Custom One-Off Stratocastor and Telecaster Guitars
& Modified Stratocastor Plus Models
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Over the years I have been working with Strat Plus guitars I have ventured out to build a number of custom one-off models. Some are based on the Strat Plus/ Ultra motif, others use DX Fender necks married to high-end Warmoth bodies, all, of course, with pickups and wiring configuarations you rarely see on a guitar—anywhere. I have enjoyed experimenting with custom wiring modifications—thus creating new sounds and looks. These custom guitars have become popular by many musicians, both pro and home pickers alike. I have more in the shop right now that will be posted on this site very soon. Be watching for them! This is a very, very small sample of the many guitars I have customized. Here are just a few examples.
Above you will see two sister guitars. Both have Chambered Warmoth bodies with highly flamed Quilt Maple tops - Contoured Heel / Tummy Cut / Forearm Contour. The Yellow Strat has an Alder body with Maple top matched with a gorgeous Maple neck. Sports a Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro (APH-1N) humbucker with a on/off mini-switch that splits the coils. Middle pickup is Chrome Dome Lace Sensor and the bridge pickup is a Hot Chrome Dome Lace Sensor Dually.
The Red Delicious Strat 2007 Fender Deluxe Rosewood neck with a Black painted headstock on a flamed Warmoth body made of Mahogany with flamed Maple top. Seymour Duncan Jazz (SH-2N) humbucker in the neck and a Chrome Dome Hot Dually in the bridge with a regular Chrome Dome sandwiched in-between. This has a 500k no-load tone pot for the humbucker with a big .033Vitamin-Q Oil type Cap. The Jazz pickup is super smooth and is great for blues and does wonderful with distortion. The Middle and rear pickups are connected to a TBX with a Sprague .022 Orange Cap on it.
Above is a 2015 Custom one-off Telecaster. Like a hot-rodded 56 Chevy, this Telecaster has the features of a vintage 1962 model, but totally upgraded and customized. I used a vintage bridge plate with compensated brass saddles. A Deluxe Fender neck with with a compound radius Rosewood fretboard. Comes with Fender locking tuners as well. The Wamoth body is chambered Swamp Ash with a AAA curly Maple top.
A chrome DiMarzio Air Norton humbucker was used in the neck position, with a Seymour Duncan STK-T2b Hot Stack Telecaster Ceramic Humbucker in the bridge.The 5-way Super Switch gives both tradition Tele tones plus several more. The little min-switch splits the coils on the bridge pickup to have a more vintage tone when using the bridge pickup. Here is how the switching works:
In position #1 you have the bridge pickup acting as a humbucker or single coil using the mini-switch. Position #2 is the bridge + neck with only 1/2 of the neck coils. Position #3 has the humbucker as a full humbucker and the Duncan Bridge pickup together. Position #4 has the Humbucker split, as a single coil, sound more like a traditions Tele. Position #5 is the full himbucker sounding like Les Paul.
I used a .33 capacitor and a 500k no-load tone control. The guitar came together amazing well and plays incredibly well.
Speaking of custom telecasters, above is one I recently finihsed. What a nice harmonic, resonate Telecaster! Highly flamed AAA split maple top in a Tobacco Burst finish on a mahogany body with a transparent brown back. I wired this one just like my customized 67 Keith Richards reissue, using a Seymour Duncan HS-2N “Jazz” in the neck. This is one of my favorite pickups, which is a very versatile humbucker that will work for almost any style of music. Great harmonics, and matches well with the bridge pickup, which is a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder. The bridge plate has adjustable Wilkinson barrels that angle for intonation mounted on a cool engraved Gotoh plate. These pickups compliment each other really well. The bridge has a honk/funk tone that I love, and the neck can go from sweet and full to rough and tough when pushed with gain—all with no jaggy edges. The body has a countoured heel which makes playing up in the higher registry a lot easier.
The switching is a cool Custom Shop trick using a Fender Super Switch. Here is how it works: Position #1: is the bridge PU alone, creating a more traditional Tele sound but with more power, with a bit more mid-range and bottom end. Position #2: is the bridge PU with the neck PU split into a single coil (tapped), creating a more tradition Tele neck/bridge sound. Position #3: is the bridge PU together with the neck PU operating as a full humbucker. This creates a unique sound, which is a richer and fuller. A Gibson/Telecaster hybrid! Position #4: is just the neck humbucker by itself, split (tapped) to create more of a sweet Telecaster neck tone. Position #5: is the full neck Humbucker—delivering a Les Paul type tone.
