Finally the Trashcaster guitar is finished. This started life as some parts on ebay – an old vox body and broken scratchplate, a Squire neck, hardtail bridge and knobs from a Jazz Bass. Add some paint and a pair of home-made pickups…. behold the Trashcaster!
Xaudia ‘Trashcaster’ guitar
The Trashcaster has custom wound big single coil pickups, with coil tap and phase switches, a blend pot, and normal tone and volume knobs. Wiring the blend pot was fun. You have to get the turn direction right otherwise all of the sound disappears! With these controls the guitar has a wide range of tones, and the out of phase sound Nashville tone is definitely something unique!
I have strung this for Nashville tuning, which is the same as the high strings on a 12 string guitar. So when played along with a guitar in standard tuning, it fills in the holes and sounds a bit like a 12 string, but with micro timing difference there is more of a chorus sound to it. You have probably heard this effect on countless records without knowing it.
A couple of coats of clear lacquer helps the slide-on decal blend in. But perhaps I should have called it the ‘Nashmaster’. Too late now! The last job was to file the nut to take the narrower gauge Nashville strings, and to do this you really need a proper set of nut files. They are not cheap but I found these ones on ebay for around £40, and they did the job quickly and accurately.
I’m pretty certain now that my body started off as a Consort like the one above. It looks like someone cut down the pickguard, which was presumably damaged like the one in the photo.
After stripping and sanding back to the wood, I sprayed the body with several coats of red nitrocellulose lacquer from Rothko & Frost (who give an excellent service). These lacquers are nice to use as you can build up several thin coats in a day. The Trashmaster now looks rather smart!
The paint is just transparent enough to let a little of the grain show through. For a high gloss finish it should be given a few layers of clear lacquer, but I’m aiming for the less shiny look of budget 60s guitars so will probably leave it. The scratchplate is less than mint, and so a perfect body may look a bit incongruous. The replacement chrome control plate came from a Fender Jazz bass, adjusted slightly with a file to take off some pointy edges.
The extant screw holes in the body didn’t fit a standard neck plate, so I’ve used these ferrules and screws from StewMac. They work very well and solve the problem. Also, the original tremolo bridge was missing. I have replaced it with a used hardtail bridge from ebay (£6!), and machined a brass block to fill the hole where the vibrato spring must once have been. Perhaps that will give a little more sustain too.
Nearly done, and what the guitar needs now is a logo to stop the headstock looking quite so naked. Rothko & Frost also supply custom vintage style logos for a very fair price, and here is one that they printed for the Trashcaster. It now just needs a couple of coats of clear lacquer to protect it, and everything can go back together again.
I have wanted a Nashville tuned guitar for some time, and saw an opportunity when I found a Jazzmaster / Jaguar style body and neck going cheap on a well know auction site. Time to put a guitar together! I’m calling this the Trashmaster (or Trashcaster?) as it is assembled from reused bits and pieces.
Hello Kitty? My pink guitar!
The guitar parts arrived last week, and although the body and scratch plate looked in good shape, the neck was from a different instrument and played like a cricket bat! The body is a sort of vintage pink – not sure if I like it or not. Well, for £56 all in, one can’t complain too much.
I had a spare neck kicking around from last year’s Telemaster project, which played much better but didn’t quite fit in the body socket either. Judicial application of a plane, fret file and some abrasive paper quickly solved that problem!
Things almost fit together, but not quite!
The scratch plate has two cut-outs for pickups and three switches, and covers most of the guitar’s routing. A metal plate from a Jazz bass covers the rest, and again this almost fits, and a hacksaw and file made some unwanted corners disappear.
The pickup holes are also slightly bigger than standard Strat or Tele single coils, and so custom pickups were made. This was pretty simple – using flatwork boards from StewMac, I cut out boards for the top and bottom of the bobbin, and drilled to make room for the magnets. This board is pretty useful stuff – it feels like cardboard but works like plastic. It drills easily and can even be turned on the lathe!
Custom pickups made in the Xaudia workshop
The board was the glued to Alnico 5 magnets, and then the bobbin wound with 42AWG wire, and finished with string before potting in the wax bath. I put 9350 turns on the first pickup, but suffered a wire break about half way through making the second. Problems can often be turned into opportunities, and so in this case I ended up with a tapped 5000+5000 turn pickup for the neck. I have also been scatter-winding, so this should be interesting!
Wiring the guitar with scratch built pickups
The switches on the scratch plate can thus be used for phase and coil tap duties. Try to be neat with the wiring!