The Padauk Strat

You may have seen my article on buying wood for guitar builds, which I posted in the summer….in fact, it was the last article that I wrote on this site, and I’m afraid that I’ve been neglecting it badly!  However, that doesn’t mean that I’ve been idle – far from it!  As well as gradually working on Sunrise, which has been quite time-consuming, I couldn’t wait to use some of the lovely padauk that I bought in August.

The padauk plank, before starting to work on it

I wanted to make a guitar to show off the wood, and I don’t have a decent Stratocaster so I decided to make a strat-inspired guitar.  It’s actually also inspired by Brian May’s guitar, because I will implement some elements of his wiring scheme although with a different set of controls

I won’t write too much here but I’m going to post a few pictures of the build as it progressed.  I’ve nearly finished this guitar, so I will update the page once it’s done.

Working out the shape of the body – half way between a traditional strat and a more pointy superstrat!
Selecting the neck wood – the sapele was the best match
Routing out the truss rod cavity in a non-standard way!
The neck after rough cutting – rough being the word at this stage!
And the back looks even worse!
Gluing on some extra bits for the headstock. They do this on real guitars too, honest!


Cutting the slots for the frets
The frets ready for installation, in a handy little stand – I stole the idea from another person’s build 🙂
Gluing the fretboard onto the neck
I decided to shape the end of the fretboard – another idea stolen from someone else!
The headstock with a veneer made from an offcut of the padauk. I worked out my own shape….I think I like it….
The side dots on the fretboard
My signature oak leaf inlay after I cut it out, also from an offcut of the padauk (the sapwood)
Working on the fret markers – unfortunately, the different colours are not as distinct as I hoped.
Cavities routed out, and the neck
And the cavity covers, made from another, less colourful piece of padauk.
Starting to come together on my workbench
As it is today, not much left to do!

The last picture shows the guitar after lacquering (although there’s a tiny bit to touch up).  I’m struggling a bit with installing the pickups, but hopefully they will go in very soon.  The controls still need some work – there is a master tone and volume, and a switch for each pickup.  The bridge pickup is on or off, and the other two will also have an out-of-phase setting (the Brian May option).

I will update this page again when the guitar is finished, probably in early January 2018.