Framus got the news day started early today with the announcement that they will now be making their D-Series Idolmaker available in this stunning, Burgundy Blackburst finish.
The Framus Idolmaker debuted as a master built guitar from their custom shop but was so popular that they’ve made it a permanent part of their offerings going forward.
The D-Series Idolmaker features Seymour Duncan’s SH-1 and SH-4 pickups, 22 nickel silver jumbo frets, and an AAAA-flamed Maple top. That’s a just a few of the premium features loaded onto this guitar making it a must-try for anyone who appreciates a hand crafted guitar.
Check out their website for more great news and great gear from the Framus and Warwick brands.
Not only is the Fender Stratocaster my favorite guitar, but it was also my first electric guitar. Crazy how that works…However, in recent years I’ve found a new love of Strats, be it Fender or knock offs, because of how easy they are to modify and customize.
The beauty of Leo Fender’s design and construction of Strats and Teles is that they can be easily fixed, modified, or stripped with just a soldering iron and screwdriver. The flood of cheap Squier (or other knock off) Strats that are constantly available also makes it super affordable to mess around with one. You can find a ton to use as a project guitar for live usage or to practice technical skills on without risking your cherished instruments.
To that point, I picked up this cheap, beat up Squier Affinity Strat from my local music store. It was made sometime in the early 2000’s and was well worn in by now. Surprisingly, the neck feels great. It’s far thinner than most Strat necks I’ve played before and for whatever reason, it just felt comfortable and fun for me to play.
That left just two quick upgrades for me to do to turn this old guitar into a really fun, garage rock guitar.
When I think of garage rock, I think of old Gretsch guitar with filtertron pickups or outlandish pawn shop guitars with some combo of P90’s or huge single coils. Trying to be cost effective, I decided to use Guitar Fetish’s “Retrotron” pickups to get that classic chime, jangle, and fuzzed out madness that old Gretsch guitars make in the hands of Jack White and Dan Auerbach. Plus, for a few extra bucks, GFS will include a pre-wired harness that connects to the pickup without any soldering.
Further inspired by my love of Gibson Les Paul Juniors (shoutout Mick Jones of The Clash), I thought it would be cool to make a one pickup Strat. Like a Stratocaster Junior.
Next, I knew I had to change out the cheap, low-mass bridge block in this Squier Strat for a better, but not necessarily expensive option. Changing the bridge or trem-block to a heavier and larger option not only improves tuning stability, but can also lead to increased sustain and allows for lower tension on the strings, making bending easier. For more on how that’s noticeable, check out this awesome demo of two blocks from Brent Hutchinson!
I ended up finding a used Fender Hi-Mass Big Block, from a Mexican Strat, for $23.56 in total on Reverb. You can find them for anywhere from $20-40 with ease and noticeably upgrade your Strat. Lastly, I ordered a single humbucker cutout pickguard from Guitar Fetish for a whopping $6.00, and it took about 20 minutes to get everything put together. All I had to wire was the ground wire from the guitar to the new volume pot, screw in the pickguard and new bridge, and off I was.
This is an incredibly easy way to mod a cheap Strat that you either learned on and need to upgrade, or found at a yard sale or music store for a hundred bucks. I spent under $200 total on the guitar and parts. Now, I have a fun, unique looking Stratocaster. Want to see me try some more of these builds with different body shapes or parts? Let me know in the comments, I’m also thinking about building a bunch of these cheap partscasters to sell cheap online via our Reverb page, let me know if you would buy one!
After getting the body, finish, and neck all sorted out, the time has come to finish our attempt to assemble a better guitar than Fender for less money. We bought a genuine Fender neck with a modern C shape and med-jumbo frets. Installed were classic Fender Tele tuning machines, common on most, if not all, Mexican-made Teles. We outfitted an awesome guitar body from a Fret Wire kit, which we rated really highly in our rundown of four guitar kits.
Find your perfect 920D Pre-Wired Harness HERE or order your own custom set from their website where the code “NEWGEAR” will take 20% off any 920D gear!
