilkinson "vintage Kluson style" tuners, then the fretboard was masked and the maple portions of the neck were tinted with Reranch Fender amber stain. After that, I shot it with a couple coats of Deft clear nitro lacquer, then applied the replica waterslide decal, followed by many more coats of clear high gloss nitro lacquer. This took several months due to the unusually cold and wet weather. After the nitro was cured, I wet-sanded it with 1000, then 1500, then 2000, then polished it with my secret weapon... Liquid Ice by Norton (used by body shops to polish and detail auto paint jobs).

    The body went through a similar transformation, getting sanded, then primered with white nitro lacquer primer, then sanded again to make it smooth. After that came several coats of "Reranch Coral" nitro lacquer, followed by eight coats of high gloss clear nitro lacquer, and five weeks of curing time. This was followed by wetsanding with 1000, 1500, and 2000, to remove all the orange peel and sanding scratches, then it got the Liquid Ice treatment like the neck did. Rather than using copper foil to shield it, I used Electro-Dag, which is a thick liquid "paint" shielding material made up of micro-sized copper spheres suspended in conductive polymer... it usually gets sprayed on, but I brushed it on for this project, and is used by high-tech companies to shield irregularly shaped parts that can't be shielded by copper foil.

    In between working on the neck and the body, I built the pickguard assembly. The pickups are a set of the cream colered $17 GFS closeout "vintage style" pickups (REALLY sweet sounding too - I'm amazed at how good these sound for the money), with a GFS mint green pickguard and cream Allparts knobs, GFS gold screws, GFS gold strap buttons, a single GFS gold string tree, GFS gold neckplate, GFS gold Strat jack plate, a set of gold Wilkinson tuners, a GFS gold trem assembly with steel block (I had the steel block machined so it's .060 shorter than stock, since this body was a bit thinner than the others I've got, and I'm planning to put a custom mint green trem cover on), a Switchcraft 1/4" jack, GFS 250K Alpha pots, a .033uf cap and a StewMac five-way switch. Everything is "star grounded", and also includes an extra ground wire and copper lug to connect the Electro-Dag shielding to the star ground.

    After assembling the trem to the body and soldering the trem ground and the jack wires, I attached the loaded pickguard to the body, attached the neck, fitted and attached a GraphTech nut to the neck, installed a set of .009-.042nickel Bullets, and intonated her.

    I spent the rest of the evening playing Miss Cora, floored at how good she looks, feels and sounds. All totaled, I've probably got less than $250 into her. Here are some photos for your viewing pleasure. :)
     

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  2. StratSvante

    StratSvante Strat-Talker

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    my god that looks and sounds sweeeeet! I wish i had those paint skills... Aw well, someday!
     
  3. Kid Klash

    Kid Klash Strat-Talker

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    Anyone can do it - just take your time and have fun with it. No special tools required. :)
     
  4. StratSvante

    StratSvante Strat-Talker

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    well you need patience i guess and I'm no good with that but I'll eventually learn!
     
  5. jgillard

    jgillard Strat-O-Master

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    You have some talent there kid klash! Fantastic work you did there!
     
  6. dhb2000usa

    dhb2000usa Senior Stratmaster

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    You did a great job. I've got the GFS closeout "vintage style" pups in 2 Strats and they both sound great.
     
  7. Kid Klash

    Kid Klash Strat-Talker

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    Thanks guys.

    I can't say enough about those pickups... great sound for so little cash.
     
  8. bowhunter

    bowhunter Strat-O-Master

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    Awesome,,,Man,,very nice,,,Beautiful!!!
     
  9. dman

    dman Strat-O-Master

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    Wow! I mean, WOWWWWW!!!! That looks sweeter than a lot of Custom Shop gee-tars!!
     
  10. dman

    dman Strat-O-Master

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    3 quick questions, kid klash...what did you fill the tuner/ string tree holes with...maple toothpicks, maybe? What kind of stripper did you use on the neck? And where can one purchase Electro-Dag? Thanks!
     
  11. Turbodog384

    Turbodog384 Strat-Talker

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    Very Nice!!!
     
  12. Donovan

    Donovan Strat-Talker

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    Excellent work! I'm usually not a fan of gold hardware, but dang, Miss Cora is a beautiful piece.

    Electro-Dag sounds awesome, so like dman asked, where do you get that?
     
  13. Kid Klash

    Kid Klash Strat-Talker

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    The extra string tree hole and the original tuner mounting screw holes were filled with Fam-Wood lacquer-based (not latex-based) maple-colored wood filler, then sanded smooth and flush with the surface of the headstock.

    To strip the finish from the maple portion of the neck, I used fine steel wool, not a liquid finish stripper.

    Electro-Dag is usually sold to manufacturing companies, a gallon at a time, and it's pretty expensive - you can Google it and see if there are any distributors in your area. I have a friend that works for a company that uses Electro-Dag, and I asked him if he could give me an empty gallon can the next time they were getting ready to throw one into the recycling bin, which he did. "Empty" to them meant that they didin't want to stand there watching it drip every couple seconds, but to me, there was enough of the stuff left in the can to do several guitars. This is the second guitar I shielded with the "empty" can. ;-) As well as this stuff works, I'm surprised that nobody has bought a gallon of the stuff, poured it into small metal cans, and re-sold it to guys like us that mod or build guitars. Maybe they just don't know about it, or they don't want to fuss with it... not sure. But it works as well as copper foil, and WAY better than that carbon-based paint some outfits are selling.
     
  14. Kid Klash

    Kid Klash Strat-Talker

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    Thanks guys! I hear ya Donovan regarding gold hardware - this is the first guitar I've owned with gold hardware. When doing a bit of research on early Fiesta Red Strats, I noticed that some of them had gold hardware, and they looked good to me. This "Reranch Coral" color is based upon the color of early nitro-lacquer painted Fiesta Red Strats that have faded over the years. I sent a link to Bill at Reranch last month about that 1961 Strat in Tahitian Coral (which was originally a 1958 Chrysler color) that was shown in last month's copy of Premier Guitar... it appears to be the first factory-painted coral color Strat found so far, and he said he was going to look into having a batch of it mixed and made available to his customers.

    Here's the link to the 1961 Tahitian Coral Strat :
    http://www.premierguitar.com/Magazine/Issue/2009/May/1961_Fender_Stratocaster_Tahitian_Coral.aspx
     
  15. motoman45

    motoman45 Strat-O-Master

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    that thing is SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTTTTTTTTTTTT
     
  16. GuitarCrazy

    GuitarCrazy Strat-O-Master

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    Wow! Sweet!
     
  17. kurdt

    kurdt Banned

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    how are those wilkinson tuners working?
     
  18. thaus

    thaus Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    What a great looking guitar! Congrats and that is what partcasters are all about........thanks for the details of your process. I am sure it will inspire some of us to go out there and start refinishing!!
     
  19. Kid Klash

    Kid Klash Strat-Talker

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    I love them. I've got three modded Bullet Strats now, and they all have the Wilkinson tuners on them. Rock-solid, really well made, they look great, and never slip.
     
  20. Kid Klash

    Kid Klash Strat-Talker

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    Thanks for the kind words.

    I think this Strat forum has been very inspirational for all of us, in that we're all Strat lovers, and we get to see and read about all the great guitars being played, traded and modded around the world, and we get inspired to turn our ideas into reality. We're really fortunate these days, having access to an amazing amount of great, low cost guitars and parts, ready for building/modding.

    Building guitars is almost as much fun as playing them! ;)
     
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