Laura's Frankencaster Build

Gomez Adams

Grammar Fascist
Staff member
Dec 1, 2020
Suwanee, Georgia
OK guys, here we go:

My daughter asked me about this time of the year 4 years ago to teach her how to play a guitar. I printed out a few chords, showed her a few progressions, taught her blues in A, and sent her own her way.

One of the very many things I love about my daughter is that she's very independent and wants to do things herself. Case in point: she has paid for her entire first semester at Georgia State University by herself.

She did the same thing with her guitar. I offered to let her use any of mine she wanted (and I do have some very good ones) but she'd rather have her own. So, while at a consignment shop one day 2 years ago, she bought one.

She brought it home.

It was awful.

It was a Hamer guitar made primarily of particle board. She paid 50 bucks for it. The bridge was hanging off it, two tuner keys were was just a complete failure.

So I patched it up with a new set of Alnico 5 pickups, some MOJO wiring, CTS Pots and actually refabricated the bridge mounts to make it playable. Here it is:


For the record, it doesn't play that badly. It also sounds quite good given the body is basically compressed particle board. You'll notice it's missing the high E string. She wanted me to restring it for her before she comes home for the holidays. Well, I figure I'll do that...but not on that damn thing. Not again.

So her favorite guitar player is Kurt Cobain. (Not much of a player, but where credit is due) She has a poster in her room exactly like this:

Kurt's strat.png

And THAT is the guitar I'm going to build for her, hang in her room in place of her Hamer and see if she notices. I just finished ordering the bulk of the parts. New Warmoth Franken Caster body, some Seymour Duncan including Kurt's favorite SH-4 at the bridge, New Fender hardware, tremolo, all of it.

I didn't order a new neck though as she's always wanted my old Chandler I've had for decades. I just need to get it out, clean it up and oil it up and it's good to go.

I'll post pics as I go on this thing just for lack of anything better to do. When done, it should look and sound EXACTLY like the one Kurt played in that picture.
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Body just came in. I have to run over and pick up the copper to line the pickup cavity and wiring cavity with and then start tearing the good wiring out of the old guitar.


All that's left are the bridge mounting screws and tremolo springs and mounting bracket. They're coming in from Fender California and should be here Monday. Then the construction begins in earnest.
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First day of legitimate work. First, I went up and snatched the old cheap-o guitar from my daughters room.


Stripped the strings and knobs off it. Reason being, although she bought it for 60 bucks at a consignment shop, I put 100 dollars worth of CTS pots, cloth insulated wiring and a nice set of Alnico 5 pickups in it. (The wiring alone is worth more than the entire guitar)

So I'm scrounging that.

Here's how it looks from the back - the brain bucket of a Stratocaster if you will:


If you think that's a mess, you should see the Jimmy Page wiring I have in my Epiphone Les Paul. I've got that picture somewhere I'll post whenever I find it.

So here it is laid out on the mat.


I'll be using everything except the bridge pickup. (The one farthest left in this picture.) It's going to be replaced with the SH 4 JB Seymour Duncan. Not only was it favored by Kurt, it was also favored by Tom Morello, Eddie Van Halen, Jeff Beck, Dave Mustaine and my main man Jerry Cantrell.

So here it is installed into the new black & white 3-ply Fender pick guard.


And here it is from the front:


Looks familiar, eh? I have a black switch knob somewhere in my spare parts box. I'll find it later. Just doing the broad strokes for now.

The bridge bolts, spring mounts and other hardware should be in sometime tonight, so I'll work on drilling all the holes and mounting the bridge tomorrow.
OK, got a lot done today but ran into disaster at the end. We'll take it as it comes.

Drilling day. This is usually the most terrifying part of any build. In the perfect world if you have a full shop you buy an unfinished body, do all the drilling on the unfinished body so that if you make a mistake you can plug it and try again. Then you finish the body and it covers up any mistakes you made.

But I don't have a full luthier shop, so I have to work on finished bodies.

The reason most bodies aren't pre-drilled is because of the VAST amount of aftermarket parts available. I ordered all of my parts from Fender, but that still isn't really a cure all because Fender over the years have changed standards so many times it's ridiculous.

This body is from Warmoth (you can't order a body directly from Fender, or any other guitar manufacturer) and is based on a 1964 Stratocaster. Everything I ordered from Fender is supposed to be the same vintage.

So here's the dummy up. Neck is bolted on, pick guard is taped in place as a guestimate and the bridge is just sitting in the cavity.

At this point, I run string through the bridge from low E to high E and secure that at the tuners. Then I have to measure exactly 25.25 inches from the pickup side of the nut to the center of the mounting holes of the bridge. The margin of error is 1/16th of an inch.


