The Billy Bullet Guitar


Billy Dunaway has given me some project guitars that he says he won’t get the time to finish. The first is a Fender Bullet 1 body from the 1980’s.

That’s it, just a body manufactured for a Strat tremolo. I filled the tremolo routs with vertical grain fir and finished the filling with Bondo.

Of course, I had to have an inspiration and decided it was Billy. Susie said, “It has to be all black”, because that is Billy’s general daily clothing color palatte. So, that’s where I started, but soon was venturing into a layer of antique bronze satin over the layers of flat black. Then, some gold spatter, more flat black, a clear coat, then some “relic” work that left dents and a few gouges followed by some wet sanding, another clear coat, some racing stripes in soft gold and more spatter, more wet sanding and, finally, more satin clear coat.

I had purchased some gold foil mustache mini-humbuckers on EBay and a wiring kit from EMG, but decided to do my own wiring and cannabalized a 5 way switch, a single coil middle pickup and some 500k CTS pots from a Fender set up I had removed from a 1979 Fender Stratocaster hard tail back in 2003 or 2004. I got a black string through non-trem bridge and modified it for body through stringing, wire wheeled some of the black off and mounted it on the body.

I needed a pickguard and had one Billy had given me with another Fender Bullet body and Aria The Cat II neck as a start for a rebuild. The pickguard was mint green; of course I painted it black with a gold/bronze spatter after I made a mess of opening up the pickup apertures with a Dremel tool. I went online and found some Flat Black pickguard material, so I needed a routing template for this new custom pickguard. I bought a Rikon 10″ bandsaw and it is amazingly well constructed and designed for a 199.00 saw. I made template, but was not confidant in my skills to create accurate pickup apertures so I bought a 24.00 single coil rout template from Stew-Mac and 25.00 mini-humbucker template from an EBay seller. Both were perfect and the apertures I routed with my new Makita palm router/trimmer turned out like factory.

I bought a 27.00 Strat style neck that was painted black and did a little road wear work on that, then added Wilkinson locking tuners and some Kluson string trees.

Assembly went fine after I had lined the body routs with aluminum tape for shielding.

I tuned it up, hooked it up, cranked it up and surprised myself that I could make such a good sounding mongrel git-box.

   

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