Re: just finished my all american parts-o-caster!
- From: "Keith Adams" <keithadams@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2008 20:19:36 -0800
The two guitars look good sitting there together.
"Squier" <squier@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
MIA Strat Parts-o-caster
The exec brief:
1995 MIA Strat trem (not hardtail) body ('swimming pool routed 90's body)
2 point USA trem (which is adjusted against the body - kinda like
hardtail - not floating)
finish: black poly or whatever they used back then
body wood: alder (it is solid alder - not poplar or capped or anything)
weight of complete strung guitar: 6 lbs. 12 oz.
neck: Highway 1 solid maple "c" shape neck (yeah with the big 70's
headstock but I don't care it's fine)
electronics: Fat Strat (SSH) 2 Vintage Hot Noiseless and 1 Fender Atomic
Humbucker (or it might be an enforcer)
5 way switching (although I used a Fender super switch for any possible
future pup switching mayhem)
1 meg CTS pots (volume and 2 tones)
022 cap. (might change that but it sounds good for now)
fender ping tuners
other assorted MIA details, usa neck plate, fender top hat vol and tone
The boring long version:
This is the first time I actually built a guitar from parts.
I did not do the woodwork but simply bolted on, screwed on,
wired and soldered and then finished up all the little details
tonight (since band practice is tomorrow). I had a few friends
over so had some second and third and fourth 'opinions' and help
on the wiring although I did all the work - they just game me
some ideas on the wiring.
I bought a used 1995 MIA Strat Body (alder in black finish).
The body has some buckle rash, a few nicks, some scratches, etc.
kinda like a well used but fairly good shape road warrior kinda condition.
This is perfect for me since I will play out a lot with this and
now I don't care about every little scratch or nick on it.
The body came with the trem and springs and plate but did not
have any saddles or power jack. It cost me $40.
Then I bought a switchcraft jack and graphtech saddles from our music
and got some wire at the hardware store. (just plain insulated hobby
I then got a used pickguard with pickups (it's a MIA Deluxe Fat Strat
assembly). I got a good deal on it - the pickups were in there
(2 Fender noiseless single coils - they are Vintage Hot Noiseless and
one Fender Enforcer or Atomic humbucker - Fender printed on the back of
However - someone gutted out the original pots and S1 switching.
But there was still enough lead wire from the pickups so that I did not
have to splice in to make the leads longer (which saves some time there)
Then I bought a Fender super switch but ultimately decided to not do
the S1 wiring with the S1 push in volume pot. But I did use the super
anyways so it's there if I ever want to do more pup switch options.
And so I bought one volume pot (1 meg CTS) and 2 tones (also 1 meg CTS
and then wired in the jack and then wired up the ground wire to the trem
and back to pot ground. And then have it now so that it is regular 5 way
(although the super switch gives me another 5 options if I choose later to
do this). I decided on 022 cap and it sounds fine with this.
The only thing I did differently for the 5 way from a normal Strat
was to have it so that in selection 2 (middle and bridge) I have it so
the bridge is tapped so that it is more like single coils in parallel than
actual having both full humbucker and middle. The position 1 is the full
humbucker though. The rest of the switching is the same as any other
I like it where the humbucker is tapped with the middle single coil so it
more stratty then when I first had full humbucker and middle single on
Middle positions are parallel (not series) and the super switch allows me
go in there some other day and wire up push pot for series option too.
(although I really like the parallel regular strat sounds the best and I'm
not really into the series thing). Besides with the regular humbucker
at the bridge this takes care of any heavier stuff.
I was going to use 500k pots but at the last minute decided on 1 meg pots.
You know something - I think for these Vintage HOT Noiseless pups and the
Fender humbucker it was a good choice. They can really open up and get
chimey or can get toned down too and become darker sounding. I think
500k pots would have maybe let it be a little too dark. (???) Or maybe
it is the combination of the 1 meg pots and the 022 ?? Not sure but it
all works well and sounds well. And yeah - I got all the little wood
screws for the pickguard and backplate from the hardware store. (I scored
a used white backplate from our luthier who has some at the shop).
I set and adjusted the trem against the body so it doesn't float but I
the wood wedge thing. It is sitting snug against the body and isn't going
I have the spring tension tight (the screws are way into the body pulling
them tight) so it would take a lot to get that trem to move the way it is
But I can always re-adjust it to float if I ever need it to.
