Name: Sookie

Model: GothiCaster

Origin: 2012 Fender Standard Stratocaster Body

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sookie Project Begins

2012 MIM Strat body arrived today from the Stratosphere. It was unseasonably warm here yesterday, so I decided to do a bit of work on it, namely change the pick-up route to a “swimming pool” or universal route. I did this for two reasons. One is that it’s so much easier to shield the cavity this way, and the other is that I may use humbuckers on this project and I have several that I wanted to try out.

Taped off the body to prevent scratching by the router base and to mark the edges of the cut:

Adjusted router to cut the correct depth. I usually only cut about 1/4″ deep per pass. i also did this freehand. If you wanted to have a straighter cut, you could clamp a couple of 1/2″ boards on top to act as a sort of template. Since this area is covered I wasn’t concerned too much with how it looked. With a Strat you do need to be careful in one spot on the top edge. The edge of a standard pickguard is pretty close to the route between the middle and neck pickups so you have to watch that.

And here we have the finished cut, before and after removing the tape.

Also today, I somewhat firmed up my plans for Sookie’s design. I’ve decided that she will be the second Gothicaster (see Evilyn), so I will be using all black hardware. Plastic parts will either be black or be painted to match the Midnight Wine body color. I also plan to paint the headstock to match. I had previously very seriously considered using the neck I took off my Squire Telecaster (see Bettie). However, I decided I wanted the larger Strat style headstock, so at least tentatively have decided to use the neck I will be removing from Dakota (Squire Jazzmaster). I decided to use a rosewood board neck to go with the dark theme. I haven’t yet decided if I want to paint or stain the back of the neck as I did on Evilyn. The Jazzmaster neck has a gloss finish so it would be a bit of work.

I also came up with an idea for a way to test some different pickups I’m considering for this and other projects. I figured I’d use Sookie for this task as I won’t have all the parts to complete her for a bit and it’s likely going to be some time before the weather is nice enough to do any painting.

First I selected a couple of spare pickguards to use, one is a nice red pearl one. I’ll use it for testing single coils, like the set that’s supposed to be here today from GFS. This guard won’t need to be modified. Since any pickguard I have would have to be modified for multiple humbuckers, I chose one from a Squire Bullet Strat, as it’s not much use otherwise. I cut a single big hole in it so the pickups can be placed anywhere I like. I plan to mount a single volume and tone on each pickguard using the 3rd hole for the output jack. That way I can remove the assembly for changes easily without having to do as much soldering. Rather than go through any more detail here, I may to start a separate page for the pickup testing info.

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