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About StratsRdivine

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  1. So here are highlights from tonights studio photography. I pulled out all the tricks - huge four foot diffusers in front of the halogen, my stage spot and my hand - held PAR 38 LED floods, all with polarizer on my Canon 60D. All against black velvet backdrop.
  2. I personally think that God ordained the design of the Stratocaster, and meant for someone to design it, the same way that he ordained chocolate chip cookie dough to be made, until man screwed it up by cooking it in the oven. Therefore, for me, since I like the strat design, I try not to deviate from the classic lines of the Strat too much, and kindof use it as a baseplate for my own variations. So I downloaded strat and tele designs from the web, then make a negative from the jpg, and insert them into my ultra simple 2D CAD program, scale them, then trace the lines using the spline line tool, which allows super smooth, graceful curvature changes (to answer your question about proportion). I would encourage anyone to download a simplified 2D CAD, just for drawing, because I self learned it over one weekend three years ago in order to send the dxf file out for laser cutting some chandelier armatures in SST. Now I still use it everyday for my own laser cutting, for design, and sending dxf files out for waterjet, CNC, etc. I swear I wish I had done it ten years ago, although its easier and cheaper now. I did a thorough review of entry level CAD programs and QCAD came on top for me. It was only fifty bucks from There is not one feature lacking in it. Does every complex drawing I can muster. So to answer your question without CAD, I would trace around an existing body and adjust proportions to my liking with a bow tracer, or those flexible rules. I used to do all that for years. I often would simply draw freehand full scale. Proportion is in the mind of the artist, so not sure how to guide you there. Draw scaled down shapes on paper, live with them for while, and trim them with a razor to refine the design. Thats how I designed my boat - I made a paper model and trimmed it with a knife. When I liked the proportions I un-taped the model and scaled up the hull parts.
  3. Thank you so much for your input, CJ. This is precisely why I am on this board - to learn, and avoid mistakes. I actually thought of getting an American Standard Strat, just for the name, but then to cut it up? Blasphemy. I do plan on making my own bodies anyway for the design below (in acrylic below, but also solid wood), so you have me leaning toward making my own bodies (I designed one last night based on a Strat, but slimmed it down and "sexified" the lines a bit - similar to the Ibenez Jem) to call them my own design, but then buying the necks. I had heard of Stratosphere - need to check them out more. Whatever I get, I will be doing the headstock carving. This one below (scale model) will hopefully be ready for NAMM 2018. Gonna do a lot of practice guitars first.
  4. Interesting question. I don't think I would ever have made these if it weren't for my love of screaming classic rock licks heard through the amps of my friend, Steve. He plays a Les Paul and an EVH Wolfgang in a couple local cover bands and most notably in a journey tribute band called E5C4P3 in which the singer, Jason, is absolutely dead-on Steve Perry. My wife really got me into them, and there was this dormant teenager in me the never really appreciated Neil Schon til now (Grew up a Rush fan, then Al DiMeola, but always loved all classic rock), So the quick answer is Classic Rock will be played through it mostly (not by me). which is why the humbucker in the bridge. Steve will be gigging with it for a while til I make the next, better one. Here is the real reason for making this: Every gig I see these guys play in, they play their hearts out - no matter what size audience. They are doing it because they LOVE it. And since my wife and I always go to their shows. I thought, why not add a little of my art to the whole experience - regardless of any potential sales to the guitars. I make my day job money elsewhere, like all these guys in the band. It is so freeing to make what I want, not what is dictated. Such is the same for many of you, I presume. I started making pickguards for them a few weeks back, but then decided on a whole guitar. Here is Steve's Les Paul with Red Burl Pickguard I did several months ago. An example of choosing a restrained, elegant material, not going over the top - no knobs, no color other than what goes well with the LP. I don't think I would ever do a LP the way I did the the Dichrocaster.
