“Emily” Semi-Hollow Offset Guitar

“Emily” is a semi-hollow “Starcaster” style guitar. Fender introduced the Starcaster in 1976 and discontinued production in 1980. Because of renewed popularity in the vintage market, it was reintroduced in 2013. “Emily” is my take on this classic instrument.

IMG_3853The body is Oregon Red Alder with an Elm top. After finish sanding, I rubbed in the orange stain and test-fitted the parts. Once the stain was dry, I sprayed several coats of sanding sealer over the body.

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I really like the look of Duesenberg Guitars but they are way out of my price range. I decided to add racing stripes, similar to the Mike Campbell model.¬†After the sanding sealer had dried for a few days, I taped off the body with the pattern I had in mind. I then sprayed three coats of blonde nitrocellulose lacquer.Once the paint had dried for a few hours I removed the tape. Tape can cause problems if left on too long. It just doesn’t want to let go and leaves sticky residue behind.

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Once the tape was off, I let it dry for a couple more days before taping it up again and adding another stripe around the guitar where the Elm top is joined to the Alder back. Next I sprayed the body with multiple coats of gloss nitrocellulose lacquer. I sprayed about eight to ten coats over a week or two.

Elm is an open pored wood, so I sanded between coats to create a smooth finish on the top. Alder is more close grained and didn’t require as much level sanding.

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The neck received a similar treatment: finish sanding, sanding sealer, multiple coats of gloss. After the sanding sealer, I add the decal to the headstock and level sand between clear coats to make the decal line invisible.

After I’m satisfied with the gloss coats, I let them cure for 3 to 4 weeks. I want it totally dry before wet sanding, buffing and polishing.

Wiring a semi-hollow guitar presents some unique challenges. Everything has to be soldered as a complete harness and then pulled into place using rubber tubing threaded through the holes on the body.

 

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The finished product. Pickups are Mojotone “72 Clone” Wide Range Humbuckers. This guitar has a tone unlike any I’ve heard before.

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Fender Vintage Tuners, Maple neck, Graph Tek Tusq nut. Custom laser etched neck plate with a photo of my wife Emily and I back in the day.

Here’s a demo video of “Emily” in action.