Earlier this Spring, Dino and I were both craving humbucker guitars, coincidentally. After some discussion, we agreed to each make a guitar by putting together our own kits. The only real “rule” was that both guitars would have two humbucker pickups.
This is my latest mock-up of the guitar that I have ordered most of the parts for and will be assembling.
Here’s an alternate that I am considering, with chrome pickups and white rings, instead of pearl pickups with chrome rings. Also, this is without the RHYTHM/TREBLE switch ring.
Here’s a mock-up of the back:
Why a Jazzmaster?
My original idea was to build a PRS-style guitar, but I ended up deciding on a Jazzmaster body and neck. Dino sent me this link to a video of Lee Renaldo discussing what he called the “Jazzblaster”, which is essentially a Jazzmaster with Tele Deluxe pickups and simplified controls. This was what inspired me to change my mind about the PRS and go with a Jazzmaster design. Not because I’m a huge Renaldo fan, but because I like the spirit of the idea, and to me the Jazzmaster is the most evolved Fender guitar body aesthetically.
I had reservations about getting an offset guitar at first, but only because of the way I imagined it standing on the floor. Then I realized that the only thing that matters is how it hangs a person, not the the floor.
What’s with the “Venus” reference?
After an initial attraction to Lake Placid Blue, I eventually decided to go with the aquamarine dye finish and continue with a watery theme. This led to the purchase of a neck plate that was engraved with an image of the painting The Birth of Venus by Bouguereau. That became my design inspiration, hence the name “VENUSBLASTER”. The color palette that I worked with in my mind was pulled from this painting. I’ve got some abalone elements, but haven’t pulled the trigger on any mother-of-pearl ideas at this point.
Here’s the plate…
I started assembling my electronics rig on an old cardboard box in preparation for wiring it up. This will be a relatively simple rig since everything will be in the control cavity. Two knobs, one switch, and an output jack.
I soldered up most of the connections today. I just have to attach the pickups now and choose a capacitor. The rig is ready to mount into the body cavity. That sounded dirty.
I used a combination of cloth-covered push-back wire between controls and modern coaxial wiring to the jack. The wires to the switch are just shrink-wrapped, but not shrunken yet. I probably should have used coaxial to the switch, but I plan on shielding the cavity walls, so hopefully I won’t have too much unwanted interference on those runs. I gave myself plenty of room to play between controls, since the exact relative positions are yet-to-be-determined.
The capacitor and resistor wired in parallel on the volume pot are a treble bleed circuit from stewmac, which is designed to keep the tone consistent at all volumes.
I received the body and neck from Warmoth and started assembly on the neck first, which involved drilling some holes for the tuner studs and applying the label. Here’s a picture of the neck in my garage on a vise getting sprayed with clear nitro. I could have done a better job placing the label, but I’m satisfied.
After letting the finish cure for a day and a half, I flat-sanded with 2×3″ pieces of wet sandpaper, starting with 1200 grit, then 1500, then 2000 grit. Then I applied some fine grit stewmac polishing compound, seen below. I followed that with some stewmac swirl remover. I buffed out both polishes with a piece of old t-shirt.
I’m pleased with the results.