Sunday, 3 January 2016

The Green Phantom Custom Strat

I've always been intrigued by green Strats as they seem so rare.
I Know Fender do Surf green in Strats and Jazzmasters which are quite popular and the famous Sherwood green, but I wanted something a little more vivid, translucent and 'woody' looking (showing a bit of grain).
The body I got from Guitar Build UK who are like the UK Warmoth - 2-piece Alder with classic Fender vintage spec.
I gave the body a final fine sanding and used Rustin's concentrated water-based wood dye undiluted.
The best way to apply the stain is to use a lint free rag (i.e. and old piece of T-shirt) and rubbing with the grain. Wipe excess off and gently sand to bring the grain through.
When I'd achieved the desired level of colour/grain balance, I began applying 8 coats of Tru-Oil. This involved tipping a a few spots of the oil in a small area and gently rubbing it in with a piece of cloth.
I wet sanded the body a couple of times between the last 4 coats with 1200 wet and dry to get a nice smooth, satin finish. The Tru-Oil does a nice job of grain filling on alder if you apply the first 2-3 coats fairly heavily.
I then covered the cavities in screening tape.

I purchased a maple Fender Licensed Mighty Mite neck as I thought this would make a nice contrast for the body. I decided on staining the face of the headstock in the same colour as the body to make the whole thing a little more unique.
I added the White Rabbit decal from Alice in wonderland as an afterthought as I thought it needed 'something'. The red tortoiseshell scratchplate complemented the green of the body, but I wanted black knobs and pickup covers to keep the overall look sharp and businesslike instead of a Christmas tree!
I plumped on a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder for the bridge position, an Irongear Pig Iron in the middle and a Dimarzio HS-2 in the neck. This gave me a lot of tonal options: from a Ritchie Blackmore Deep Purple 'Burn' to a Gilmourish creamy flute sound. I used all good quality pots, an Oak Grigsby selector switch and Sprague cap.
Wilkinson answered the hardware question. I've always liked their stuff - its top quality and so cheap compared to genuine Fender or Gotoh for example. The Bridge was a Gold 'Hipshot' style with solid steel saddles and tuners were the classic Ezi-Lok type.
After I'd been playing The phantom for a while I decided on a re-fret. Even though it played great after I'd given the neck a level, profile and polish the 'medium jumbo' frets seemed a touch too narrow. I went for 3mm super jumbo's and am now a happy and contented man.

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