This has a brand new 2016 Fender American Standard Telecaster C-Shaped Rosewood neck with chrome Schaller/Fender locking tuners.
This is a highly flamed matchbook Maple top on a chambered Ash Warmoth body. It has a nice 1991 Fender Ultra neck which has an Ebony board. I changed out the Chrome Ultra Wilkinson Nut to a LSR replacement nut for ease of string change. I used a set of Hot Lace Sensor Chrome Dome pickups wired like a Fender Ultra. The Bridge Dually has extra hot (think Red Lace Sensors) wired up to a 3-way mini switch, just like on an Ultra. Nice guitar!
1993 -2016 ULTRA CUSTOM BUILD. This is a Warmoth Mahogany chamber body mated to a new old stock 1993 Ebony Fender Ultra Neck. It has a a highly flamed maple top with masking around the edges. The body has a custom contoured heel to make getting up around the 12 registry easier. The mahogany’s grain is wild!!!
The neck pickup is a Seymour Duncan Jazz Humbucker HS-2. These are incredible pickups and a great match for the Dually and single coils. One of my favorites. Great harmonics and can be smooth as silk. Add some overdrive and you have some nice blue tone. The first tone control is a push/pull pot to split the Jazz pickup into a single coil. This way you have the fat humbucker sound, or a slightly thinner tone similar to a single coil neck pickup. The bottom tone control is Fender’s TBX system that cuts high and low frequencies giving the bridge and middle pickups more tonal range. The 3-way mini-switch runs the bridge Dually in series (fat sound) or either front of back Chrome Dome. Back is more biting like a Tele bridge pickup and front is more mellow with a stratty tone. The 5-way switch is a Fender Super Switch which in position #3 has the neck + bridge instead of just running the middle pickup. This is more like a Telecaster or any 2 pickup guitar. You can mix tones from the neck and bridge pickups. Comes with a brand new Fender flight case.
This is a 2005 Deluxe Strat neck on a highly flamed Warmoth body with the appointments of a Strat Ultra kinda hybrid Les Paul! The body is solid Mahogany with a 1/8 inch Curly Maple matchbook cap. It has Red Hot Chrome Domes in the bridge in conjunction with a 3-way mini-switch (wired like an Ultra). There is a Hot Gold Chrome Dome in the middle and a Seymour Duncan 59 PAF (Nickel plated SH-1N) in the neck. The 59 PAF was built with the same kind of enameled wire, nickel-plated studs, and balanced coil windings that humbucker inventor Seth Lover used in his first pickups. So think vintage 59 Gibson in the neck on this Strat.
This is a 1997 Natural Ash Fender Plus Deluxe that has been modified with two DiMarzio Classic Humbuckers pickups with a Chrome Dome Lace Sensor pickup in between. The neck pickup is a (DP-194) and the bridge is a (DP-195). These Chrome covered humbuckers are designed to give that true to life, vintage 1950's PAF humbucking sound. They use DiMarzio's special "Airbucker" technology that retains the presence and attack that chrome covers often take away from a pickup. The bridge pickup is slightly fatter and hotter, while the neck has more presence and attack. This delivers a really cool Les Paul/PRS sound from a Stratocaster! The guitar really screams!
This also has a Coil Splitting Switch for the humbuckers (thus killing one side of the windings on the humbucker) so they can act more like a single coil pickup, thus creating a more Strat like sound especially when mixed with the middle Lace Sensor pickup. It has traditional Strat sounds, but not like 3 single coils. And as on the Plus Models, the guitar is very quiet. This guitar is the best of both worlds, a Strat Plus, or a ......... ;-)
When I did the custom build with 2 humbuckers and a Chrome Dome in the middle, on the 1997 Natural Ash Plus (above), I lost a lot of the Strat quack and honk in switch positions #2 and #4, even using a tap switch to split the humbuckers into a single coil phase. This problem was resolved on this Black 1995 Strat Plus Deluxe. With the Deluxe Floyd Rose II bridge and a DiMarzio PAF Classic Humbucker (DP194N) in the neck position, I could get all those great vintage Les Paul/PRS tones, making it a killer blue/jazz guitar. But because the rest of the guitar is wired like a Fender Strat Ultra, it can get all those traditional Strat honks and quacks and even to some nice Telecaster voices! I have wanted to build one like this for a long time. I have not seen a Strat out there like this.
