The "Hitmaker" - a slight return

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by Block Head Ike, May 21, 2020.

  1. Block Head Ike

    Block Head Ike Squier-holic

    Like so many, I began doing some new build projects during quarantine. The first was a tribute build to Nile Rodgers' "Hitmaker". Not many guitars have their own Wikipedia page, but if you are unfamiliar with this particular Stratocaster and its many claims to fame check it out:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hitmaker

    upload_2020-5-21_12-50-32.png
     
  2. Block Head Ike

    Block Head Ike Squier-holic

    My first purchase for the build was a hardtail strat body with white finish from GFS. I combined it with a chrome bent saddle hardtail bridge left over from a previous project :

    upload_2020-5-21_12-55-22.png
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
    strummer101 likes this.
  3. Block Head Ike

    Block Head Ike Squier-holic

    Knobs and pick guard finally showed up today! Not supposed to arrive until June 2nd, so I guess I can't complain, but been waiting over 4 weeks! the aluminum pickguard in a pre-distressed look is very nice!

    upload_2020-5-21_12-59-7.png
     
  4. Block Head Ike

    Block Head Ike Squier-holic

    I am not really happy with the vintage amber tinted neck I have on it currently. I will look for something with a more natural maple look to more closely match Nile's original. I have not locked-in on a definite choice for pickups either. There seems to be some controversy over what actually lives beneath the pickguard of the real Hitmaker.
     
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  5. BlueSquirrel

    BlueSquirrel Squier-holic Silver Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2018
    France
    Very cool project!
     
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  6. Block Head Ike

    Block Head Ike Squier-holic

    Thanks! Going slower than I would like...shipping has been so unpredictable lately. One of the guitars I had on consignment at the local shop just sold so the "wallet clamp" is off for a bit! ;)
     
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  7. surf green

    surf green Squier-holic

    Jul 15, 2014
    RI
    Interesting project. I like the tint better than the "natch"
     
  8. Block Head Ike

    Block Head Ike Squier-holic

    Pickup research:

    There were only 100 Fender Custom Shop Nile Rodgers Tribute Hitmaker Stratocasters made. Original listings of specifications showed the following:

    Pickups
    • Configuration: SSS
    • Neck: Custom hand-wound Stratocaster
    • Middle: Custom hand-wound Stratocaster
    • Bridge: Custom hand-wound Stratocaster
    • Brand: Fender Custom shop
    • Active or passive: Passive
    • Series or parallel: Series
    • Piezo: No
    • Active EQ: No
    • Special electronics: None Modern wiring
    Pretty sketchy..."Custom hand-wound Stratocaster"...well, OK then. In a video interview from NAMM 2014 Mike Eldred of the Fender Custom Shop says only that "...the chromed brass pickguard adds some inductance to the guitar, and, um...the pickups are pretty weak and that brightens up the guitar..." also not very definitive. A post-NAMM press release for the Hitmaker Tribute stated "The Fender Custom Shop Nile Rodgers Hitmaker Stratocaster features a light alder body and one-piece straight-grain maple neck, with a 9.5"-radius maple fingerboard, 21 6105 frets, three Custom Shop 1969 single-coil Stratocaster pickups, five-way switching, chrome-plated brass pickguard, three white "speed" knobs, vintage-style hard-tail bridge, locking Sperzel® tuners and a worn Relic® lacquer finish in Olympic White." Bingo! "Custom Shop 1969 single-coil Stratocaster pickups". According to Fender U.S. parts information regarding the Custom Shop 1969 single-coil Stratocaster pickups have:
    • Enamel-coated magnet wire for warm vintage-style tones
    • Staggered pole pieces for balanced output
    • Alnico 5 magnets for focus and enhanced dynamics
    • Period-correct cloth wire and gray fiber bobbin
    • Inductance 2.2 Henries
    • DC Resistance 5.8K
    • Output Vintage (1 out of 5)
    • Tone - Vintage
    Because I am a total pickup nerd / geek and have no other life during COVID lock down, I have spent a lot of time trying to find an inexpensive pickup set with similar specs. As luck would have it the fine folks at "Guitarnutz2" have been chopping away at the forest of cheap import Alnico pickup sets and posting detailed information and specs about them - down to measuring the precise thickness of the wire gauge with a high precision micrometer and ploting the pole piece flux density (is that even legal? lol). Also, it seems, the Custom Shop 1969 single-coil Stratocaster pickups come in as something of a yardstick in their research. So based on what I am reading I will be looking for a set of Donlis DS53 pickups. List price for the Custom Shop 1969 set: $199.99, List price for a set of Donlis DS53: $24
     
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  9. One String Sam

    One String Sam Squier-Nut

    623
    Jan 10, 2015
    The Moon
    Someone I know got to play the original, the swine.
     
  10. Block Head Ike

    Block Head Ike Squier-holic

    That would be amazing! I would love to have an opportunity to have THE Hitmaker in my hands just once!
     
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  11. One String Sam

    One String Sam Squier-Nut

    623
    Jan 10, 2015
    The Moon
    It was some kind of workshop/Q&A Nile Rodgers was doing and the guy just blatantly asked him for a go on it and Nile kindly agreed. Not sure if it would have been the original or a replica like the ones you mention further up the thread. I love his work, Chic and his outside songwriting/producing, Upside Down by Diana Ross was basically giving a soul diva the Chic treatment and turning her loose with it.
     
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  12. Block Head Ike

    Block Head Ike Squier-holic

    Nile is amazing. I have seen his "master class" on video. He is a very informative guy and keeps no secrets as to how he plays. These days it seems like producing is consuming much of his time. He does use a tribute replica from the Fender Custom Shop in a addition to his original. He apparently like it well enough that he didn't want to give it back to Fender so that they could use it as the template for the others they produced! I was not much of an appreciator of rhythm guitar playing until I discovered Nile, but now I can't get enough of it.
     
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