So now I tape everything down in the final position making sure the low and high E have the same amount of space all the way down the neck on either side and that the centerline of the bridge mounting holes is 25.25 inches. Frankly, I was amazed it all lined up so perfectly.


Hard to see all the holes, but they're in there. Note the hole for the tremolo ground wire at the u-turn of the control cavity.


So now we flip the guitar over to do the tremolo spring bracket.


So now the tremolo bridge is in and functional. It will still need a lot of setup later.


Now I line the entire pickup and control cavity with copper. This will shield it from outside interference and keep hum, distortion and all other interference to zero.


The rear cavity cover taped in place for drilling.


Quick shot of the back of the neck since I haven't posted one yet.


So now the entire guitar is together. That's when I discovered I had a major problem. The pocket on the new body was cut for a later model body, not a '64. That causes the neck to be sitting too high in the pocket. So, at present, the strings run perfectly right down the neck sitting right on top of the frets.

This is where I called it a day. Tomorrow, I'll have to take it all back apart and start sanding out the neck pocket so that the neck will sit about .0625 inches lower.

As a preemptive strike, yes. I could jack the bridge saddles up to make the clearance, but that's going to throw off the string geometry and you'll never get the intonation right.

So we'll get back on it tomorrow morning with a sander, router and Dremel tool...not necessarily in that order.

Well, it worked out quite well!

I took a bit more out of the front of the pocket than the back to angle the neck towards the bridge a bit figuring I could work the rest out with the truss rod.

Just setting intonation now.



Then it's time to plug it up to the Katana and see what happens.

"You never realize how important character is in the presidency until you have a president without it." - Adam Schiff

  • Gomez_AdamsGomez_Adams

    November 25
    This thing sounds really, really, really good.
    I just might have to keep it. ?
    I'll just hang it on the wall with the others. Maybe she wont notice.

I was watching this. It breaks it down into sections. The Seattle police never did finalize all the loose ends on the investigation. I mean the heroine overdose. It was over 3x the amount needed to kill an adult human. It could have killed an elephant. Most people that try to inject that large a dose die before the needle comes out of their arm, even with a tolerance. And, how do you put caps, and everything back in the box neatly like that? And, have time to use a Gun ? And, there were no prints on the gun. None. The police claimed it was because of the humidity. Really?

As he points out in the section of the video, someone else had to have been in there. Cobain could have been in there fell asleep, then someone could have shot him up with that amount of drug. Prints could have been wiped. They could have put things back neatly.

Then, the other section he covers, "Did Courtney have anything to do with it?" One this is for sure. Courtney was no loving wife. I followed all that stuff back in the early 90's; even back in the early 00's when Dave Grohl and Chris had to get their attorneys to release those finally 2 songs, and Dave and Courtney wound up suing one another.

But, even the nanny, will tell you that Courtney took advantage of Kurt's messed up mental state back from Rome, but pushing him to change the will her way, she drove him fucking nuts, she was sleeping around, Kurt knew it, she was bleeding money, Kurt knew it, and Kurt was trying to get away from her, Courtney was a mess also, she was doing drugs occasionally, had a loud mouth, causing mischief, stirring up the papers, even the nanny believed that "If he wasn't murdered, he would have killed himself to get away from Courtney."

Chris Noveslick said, "was wasn't right when he left Rome after the OD there, possible brain damage ? who knows?"

Dave Grohl stated this about Courtney, "

"Courtney Love is motivated by solely by her blind self interest....
She has wagged a continuous negative campaign in the media
and tried to rewrite history...Our concern is when she pushed
herself into music she didn't write nor perform. By her actions,
The Nirvana legacy is becoming entangled
up in her own ambitious agenda."
I have my own theory on that and it's a bombshell.

Kurt couldn't have been the one to pull the trigger. He was left handed. Had it been he that did it, like me, his hands would have been reversed on the gun. His left hand on the trigger and right hand on the barrel. He was found with his right hand still holding the barrel.

So the crime scene was found with Kurt's kit (all the stuff he uses to shoot up) neatly put back in the box and his wallet laid open to his drivers license to make sure everybody would know it was him.

I think what happened was somebody went out there with him to kill him under the guise of just getting high and hanging out. While Kurt was getting ready to shoot up, suddenly there's a shotgun in his face. He reaches up to defend himself with his power arm, his left.


Death lock of the left hand goes on the gun, the shell goes to the opposite side of the room it should be on. The shooter puts extra heroine into Kurt to make absolutely certain he's dead, puts the kit away, stages the license and walks out.
Sounds likely to me. Because, Courtney was supposedly trying to find someone to knock him off according to what everyone was saying. There was one guy who claimed up and down he was offered 50k to do it.
By Courtney. Or, it could have been someone else.
Heck, Courtney’s own father swears she did it. He would never allow her to even come back home again, she was so much trouble.