Handmade Paul McCartney Hofner Inspired Stratocaster Guitar From Scratch

Introduction: Handmade Paul McCartney Hofner Inspired Stratocaster Guitar From Scratch

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.

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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. (Very good store, I'd recommend) I traced it onto a piece of MDF then used that as a guide 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:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFzrGtarjQZdlDCEm...

https://www.youtube.com/user/annegoodchap

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Racing Cars 'Graham Williams' music:

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    19 Discussions

    1
    Thomas Tenwalde
    Thomas Tenwalde

    5 weeks ago on Step 5

    Very well done! I hope it plays as good as it looks!

    Tom Tenwalde

    0
    Paul_rich
    Paul_rich

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Thank you!

    1
    Jhonbaker
    Jhonbaker

    5 weeks ago

    This is a great build and a neat approach to building. As a guitar maker myself I am having trouble wrapping my head around two things - you reference this as some kind of undercover stratocaster which it is no way is. From the 3x3 tuners to the trapeze tailpiece there is nothing that even remotely says "stratocaster" - and the other thing is why your father chose to give credit to hofner for the guitar? Instead of his name all over it he puts "hofner" which I don't get at all - besides illegal whether or not you intend to sell it - they deserve no credit for this well built instrument. I would strongly prefer his name on the headstock.
    This is a beautiful job and likely better than any mass produced hofner available which, to me, seems like the credit should go to your dad.
    All that said - I would be honored to play it anyday and think it is wonderful. You got my vote!

    0
    Paul_rich
    Paul_rich

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Thanks for the comment! The reason behind the undercover strat thing is because it has strat wiring and single coil pickups with a five-way from a strat, they just have covers to make them look like p90's. So basically all the wiring taken from a strat and put in a Hofner shaped body. And the reason why he picked the Hofner shape is because he's a life long fan of Paul McCartney and the Hofner is a very recognisable guitar and the idea is that he'd be playing it on stage and people would come up and talk to him after gigs and surprise with the fact that he made it and I'm happy to say that its worked every time so far. As for the copyright thing, it just looks like a Hofner at face value but all the dimensions and parts are home made from things lying around the house and the shed and guessing the dimensions by taking a ruler to an image on a screen and the decal isn't even 100% accurate. He did write his name on the back of the headstock though. Thanks again!!

    1
    TheSuperhube
    TheSuperhube

    2 months ago

    Very different approach. It looks beautiful. Just to let you know. I've been in the industry building guitars for years. What you did is illegal by you putting the decal on the headstock. That's a no-no. The serial #'s also are a no-no. It is not a real Hofner. You are actually decreasing the value of their guitars by doing that. Not just you but whoever else has ever used a decal in the same manner. Now if you were putting that decal back on a real Hofner then it would be legit. They had a big problem with people selling fake Gibson's. They looked identical. In fact Guitar companies have been sued for making models that were identical to ones patented before. Ask Leo Fender when he tried to use his name and got sued. I know because I ran the body Dept. at G&L Guitars and we weren't allowed to even purchase head stock decals. I can't believe that it was that easily obtainable. I just don't want to see you get in trouble. Nonetheless, great job on it. You are very talented.

    0
    Paul_rich
    Paul_rich

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks for the concern but I don't plan on selling it or promoting it, I just enjoy when I play it and the interactions I get from people who like it.

    1
    RowanCant
    RowanCant

    2 months ago on Step 5

    So beautiful! This guitar has some real classic style! You have my vote!

    0
    Paul_rich
    Paul_rich

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks!

    1
    CreativeMAKER123
    CreativeMAKER123

    2 months ago

    wow! I could never do that! :)

    0
    Paul_rich
    Paul_rich

    Reply 2 months ago

    My father had no idea how to go about it when he started because he's never made a guitar before. He genuinely just figured it out as he went along. Thanks!

    1
    CreativeMAKER123
    CreativeMAKER123

    Reply 2 months ago

    Has your father ever handled anything before with wood

    0
    Paul_rich
    Paul_rich

    Reply 2 months ago

    Yeah, plenty. He's been a bricklayer his whole life life so he's handy with tools, he can pretty much turn his hand to anything and he's done many wood work projects before. He's just never made a guitar before. Hofners are hollow body and his is solid alder, the difficulty came from creating the violin shaped arches and curves symmetrically by hand, since he only has tools in a shed to work with.

    3
    seamster
    seamster

    2 months ago

    Great results! Someday I'd like to make a guitar too. Thank you for sharing how this one was made! : )

    0
    Paul_rich
    Paul_rich

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks, basically everything was learned online. Obviously this one was made from scratch but there are kits you could buy, too.

    0
    Paul_rich
    Paul_rich

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks!

    0
    Paul_rich
    Paul_rich

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thank you!