Reader Guitar of the Month: Gold-on-White Strat

After seeing Franz Lyons’ luxurious bass in a Turnstile video, this guitarist wanted to create a suave-looking Strat.


Name: Matthew Keplinger

Hometown: Huntington, Indiana
Guitar: Gold-on-White Strat

I’ve never been a big fan of Strats. I’m more of a hardtail guy. But I could never get over the luster of how sweet and smooth a Strat sounds over most other guitars. While working for a music retailer, a sales program I was part of with Fender granted me a Player series guitar of my choice. So with most of my guitar needs well fed with a Les Paul, a Telecaster, a Jazzmaster, and an SG, it only felt necessary to give a Strat a chance. And I’ve seen very few in white. Mostly black, burst, or maybe red. But a white Strat with a 1-layer white pickguard was always a kind of dream piece. So I opted for the Player Strat in polar white.

While watching a music video for Turnstile’s “Real Thing,” I took notice of bass player Franz Lyons’ gold-on-white Music Man 5-string. The luxurious combination had me in shock. It was the most “suave” looking combination I’ve ever seen. Then the parts started flowing in. The idea was planted in my brain and I could only dream of finishing a gold-on-white Strat that would make Ted DiBiase swoon (for the kids, he was a pro wrestler known as “The Million Dollar Man”).

After heavy searching for just the right parts (gold hardware, Lace Sensors with a Seymour Duncan Hot Rail like Dean Ween, locking tuners), I managed to piece together what I consider the best-looking Strat I’ve ever seen. Rainbow strap to make it more fabulous.

While I can’t say I’m any more a fan of Strats, I couldn’t imagine a better look for it. Plays nice and smooth thanks to Fender updating its Mexican series models, looks absolutely stunning with flashy gold hardware (it would probably fit better with a Dire Straits cover band versus my love for punk music), and sounds impeccable with its major upgrades. I hope to have more stunning concepts to force upon my collection half as good as this was and end up at least a quarter as fun to play. Maybe one or two will end up in a Rig Rundown someday.

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We’re almost finished with the aging process on our project guitar. Let’s work on the fretboard, nut, and truss rod cover, and prepare the headstock for the last hurrah.

Hello and welcome back to Mod Garage. This month we’ll continue with our relic’ing project, taking a closer look at the front side of the neck and treating the fretboard and the headstock. We’ll work on the front side of the headstock in the next part, but first we must prepare it.

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Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.



• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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