This is a mint 1994 Strat Plus with a DiMarzio PAF (195N) in the neck, a Hot Gold Lace Dome in the middle and two Red Chrome Domes in the bridge.This has the Fender Ultra (James Burton) Strat-o-Tele switching on this plus an extra Mini-toggle for splitting the humbucker. It is a sister to the Black Plus above but with a Rosewood neck! You can see the whole process involved with wiring this guitar on my "Custom Wiring Tricks" page.
This has been one of my latest creations. It is a 1996 Anniversary Fender Ultra Neck and Bridge put on a highly flamed Warmoth body. The fit was perfect. The lamination of the Maple top is wonderful being about .5 inch thick compared to the thin veneers of the Fender bodies.
The flame is outstanding and the fit was perfect. The neck joint is nice and snug, just like they should be for good integrity. With the black perfectly cut pickguard, the grain seems to stand out even more. One this one the standard Ultra, but with the use of a Blue/Red Dually in the bridge to give the guitar a few more tone/flavor options!
The Ebony on the fretboard, which has real Abalone inlays, makes the neck feel very slick and fast. The Fender Ultra guitars are some of the very few that Fender used Ebony on. I have been told, but so far do not know it it is true, that the Ultra necks come with stainless steel frets.
This is a 1997 Solid Ash Strat Plus DX that has been wired with a DiMarzio DP194 Classic humbucker in the neck, Chrome Dome single in the middle and a Red Hot CHrome Dome pair (Daully) in the bridge with all the standard Fender Ultra wiring schematics, with the addition of a switch to turn off one side of the Humbuckers coils.
It has Some really nice grain and the body is mint. The addition of the vintage pearl pickguard and matching back plate set off a nice creamy look for the guitar. With the very drak Rosewood fretboard, it makes a nice contrast with the body color and the Chrome IMHO.
This is USA 1997 AMERICAN STANDARD PURPLE MIST METALLIC Strat body with a 1997 Strat Plus neck that has been customized like an Ultra. Fender only used this color on there American Standard Series. There was also a color similar to this used on the Jeff Beck strats called Mightnight Purple, which was a little lighter. Then there was the classic Burgundy Mist that was used on the vintage Strats and the vintage reissues. I beleive this Purple Mist was only used a couple years on the American Standards.
This Strat, as are most on this page, is wired just like a Fender Ultra, with the Blue (neck), Silver (middle) and Red Dually (bridge). Very few people know the secret to the Ultra wiring schematics, which produces a unique variation in sound. Here is how the 5-way Fender Super Switch switch works. Position #1 = The bridge pickup in combination with a 3-way Mini Switch.
The Mini Switch alone gives several variations, which are really cool. Here's what it does to the Dually Bridge Pickup (and remember too, that these settings can be mixed with the other pickups in Positions #2 & #3). Up) splits off the back pickup, so since the distance is farther away from the bridge, it creates a cool Strat hollow sound, which then can be mixed with the middle pickups with the 5-way switch. Middle) has the bridge pickups in parallel creating a hot humbucker sound. Down) splits off front pickup on the bridge to give a Strat single coil bridge sound.
Position #2: The Bridge and the Middle pickups mixed together, which can get a multitude of Strat out-of-phase tones because of the Mini Switch and the TBX tone control.
Position #3: Here is where we depart from standard Strat wiring. The Neck PU with the Bridge PU like on any 2 PU guitars, such as a Telecaster. Again, with the Mini Switch you can shape the color of the sound. Full, rich rhythm sounds. And both tone controls are also combined in this position too. Sweet.......
Position #4: Is the Neck and the Middle.
Position #5: The Neck PU. As on all the Plus Series, the bottom tone control is Fender's TBX tone system.
A while back I finished this Black 1994 Fender Strat Plus wired like an Ultra using the Black/Red/Black pickguard with matching back plate. This color and pickup setup seems to be pretty popular as I have sold a number of these. This one sold before it was even finished.