Oh yeah - I scored a used Fender Highway 1 neck (hey - it's MIA neck which
keeps it a MIA parts-o-caster) and it needed a little work but it is in
good shape. The serial says it is 2007 neck so it really didn't have that
much signs of use. The frets were perfect and level. I think the person
before me might have had this done ?? All I know is that it's a great
The only thing is the nut which for me is cut a little too high because it
just won't start out low enough for super low action. I can take this to
the shop and have our luthier help me out with this. (Hey - I could have
just had him do this but I want to do as much as I can myself - he is
to help me out though with any really fine detail work and show me some
ways of howing to do it). So I don't need to muck around too much with it
to the point where I make it harder for him to deal with anything I ruin.
The one thing I noticed is that when adjusting the truss rod is that at
on this neck - when there is no string tension the neck is perfectly
i put a level across the neck and there is no gap between level and frets.
But under string tension it has a slight belly relief. So I adjusted the
truss rod so that the neck had a very slight back bow to it and then
under string tension the neck now lays perfectly straight and flat.
So I will just let the wood sit and adjust to all this and see where
it is in a couple of days under string tension (I got the neck loose and
out of the guitar so I am not sure how long it was sitting without being
under string tension). Oh yeah - I also bought a set of Fender Ping
and also bought 2 of those little roller trees because there were 2 holes
in the neck for them but they were missing. Our luthier just game me
2 of those little roller string trees and he practically gave me the
ping tuners too (I bought
him lunch and told him about the beer discussion here. He got a kick out
of that.) Well - ok - I did get some other odds and ends from his parts
like Strap pegs for the body and a plastic switch tip and some Fender
for the top of the pots and neck bolts (actually long wood screws)
and a Fender USA neck plate (for back of body where
neck bolts on). Our luthier is a cool guy - has been friend of our
family for years - I think he actually dated my mom in high school or
something like that. Well ok, that's too much information.
He said he would do a final polishing of the frets or anything else he
deems that needs to be done - but I think it will pass his inspection
for the most part. I used very fine 000 steel wool (and put a cloth over
the fret board) and dressed up the frets as best I could (but somehow he
can really get them to feel like glass) but I think I did a very good job
as they feel really smooth to me without any grooves or anything else
And so far it is really quiet with no grounding problems or anything so I
it is all wired up and soldered correctly. The only actual problem was
the ground wire going to the back to stay on the trem plate but I got the
bigger soldering gun (instead of the pencil iron I was using) and cleaned
up the area and used some flux and then the extra heat seemed to get a
better connection and solder joint and the ground wire is rock solid on
I also put in a star ground lug at the inside of the swimming pool route
so there are extra grounds going to this lug. Works great.
i also do not get the 'touch the strings' and hum stops and let go and it
So I guess these Vintage Hot Noiseless really are quiet - even under super
high Mesa gain
they do not hum although they do have a nice controllable feedback.
I will tell you this - the Vintage Hot Noiseless are completely different
than the original Fender Vintage Noiseless. They sound 10 times better
yet they still have a nice chime to them and sound much more like single
than the Fender Samrium Colbalt noiseless (ScN's). So I am glad I wound
getting a pickguard with these Hot Noiseless in them or I would not have
about them or thought to get them. Sometimes luck can work out to be a
Ah well - I double and triple checked all wiring and solder connections
and I even used the wood glue trick to fill in some pickguard screw holes
that were beginning to strip out and after it hardened the screws went in
there nice and tight. No more stripped holes (at least for now).
Hey - this is new stuff for me as I am learning slow but sure and I always
wanted to build my own Strat from parts. And you know what - it cost me
about 1/3 the price of a MIA Deluxe Strat and I think it plays and sounds
every bit as good. Sure it's a parts-O-caster but it's all good MIA parts
and I know it sounds strange - but it's like a little bit of me in that
so that means good mojo is in there and I really like how it plays and
With some final tweaking from our luthier it is really going to be great.
Kinda reminds me of an old 68 Chevy Nova that looks a little roughed up
but will outrun most anything going down 1/4 mile track.
ok - time to get this stuff put away and get some zzzzzz's
oh yeah - thanks again for all that good beer info!!!
- just finished my all american parts-o-caster!
- From: Squier
- just finished my all american parts-o-caster!
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