Tag Archives: Build David Gilmour Strat

How To Build David Gilmour Strat

 

The custom made routing jig/guide (clear Acrylic) used for precise routing of the small elongated hole in pickguard for the recessed mini toggle switch.  Using the rotary tool with the routing base attached the clear routing jig did not allow any lateral movement of the rotary tool, it only allowed for forward and backward movement required to create the slot.  The pickguard is held securely in place sandwiched in-between two pieces 3/16″ thick 7″ x 10″ acrylic sheets (free remnants at a local Tap Plastics) held tightly in place with four 6-32 mounting bolts which align with two of the perimeter pickguard mounting screw holes and two of the pickup mounting holes.  In both of the clear acrylic sheets there is a 3/4″ hole in the location where the slot is to be routed to allow access of the routing bit on the top side and clearance on bottom side.  The actual jig itself is made out of 1/2″ square acrylic bar stock and held in place on the top sheet of acrylic with “Acrylic Cement” which is a solvent type bonding agent that has the consistency of water and is a applied with a hypo-type applicator.  The bond that the acrylic cement produces becomes as strong as the acrylic itself for it literally fuses/melts the two pieces together.

This jig precisely aligned the rotary tool/router in the correct position and orientation for routing of the small elongated hole so when the mini toggle switch is mounted in the stainless steel recessed mounting bracket it would position the switch lever so it would protrude precisely centered through this small elongated hole.  It worked out great, when the toggle switch is flipped in either the up or down (on) position the toggle lever has approximately 0.030″ of clearance between all edges of the slot… Perfect!

Normally when the toggle switch is in the up position, towards the pickups it is in the OFF position, when it is down (ON) it selects or activates the neck pickup.  But of course this orientation of the switch can be which ever way is most comfortable and desirable for you and your particular playing style.

Build A David Gilmour Strat

 

I decided to use a Mexican Stratocaster body. I searched high and low for a reasonably priced USA Strat body in BLACK but the closest I get is $400 for JUST THE BODY! The issue is the bridge and the finish. There are Highway 1 bodies in black, but they have the satin/thin finish which I don’t like. All the other USA bodies have the 2-point tremolo. To get the vintage trem you need to buy a Signature Series. Of course, the new American SPECIAL series are now out, but I can’t wait around for someone to sell just the body… so… I went with a MIM body. It is in great condition. I am going to use a MIM body, so I have resigned myself to the narrow bridge spacing. I don’t think anyone (myself included) will even notice the difference.

I am going to fully shield the interior of the body.

I am using a standard vintage 6-hole bridge, but I am upgrading the block of the tremolo. The new MIM bridges feature a full block tremolo block, so I’m searching around for one. Gilmour uses a shortened trem arm, so I will cut down the arm of the MIM tremolo.

I went with an Allparts vintage-tint neck. This neck is AWESOME! 21-frets with really yellow amber. It has a graphtech nut which I think looks great since the overall color of this strat will be black. I got it pre-finished and it looks fabulous on the body. The neck was made in Japan.

I scored a set of brand new Gotoh Fender vintage tuners (made in Japan!) I’m having difficulty installing the tuners on the neck, so more to come with that (the press-in bushings are not “pressing in”).

I am getting a “random number” neck plate that will replicate those found on the Signature Series strats. I’ll also install standard Schaller straplocks.

Ok, for the electronics… the Gilmour strat uses a black pickguard with a Fender Custom Shop Fat 50’s neck pup, a Fender Custom Shop ’69 mid pup, and a Seymour Duncan SSL-5 (13.50K !!) at the bridge. In addition, the wiring is a little funky as there is a mini-toggle switch that turns the neck pickup on in any position of the 5-way switch. David’s strat has this toggle recessed in the pickguard (ie, not mounted on TOP of the guard) so only the tip of the switch shows. This looks really cool, but is a ***** to install. A friend of mine and I have been hashing out how we could do this and haven’t come up with any ideas that would be worth ruining a pickguard to try. There is a guy who sells this switch-kit and pickguard (routed for the mini-toggle and also has a bracket to hold the toggle) for $92 shipped! $100 for a pickguard!!?!?!?! What I’ve decided to do here is actually use a push-pull pot for the switch. It will accomplish the same goal, will look cleaner, and I can always add the switch later if I feel that the guitar isn’t “authentic enough”.

I got a Strat wiring kit at Angelo’s Music for $39. It is a great deal if you ask me! 3 CTS pots, switchcraft input jack, USA 5-way switch, Angelo Guitar cap, enough vintage (cloth push-back) wire for 2 full guitars, and all the screws and rubber tubing you need to install 3 pickups in a guard. Plus, it comes with 15 wiring diagrams for different Strat styles. You could get this stuff a little cheaper if you bought it one-by-one online, but why? This comes in a huge bag and everything is from Fender. Each switch and pot comes in its own sealed bag from Fender.

Ah – the plastic! I am going with parchment pickup covers, knobs, and backplate. I think Gilmour uses white but I like the softer look of the parchment on the black.

To protect this sucker I’ll probably end up trying to find a G&G case with Fender amp logo. I love the new ones with the plush-poodle lining, but they are $140. I’ll try to find one slightly used in the $100 range.