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.