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Strat guts in Explorer shell (with pics)
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Nivlheim  
 




Joined: 18 Dec 2006
Posts: 872
Location: Norway

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 2:41 am    Post subject: Strat guts in Explorer shell (with pics) Reply with quote

So I imported Rock Band recently, and while the drums are ace the Stratocaster is sub-par. Sticky nasty frets, non-clicky strumbar, unresponsive strumbar, neck with sharp edges and bumps.. just about the only nice thing about it is the solobuttons. And since I got the game for the PS3, Activision isn't letting me play with their shiny Les Pauls any time soon. But wait.. an idea!

The plan is to use the shell of an explorer, put Stratocaster guts in it and hook up the frets, whammy and strumbar. I could've used a Les Paul, but they're too nice to hack up like this.

Note: The mod you're about to see isn't exactly aesthetically pleasing. I suck at making things look nice. But the damn thing works!

Victims! 360 Explorer and PS3 Stratocaster

Closer look at the Strat guts

.. and the Explorer

Whammy assembly
So I started out with doing the whammy mechanism. Of course the pot meter used in the Strat is way smaller than the one in the Explorer, so I cut off some bits from the whammy assembly to get it in there. Glued the pot meter to one of the assembly thingies (bad idea, the whammy doesn't actually work. I gotta go back and adjust it).

New whammy assembly, my old starpower switch, and the strumbar

Doing a little test fit here, to figure out where to put the boards
Also soldered wires to the strum bar, as you can see.

Guitar frets/neck
I then dug up ye olde multimeter and sat down with the Explorer neck and figured out what colored wire went to what fret. I'll put my (hand drawn) diagrams up later, if anyone's interested. Then I pretty much just went inside the Strat neck and cut off the wires for the regular fret buttons. Soldered the Strat wires onto the correct Explorer wires and whee frets that can be detached from the main circuit board! This is just a matter of matching up the wires from the Explorer neck with the connectors on the Strat circuit board. Also, more than one wire from the Explorer neck has to connect to a single ground wire.

Start button wiring
Obviously I need a Start button at the very least. But the idea of trying to make nice holes for the original Strat buttons and D-pad scared me, so I ended up using my old SP button for Start. Also put nice plastic threaded standoffs on the board there.

Getting everything inside
Here I've also put the main board in there and hooked up most of the wires. I fastened both boards by drilling screw holes through the front of the guitar shell.

I'll be finishing this thing tomorrow. What's still to be done is to get the battery compartment inside the guitar somehow (and somewhere, I'll probably just go with opening the guitar for changing batteries, at least for now). As you can see below, I tested the guitar by duct-taping half the Strat to it ghetto style I also need to add the tiny board with the tilt sensors and find a nice spot for mounting the PS3 button. Currently the guitar works fine, except for the whammy which isn't registering. As I said, I think this is due to adjustment issues and I'll look into it.

Update: The guitar is done. I don't have any pictures of it right now, but I used a dremel to pretty much just cut out the battery compartment + on/off switch from the Strat body, then I glued it in place inside the Xplorer (found a spot behind the pick guard with enough room, after I broke off a couple of plastic thingies) and made a nice little elongated hole for the switch. The catch is I gotta open the guitar to switch batteries, but it's not like I do that very often anyways.
The whammy issue I was having is embarrassing. My hand-drawn diagrams were wrong, aaaand the connector was upside-down. Disconnected it, flipped it, reconnected it and wham(my)!


Edit: TROGDOOOOOOOOOOORR!!
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Last edited by Nivlheim on Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:37 am; edited 4 times in total
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dcos15  
 




Joined: 14 May 2007
Posts: 489
Location: The Heart of Cygnus

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dude thats awesome. I love it. I love my strat to death though, so i wouldnt replace it, but as i said, AWESOME
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Nivlheim  
 




Joined: 18 Dec 2006
Posts: 872
Location: Norway

PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! Cut out the battery compartment with a dremel today and made it sit inside the explorer. So it's more or less done, cept that damn whammy.
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kdb424  
 




Joined: 20 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The hardware should be compatible. Just swap the wires, Like leave the originals, and wire them up!
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ElvenMarth  
 




Joined: 18 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haha, wicked! A wireless Xplorer? I LOVE IT!
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MOHAN77  
 




Joined: 30 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's sick. Does it work good? Ooo...I wonder if I could put the guts of an Xplorer into an old PS2 guitar (forgot the name...brainfart. haha). That'd be sweet.
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OpenYourEyes  
 




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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That, my friend, is a waste of time. The Strat is awesomeness! Why would you want to ruin it?
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ikcilapmada  
 




Joined: 11 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there any chance you could create a mod with the Strat's frets and and Explorer/LP's strum bar? I have a feeling that would be the ultimate plastic geetar.
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Mash  
 




Joined: 12 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i like the knife on the guitar.. good concept
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Nivlheim  
 




Joined: 18 Dec 2006
Posts: 872
Location: Norway

PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mh I completely forgot my own thread. Besides, I guess it's time for an update - my wireless Extratocaplorer works wonders! Apart from the glue being lousy that is. Gotta stick some more screws in there sometime. I also fixed the whammy bar, so now it's just some solo buttons away from working like a Strat

MOHAN77 wrote:
That's sick. Does it work good?

Yes, it works very well!

OpenYourEyes wrote:
That, my friend, is a waste of time. The Strat is awesomeness! Why would you want to ruin it?

