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Reader Guitar of the Month: Jim Mouradian-Built Frankenstrat

A Boston acid-blues guitarist celebrates a Strat with 15 switchable voicings—the work of a beloved luthier who recently passed away.

Name: Conrad Warre

Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Guitar: Acid-Blues Frankenstrat

As a guitar player, my Achilles heel is the size and shape of my hands, and I can never get used to the predominate Fender Strat neck shapes C, D, and U. I prefer the V-shape neck—I grew up playing a medium V Strat neck and stick with this shape as much as I can. Which leads me to the pilgrimage I made to find my perfect guitar.

I tried a Tom Anderson Classic and was impressed with the versatility of the pickups, so I went out of my way to find a set of Tom Anderson SA stacked-coil pickups on eBay. It took several months of lurking, but once I found them, I assembled the rest of the parts to make my dream guitar. A lightly used Relic Master V-shaped maple neck appeared on eBay, and I scoured my local Craigslist for a Mexican Strat tremoloed body. At that point I took all the parts to the renowned luthier Jim Mouradian. He hard-tailed the bridge perfectly, routed out a little more body space for the stacked pickups, and built me an incredibly playable guitar with individual coil-splitting on each of the three pickups. He added a 5-way Fender selector switch, which allows 15 different voicings, including single-coil out of phase with a humbucker, which I haven’t seen elsewhere yet!

Strangely, the Blue Agave-colored body attracts a lot of attention—more so than the wiring. But most friends and fans of Bees Deluxe, my acid-blues band, love the tone. I’m able to roam well-known and recognizable guitar sounds ranging from the high-end squall of a Tele to the lupine howl of a Les Paul. Much of my tone is derived from my hybrid-picking style, but I wouldn’t trade this guitar for any other. It feels and sounds like home to me.

On a sad note, Mouradian passed away on January 14 after playing a show with Ronnie Earl. All the Boston-area musicians who knew and respected Jim are in a state of grief. He will be sorely missed.

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