Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The 'Devolution' Strat - or THE DEVOLVER for Short

I have always had a bit of a guilty obsession about a certain white Charvel Model 6 that resided in my local guitar shop for a while back in the 1980's. I say 'guilty', because I kind of loathe all that big hair, cod-piece, cock-rock that was, and is traditionally associated with the 'Super-Strat'. But, praise the Lord, I never ever gave in to temptation ... or the sins of the Floyd Rose and the pointy headstock!

But, on a more charitable note, I thought the finely sculpted bodies of these beasts were a little bit sexy and caressable (the spell checker is having a real problem with that last word). Anyway, as so often happens, I managed to procure a rather battered and beaten example of the above item on e-bay for the unexceptional sum of fifteen British pounds ( It's an Ibanez RG model of some sort and confusing series number).

Okay, so I now had my Super-Strat body - minus the big ugly locking trem, crowded humbuckers and pointy headstock. So in a kind of perverse Eddie Van Halen 'Frankenstrat' moment I had the idea of 'devolving' this particular example of the modern luthiers art with a bit of reverse engineering of my own.

I always have boxes of bits lying around (trems, bridges, old pickups, pots and machine heads) and thought what spiffing fun it would be to create .. eeeerm, .. a monster ... or maybe a quite interesting and novel instrument that pays homage to the Strat's illustrious past, while having a Steve Vai thing going on too (sort of, bear with me.)

The aim of this project at the moment is to make a decent sounding and cool looking instrument for the lowest price possible. The trad Strat bridge, pickup and pots are leftovers from another project, while the 70's style 'CBS' neck was in a sale for £25 online and i got the Wilko Ezi-Lok tuners for £15. The Scratchplate was a freebie but I had to think long and hard about this bit: how am I going to mount the pickups? In the end I opted for 'restyling' the plate with a junior hacksaw and a Dremel for the Strat coil and going for a body mount for the Artec P90 (the latter was a refugee from a previous mod.)

At the time of writing, I've just received some nice mahogany veneer through the post and am going to be busy using it to fill in and narrow the neck pocket so the old/new neck is a cozy fit, the original Ibanez ones were a lot wider and flatter. I've also got to get the scale length right for intonation purposes. This could get a little finicky, but then its all good clean fun in the end ... hopefully.

I'm not sure yet how the body will be finished, maybe a combination of hand-painted enamels and gold and silver leaf - all suitabley distressed of course.

~ H-Allen