Fender Strat Style Guitar

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Project by Dave G posted 01-31-2020 02:57 AM 1431 views 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my second guitar. It’s designed to be a blues Fender copy. I heard somewhere that 2 makes somebody an official luthier. Anybody on the fence about making one, thinking they lack the skill or something, I would say get going, it’s a rewarding project that gives back more than most.

My wife’s arthritis is getting to her guitar playing. An electric has lower action and she didn’t have one yet. Merry Christmas!

For this design, I found a 1962 Fender Strat drawing on line and followed the print. The body is 3/8 of Zebrawood laminated over 1-3/8 Honduran Mahogany. For a blues style, the Mahogany is supposed to give the guitar a mellow tone. The neck is Hard Maple reinforced with 2 carbon fiber barstock pieces (0.25×0.40 section oriented to stiffen in string direction). The neck is laminated, with the grain being alternated for stability and a stripe of Mahogany (racing?) For any guitar, such a stiff neck is supposed to improve sustain. My wife tried several different neck profiles while taking some lessons at a local store. (I recommend this, neck profile is very important especially for arthritis). I ordered a pre-cut black ebony fretboard and added the fret wire myself.

The electronics are 100% Fender, this being a gift. I ordered the Texas Blues style of pickup set and an American modern tremolo bridge. The tuners are modern locking style.

It felt great shaping this guitar. So much fun. The tolerances needed for a guitar are not that demanding. Mainly you have to get the neck on straight! There is so much adjust-ability in the bridge and nut and truss rod that the rest doesn’t have to be that accurate. +/- 1/32 is ok. Use marking knives and good scales and verniers when possible and it’ll work out fine.

I finished the body with 3 coats of poly gloss and carefully scraped the nibs with a razor blade. Looks fine. I finished the neck with 4 coats spray lacquer and glossed it up with a progression of wet sandpaper. Serious players say lacquer feels best.

Plays great! I guess I never experienced good sustain before because this guitar really has it and I didn’t recognize it. Must be the stiff neck? A beautiful ringing that lasts 20 seconds.

Again, very worthwhile project. Cost $950 (wood $120). It’s the Fender components. They were fined for anti-trust price fixing in Great Britain recently and price their stuff in the US high and never discount. Brutal what the market can bear trying to make a buck can’t blame them. And it was a gift.

The stand is made from some old steam bent Red Oak crest rail blanks held together with friction lap joints. I used a glue gun to lay down some strips of purse leather where it touches the guitar.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

18 comments so far

View Peteybadboy's profile


4823 posts in 3402 days

#1 posted 01-31-2020 11:20 AM

Amazed by this build. Thanks for posting.

-- Petey

View JimDaddyO's profile


680 posts in 4531 days

#2 posted 01-31-2020 01:37 PM

View swirt's profile


7655 posts in 4424 days

#3 posted 01-31-2020 01:45 PM

It is beautiful. Nice work.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Rich1955's profile


402 posts in 843 days

#4 posted 01-31-2020 02:11 PM

Beautiful work. The combination of woods really go together. I’m not a musician, but i’ve seen some beautiful hand made guitars, but this one is on the top!

-- Rich

View GR8HUNTER's profile


9605 posts in 2165 days

#5 posted 01-31-2020 02:30 PM

this is one beautiful guitar GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN :<))

View hotncold's profile


788 posts in 2997 days

#6 posted 01-31-2020 02:41 PM

Absolutely beautiful! Great job!!

-- Dennie - Tennessee

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

10050 posts in 3781 days

#7 posted 01-31-2020 03:09 PM

Super cool project.

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Thorbjorn88's profile


231 posts in 1594 days

#8 posted 01-31-2020 04:14 PM

Beautiful guitar!

-- Dave

View BurlyBob's profile


10425 posts in 3718 days

#9 posted 01-31-2020 04:57 PM

Absolutely stunning. Here’s hoping it sounds as good as it looks!

View Fiver's profile


77 posts in 854 days

#10 posted 01-31-2020 05:03 PM

Holy crap! That’s absolutely gorgeous.

-- Matt - Colorado

View moke's profile


3462 posts in 4228 days

#11 posted 01-31-2020 06:26 PM

Amazing work! I am a player and can appreciate the beauty and the sustain! I have always been afraid to build one….I don’t want to put so much into something that I could mess up….and have some regret here or there as I’m playing it. You should have some clever name badge for the head…..have a sign shop cut it in vinyl and apply it….. Dave-Strat or something better than that. I’ve never had a strat, but my friends love them so it’s on my bucket list too….I’ve always had Les Paul’s and a Squire or two. I have had a lot of guitars and I have a local luthier set everyone up, no shame in having a pro tweak! My latest Gibson LP I bought new and took it to him after a couple months and it came back even smoother!
Thanks for showing!!

Again, amazing work, and with a great purpose! I also love the design on the stand! Well Done!

-- Mike

View DMiller's profile


559 posts in 1925 days

#12 posted 01-31-2020 07:10 PM

Looks Awesome! If you don’t mind me asking, how long did it take to build it?

-- Dale Miller Modesto, CA "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. "Woodworking minus patience equals firewood."

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

337 posts in 3500 days

#13 posted 01-31-2020 08:56 PM

Thanks to you all for the encouragement. Great bunch on this site!

The first guitar I made, a Klein style tuned like a Les Paul, took me about 40 hours dedicated, about 6 weeks elapsed. I was really nervous about mistakes because I had no feel for the tolerances needed to make a guitar.

This time around I knew better, and I spent somewhere between 12 and 16 hours applied, and 4 weeks elapsed.

These things are not as hard to make as they look. The accuracy is in the components, which you have to buy.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

View teetomterrific's profile


123 posts in 1814 days

#14 posted 02-01-2020 02:33 AM

Simply gorgeous!

-- Tom, Adams, TN

View Foghorn's profile (online now)


1519 posts in 839 days

#15 posted 02-01-2020 03:20 AM

Good job for sure and nice guitar. I’m a newb here but one of my passions is guitar building along with other projects. Mostly archtop acoustics, but also flat tops and ukuleles. Nothing more exciting than stringing them up and hearing them sing!

-- Darrel

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