  5. Thanks, Knightro. With all the expertise here, I am curious your ideas on future "baseplates" to mod from. I am eyeing up several low cost used Squires at my local music shop to add the gold / silver over white in the quilt face with gold appointments. Getting a nice neck and body for low cost, already finished, routed etc, from a Squire is allowing me to focus on faces, pickguards, etc, but my guitar tech wants me to buy bodies and necks from Warmoth, and I said thats too much finishing work, not to mention nearly a grand for a good neck / body pre-routed. I am not afraid to finish, nor build from scratch. Thats actually the issue - I can apply the best of the best finishes. and that takes time, cuz I'm a perfectionist. Then I recently learned that nitro is preferred over 2K urethane for tone issues, but I love urethane for buffing. If I ever did a body, it would be Wenge, with a satin conversion varnish - which is basically a catalyzed nitrocellulose - real hard, and sprays like a dream. Since these guitars will have acrylic faces, then the chambered bodies from Warmoth without tops are looking real attractive. I'm really asking these questions from a value standpoint. If one of these is ever offered for sale, then is it de-valued if the guitar was made from a used Squire, or will it have better value if made from new Warmoth body and neck? The neck is the greatest value, as I can order pretty much anything from Warmoth and get virgin frets, then make my own bodies. Maybe even oil finish, since you only see the back and sides after I've faced them.
  6. You couldn't be more perfectly tracking with my future builds if you tried! I keep telling friends that the next one will blow his away - yet will have no color-changing FX. I had to get this one "out of my system" because the materials are so colorful, and I am addicted to color - to the point where its too much, kindof like when you traded for those awesome peanut butter squares in high school cafeteria, but after eating one it was too much to eat more. So track with me here, as it relates to your comment ". . . if your cover scintillates like natural wood chatoyance . . . ". The 3D sculpted back of the acrylic in the dichroaster is designed after actual dune patterns right? (from Mars, actually) So I had the epiphany that other natural patterns can be done, so I have actually made molds patterned directly from photos I took of brain coral, which look really cool, but not running there yet. Planning to do a pattern based on the markings on the face of the Napolean Wrasse. Google that and you will see what I mean. So then I got this idea that I had been kicking around, but it really gelled at five in the morning last week, to the point where I stayed up, and went to the shop to test this idea. Here it is: The 3D topography in the Dune pattern is nearly invisible if opaque coated, but when you spray metallics, the pigments "trace" the topography like when Indiana Jones threw dust on that invisible "faith" bridge in "Last Crusade" - nearly exactly the same. So then I was thinking about quilted maple. Don't forget that I have been working with highly figured woods since the eighties, and although you don't see it here, figured woods were a large inspiration for all these laminates. When you study figured wood, using quilted maple, quilted mahogany or pommele Sapele, for example - the light refraction is a trace from the wood fibers actually light piping the light in the direction of the grain, and appearing like hollow cavity dishes on the female side of the bookmatch, and as bulging quilt billows on the male side of a bookmatch. So I am currently working on two new patterns - one called "Quilt" and one called "Bee's Wing" - both with a mirrored division line to simulate bookmatching. And to answer your question - these patterns will be sprayed with silver and gold borosilicates, as well as different versions in champagne metallics, subtle flop pearls, etc. all with white backing. Then the hardware will be all chrome or gold plated. I am even planning on scalloping a neck, then coating the neck with the same gold boro over white that will be used in the body. Can't wait to do that one. To prove how well you were tracking - I am designing a male thermoforming form in order to form the acrylic in an archtop for an LP. Then do the bookmatched quilted pattern using a fade or sunburst of gold boro to silver boro. As to your comment about a pickguard? See below.
  7. Oh well, no interest. but heres a finished pic before studio photography.
  8. Such nice attention to detail. Smart move on pre-scribing / razor cutting the jackplate outline prior to milling it. Looking forward to the contrast against that pearloid binding when you color the grain. What colour you goin with? (combination of American and English)
  9. Nearly ready for the stage. Need to lower the floyd rose studs, and do minor detailing. Headstock was a PITA, but eventually turned out. Had to re-laser the logos and paint fill with acrylic rather than white lacquer, even though the test panel turned out perfect. Test panel turns out great, so all is good right? Use same settings on the laser and it should be pristine right? NOT.