I loved the other Black Strat done this same way so much, I build a second one. This is a 1996 Strat Plus Deluxe wired again Like an Ultra. This one is in Mystic Black with a nice Rosewood fret board. The guitar is absoulty like brand new. The color lives up to it’s name as it is a black that shifts in color in direct light. The clear coat has a very fine blue-green pearl in it that is very subtle. This color was used on Fender's Ultras and DX Strat Plus’ around 1994 through early 1997. Again, this has the Blue, Silver, Red Dually Lace pickups wired like an Ultra.
A while back a close friend of mine from Czech Republic asked me to build his ultimate dream Strat and after playing with me for around 2 years, he fell in live with the Strat Plus guitars. So this was what he wanted. A solid Ash body with Maple neck, but using using 2 Dually Laces pickup and wired like a double Ultra.
We ended up using a 1995 Strat Plus body that had aged to a nice creamy color and I had a really nice 1995 solid Maple neck. The pickups used were—neck: Blue/Gold Laces, middle: Silver Lace, and bridge Red/Red Laces. Each Dually has a 3-way mini switch. Really nice because in the neck you can get a fat type humbucker sound, or a bit leaner P-90, or even a 50's Strat with that nice 50's chime. All the way down you can mix and match pickups. He loves the guitar and it is used in his playing in 3 or 4 different bands around Czech.
This is a mint 1991 Gloss Black Stratocastor Plus that has been customized with new Lace Sensor pickups in an Ultra configuration. The top pickguard, is a Black/Red/Black, with a matching back cover. Since this is a 1991 it has the Wilkerson Roller Nut.
On this guitar I did something new, and the sound turned out to be fantastic! The NECK pickup is a newly released, special order, BURGANDY LACE SENSOR which has an increased output with the warmer Gibson-ish 50's P-90 type sound. This pickup is new to the Lace sensor line and has never been released on any of the Plus Models. Lace used over sized wire on the windings to pack more warmth and punch. It reproduces some really nice bluestones.
The MIDDLE pickup is a GOLD LACE SENSOR which delivers a hot, vintage 50's single coil sound with increased output and the BRIDGE pickups are a DUALLY RED/BLUE LACE SENSOR combining the famous Red Lace, which is the hottest output of the Sensor Series, giving a fat, punchy PAF humbucking voice together with a BLUE LACE which has an increased output with the warmer vintage Gibson-ish PAF humbucker type sound.
This is a near mint 1991 Surf Green Stratocaster Plus that has been customized like an Ultra with a special 70's flare to it. It has many of the features of a Jeff Beck Strat but is much more versatile. Jeff's Strat use 4 gold Lace with a tap switch in the bridge. This one is 2 Silvers and a Blue/Red Dually in the bridge with many selection combinations. This is wired like an Ultra with the middle switch position being the bridge + the neck pickups together, plus the 3-way mini toggle switch for the bridge Lace Dually.
The Silver Lace Sensors, in the neck and middle are voiced to deliver a 1970's single coil sound with increased output and more midrange. Really a unique combination of tone you will not find in any other Strat Plus or Ultra guitars.
This is another 1991 Surf Green STRATOCASTER PLUS that has been customized like an Ultra. (Serial #N1030054, I have owned a lot of 1991 Plus' for some reason). Unlike the one above this one has the custom ordered Blue Lace Chrome Dome in the neck, Hot Gold Dome in the middle and a Hot Red Set in the bridge. Nice mint white pickguard sets off the color of the body well especially with the Maple neck.
This was a radical custom wiring job. This is a 1993 CRIMSON FROST STRAT PLUS DELUXE that is wired like a like an double Ultra using the two Chrome Domes Duallys, one in the neck and one in the bridge, both with the 3-way Mini Switch. You can get a mulitude of sounds out of this guitar by selecting any pickup or combinations of pickups. Like a Les Paul to a Strat. The Ash top and back is beautiful. This is one of my favorite colors. The combinations on this are almost endless. The neck on this guitar is the most unusual. The "skunk" stripe down the back was a very light piece of wood, making the back almost look like one solid piece of Maple.
