Grateful Dead Music Forum

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 #116663  by Mosfed
 Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:55 pm
Hello to all
Quick ask for an opinion

I am going to build a replica of Jerry's Alligator

I've found someone that can put in a blaster and all the brass work so the question cones down to 2 things - 1) body choice and 2)) pickups, which we have discussed at length

Body wise I am torn. It seems very difficult to find a stock Fender body in swamp ash

So would you:

1) choose a stock Fender ash body in natural


2) choose a Warmouth strat body in swamp ash

The issue is - would you prefer to sacrifice on the maker or the material. Not an easy question for me. The Warmouth option is decidedly more pricey.
 #116680  by Mosfed
 Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:43 pm
I've done some more looking at it seems like there is a significant price difference btwn using a stock say Fender reissue Ash body and having a Swamp Ash third party - I looked at Hefner ($639 for a nitro honey blonde finish and a hardtail) in addition to Warmouth (around $400 if you choose their standard Strat - the vintage is more).
 #116696  by spacefunkologist
 Sun Jul 29, 2012 9:34 am
Theres a ton of threads around here about Alligator builds, and this might have been better in Guitar Building and Mods..... but since you opened the door.......
Just finished this one for myself




I wanted to do "virgin" Alligator, as it was when Nash first gave it to Jerry. It didnt stay this way for long but for a "Guitar Player" interview back in '71 you can see Jerry on the cover with an untouched Alligator. I used Mark Jenny for the body. Its a 1-piece ash and is fantastic. I had him do a natural nitro finish. He is known for doing relic work but this one has no wear applied to it. Im gonna take care of that :cool: The neck is Allparts. Its been re-shaped by a very skilled friend of mine to resemble an old '57 and boy did he nail it. Pickups are Fender 57/62 and the only brass I used was a full brass trem block from GFS. This thing is under 7.5 lbs and man does it sing!! This one's a keeper :cool:
 #116701  by Mr.Burns
 Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:08 pm
Can I ask how much the body set you back? A blank large enough to cut the entire body from would be pricey, hence all the two piece-ers.
If joined properly it can be nearly impossible to see a seam on a two piece body. The grain can make or break you there. Leo Fender insisted on glued joints because he felt they sounded better. Some think three piece bodies are better because the tonal components are fixed to the same piece of wood, kind of like a neck-thru. I've heard others say that because grain patterns for one piece bodies are asymmetrical they don't resonate evenly, so by that logic a matched two piece would sustain better. IDK, but good glue, like Franklin Titebond, when applied properly, is stronger than ash or most Strat-type woods. So it makes sense that a two-piece, matched, and properly joined body would be Leo's preference.
 #116707  by Mosfed
 Sun Jul 29, 2012 6:10 pm
Lovely piece of wood. Would love to know how much the body ran you. Absolutely lovely
 #116717  by spacefunkologist
 Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:34 pm
Thanks guys...yeah Im really pleased at how this build turned out. The neck and body came together in a magical way on this particular one. It was meant to be :cool:

For you guys that asked about the price I bought the body on ebay from Mark Jenny. He regularly sells one piece bodies for around $400. I thought the price was right given the quality of the wood and the finish work he has a reputation for. I was really pleased when I received it in the mail to say the least.