Parts required to build a stratocaster guitar

This article suggests a set of parts required to build a stratocaster type of guitar. This is not an instruction manual on how to build the guitar but a suggested parts list that will provide a statring point for construction of a first guitar.

When starting a project you need first to decide on the colours. The body and neck can be painted any colour or woodstained and laquered, and pickguard and metal parts can then be chosen to match or to contrast.

A neck can be purchased complete with fingerboard and frets and ready to bolt to the body. Alternatively you can construct a neck from maple. You will require a block of wood for the neck, a piece of rosewood or maple for the fingerboard, a metal trussrod and fretwire or pre-cut frets and a plastic or bone slotted nut.

The body can be made from a block of hardwood (often mahogany) which can be painted any colour or laquered.

The pickguard is usually a three ply plastic sheet. This comes in a range of colours, plain black or white and various pearloid colours are popular. Often the three ply material will have a contrasting middle ply which appears as a border around the pickguard when finished - hence you hear or BWB ( black-white-black) or WBW (white-black-white) material.

Metal parts need to be all the same colour in order to match. Usually that is chrome/nickel, but parts are also available in gold plate or black painted.

The following metal parts will be required. Machine heads ( 6-in-line), string retainers (string trees), tremolo bridge, jack plate (boat type) and socket, 2 strap pins (buttons), a neck plate and 4 screws, and around 20 12mm plated raised countersunk wood screws.

Since the electrics are all mounted on the pickguard of a stratocaster, you can either purchase a complete pickguard which is wired up and ready to screw to your guitar body, or you can use a pre-cut pickguard and add the electronics. For an unusual shape you can buy pickguard material and cut it yourself. This material is easy to cut, although it looks best if the edges are cut at a 45 degree angle with a router, that is especially the case with material that has three coloured layers to give a distinctive border.

If you decide to build the pickguard up yourself, then you will also require pickups ( usually 3 single coils, although some now have one or 2 humbuckers fitted) - pickups should come with screws and springs to allow height adjustment. You will require 3 250k Ohm potentiometers ( 1 for volume and 2 for tone), 3 knobs, 1 5 way switch and screws, 2 capacitors and a small quantity of wire and solder.

You will need a plastic slotted backplate to allow strings to thread through the tremolo from behind the guitar. If you make your own pickguard, then you could make the backplate from the same material.

Finally don't forget a set of strings!

Parts List

  1. neck block
  2. fingerboard
  3. trussrod
  4. fretwire or precut frets
  5. nut
  6. body block
  7. pickguard
  8. machine heads - 6-in-line
  9. string retainers
  10. tremolo bridge - and tremolo arm
  11. jack plate and socket
  12. strap pins
  13. neck plate and screws
  14. 12mm pickguard screws
  15. pickups ( 3 single coil with springs and screws)
  16. potentiometers 2 tone and 1 volume 250k
  17. 3 knobs - 2 tone and 1 volume
  18. 5 way switch and screws + switchcap
  19. 2 capacitors 47nF
  20. solder and screened cable
  21. backplate/rear bridge cover
  22. strings