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Drak - The Last Roundup (Gaucho)

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This is the last Steerhead I built, finished last summer.

I have 5 now, and this might be the last Steerhead, as I just can't imagine I need any other variation that the 5 I have can't cover.

I think the theme has maybe been completed now.

Still play 'em, still love 'em all.

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Let's catch up on the herd.

All use the same electronic overlay.

Volume, Tone, EMG SPC, EXG, and Afterburner pre-amp controls.

All active, all the time, with my choice of pickups.

Trail Boss

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Lil' Buckaroo

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Cowboy Sunset

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Rawhide

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And here we go with Gaucho, possibly the 'last starfighter'...

Black Walnut top and back.

Core wood I never really figured it out but it's quartersawn 2-piece.

I think a Mahogany species, gorgeous bell-like tap tone, I had been holding the core wood for years waiting for the right project to come along worthy of it's great tap tone.

I actually had made my own hybrid Tele-Strat template that I used here.

You can see the strat pickguard drawn on the template on the router shot.

Didn't really make any difference here since this didn't get a pickguard.

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I like how you keep the BBQ in view of the work bench. It must help keep the wood in line to do your bidding or suffer the consequences. :lol:

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Thanks for putting up the previous four. I never had a chance to see more than one of those before the links left us. This will be stunning as well.

Will you be adding any color or burst?

SR

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Fantastic job!... Those tops look amazing, and the finish too... and so many controls, I love them.

Thanks, that means a lot coming from a GOTY winner, I'm just a ghetto backyard hobby boy.

I like how you keep the BBQ in view of the work bench. It must help keep the wood in line to do your bidding or suffer the consequences.

True that, but The Allmighty Sledge sits even closer by than the grille.

Thanks for putting up the previous four. I never had a chance to see more than one of those before the links left us. This will be stunning as well. Will you be adding any color or burst?

Yes, it did get a light reddish final color coat, but honestly I've been thinking of stripping it all back down and re-doing it just in it's pure natural state.

I think the red dye shader coat wound up hiding just a bit more of the figure than I would have liked even tho I went pretty light.

You'll see as the pics keep flowing.

Maybe I should do an oil job on it!

The guitar's been done, up and playing for about a year now.

Thanks for the very nice words, you all have talents far surpassing mine.

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Drak!!! Back!!! You were always one of my favorite builders on this site.

Love the Steerhead. Might have to make myself one one day.

Love the work!

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Thanks R.A.D., nice to see you as well!

Allrighty, next step was to make and install a matching headstock veneer from the same wood as the top.

The neck, as usual, is a 22 fret Warmoth, Rosewood over Mahogany, SS jumbos.

In one pic, you can see the custom made clamping caul I made that is shaped to accept the nut area and still clamp the piece in place. I use wax paper between the caul and veneer.

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OK, Back to the Front ( :lol: )

I had already shot probably 5-6 coats of clear lacquer and waited a few days.

This is the first level sandback, and the pics are showing the pores that need more finish.

I don't use sanding sealer or any other pre-finish filler on clear finish figured tops.

All lacquer, all the time :) .

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A few weeks and more clearcoats later, and you can now see the final pickup layout.

I decided at some point to use black hardware and a set of black Lace Sensor Hot Gold pickups for this.

A Lace Hot Gold Dually bridge and 2 regulars for a SuperTele setup.

The final look was coming into focus for me at this point.

The little lip for the old tele bridge pkp doesn't matter, you can't see it in the final guitar.

Can you tell I'm putting off the super-shiny happy guitar pics yet?

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At this point all divits have been filled and the finish is smooth.

I'm starting the initial smoothing process now.

I use Abralon pads on my orbital buffer for the top and back, then pull it off of the sander and hit the hard areas by hand with the Abralon pad wrapped around a sponge backing pad.

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Abralon pads have been my go-to for the last three years. I go through them like stink.

I never did understand how you manage to be such a chill guy, yet still manage to commit extreme acts of random violence on fractious workpieces. A Drak build always feels like bomb disposal in reverse.

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I don't have room for a hundred so-so guitars, so the ones that make it are going to be dead-on what I wanted, pretty simple really.

OK, some basic shiny happy finish pics.

If you notice, these were taken during the finish process.

I hadn't routed for the 3-pickup theme yet at this point, but it shows the finish.

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Now some final finishing shots.

Notice by this point I've sprayed a really light cherry red shader coat to tint the finish a little bit.

Then cleared over that, and we're now doing the final finish.

No reason to show 100 pics of finishing the finish, just a few should do.

Really showing the final levelling process, the shiny low spots, etc.

PS, hold judgement until you see the final finished pics.

Under my indoor lighting, the red looks far more red than it really does.

The final shots show it for how it really looks.

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Installing the rear ferrules.

I learned a trick from someone on the internet a long time ago that whenever installing screws or anything else into a new finish, to heat the hole up with a soldering iron for a few seconds to eliminate chipping.

This trick works really well and I use it all the time.

In the case of the ferrules, I stick the iron into the ferrule and push down lightly, not hard.

The very second I see the finish start to melt around it, I pull the iron out and hammer it home with a wood block. If you wait 5 seconds too long, the finish will start to really melt, you have to be watching for it and pull the iron the very second you see it start to react.

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Final assembly begins.

I always shield everything, and all shielded cavities are interconnected to each other.

Again using the soldering iron to quickly heat up new screw holes to avoid chipping.

Chipping to me is going backwards, and I hate going backwards.

It's all about forward momentum, all the time.

You can see the foil shielding 'flap' I always include which connects all the shielding to the bridge itself.

You can also see some chipping that occured around the bridge screws because I didn't heat them up first!

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And now the finished shots and this thread is done.

Some indoor, some outdoor.

It takes on a different appearance depending.

The thing I like about the really light shader coat is that it homogenizes all the different woods together.

The top & rear woods to the core wood and the neck wood, but it's not overdone and heavyhanded, it looks really nice, and blends all the woods together.

I like that.

BTW, I have the Dually bridge hooked to a PP pot on the volume so I can use the bridge either as a full-series HB or a SC.

I also used a Megaswitch that goes like this:

Neck, Neck/Mid, Neck/Bridge, Mid/Bridge, Bridge.

So using the switch and the PP pot, I can get a true Tele combo tone as well as all the other options, only giving up the Mid alone option.

Enjoy and thanks for looking!

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Great work!... and thanks for posting pictures of the process. The finish look great on all your builds, congratulations!

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