Sunday, February 13, 2011

The wonder of the scratchplate

I'm not actually a fan of scratchplates on guitars, but boy do they make projects easy.

I quickly whipped the old pickups/controls out and started work on the replacements. As the Dave Murray strats have chrome pickup surrounds, this clashes with the volume control on the scratchplate I bought. So I used a round file to turn the relevant hole into a slot, neatly solving the problem.

As it was a fairly cheap scratchplate, there was only shielding on the control section. I removed this and stuck aluminium foil over the whole thing. This came off a roll of adhesive foil I found kicking around at work, I think originally intended for sealing air conditioning ducts. Once trimmed round with a stanley knife it was quite tidy.

Then it was a piece of cake to stick the pickups in and wire it all up. I'd bought a pair of cream Artec humbuckers with a hot bridge pickup and vintage output neck one in an attempt to mimic the Dimarzio Super Distortion and PAF combo in the original. For the single coil I used one that I'd removed from my black Indie Super-T ages ago, fitted with a cream cover.

The Artecs were only cheap but nicely made and with the guitar all back together sound really decent. I wheeled it out for some practice today and it's a really playable fat strat with a chunky neck and very deep tone, not that 'stratty' at all.

In fact after working on this I'm convinced the body is actually mahogany, not the usual alder or ash. It weighs a ton and the grain looks how I'd expect mahogany to. Although I'll be the first to admit I'm useless at identifying wood grain. Chuck in a Wilkinson trem with great big steel sustain block and the aforementioned humbuckers then I can sort of see why it sounds like it does.

So now I've done the easy bit. Next I have to rip it apart and refinish the body which will be my first experiment with Nitrocellulose.

1 comment:

Neill said...

I think it looks cool now. But I'm interested to see what you do with it.