The Head

By John Fisher


There are a lot of ways to become a failure, but never taking a chance is the most successful.


Here is the typical shape of a Stratocaster Head


Here is the profile of the head. You will notice that the sum thickness of the head and the fret board is not even one inch thick. This makes it very easy to mass produce this style of neck.

The Nut

Out of all the nut materials that are available I prefer using bone. I usually make my own nuts out of bone from the butcher. Just one trip to the Butcher that costs nothing or at most very little and I have a life time supply of guitar nuts and acoustic guitar bridges. I usually cut the bone up in small pieces with a hack saw and then I grind and sand them into the desired shapes.

Here I am sanding to size a piece of bone for the Strat nut. I did this by gluing some #80 sandpaper to a piece of flat wood.

Using Dry Transfers for Decals

It varies from place to place, but here in Mexico it is very easy to find dry letter transfers in an office supply store. These are very useful for many things. I use them for labeling electronic equipment that I build and also for labeling homemade stomp boxes.


Here are some dry transfers that I got at an office supply store nearby. There are several brands available but I think that the most famous brand that made it popular is called "Letraset". As of now, the company "Letraset" does not make dry transfers anymore but there are still other companies that do. There are quite a variety of letter fonts and sizes that you can get and it also comes in different colors like white and gold. You simply rub the letters on by using a pencil on one side of the sheet and the letters transfer to the desired surface from the other side. I had a hard time finding this in the United States but it is still popular in South America.

Here you can see the initials that I put on the Head using the dry transfers. I then lacquered over it when applying finish to the guitar.


String Tree

That little black thing you see holding down the first 2 strings is a "string tree". Because of the very shallow depth of the strat guitar head, the string tree is necessary to give enough downward pressure of the strings on the nut. If this was not there, the tone of the first 2 strings would suffer. They are usually made of metal but I didn't have one available so I just made one out of ebony that worked just fine.


Robert A. Heinlein, science-fiction writer, on jacks-of-all-trades: A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, steer a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, pitch manure, solve equations, analyse a new problem, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialisation is for insects.


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