This custom pick guard will set you back about $350 or so but comes loaded with these boutique humbuckers and custom wiring. On this Thinline we put together, the volume knob is a push-pull to switch the pickup wiring between parallel and series. This totally expands the sonic footprint and tonal diversity, and makes the guitar a real joy to take up on stage.
These Tiburon humbuckers come with a ton of awesome cover options, like the black set in chrome covers on mine. They are voiced for modern performance with thick, punchy tones, tight low end, and harmonically rich highs. With a little gain, these things sing.
So, what would you rather have? A $1000+ Fender with vintage specs but the same Mexican-made parts you find on a $500 guitar or this modern voiced, revamped Thinline with premium humbuckers, push-pull wiring, and a Modern C Fender Tele neck? Let me know what you thought of this build project and if you want to see us tackle other fun builds or guitar designs!
Check how much we spent in total below, I’m actually pretty surprised it was that low!
Total spent on this build: $719.97
(may change depending on taxes/shipping in your area)
Godin has just announced the reissue of its classic, short-scale Radiator guitar model. This unique looking and sounding guitar is made of a chambered, Silver-Leaf Maple body paired with a Silver-Leaf Maple neck and Rosewood fretboard.
Two custom made Godin humbuckers are controlled via standard LP-style controls including dedicated tone and volume knobs and a three way selector switch. The LP Junior wrap around style bridge gives the guitar a simple, stripped down look and feel. The 24.75″ scale length and chambered body make it sound like a comfortable guitar ready for long nights in the studio or on the stage.
With three unique finishes, including Trans Cream, Bourbon Burst, and Matte Black, the Radiator is one of the more eye catching Les Paul alternatives out there. Retailing for around $699.00 and coming with a gig bag, the Radiator is an accessible and exceptional looking guitar, check out the video from Godin for more!
Recently revived, the brand name of Guyatone is back in business in Chicago! This legendary Japanese company produced thousands of guitars from the 1950s until the companies formal demise in 2013. Now they are not only documenting the companies history but working on new pedals, guitars, and products including these new guitar straps!
This material is some of the last jacquard weave used to make the classic ACE guitar straps. This material was pulled from the basement of a nearby factory, where it had sat for some time, and are now made with your choice of nylon or Italian Leather backing. It’s a cool little piece of history and something that’s limited by the volume of material. If you’re looking for an extra serving of vintage goodness this holiday season, Guyatone’s store is worth a visit!
If you’ve been following along with guitar news, you’ve likely heard that musician (and Sylvester’s brother) Frank Stallone has launched a new guitar company. Frank Stallone Guitars and their first instrument, the Tiger, aim to bring high quality guitars to players at a much more affordable price. The Tiger is sold direct over the internet, allowing for the company to cut out the middlemen aka retailers like Guitar Center.
The Tiger brings familiar aesthetics and high quality craftsmanship down to a sub-$700 price, aiming to compete with the higher end American-made offerings from Gibson, Fender, or PRS.
The double cutaway body is made of Mahogany with a Flamed Maple veneer and Mahogany C-shaped neck. The Ebony fingerboard features 24 medium frets, a 25 inch scale length, and 16 inch radius. Many of these premium features are hard to find on a guitar that costs under $1000. A stop tail and tune-o-matic style bridge sit beneath two proprietary humbuckers, made in the South Korean factory that blend classic electric guitar tones. A standard volume-tone wiring harness and 3-way selector switch round out the features on this beautiful guitar!
For more information on the Tiger, check out the video below curtesy of FrankStalloneGuitars.com.
Harmony continues its year of strong releases with a classic reissue of the 8418 combo tube amp. Check Reverb.com to find your own before they are gone, as these are exclusively available in the US.
The 8418 has a hand-wired construction with a 6″ Jensen speaker, all original circuitry, and a vacuum tubes built to ’50s specifications. This 5 watt combo amp will be an ideal practice or studio amp for players who crave vintage tone. Retailing for $399 (plus shipping charges), it’s a surprisingly affordable reissue!
Check out more on the 8418 from Harmony’s website and keep an eye out for more exciting amps from Harmony, coming soon!