Watch James May reassemble an Electric Guitar from scratch

Published : - Author : Dan Kopilovic
Posted under: TV Shows

As part of the new BBC Four program, James May (formerly of Top Gear, currently working on The Grand Tour available on Amazon’s Prime Video) took the challenge of assembling an electric guitar from the ground up. May’s guitar of choice was a Stratocaster copy from the 80s made by a Japanese company Tokai.

All the parts are laid out on a table.

According to May, this Stratocaster was made using exactly 147 different parts. These apparently include the six strings, a guitar pick, a guitar strap, and a cable – so some of you might argue that number to be a few digits less.

Regarding the guitar itself, this appears to be a 1984 TST-50 Goldstar Sound Tokai. A dead giveaway is the logo design which changed significantly in comparison to the previous year (photos of both of them are available on the Tokai Registry website). This model was built as a direct replica of 50s-era Fender Stratocaster, and generally looking, these were probably the best value guitars sold in the mid-80s.

James starts the build by assembling the tremolo bridge, which is built with respect to the specification of the 50s Strat bridge featuring six screw holes and vintage-style saddles.

The Tokai Stratocaster comes together in the steady hands of James May.

Slowly but surely, over the span of over five hours, May assembles the parts together filling in the silences with interesting stories and remarks regarding the history of the guitar and rock and roll music.

So if you’re interested in the basics of what makes an electric guitar work, presented with classic British humor by May, head over to the BBC website and cross your fingers that the program will become available at some point globally on their iPlayer – because it currently isn’t. A little bird told us though that there is a website out there where people have uploaded the show themselves.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Popular Stories from the Blog

Josh is Out, John is In – Peppers go Back to the Old Formula

As a surprise to pretty much everyone aside from the band members themselves, Flea recently announced on his Instagram account that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are about to make…


How to Age/Relic Plastic Guitar Hardware (Pickup Covers, Knobs)

What's worse than brand new white plastic hardware on my Stratocaster? Brand new plastic hardware that's supposed to look old, but doesn't. Yes, I know that relicing and aging guitars…


The Two Only Known Video Recordings of Jimi Hendrix Playing an Acoustic Guitar

Jimi Hendrix is someone who, for one reason or another, we didn't often see playing acoustic guitars. Obviously, the late 60s were all about electrics, and there were usually no…

YouTube Discoveries

Guitars used by John Frusciante during Slane Castle

Given that Live at Slane Castle by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is one of the most iconic modern Rock concerts recorded on film, probably a lot of young guitarists…

Iconic Concerts

How to Clean Vinyl Records with Wood Glue (With Images)

Recently I got into the habit of cleaning every single vinyl record that I buy with a simple trick - wood glue. I often by records on the local flea…


The Super Rare Fender “Charley” Lipstick Stratocaster in the Style of SRV

As part of me encouraging people to point out my mistakes and share their own stories over at GroundGuitar's Gear Page, on lucky occasions, I get contacted by people who…

Interesting Guitars

AC/DC’s “You Shook Me” Unplugged Acoustic on the Howard Stern Show

AC/DC is one of the few bands that just avoid doing any sort of an Unplugged version of their songs. An AC/DC song pretty much always sounds exactly like it…

YouTube Discoveries

Jeff Buckley sings an amazing cover of Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” over Phone

YouTube can be an amazing place sometimes. One can occasionally stumble upon an unexpected treasure - amazing talent exhibited by people both known and unknown. One such treasure I stumbled…

YouTube Discoveries
View All on Blog