This is a excellent condition 1991 SUNBURST ASH STRATOCASTER PLUS that has been customized similar to a Stratocaster Ultra BUT with a little twist! What I like about this Plus, it that it is just that! It is like a Standard Strat Plus, with 3-Gold Lace pickups, but with the Ultra switching and the Gold/Red Dually in the bridge. It has the vintage 50s sound of a Standard Plus or in the bridge, the sounds similar to the Plus Deluxe with a little more bite, due to the closeness of the Red Lace to the bridge. It has almost a Tele bridge sound. Or you get a humbucker type sound, or a Gold Lace Standard Plus sound. I love it. I have another one just like this but with a Maple neck I plan on posting soon.
This has the Mini Switch in the bridge, just like the standard Ultra wiring. Here again is what it does to the Dually Bridge Pickup (and remember too, that these settings can be mixed with the other pickups).
The NECK and MIDDLE Pickups are Gold Lace Senors which are famous for a 50's Strat sound with more power and great harmonics that can give you chimes and quack of a 50's Strat. The BRIDGE Pickup is a custom GOLD/RED LACE SENSOR Dually. Talk about versatility in sounds! The Red Lace is the hottest output of the Sensor Series, and gives a fat, punchy humbucking output. While the Gold Lace gives a vintage 50's Strat vibe! Mix and match with the Ultra type mini-switch!
Again: Up) activates the front Gold Lace pickup which creates a more of a standard Strat Plus bridge sound, which then can be mixed with the middle pickups with the 5-way switch. Middle) has the Gold/Red bridge pickups in parallel creating a hot humbucker sound. Down) Activates the back Red Lace on the bridge giving a hot almost Tele bridge bite. The distance from the bridge makes the pickups respond differently.
This is a 1993 Strat Plus Deluxe in a beautiful Blue Pearl Dust that has been customized with a set of Chrome Dome Lace Sensors and a special ordered single covered Lace sensor Dually. This guitar is dead mint. The Blue Silver burst blends into the dark blue body.
It is wired like a Strat Ultra but has a MuzicTech 20bd boost with tone shaping. When the lower tone control is pulled UP the wiring is stock like an ULTRA but the tone controls will not work. This is not a problem as most of us run the tone controls wide open anyhow. When the lower tone control is down the bottom tone control controls the amount of boost and the upper tone control shape the sound. You can get those famous Clapton tones like on his signature Strats, but with a lot more shaping and tone varations. And since it is wired like an Ultra, you get the special effects of using the Mini Switch to split or change the bridge pickups.
The Ultra wiring also provide the neck and bridge mix when you set the 5-way switch in the middle positon so it has Telecaster type tones as well. Lush tone, with many variations and boosted power. By far one of the most versatile Strat Plus' I have done yet.
This is a 1993 Natural ASH STRATOCASTER PLUS DELUXE that has been customized similar to a Stratocaster Ultra but with the special ordered solid cover on the bridge Dually. The grain on the Ash is stunning. The back of the guitar shows alot of grain This, as many of these Strat Plus', has the Hipshot Trimsetter, which compensated for string tension. Once set up correctly, and after getting the guitar in tune, they stay in tune. If a string breaks while playing, the Tremsetter will compensate and the guitar will stay in tune.
This is 1997 Candy Apple Red (CAR) Stratocaster Plus Deluxe that has been customized like an Ultra. Near dead mint with a very nice satin solid Maple neck. this too has the Blue, Silver and Red Dually pickups and has that cool Strat-o-Tele swtiching used on Fender's Ultra Strats.
This is a 1995 CAR STRATOCASTER PLUS DELUXE that has been customized like an Ultra. (Serial #N508815). Unlike the one above, this one is fited with the Chrome Dome pickups and has a Rosewood fret board. The neck pickup is the special ordered Blue Lace Chrome Dome. All the Standard ultra features on this one too.
This is a very nice 1993 Black Stratocaster Plus that has been customized, again, like and Ultra using the Blue, Silver and Red Dually Lace pickups. It also has the Ultra wiring with the middle position being the neck + the bridge. These guitars are hard to beat for their versatile tone.
This is a 1997 INCA SILVER STRATOCASTER PLUS DELUXE that has also has been customized similar to a Stratocaster Ultra. This color has an interesting characteristic, as it shifts from a bright silver in sunlight, to a gold silver under incandescent light.
