Custom Fender Stratocaster USA Lindy Fralin High Output pickups
Strat Tremolo with Brass Trem Block
Nitrocellulose Lacquer and much more
Just a quick summary of what I do with the guitars I build. Since I am listing several Strats this week, Ill focus on them . I am a huge Fender fan. But there is only one production guitar company in the US that I know of that levels frets. To me that is the starting point for a super playable guitar. I have easily had around 100 Strats or strat necks over the years. There has never been one that I had not had to level frets as I will show below in a picture of a Strat deluxe neck I purchased from Reliable Fender on eBay. It was removed from a brand new never played guitar costing around 2k. I paid almost 600 dollars for the neck. Then I ended spending around 7 hours removing the heavy poly from the frets, masking the fret board, (because its maple and can damage the finish) . I straighten the neck perfectly, Then mask between each fret. Then I mark each fret with a sharpie. I have various straight edge blocks and also radiuses sanding blocks so the blocks span around half the neck at a time. You can see from the pictures as I sand there are several frets with full magic marker on them. As frets are pressed into the fret slot they can lift up just a few thousandths of an inch. Without leveling it is impossible to get a truly buzz free low action. All my guitars leave the shop buzz free with a nice low action. Also intonation set. The neck is set perfectly centered which is also not always the case. The strings run almost perfect parallel to the fret board only rising slightly toward bridge. You always have heard the fairy tale about having neck relief which is another word for bowed in the middle. Nonsense. Mine are always straight because of the leveled frets and setup. Other features are custom countersunk wood tremolo covers, angled neck pockets plus a cutaway similar to the PRS cutaway for the fret hand. PRS cutaway is in the front. I put mine in the back. My forearm cutaway is more rounded over so you feel it less. same with the tummy cut.
I also use the best hardware, pickups etc. On occasion I will use used parts but I will tell you also. I put so much time into these that to keep the price down I have to do what I can but still not cut quality. My tremolo blocks are always brass. (On occasion I will sell a guitar on consignment for a customer and then I won't add these things but I will tell you. So check out the guitar below. Study the pictures and feel free to ask questions. My prices are fair or even more than fair. You can't compare a factory guitar or a guitar someone just screws together with one of mine where I spent tons of time either making parts that others simply buy off a mass produced shelf.
You can go and buy a Deluxe Stratocaster spending $2000.00 brand new and because of my setup, you will not be getting as good a guitar as this. I promise you!
I usually sell these locally for around 2k to 2500 depending on options. Can go higher, rarely lower.
Again, I LOVE Fender. Not critisizing, I am sure their 5000 dollar custom shop guitars as as good or better. But You will NEVER walk into any music store, pick up a brand new production guitar, from the factory, untouched and mine wins hands down every time. Because if the pros can't do it them selves, Im the guy they bring those new guitars to for set up and customization. So thats what you are buyiing here. If you are a casual player, oh you will like it but for those who's guitar is a part of them. This ones for you! If you have played a guitar after you just took it to a tech (me) and spent 500 or more on setup, leveling upgrades etc, you know what I mean.
If you are the casual player who wants a 100 percent genuine Fender to put in his (or her) tweed case and put it under their bed for 30 years. This guitar is NOT for you! (Ive seen people who buy one of those bring the gitar out from under the bed, show their buddies, and tuck it back under the bed!
Note: Im not a professional photographer so I apologize for shadows and glares and no fancy background. The background is my work bench.
Body: Beautiful Swamp Ash Light weight.
Control Cavities: painted with shielding paint (very quiet plugged into my Mesa Boogie! Then I top it off with copper foil
Pickups: Lindy Fralin High Output Brand New. (tested with a Line 6 Pod X3 pro pre amp, Mesa Boogie Stereo 50/50 tube amp. 4 6l6GC into a 4 x 12 Marshal cabinet with 4 -12 inch Celestion Green Backs. Deep clear rich tone but breaks up nicely with all pickups. I have tuned all 3 pickups to the same volume. The sound is incredible. Pots: CTS
Volume Pot: has a volume kit. Stewart McDonald and a few other companies make them up. So do I. Keeps the treble from falling off when the volume is cut by removing it and feeding it back in on output.
Capacitor: Orange drop .222
Tremolo springs: Raw Vintage
Tremolo Block: custom made bell brass
Neck Pocket : Leveling nut
Neck pocket also angled for better playability in upper register. Large palm cutaway below neck for better playability.
Very low action!!!
I spend a good day on my necks between either re fretting or just level and polish, plus making sure all edges are soft, do a little trick Martin has done for years. Frets are perfectly level to the 12th fret. Then I lower the last frets just a few thousandths extra. This helps in lowering the action even more.
I normally try to get the strings as parallel as possible to the fret board but since there is often a lot of bending going on in this area, it helps to remove more string friction. All hardware is brand new exceppt for the tremolo plate which came off a strat. There is a ting scatch near the whammy bar hole. The body is custom made by me and brand new. The neck is a 2007 Deluxe Strat neck, . The condition of the neck is totally new or better, frets leveled, polished.
Check out the pictures below of how close the strings are to the fret board. NO BUZZ! test every fret! Been building guitars plus doing repairs and tech work for many years now.
Below is an example of this Fender Deluxe neck that I paid almost 600 dollars for but to make it truly playable I had to spend hours leveling and cleaning off the polyurethane from the frets. Also I am sure if you have played for a while you have found frets longer than the fret board. Check out the pictures how much material I had to remove from the end of the frets. Yet the finish on the end of the fretboard was left totally undamaged. If this neck was worth 600 dolars before its worth 850 now.
Top pictures show slotted straight edge with original "Neck relief" and then fter straightened. Quite a bit! Above notice the tiny black line down the center of the fret. This is after recrowning the frets. I do this to make sure the crown is dead center so intonation is not affected just as it should be. If this were not done, the point where the string touches the fret could be farther torward the bridge causing the note to be sharp. Finally notice how low I cut the nut. Another part of having the action low. None of this is done on a production guitar. Feel free to ask questions.
Finish: Honey burst Nitrocellulose lacquer
Nut: Graph tech
Neck: USA Fender Stratocaster
Frets Leveled and polished
Pick guard: Custom Shop Chrome with gold pick up covers
Tremolo: Standard Fender with brass block
Tremolo Cover: matching swamp ash custom made and counter sunk
Saddles: Graph Tech String Savers Gold
Strings :D'Addario EXL 120 .009-.042
Tuning Machines : Schaller
Micro Adjustment is lower center hole. You would detune the strings to less pressure, losen the top 2 screws a quarter to a haf turn, turn (losen) the 2 lower screws one full turn. Use an eight inch allen wrench turn clockwise to tip neck back.
Tighten the 2 upper screws with a number 2 philips and then the 2 lower screws.
Make sure you turn the adjustment screw just a little at a time, maybe a quarter at a time. One full turn can completely drive your strings into the frets. When you recieve the guitar from me you should not have to adjust anything unless you like the strings a little higher
Picture below is of a Telecaster but the adjustments are the same. Shown for example.
Micro Neck adjustment. I think I have been doing this before Fender was doing this. Almost all bolt necks get some kind of shim just because of variables in bridge, neck pocket depth, pick guard, fret height, intonation, truss rod, nut. As you can see there are a lot of things affecting playability and action. The micro neck adjustment helps by adding a slight micro angle to the neck.
With this guitar, (because I built it for myself) I'm including my 50th anniversary Tweed case.
Thanks for looking!
Marks Custom Guitars
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I do garantee for a year and repair or replace defective workmanship or material but I can not tollorate
purchasing just to try it out as I am just a small luthier.