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Bling and Blong

So then these two happened to come along - Bling and Blong - whatever else could you conceivably call these guitars, but each have their role and story in the great scheme of things.

On the right ("Bling") - This guitar was actually supposed to be the decoy - the one you leave in the workshop so nobody gets as far as the good stuff - hence the Blingy approach to it. Initially, it was an exercise in doing a Nito finish to a guitar body - Les Paul Goldtop Spray Cans seemed to be an obvious starting point as sooner of later another LP will be on the agenda, and with my skills I need all practice I can get. I bought the body (another ebay special) as it had some useful parts on it - decent brass trem block and bridge and a nice set of saddles and those ended up on the black on black Strat, so I had a suitable donor - laminated ply - nothing special but a reasonably accurate neck pocket. The neck I had lying around - very sparkly dots and inlays, and a suitable candidate to match the now, shiny shiny sparkly sparkly Gold Body, then adding a few cheap Chinese parts that were in the boxes in the shed especially the gold pickguard that had some useful black pickup covers on it along with some coily bits to make a noise with, and some very cheap wiring all to be left intact. But the whole thing was cheaper than buying in a new Fender switch tip - bargain! Assembled it in a couple of hours, and everything seemed to fit without too many matchsticks or superglue to fill holes in the wrong places and it all just worked.

To my utter amazement, this guitar actually plays, the action is reasonable, and sounds surprisingly almost Strat like - haven't got as far as setting it up yet - it was never intended to be a guitar, it was supposed to just hang on the wall and dazzle .............

Now "Blong" on the other hand has a bit of a story to it and is a very very real guitar that is close to my heart. I never get involved in building tribute guitars preferring to take a more organic approach to builds, but this was an opportunity that was too good to miss. At the back of my mind, I had had the idea to do a build of Fast Eddie Clarke's (RIP) Motorhead Strat - this was a guitar that I knew intimately, having spent a four years of my life restringing it, fixing it, tuning it and hanging it round Eddie's neck through the Bomber/Ace of Spades/No Sleep till Hamersmith era back in the late 70's/early 80's. I had built the backup Strat on the road (electric sanders in Holiday Inn bathrooms at 3am - they must have loved us) and both guitars were with him till the end.

Eddie had always claimed that they were pre CBS Strats but the large late 70's Headstocks were a bit of a giveaway, and in some respects it was what gave them the Sustain - well if anything with that Band was ever sustained given the frantic pace - as an aside, sets were always put together to be one hour fifteen in production rehearsals, and usually ended up at 45mins for the same tunes by the end of the Tour, such was the well fueled Speed of it.

I had built an oiled bodied Strat with a brass nut and also another Stat that happened to have an Dimarzio SDS on the bridge along with stock US fenders in middle and neck which was the original Ace of Spades configuration (first take, no pre-roll, no count, just Lemmy shouting GO! and frantically waving thru the Glass) - the backup ended up with a Seymour Duncan at the bridge, as we couldn't find another Dimarzio that didn't squeal with feedback - there were no other wiring twists - all stock stuff apart from all 3 pickups in phase - the setup changed down the line with Fastway and other pickups were introduced on both of them, but that was not on my watch.

The bit that I was missing was the Pickguard - I had sort of been looking, but nothing felt right, until I came across an old stock Fender Gold plated Solid Brass Pickguard, and it all came back to me in a flash - that's what I picked up in that music store in Newcastle all of those years back. A standard SSS plate all gold and shiny and ready to dazzle that reflection from a Follow Spot. So out with an electric drill and big fat file for the Bridge Humbucker hole - no surround to dress it, just a hole. The plate now has exactly the same cockups as the originals - the drill slipped putting in the upper hole for the Humbucker just as it did all those yeas ago, so the pickup doesn't go in square - I will bet that bit of cardboard pushing it into position is still under the plate to this day. No modern frills - springs not tubing (the surgery was behind the stacks anyway), neck shim made from a snapped off 45, one of the bands of course - this is a Rock and Roll Guitar.

So finished, I sat and just held it and just went "Yeah" - it was like seeing an old friend you haven't seen for nearly 40 years.

How does it sound - Louder than everything else of course, but then what else would you expect................

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Sep 11, 2018

Finally got round to signing in...

This project(s) are just brilliant and it's a pleasure working with you Steve, as always. Although the rate of progress (especially from me) has been slow due to life's pressures and interferences. Mind you our physical state has also been.. ummm... 'interesting'...

I can't wait to see you in The Shed this week and check out the Eddie Strat. What a great story too.

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