Introduction: Hofner Bass Stratocaster
Here I'll detail how my father, Paul Richards made a Paul McCartney Hofner bass inspired Stratocaster out of a shed door. All credit goes to him
Step 1: Step 1: the Body
(I'll use 'I' for simplicity sake but all credit goes to Paul Richards) I got the height and width online and scaled an image of the guitar to fit inside those dimensions. I traced one half on folded paper for symmetry and curved a metal ruler to get a consistent curve for the base of the body. I then transferred the shape on a sheet of plastic to use as a stencil.
When looking for wood to use I discovered the shed door was mahogany, it was sitting there for a good few years and weathered for all that time, so that was cut up, glued and clamped together. The plastic stencil was used for a guide to router around the edges of the body.
To get the curved shape of the body I used the router to make a stepped down slope to rough it out then used a belt sander attached to a wooden arm contraption I made to smooth it out, constantly checking the symmetry and hand sanded to finish it off.
The binding was bought for £3. To make the groove I used a Stanley blade to shave around the edge to glue the binding in place.
Step 2: Step 2: Fishtail, Bridge and Neck Paddle
Rather than pay the expensive price for the fish tail on McCartney's Hofner, I bought a blank frame from Ebay for £5 cut of the nuts and flipped the string holder. I made the centre piece by cutting up the rod from a potato masher into three lengths, then drilled the holes into a strip of stainless steel by keeping it cool in water. The centre holds together with friction.
The roller bridge was bought for £10 and the wooden piece was made and attached to the base of the bridge to match the one from the Hofner.
The shape of the head stock was taken from the a bass they had and let me take a photo of in 'A Strings', Pontypridd. I traced it onto a piece of MDF then used that to router out a head stock from a blank paddle bought for £26. The Hofner head angles back back but I settled on straight, just in case the guitar was to ever fall and risk the head stock snapping off.
Step 3: Step 3: P90 Covers, Alnico 5 Pickups and Pots
The P90 covers cost £9 for two and the black edge cases for £2. Because Hofner's have two pickups, I combined the design of two different models; neck and bridge pickups, and close together middle and neck pickups. I traced around the black case and covers and routered out the holes for the pickups. I had a thick drill bit from an old project that was used to drill from the jack point to the bridge pickup for the wiring.
I had some Wilkinson ceramic bar pickups that I converted to Alnico 5's by removing the bar magnet and replacing the six poles with individual magnets, I drilled through the P90 blanks for the poles to poke through.
The inside of the body was screened by taking the carbon from zinc batteries, cleaning it with water and bleach to neutralise it, then mixing the carbon dust with PVA glue to paint inside and create a Faraday cage to prevent a bad earth. The wires were screened also.
The pots were bought for the tone and volume knobs. I made a rough template to sit the pots and do the wiring for them and the 5 way switch, before using an off cut from the scratch plate material to create the final look. I also decided to add push/pulls just for the sake of it. I typed the details and printed them on water slide paper for the decals.
Step 4: Step 4: Staining the Neck and Body
The sunburst effect was initially going to be primed and sprayed on but after finding difficulty with the primer and trying to paint on a wood grain effect, I settled on bleaching the mahogany body and hand rubbing on the sunburst effect with black friars dye samples (yellow, orange and black) after finding a fantastic video about it online. The finish was done with bee's wax with the natural wood grain coming through.
The head stock was finished with black vinyl and an ice cream tub for the white layer to create a three ply head stock face plate. The decal was bought online. The scratch plate was cut out of an A4 sheet rather than buying one because of the unusual three pickups. The edges were cut at 45 degree angle, as was the head stock plate.
The neck of the guitar was screwed on like a Strat, rather than glued like a Hofner, just in case anything were to happen to the neck and needed replacing.
The link to the video I used:
Step 5: Step 5: Finished
This is the finished Paul McCartney Hofner disguised Stratocaster made out of a shed door. It has push pull control knobs, alnico 5 pickups, a solid mahogany body and hand rubbed stained sunburst with bee's wax finish. I also added strap locks for extra safety and a Fender strap, since it is a Strat in disguise.
One of the best British guitarists, Graham Williams (Racing Cars) gave his approval by signing the scratch plate as well.
All credit goes to my father, Paul Richards
Here you can see the guitar being played:
My fathers music on YouTube:
Racing Cars 'Graham Williams' music: