A few years ago Nintendo celebrated the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. with the release of a red Wii, red DSi XL and Mario All Stars for the Wii. Soon after I imagined a Fender La Cabronita style guitar dyed completely red in honor of the plumber’s silver anniversary. I like the simplicity of the La Cabronita design and I think it makes a fine high-gain single humbucker monstrosity.

Many months later… Behold, The La Fontanero Super!

Mario Guitar

La Fontanero Super

The guitar boasts an Allparts Tele style neck, Wilkinson Vintage Tuners, some cheap (but very decent) top-loading bridge and one of the lightest Swamp Ash guitar bodies I’ve ever come across.  After I cut the shape I used a cheapy Harbor Freight oscillating spindle sander to hone down the coarse edges of the body. The resulting body was light as a feather and the finished guitar weighs 6.2 pounds.

 After routing the pickup cavities I sanded it to 320 grit and then “whiskered” the wood several times with a damp rag. Each time I did this it raised the wood grain a bit and I lightly sanded back the “burs” or fuzzy wood fibers. I then used a combination of powdered transfast dyes (Cardinal Red, Scarlet Red) mixed in distilled water to achieve a sort of “blood red.” Once the body and neck were dyed accordingly I finished it with Tru Oil, applying this several times using small pieces of old t-shirt, carefully spreading it in one thin layer at a time. I must have applied the Tru Oil 20 times or more on the body, waiting about three hours between coats. Normally I do 4-5 coats on a neck for example, but this wood was so dry and light it drank up a ton of it.

I tried mixing 40% mineral spirits (dyed with transfast) to 60% Tru Oil. This works with oil based dyes but I tried water based and it helped me dye the guitar a very evenly red color. If I used this mixture alone it would not have looked super red, the dye darkened in the Tru Oil quite a bit, but it worked very well to deepen the overall red color and to cover some of the hard to reach pores in the grain that didn’t take the water based dye too easily. I did this on the body only, you can see it is a darker red than the neck, but not by a whole lot.  I applied three coats of normal Tru Oil to one coat of the dyed oil, sanding back lightly every three coats or so.  Hitting the oil with 600 grit sandpaper between every third coat or so worked nicely.

I routed the pickguard from clear acrylic and I placed a metallic print of the 25th Mario Anniversary logo underneath it. The lone volume knob has a push/pull pot rigged with an Arlo West/Woodman cocked wah mod (thanks Deaf Eddie for the wiring help.)

I must say the red neck with black tuners and dots looks quite evil. It reminds me of that horny guy from the movie Legend — no, not Tom Cruise.