As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m a huge blink-182/AVA/BCR/+44 fan and I seemingly can’t get through a single 24 hour period without playing a song by the aforementioned. So ever since I started to learn the guitar, it feels like the natural progression is to build a Tom DeLonge signature Fender Stratocaster, right? Well, that’s the plan! I currently own one of his Epiphone ES-333 signature editions and a slightly modified Squier Bullet Strat (I’ve switched out some of the electronics in it) – so I’m itching to add to the collection!
Having watched a number of videos (probably more than I’d care to admit) online about his Strats, I’ve come to the conclusion it’s definitely not one for the Fender purists. It ditches the famous 3 single coil pickups that give the Strat that iconic tone and replaces them with a single humbucker at the bridge. It also ditches the 2 tone knobs and 1 volume knob for just a single control. I love the sound it makes, it’s a really simple tone that doesn’t have much versatility (it’s a single humbucker with one control after all) and it screams of that early 00’s pop-punk guitar tone, which is exactly what I’m after.
I’ve spent a little bit of time looking for an original but they’re just so expensive (similar story with the Gibson version of the Epiphone), so I thought why not build one! I’ve already started to compile a rough parts list which I’l go over below. I’m planning to document as much of the process as I can but I’m by no means an expert, so there will be a little bit of trial and error involved. I’m not going exactly like-for-like but I’m trying to get as close as I can.
There are a few things that have made life easier in figuring out which parts were used on the originals. The first being the fact Fender have a service document available in PDF form right on their website, secondly “LittleRedGuitars2” on YouTube has also done some incredible builds over the years (he also does epic Blink covers and original work too) and lastly Tom sold off a lof of his older gear a few years ago which means we a) got some decent pictures of everything and b) some of the purchasers have figured a few more things out, all really useful!
- ✅ Body wood blank: https://www.guitarbuild.co.uk/collections/wood-blanks/products/wood-blanks?variant=509986865
- Neck: https://www.guitarbuild.co.uk/collections/guitar-necks/products/sc-neck-300438
- ✅ Neck: 2004 Squier neck from eBay (probably temporary)
- Pickup: I already have a Seymour Duncan SH-8N Invader (Neck) that I’m going to pull out of my other Strat for this build.
- Tuners: https://www.northwestguitars.co.uk/genuine-sperzel-trim-lok-locking-tuners-black-6-in-line/
- ✅ Neck plate: https://www.wdmusic.co.uk/hardware-parts-c1/hardware-c55/neck-plates-c153/gotoh-fender-replacement-4-hole-neckplate-p2221
- ✅ Neck plate mounting screws: https://www.wdmusic.co.uk/hardware-parts-c1/screws-nuts-washers-c58/neck-mount-screws-c94/gotoh-neck-screws-chrome-bag-of-4-p13146/
Neck plate cushion: https://www.wdmusic.co.uk/hardware-parts-c1/hardware-c55/neck-plates-c153/wd-music-neckplate-cusion-black-p2231
- ✅ Output jack housing: https://shop.fender.com/en-GB/parts/stratocaster-parts/stratocaster-jack-ferrules/0991940100.html
- ✅ Bridge: https://shop.fender.com/en-GB/parts/bridges/hardtail-strat-bridge-assembly-import/0058274000.html
- ✅ Pickguard: https://www.wdmusic.co.uk/pickguards-c62/fender-stratocaster-c191/stratocaster-tom-delonge-signature-c208/wd-music-strat-tom-delonge-white-pearl-white-black-white-3-ply-lamination-p4198
- ✅ Pickguard mounting screws: https://shop.fender.com/en-GB/parts/stratocaster-parts/pickguard—control-plate-mounting-screws-24/0994923000.html
I can’t stress enough that this list is still a work in progress and that some things like the body and neck are UK specific.
After that, it’s just the little things such as the actual potentiometers, the control knob, output jack, paint etc.
Talking of paint, which colour will it be?! This is a tough one, I’m torn between pretty much all of the colours. I know there were the 4 colours you could buy it in originally, and I’m pretty sure he had an off white version and he used a brown one in BCR at some point as well.
The colour options are:
- Daphine Blue
- Surf Green
- Graffiti Yellow
The current front runner is “Surf Green” (pictured below).
To be continued…
Update 23-03-2019: I’ve gone ahead and started purchasing the parts (slowly ticking them off above). I’ve also decided to get a block of Alder wood for the body and cut my own with some templates, so here goes!