End result: a very versatile guitar!
I loved the option of the strat or humbucker neck pickup, but the hot
rails never sounded worth a flip in single coil mode. Plus, the vintage style split-shaft fender
tuners and vintage style bridge ensured long string changes and constant
tuning! So, I decided it was time to address every complaint, and finally make
the worlds ultimately versatile players Strat!
Thus, the Frankenstrat V2.0 was brought to life!
First up, One more pickup!
If 4 pickups are good, five are better, right? In this case, yea, sorta. I LOVE the sound of
the Hot Rails in the bridge, but really missed the traditional Strat
bridge tone. I have a stock American Deluxe Strat with SCN pickups,
and I (personally) really like them, so I picked up one and proceeded to
squeeze it in as close to the bridge as possible. It didn’t work, even with a copper shield
between them, my two bridge pickups being right next to one another just
had too much electro-magnetic interaction and "cross-talk".
Speaking of shielding, while I was at it, I decided to shield the whole
internal cavity. How much did it help?
Not at all, as far as I can tell.
So, the final position ended up being with the new SCN single coil right
mid-way between the bridge & middle pickups. I also added a second mini-toggle, and now
one switches between the single coil & humbucker in the neck position (as
it had) and the other between the single coil & humbucker in the bridge
position. The addition of a real single
coil in the bridge is great, but it’s really to far from the bridge to get the
serious strat/telly twang ... but it is close.
Next came the bridge, I went with an original Wilkinson 100, a very good
sounding and stable bridge. Sperzel
locking tuners rounded out the upgrade.
With the new bridge & tuners, string changes are lightning-fast, and
tuning stability is greatly improved, plus, the whammy bar is now truly
There you have it, a seriously messed-up but versatile and functional Fender
Stratocaster. There are some trade-offs,
of course. A solid wall of pickups has
GOT to have a lot of pull on those poor unsuspecting strings; I have the
pickups especially low to help combat this.
Also, even with shielding between all the pickups, there is still a bit
of cross-talk between adjacent pickups.
I took all this into consideration, and then thought about the three-pickup
Gibsons; now there’s a solid wall of magnetism!
That was my official green-light to go for it. Would I do it all over again? Shoot yea, it’s what I live for.
If you have similar "Franken-guitars" email me pics & storys ... or post
here as a reply. We mad scientists must
stick together; that way we’ll be prepared when the villagers come at us with
pitchforks & toarches!