As an official “Guitar Geek” I’m a bit of a late bloomer. I’ve always loved guitars, but for years while I was doing the whole rock-band thing it just wasn’t practical to really geek out on them. I had my road rig, and my three stage axes, and that was that. I took great care of them and loved them (still do) but really digging deep into the recesses of what-makes-a-guitar-tick was never a big priority back then.
That changed recently, and I guess I have the internet to blame. I know, I know, that’s such an easy cop-out “excuse” if I needed one, but it’s true. In reading about guitars I started finding out details about guitars that no one ever bothered to tell me; nut widths, neck shapes, fret-board radius, fret sizes, wiring mods, tremolos, springs… Suddenly I found myself feeling shamefully ignorant of the instrument I’d been playing almost all my life. I was determined to fix that!
There’s a difference between “knowing” how something works, and having hands-on, working, experiential knowledge. So I decided to take an old Road Worn Strat I had and completely gut it to learn every bit about the instrument – disassemble it down to all the individual bits, and then re-assemble it back to playing condition. But of course something funny happened along the way… First I thought that maybe a nice Tortoise Shell guard would look better than the white guard I had. But since I was selling the white guard, why not sell the whole pickup assembly and try some new pickups as well? But then the Olympic White body I started with just didn’t have enough… energy to it. So hey, I sold it and got an amazingly amazing absolutely beautiful bright, deep Fiesta Red body that I’m so in love with. The old Road Worn neck? Yeah, 7.5 radius… not a big fan. Sold! Crappy stock hardware? Sold!
At the end of it all I had sold off, piece by piece, every bit of the old Road Worn Strat and had acquired – in bits and pieces – a brand new guitar. I built (really “assembled”) the guitar myself, though I did take it over to Mike Lull’s guitar shop for a final check up and setup. And wow… I could not be happier. It plays like no other guitar I’ve ever played and the tone is incredible. I’d put this guitar up against anything that comes out of the Fender shop (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) at three or four times the price.
And yep, I learned a ton about guitars – knowledge that I kinda sorta had, but now truly understand and appreciate. For anyone interested here are the final specs of my guitar, dubbed the “#1 Wazacaster”. Because, of course, I hope to build more before all is said and done!
- Custom Fiesta Red Nitro
- Brown Aged Tortoise Guard
- Medium Aging
- Neck Specs:
- 1 Piece Quartersawn Maple Neck
- Rolled Edges
- Vintage amber tint
- US-2 Shape headstock from USACG
- 10” Radius
- Texas Blues – Asymmetrical .860″ to .930″
- Nut width 1.650″ (42 mm)
- 25 ½” Scale 21 Frets, 6105 fret size
- Back sanded down to bare wood (with a thin nitro protective coat)
- Callaham vintage 5-spring decked tremolo system
- Electronics: Emerson Custom Control Assembly
- Lollar Dirty Blondes
- 11|49, D’Addario EXL115 Nickel Blues/Jazz Electric Guitar
- Vintage Tuners
- Custom Headstock Decals – “Wazatron / Wazacaster | American Made | Original Contour Body”
Some Extra Notes:
For a larger gallery of images click here.
Yes, it’s relic’d and I love it. I could probably go into a huge internet rant about the whole aging thing, but I’ll save that for later. Suffice to say, this is a professional instrument that I can actually play without freaking out about scratching some immaculate paint job. And yes, the nitro body resonates something fierce.
Jason Lollar is a local (Seattle) guy over on Vashon Island who makes some of the most amazing pickups in the world. I can’t recommend his stuff enough.
I’d never played an asymmetrical neck before snagging this one, but I am a HUGE fan now. It has a very natural, smooth feel to it. The neck overall is pretty thick and chunky and I’ve had a real tough time going back to some of my thinner C shaped necks. This guitar just has mojo, man!
At some point I’ll do some audio clips of this beast to show it’s tonal range. Now I just need that Reeves Custom 100 head….