If by awesomeness you mean spawn of satan, then yes My Strat sure as hell wasn't awesome, and there's no return for an ebayed guitar shipped to Europe anyways. I hated the silent strum bar, and it had a serious sticky fret issue.

ikcilapmada wrote:
Is there any chance you could create a mod with the Strat's frets and and Explorer/LP's strum bar?

I think someone already did, check the HW forum here or on www.scorehero.com
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wumpus  
 




Joined: 25 Nov 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great job, though I am hot a huge fan of the Xplorer shape.. there's no doubt that the RB Stratocaster is one of the worst plastic guitars on the market. The shape and size are nice but everything else on that damn thing is horrible-- the frets, the strum, you name it. It looks cool but it is terrible for actual playing! I sold all my RB strats immediately, and I use the GH3 Les Paul and PS2 Kramers.
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BenSw  
 




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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2008 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could you give me some advice for how you soldered the Dpad board to the strum mechanism. I tried to put the strum mechanism from the SG into the Strat today, but when I soldered it onto it and tested it, both the Dpad and the strum mechanism didnt work (the ps button, and the frets woked, so it must be isolated to that one board).


How I did the soldering was unsoldered the 2 pairs of wires from the reed switches (I have the magnetic v3 Strat) and then took each pair and soldered it to both pairs on the back of the strum mechanism (not paying attention to which goes to which). I did this all before I put it back together in the case that something like this happened.



Thanks and Nice job!

BenSw
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Nivlheim  
 




Joined: 18 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BenSw wrote:
Could you give me some advice for how you soldered the Dpad board to the strum mechanism.


My Strat was the kind with the switches that look like the end of a tweezer, if you know what I mean. I unsoldered the wires from those and soldered each pair to the corresponding switch of the Xplorer strum mechanism. This pic shows it (orange board and grey wires are from the Strat):
http://www.atomicwasteland.net/img/mod/stratwork6.jpg

BenSw wrote:
How I did the soldering was unsoldered the 2 pairs of wires from the reed switches (I have the magnetic v3 Strat) and then took each pair and soldered it to both pairs on the back of the strum mechanism (not paying attention to which goes to which). I did this all before I put it back together in the case that something like this happened.

Sounds like those reed switches might be normally-closed ones, ie the circuit is closed whenever the switches aren't activated. The dpad is probably (I'm guessing here) connected to the strum bar so that it only works with the circuits closed or something. That would at least explain why it's not working for you anymore. I suppose you would need a closed-when-not strumming circuit where the switches break said circuit. I guess it's easy if it's possible to get a normally closed diode or something like that, my electronics knowledge gets a little sketchy when it's not plain old wires'n'buttons
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BenSw  
 




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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nivlheim wrote:
BenSw wrote:
Could you give me some advice for how you soldered the Dpad board to the strum mechanism.


My Strat was the kind with the switches that look like the end of a tweezer, if you know what I mean. I unsoldered the wires from those and soldered each pair to the corresponding switch of the Xplorer strum mechanism. This pic shows it (orange board and grey wires are from the Strat):
http://www.atomicwasteland.net/img/mod/stratwork6.jpg

BenSw wrote:
How I did the soldering was unsoldered the 2 pairs of wires from the reed switches (I have the magnetic v3 Strat) and then took each pair and soldered it to both pairs on the back of the strum mechanism (not paying attention to which goes to which). I did this all before I put it back together in the case that something like this happened.

Sounds like those reed switches might be normally-closed ones, ie the circuit is closed whenever the switches aren't activated. The dpad is probably (I'm guessing here) connected to the strum bar so that it only works with the circuits closed or something. That would at least explain why it's not working for you anymore. I suppose you would need a closed-when-not strumming circuit where the switches break said circuit. I guess it's easy if it's possible to get a normally closed diode or something like that, my electronics knowledge gets a little sketchy when it's not plain old wires'n'buttons


That was my initial thought, but when I pressed down on both of the buttons from the sg (I am pretty sure it is the same as the X-plorer) it didnt make a difference...


I guess the only other thing I can think of is that the two different wires make a difference to which prong they are matched up to, if that is the case, and you just got lucky, could you take a close up pic of the strumbar board.

The only other thing I could think of is that the switches aren't getting power, but I cannot see a reason why they need to be...


Thanks for all your help (/me is sitting here with a useless strat :| )
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Nivlheim  
 




Joined: 18 Dec 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BenSw wrote:
I guess the only other thing I can think of is that the two different wires make a difference to which prong they are matched up to, if that is the case, and you just got lucky, could you take a close up pic of the strumbar board.

I can get you pics of whatever you want in there this weekend if you need. I do have a couple highres closeups from the original modding process tho:

http://www.atomicwasteland.net/img/mod/strum.jpg
http://www.atomicwasteland.net/img/mod/strum2.jpg

In both these pictures, the upper two prongs on the green strumbar board are for the up-strum switch.

And one thing I didn't mention, but that you can see clearly there, is that I intentionally cut the connection on the board that goes between the switches. The Explorer has 3 wires running from the strumbar mechanism, while the Strat has 4, so I figured that connection wasn't needed and scraped through it with a knife.

Edit: I have no idea if the dpad on my guitar still works, couldn't be arsed to make a proper hole for it. But the guitar strums just fine.

Edit 2: Closeup of the Strat strum mechanism before I butchered it. As you can see, mine had the tweezer switches. Bottom switch for up strums, top switch for down strums.
http://www.atomicwasteland.net/img/mod/strat_strum.jpg
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Last edited by Nivlheim on Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:40 am; edited 2 times in total
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