2000s Fender Partscaster Lap Steel w/Duesenberg Multibender

This cool plank came to my friend Ivan as an already partscaster-built tribute to Lowell George's Tele-bridge-pickuped Strat. It even has a boost with switch situated on the jackplate. He later-on installed the aftermarket squareneck "lap steel" bolt-on neck and has been playing it that way for a good while.

Today he stopped-by to get a Duesenberg Multibender installed and I was excited because I've considered putting one on a guitar for myself for a couple years, now. I love the pedal-steel-style bending you can get out of these (or their Hipshot and vintage Bigsby counterparts) and the Duesenberg unit is the most thought-out and elegant of all the bender-style designs I've seen.

The unfortunate bit is that the Multibender for Strat as-designed doesn't allow for the trem springs to remain in place as you're supposed to remove your trem block to install it. Ivan and I both think that' springs are part of the sound of a Strat and it definitely changes the vibe when you remove them.

The short of it is that I found a work-around to bolt the trem block to the underside of the bridge and so we could use it, its already-grounded ground wire, and the springs in place to give it that Stratty vibe. Another modification was simply adding some black shrink tubing to the palm pedals so they were more non-slip. These two mods turned a good experience into a great one. It still takes a lot of getting used to playing with the pedals, but both Ivan and I were starting to sound more respectable in 10-15 minutes of plinking around.

I didn't get a chance to record a clip of this, but there are a lot of YouTube videos out there to hear the Multibender on.

If you're used to seeing a Strat trem block, you can tell that this one's wonky. There's a threaded bolt-hole on the Duesenberg unit that's supposed to accept a little bolt that attaches a clip to the underside of the body cavity for a non-screwed-on installation.

I hijacked that threaded hole and used a longer bolt to bolt the trem block to the bottom of the bridge through an enlarged string hole. I then drilled-out three new mounting holes for the springs. There's a medium amount of tension on the springs but it's just enough to give this thing Stratty overtones and I think the extra weight on the bridge gives it some of that steely/sproingy Strat sound, too.