New Highwood Vintage Strat Saddles

A vintage style Gotoh tremolo

I consider vintage strat tremolos an iconic piece of guitar heritage and engineering. They are undoubtedly one of the most common bridges used on electric guitars, yet many players find certain aspects about them frustrating. On the positive side, I have always found that these bridges sound great and bring a really cool vibe to the guitar. The drawbacks that are typically cited are tuning stability, play in the tremolo arm, rough saddle adjustment screws (this hurts the palm of your picking hand), strings not staying in the center of the saddle, and probably others I’m forgetting about. Interestingly enough, some of the most prolific guitarists that favor strats manage to not be deterred by these issues, particularly players like Jeff Beck & Scott Henderson come to mind. Both of these guys make heavy use of their tremolos and almost embed the tremolo bar into their picking hands.

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Tele Hardware Update

Over the past several years I’ve made several upgrades on my tele and I never took the time to write about it. I recently switched my saddles again and I figured now would be a good time to document this.

My tele started with a standard Gotoh tele bridge with modern “strat” style saddles. These bridges are excellent and it served me well for ~10 years. …until I played a Suhr tele w/ the Wilkinson (by Gotoh) WT3 bridge and it spoiled me. …a lot.

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Warmoth “N4” Part VI

At this point the build is turning out great, but I did hit a few snags on the electronics.

Look at this progress!

I wasn’t able to install the L500XL at first because the pickup ring was intended for a Lesson Paul. The team at Wilde pickups promptly sent me the ring I needed at no cost. ….but seriously who wants to wait for USPS to take a test drive?

I went ahead and attached the Duncan ’59 straight into the jack with alligator clips, cranked up my amp ……..and Continue reading “Warmoth “N4” Part VI”

Warmoth “N4” Part IV

As I’m trying to stay true to a lot of the elements that made the N4 a great guitar, I did a bit of research on how the finishes were done. On the Washburn forums there are several threads that detail how the finish is done. Then I found this post on the stephen’s extended cutaway facebook page which details how the original batch was done. Essentially they used two coats of tung oil and used steel wool between coats. I planned on doing two coats like this and then for the final coat I was going to warm the oil and melt some beeswax in it. This would make the finish more durable and still stay true to the original design. I also decided to apply the oil with a fine grain sandpaper to get an even smoother surface.

The final prepping before applying the oil.

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Warmoth N4 Inspired Project

For a the past year or two, I’ve been wanting a nice shredder guitar. Two of my favorites on the market right now are the Washburn N4 and Guthrie Govan Charvel. If money wasn’t an object, I’d likely just purchase several of each. …but …..yeah, not going to happen. Since my last attempt to merge the characteristics of two guitars worked really well (strat & jaguar), I thought I might get exactly what I want by trying to merge these two.

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The N4 Kit

A couple weeks ago I placed a thread on The Gear Page about how the luthier I hired to build a guitar for me basically stole my money and wasted a lot of my time. This resulted in me connecting with someone else who ordered an N4 neck & body from the same guy. He did eventually receive his order, but it was a painful process. This nice gentlemen was looking to get out of this project and sold it to me for almost nothing. I’m really looking forward to getting started on this one as there’s a lot to be done.

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Do you know John Klein from Pennsylvanian?

tl;dr Please, please, please, use caution when dealing with this guy. My 10 month stint dealing with him was quiet painful. He lied (a lot), stole from me, and then disappeared. The police know him by name and are actively looking for him. His parents are disappointed in him and say he’s “having problems”. If you are considering working with or interacting with this person, please use caution and protect yourself. Do not make the mistake I made by trusting him.

This is John Klein

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New Strat Wiring


The following combination of strat mods is simple to install and greatly increases the tonal palette of the instrument IMO. This requires giving up the traditional 3rd position (middle pickup), but that’s a small price to pay.

  1. Tone knob assignment – Connect the first tone knob to the neck & middle pickups and dedicate the second one to the bridge pickup.
  2. Super switch – Replace the standard 5-way with a super switch or 2-pole 5-way w/ the following wiring: N, N+M, N+B, M+B, B   This preserves all the “good” strat sounds and adds the “tele” middle sound.
  3. Strangle Switch (aka high-pass filter) – Basically just a .003 capacitor on a push pull potentiometer. This will cut out low-end frequencies and make the guitar sound so funky.
  4. Treble Bleed circut – Add a 560pf cap & 300k resistor to the volume pot to preserve tone while using the volume knob.

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Klein Copy: Part X

Since I opened this kit, I’ve know that some fret work was going to be required. Historically this is an area I’ve avoided and sought professional help, but after spending some time on youtube, I decided I am capable of doing this. …….I just needed to acquire some tools first. The main videos I tried to model/emulate were this, this, and this. Most of the supplies came from  Stewart MacDonald. I found a lesser expensive notched straight edge and fret rocker on Amazon, and the Meguiar’s polish and buffer wheel were from an auto parts store where I had a gift card.

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