This is a another near mint 1991 BLUE PEARL DUST STRATOCASTER PLUS that has been customized similar to a Stratocaster Ultra. I have done several of these with the Chrome Domes and they sing!
This is a 1990 customized Strat Plus Deluxe. I call it The Shadow! The top pickguard is a custom new Black/Red/Black with a matching back cover. I changed this guitar over to a brand new set of Lace Sensors with black covers to enhance the looks, and the switch has been changed over to a Fender 5-way Super that works this way: 1 = bridge; 2 = Bridge + Middle; 3 = Neck+Bridge; 4 = Neck+Middle; and 5 = neck. This configuration gives a nice range of sounds, especially with the more traditional two pickup sound, similar to a Telecaster, for the middle position.
This is a near mint 1997 SONIC BLUE STRATOCASTER PLUS that has been customized similar to a Stratocaster Ultra using the Blue (neck), Silver (middle) and Red Dually (bridge).
This is a CUSTOMIZED 1990 LIPSTICK RED STRATOCASTER PLUS which has been gracefully upgraded to the same style of wiring as used on the Strat Ultra. Once again I used the Ultra switching and Mini-Switch on the bridge but with black covered Lace Sensors (blue, silver and red dually).
This is a MINT 1997 Black Mist Strat Plus that has been customized with Lace Sensor Chrome Domes and Fender's Ultra Wiring System, using all high-end USA parts. The top pickguard is a custom Tortoiseshell and the back cover is a matching Tortoiseshell. Has the American Standard bridge with the Hipshot TrimSetter tremolo system. The Chrome Dome pickups are like the Gold Lace on steroids and deliver a classic 50's style single coil sound with more power and glassy bell-like tones. The Bridge pickup is a Chrome Dome Dually which is the among the hottest output of the Sensor Series, and gives a fat, punchy humbucking output.
This Strat is wired just like ther Fender Ultra. Very few people know the secret to the Ultra wiring schematics, which produces a unique variation in sound. Here is how the switch works. Position #1 = The bridge pickup using a 3-way Mini Switch.
The Mini Switch alone gives several variations, which are really cool. Here's what it does to the Dually Bridge Pickup (and remember too, that these settings can be mixed with the other pickups in Psotions #2 & #3). Up) splits off the back pickup, so since the distance is farther away from the bridge, it creates a cool Strat hollow sound, which then can be mixed with the middle pickups with the 5-way switch. Middle) has the bridge pickups in parallel creating a hot humbucker sound. Down) splits off front pickup on the bridge to give a Strat single coil bridge sound.
Position #2: The Bridge and the Middle pickups mixed together, which can get a multitude of Strat out-of-phase tones because of the Mini Switch and the TBX tone control.
Position #3: The Neck PU with the Bridge PU like on any 2 PU guitars, such as a Telecaster. Again, with the Mini Switch you can shape the color of the sound. Full, rich rhythm sounds. And both tone controls are also combined in this position too.
Position #4: Is the Neck and the Middle.
Position #5: The Neck PU.
As on all the Plus Series, the this has Fender's TBX tone system.
The above is a 1989 Strat Plus Deluxe in a beautiful Blue Pearl Dust, which is actually a very dark blue with a blue/silver metalic around the edges. The standard Lace Sensor pickups were replaced with a Set of Chrome Domes Lace Sensors. The Chrome Domes are a chrome covered, hot-rodded version of the Gold Lace Sensor pickups with an extra hot bridge pickup.
These 3 mint Strat Plus' (above) were upgraded from the Gold Lace Sensors to a set of Chrome Domes Lace Sensors. The Black Plus is a 1995 model and its nickname is After Midnight. (left) This is a rare Lake Placid Blue from 1988. (middle) The 3rd, I called Black Cadillac! is (right) 1995 Plus with Domes and Tortoise Shell pickguard. The Chrome Dome Lace Sensors are like Gold Lace on Steroids with chrome covers, which add a nice stylish look to the guitar. They are famous for giving that early 50's Fender single coil pickup sound with hotter magnets and are very quiet. The neck pickup has a rich flavor and the bridge is hotter, similar to the Red Lace Sensor Pickup.