  10. Gonna look amazing. Maybe you already thought of this, and are waiting to surprise us, but can you picture a thin inlayed MOP thread of silk coming out his butt? Maybe terminating into the neck pup cover as a web? Will look sweet nonetheless.
  11. This is a real finishing conundrum. Not sure if the precat clear you used is "re-softening" your white undercoat to allow the shrinkage / crackling of the marbled enamels or if the marbles enamels are releasing off the white undercoat from solvent attack from your pre-cat clear overcoat (most likely case, because the marble enamels are less then 1 mil thick). Appears like you need to use a solvent isolator sealer after marbling. Which means using a true catalyzed sealer (I never trust pre-cats) over the marbled enamel, not a precat, and this sealer has to be high solids - can't have too much solvent. If you use a high-solvent clear, it needs to be "dusted" on so solvent does not attack. Then once cured, you can spray normal. If you had a high-crosslink sealer (2K urethane?) over the marbling that was dusted on, and let it cure well, then the solvents from your overcoat will not attack the bases. Need to think this through a bit, because its possible.
  12. If my idea below is crazy, its all Scotts fault - he got me thinking. If, and only if, you plan to keep the cracked "failure", you might have success "grouting" a clear, 100% solids resin into the finish, then sand it level (sand through is highly risky in this case), but the real issue is adhesion, so epoxy is out. I have had success with MEKP catalyzed acrylic cement. It cures with similar shrinkage as polyester resin but the solvents and its resin base will bond well to the coating you have on now, and is crystal clear. Then topcoat with your finish of choice. The real drawback is that you have to do all the fill coats AND your first topcoat within two to four hours of previous 2K acrylic fill coat (letting it cure for 1 hour) or else the solvents in each subsequent coat will micro-crack / craze the previous 2K acrylic fill layer (the 2K acrylic doesn't fully crosslink for about six to eight hours, so that is the application "window"). Whats nice about the 2K acrylic is that each subsequent coat solvent welds into itself. Clear PE resin might be a better choice for thick filling too, if it adheres to your crackle coating. Cheaper too. These are just far-fetched ideas - I have worked alot with 100% solids resins, but never filled over a textured swirl coat.
  13. Wow. If there was a "less is more" award - you get it. Such clean, simple elegance. That butt-end pic showing the bookmatch is the moneyshot.
  14. Do you plan to round over the top body outline to expose the Padauk? The orange outline would look cool on the face like seen in the hips. Your light fret board carries the light center of the Limba well, and vectors your eye right into the fret board. Black ebonizing would be a nice contrast, but the way the sapwood in the Limba vectors right into the neck is a cool effect. Kindof agree with CJ. Heavier carving to expose the padauk will make an awesome contrast. Looking forward to the finish.
  15. So heres the gluing jig for the inlays. The .060" aluminum strips is so the gorilla glue can expand and push the inlay material against the aluminum so it bends and conforms to the fretboard radius. After de-clamping, the inlays were, in fact, flush with the surface, following the radius, except the last inlay, Likely not going to inlay this way next time - going to pour epoxy over raw dichroic film, then mill flush. Following pic is the epoxy filled joint. milling flush tomorrow after epoxy sets. I ebonized the Rosewood prior to epoxying BTW. Last two pics are the "keying" system in order to eliminate putting screws through the "dune" face, which would have looked ok, but I wanted the face to be as clear of hardware as possible. I took a 3/4" carbide straight bit and custom ground it into a titanic "T" slot bit. Now the face will lock into the body at the cutaway horns, then only one screw under the jackplate to hold the back down, which will allow easy removal to access the wiring, etc. Putting it all together by end of week after I reshape and coat the headstock.