2014 TMRZoo.com Custom Guitar Build – This Stratocaster Will Not Fade Away

I was watching some old Buddy Holly clips and had a twisted train of thought. If Buddy was born in the modern hard rock era what would his famous Sunburst Fender Stratocaster look like? This was the launching pad for the 2014 TMRZoo.com Custom Guitar build.

A little background on Buddy for you kids out there. Buddy Holly was the Brent Hinds of his time. No, the Crickets are not as heavy as Mastodon. But songs like “Not Fade Away” pushed the limits of rock and roll in 1957. “Not Fade Away” has been covered by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and even RUSH. Buddy definitely still has a huge influence on rock music.

We worked with multiple vendors and had many conversation with the guitarists in the TMRZoo.com inner circle and 5 months later the 2014 TMRZoo.com Custom Guitar build was born. During the next few weeks we are going to review all of the components that went into to this beast separately. We will update the links on this page to link to the reviews.

We started with a MIM Fender Stratocaster platform for this project. Years gone past we would have had to scour Ebay and pawn shops searching for a starter guitar. Fender Musical Instruments now offers brand new guitar bodies and necks with their countless other components.

Starting our project with a brand new Fender body drastically cut down on our build time. There was no sanding or repainting necessary to get the project off the ground. Once we picked out our vintage sunburst body a neck had to be selected.

The neck was a hard choice. Fender offers not only the classic Fender headstock style but also the larger 70’s style headstock. In the end we decided to give Buddy a bit of 70’s/80’s flair and put a classic reverse headstock on the guitar. If Buddy is going to be shredding he needs to show some flair.

For the pickups we knocked on the door of Lindy Fralin. Lindy is known for his beautiful sounding noise canceling vintage sounding pickups. Checking out his site there are a huge range of replacement pickups to upgrade your tone or something special for that new build. We updated Buddy’s tone with a Fralin High Output Humbucker in the bridge. Dialing the tone back to the vintage era we went with a Fralin Pure PAF in the neck.

These pickups play very nicely together in the Strat. Wired to a super switch we have an array of coil splitting options without taking away from the vintage vibe of the guitar. The Pure PAF is also wired with Lindy’s partial tap wiring adding a huge palette of tones.

Lindy’s pickups take this guitar from the deepest depths of hard rock and metal to some fantastic cleans and blues tones. And yes with the Pure PAF split we were able to get a great “Not Fade Away” vibe on the guitar. We will review these pickups in depth in the upcoming weeks.

For the bridge on the build many components came to mind. After many discussions we decided to stick with what we know. The build is outfitted with a Babicz Full Contact bridge. The funny thing about the bridge on this build is even though it has a very modern design it conforms to the vintage vibe of the guitar. The Babicz is a simple and fast drop in install. We did not have to do any additional routing or drilling.

The Babicz bridge gives us unprecedented control over the action and intonation of the guitar. The Babicz Full Contact bridge also gives us sustain and fullness that we have yet to experience with any other bridge. You can read our past reviews of the Babicz Full Contact bridge here. Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for a review on how it performed in our new build.

Finishing the build off we used a Warmouth vintage style black/white/black pickguard. Yes, Buddy the white pickguard is gone. Spezel locking tuners were added for tuning stability and they just look so damn good. A Fender LSR nut was installed to reduce string drag.

I hope you enjoy this year’s build feel free to ask any questions about it in the comment section. Please stay tuned as we review all the components of the build over the upcoming weeks.