Friday, May 29, 2009

The Re-Making of Old Blue

Since 1986 I have had this wonderful blue Stratocaster. Sometime in the mid 90's I converted it from a standard strat to an '80's machine with active Seymour Duncan pickups and a Floyd Rose style tremolo. Whether or not that was a mistake is debatable. However, I decided that I would rather have a more vintage, standard stratocaster. So began the rebuilding of Ol' Blue.

The first thing to change was to remove the old pickguard and electronics which are all now on sale at Soundcheck Music.

The next step was to remove the "Floyd Rose" style tremolo. After removing the studs upon which the unit moves, I had to plug the holes in the body.

I used hardwood doweling (7/8" seems to fit well) to plug the holes with Gorilla glue as the adhesive. Gorilla is flexible, holds tenaciously, and acts as filler as well. Then I touched up the surface with some blue paint. This area will be covered by a combination of the pickguard and the new bridge. When the tremolo was installed, the tech had to rout away some of the surface area of the bridge cavity - you can see in the above picture where the paint is gone. I may have to replace some of that wood to make the standard strat tremolo fit. I will know next week when my new trem arrives.

I purchased "Texas-vintage" pickups (true single coil) from Guitar Fetish and rewired the electronics. Everything had to be mounted to a new pickguard (also from Guitar Fetish) since the old one had been cut for a humbucker in the bridge position.
This is the first time I have re-wired a guitar, so I was a little nervous about the soldering. I checked the signal, however, and it sounds true and clean. I am expecting the guitar should sound great when I get the new bridge mounted up.

This is where the project stands for now. I will post more during the bridge installation.


  1. I admire you. Every time I fuss around with my bridge or truss rod I get nervous. I would fear to mess with the electronics of my instrument.

  2. Well, you hot, rockin dude, I just wanted to tell you how hot you look in the blogging world.......Giggle, giggle, snort!!!

  3. Yeah, the wiring scared me, but I seem to have figured out the soldering technique. I got the joint hot, then melted a small amount of solder to hold the joint. I also tinned the ends of wire before attaching it. That seemed to produce a good joint.


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Musician, educator, audio engineer, guitar junkie!