Werewolf Pat brings you awesome guitars, restoration projects, DIY tips and tricks and much more!

A few months back I decided to start creating my own guitars but I just couldn’t do what everybody else is doing, namely reproducing Stratocasters or Les Pauls! Although I came up with a pretty decent design of my own, I went ahead and followed up on a dream I had when I was 16: to create my own Teardrop guitar… One wasn’t enough so I made 2 very distinct models. I really worked on the shape to make sure the proportions look good but the real challenge was designing the neck thru Teardrop. The main requirements were that the guitar has 24 frets and that all frets be easily accessible. I also wanted to create my own tailpiece and use 3 mini humbuckers from Lollar pickups. The result is a truly one of a kind but also excellent guitar! Here are the specs:
– 5 ply neck thru construction made from Wenge and maple
– maple body
– ebony fret board with EVO frets
– custom head stock with 4 up and 2 down Hip Shot tuners
– 3 Lollar mini humbuckers
– Custom made tailpiece, laser cut and machined form a piece of steel
– Bridge is from Graph Tech
– Pick guard is custom designed and water cut from a piece of aluminum

Custom-bridge Custom-headstock Teardrop-neck-thru Teardrop-neck-thru-body

As usual it started with a simple enough concept: new pickups, new hardware, a paint job and ready to shred! But then, Jack, the owner brought his Ibanez for comparison, Soon enough it was clear that I was getting involved in some serious work because as he listed the things he didn’t like about his BC Rich, I realized it was going to be a challenge! Don’t get me wrong, this BC Rich is already an excellent guitar, lots of great features for the price but Jack wanted a few specific things. First of he wanted to shave material off the body as much as possible and he also wanted the neck to be thinner, much like Ibanez… Keep in mind that Ibanez uses titanium rods to keep their thinner neck from twisting and warping so merely trying to copy Ibanez would not work… I took some measurements and after consulting with Jack we decided to push this project to its limit so I went ahead and removed 8 mm from the back of the guitar and the neck! I built a fixture for my router to enable me to skate across the guitar’s back and remove exactly what I needed. The neck was reshaped by hand using a rasp, sanding blocks, different grades of sandpaper and of course a caliper to monitor the progress. I went as far as I could and the result was very satisfying. It was time for body work so I used polyester body filler when necessary and sprayed 2 coats of Duratec polyester clear to seal the wood and fill pinholes etc… Once sanded, I applied several coats of black auto paint, sanded the guitar with water and 600 grit paper and prepared for artwork…

bc-rich-guitar-beforebc-rich-guitar-after

Here is part one of a metal flake paint job I did one a brand new Fender Stratocaster body. I recommend reading my full article on my other site here: Metal flake job, part 1

Click here for high resolution photo gallery.

I had the great privilege of being invited at the Rickenbacker factory in Santa Ana, California and interview Ben Hall, the factory’s general manager. Ben let us walk around and film every step of the construction of Rickenbacker guitars and bass guitars which are an integral part of the rock legend of the 60’s… Many famous musicians have used Rickenbacker instruments through the years including The Beatles, The Byrds, The Rolling Stones, U2, Tom Petty, the list goes on and on… In addition to building high quality instruments Rickenbacker also performs restoration services for famous artists… In fact you will be able to see before and after footage of the restoration of Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister veteran bass guitar… The result is astonishing… Rickenbacker will soon resume production of left handed guitars and I intend to get one!

Rickenbacker Guitars factory tour and more!

Finally! After lots of time and efforts my custom made left handed Gibson Maestro Lyre Vibrola tremolo comb is done! It is a unique piece for a quite unique guitar and I can’t wait to install it on my Epiphone Firebird… For those who don’t understand the situation, left handed Epiphone Firebirds are using a right handed string comb which means the tremolo arm is facing up! Nonsense! Not to mention it is an insult to left handed people! I did find an original Gibson left handed tremolo comb (probably from an Elliot Easton SG) but it is chrome plated and made from zinc alloy… I couldn’t find a company able to gold plate a non magnetic alloy so I decided to make my own from steel and by doing so not only improve tone and sustain but also be able to have it gold plated! The funny thing is that during the time it took to make the steel comb I found a company able to plate the original Gibson one in gold! So in the end I have 2 left handed gold string combs, one from zinc alloy and one from steel! My next step is to compare the tone and sustain of the 2 and see if steel is better than zinc… After all that holds true for Stratocasters so why should it be different with the Maestro Lyre Vibrola! Time will tell and I will make sure to post my findings!

maestro lyre vibrola tremolo from Gibson

Here it is folks! i really think it came out nice but more importantly it sounds great! Luis is still in recovery mode after breaking his hand so we won’t be able to shoot a video of him trying out his new guitar for a while but I trust it will happen in a couple of weeks… The preliminary tests are very conclusive and this guitar really sounds like a vintage Stratocaster for a fraction of the price of the real one! The neck is very comfortable and the EVO frets do magic! Stay tuned for all the cool videos that I will soon post, we are still editing them and it is not easy!

yamaha pacifica custom electric stratocaster

After sanding and polishing by hand the body and neck, it was time for re-assembly… Everything went back together smoothly and no issues were encountered… The wiring diagram from TFN Technologies was perfect and very clear, once again Tom did a fantastic job with the diagram! at the time of the photos I was still waiting for my home made jack plate to be back from anodizing… the original plate was too small and the screw holes were dangerously close to the bore in the body… I made one from aluminum and TIG welded it together with my ESAB Caddy Tig 2200 AC/DC welder and sent it out for anodizing along with a bunch of parts from a bicycle… The result really sucked so I had to resort to flat black paint, see finished photos… I will have to find a better company for my anodizing needs in the future!

yamaha pacifica custom electric guitar

Finally, the Yamaha Pacifica of my friend and guitar teacher Luis is done! The project went really smooth and the result very good… A lot of work has been done to this beast and it is all documented on video, which we are presently editing… Don’t forget to check out the re-assembly and the final result…

lectric guitar yamaha pacifica custom

Dan Altilio of Top Gear Guitar shows us this incredibly nice reproduction of the Adam Clayton Popmart bass, an instrument built for him by master luthier Jerry Auerswald of Germany… Scott, the owner of this great bass guitar belongs to a U2 tribute band and he commissioned Dan to build his latest dream instrument… As usual Dan went out of his way to make sure the quality is second to none and the result speaks for itself! Scott will certainly be happy with it and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of this bass guitar on YouTube very soon!

U2 Adam Clayton’s Popmart bass high quality reproduction by Top Gear Guitar!

The Mighty Strat is essentially a Fender Stratocaster on steroids! I wanted sort of an Ibanez PGM 300 RE guitar but more versatile so after discussing things with Dan Altilio of Top Gear Guitar in San Diego, I opted for the Dimarzio PAF JOE in the bridge position, the Dimarzio FS1 in the middle and the Dimarzio PAF PRO in the neck… Combined with a custom S1 Fender switching system and an all steel tremolo this guitar rocks like there is no tomorrow! The body and the neck are from the company Mighty Mite, hence the name Mighty Strat! I bought the neck and body separately from 2 different people and I really scored on both! The quality of the wood, the finish, the frets are truly amazing… This guitar is very comfortable to play and the body’s wood is so nice that I decided to keep it as natural as possible and I will only clear-coat it with a satin waterborne clear… I decided not to use stain and keep this guitar as natural as possible since Mighty Mite was nice enough to go out of their way to make this body so nice! I will soon post some pics and videos about this truly great guitar, stay tuned!



The Mighty Strat really deserves its name!