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To refinish '77 Strat or not?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Moopha, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. Moopha

    Moopha Strat-O-Master

    Jan 29, 2011
    Northern Caucasus
    Hi, everyone!

    I recently bought a new old one Strat of 1977 production year. It looks well, it play solid and rock, excellent guitar, the best one I ever played.

    But there is one issue: I acquired this guitar to recreate one of the most known Strats in the world: Ritchie Blackmore's White Strats! (his '77 Strat, to be precious)

    You might know, that pickups, tuners and pickguard are already deployed onto '77 to fit RB' requirements, but there is one stop-point — it color!

    My Strat currently has an original natural finish, with a ve-e-e-ery thick poly lacquer cover. It is so thick and soft that you can easily scratch it with a nail.

    That's the question: if I take off this vintage coat and refinish Strat with modern paint and lacquers, will it ruin my Strat and its sounding?

    Lowered value of refinished guitar is not a problem for me, this Strat is not going to be sold. Never!

    Thank you in advance!
  2. Moopha

    Moopha Strat-O-Master

    Jan 29, 2011
    Northern Caucasus
    Some proof pictures:




  3. VentilatorBlues

    VentilatorBlues Senior Stratmaster

    Hell no, it's not going to ruin it the sound. At the risk of opening a huge can of worms, "Conventional Strat Talk Wisdom" would actually lean on the opposite side, I think. I doubt you'll notice a quantifiable difference though, other than that caused by the new strings, setup, etc. necessitated by the refinish. If you don't care about resale value, I'd say go for it. Personally, I've never really cared for "natural" finish 70s Fenders, but this guitar does have some real character, with the kind of checking that the Custom Shop charges a lot of money to replicate. Bottom line is you have to do what makes you happy. And since this guitar is a keeper, that takes the stress of resale value out of the equation, which is good, since, in general, guitars are ****ty investments anyways.
  4. Phoenician

    Phoenician Strat-Talk Member

    Feb 11, 2014
    Phoenix, AZ
    man that thing has a lot of mojo! I suggest wait a bit, see if it doesn't grow on you. Once it's done it's done.
  5. Check

    Check Strat-Talker

    Jan 17, 2012
    West Hartford, CT
    You have an older/vintage strat which you like.
    You are not happy with the color/finish.
    You don't care if a refin will drop the value.

    Your heading indicates that you are in the Caucasus.
    I would think the final answer comes down to - can you find a shop that can do a quality paint job? I assume you are thinking is Nitro.

    I've used a great shop here in the States, but that may not be practical for you.
  6. devnulljp

    devnulljp Strat-Talker

    Jul 11, 2012
    Ritchie Blackmore also played natural fin Strats (and sunburst, and black, and whatever else was lying around)

    More important -- will you scallop the fretboard?

  7. Moopha

    Moopha Strat-O-Master

    Jan 29, 2011
    Northern Caucasus
    You are absolutely right.

    I do not not know any shop to trust them my Strat, so I am ready to go ~1000 miles to a skillful luthier that will make a proper refin!

    You must understand that I do not plan to repaint Strat at car painting service, that one can REALLY spoil my Strat.
  8. Moopha

    Moopha Strat-O-Master

    Jan 29, 2011
    Northern Caucasus
    Yes, '72 Strat played at California Jam, for example.

    But target is Olympic White '77 with rosewood neck.

    Scalloping... I have estimated thickness of rosewood ply over a maple neck, I am afraid it is too thin for scalloping...

    I am not planning to scallop neck at the moment, but maybe in future..
  9. Rastus

    Rastus Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 1, 2014
    Your guitar seems to be all-original, & nearly 40 years old...I'd leave it alone, & just go & buy one of the many already available Ritchie Blackmore Stratocasters. How could you possibly better a guitar with his signature already on it ? That's up to you to customize & suit yourself.

    I'm not saying don't do it. But why not preserve the Original 77 that you own, & just modify a readily available one to suit yourself, that's all.


  10. Moopha

    Moopha Strat-O-Master

    Jan 29, 2011
    Northern Caucasus
    Pickups & electronics shipped with Strat were replaced by previous owner, the rest is original.

    I already own one Strat (it is not Signature), built by me to be similar with his Strats: Vintage White, rosewood neck, Lace pickups with a middle dummy, locking tuners etc..

    To be honest, I am not fond of Mexican or either Japanese signature Strats... I'd like to have exactly this '77 being similar to his one :)
  11. Yogi

    Yogi Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 21, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    As a cbs strat lover, it pains me when people alter an otherwise unmolested guitar. You can alway find period correct pickups and swap them in, but a guitar only has its original finish once. Just seems weird to buy the guitar in the condition you did and make a ton of changes when you could have found a beater out there for less. Unmolested CBS strats are somewhat rare as many people modded the heck out of them when they were just "crappy strats". But its your guitar and you can do what you want with it, I'd keep it as is.
  12. Kaisercalavera

    Kaisercalavera Strat-Talker

    Nov 20, 2013
    The thing is strats are not properly speaking rare instruments and it's very easy to get one with the specs you want and the sound you want for sometimes surprisingly low prices, so I'm not sure why you feel the need to modify irreversibly an older, collectible instrument with historical value when you absolutely don't have to...
    I recently saw a '79 in absolutely beat to crap condition going for around 1000 clams on Denmark Street, London. A near mint model was around £1800. You can double these figures for an equivalent in American money. As an indication, you can pick up a more recent instrument from around £250 and which will actually gain value with the addition of new pick ups and a fresh coat of paint... errmm... am I making any sense to anybody here?
  13. worldoftone

    worldoftone Strat-Talker

    May 18, 2008
    It's a Nat '77. There are still thousands of them here in the States. I owned a ratty Nat. '73 for a while. Trust me, there is no shortage of them.

    One option, buy a stripped/ratty '70s body off eBay, refin it and keep the original. I've seem them for about $400 US give or take a few bucks.

    Then you can have the best of both worlds. Or, go ahead and refin it. Just get it done right. Stripping that gnarly poly finish off that axe might "open" it up a bit. I did that on a stripped, clear-coated '64 once. It did help.

    - WOT
  14. Moopha

    Moopha Strat-O-Master

    Jan 29, 2011
    Northern Caucasus
    OK, guys, I see some opinions to make it and not to.. and it is pretty difficult to choose from.. Natural from one side, Oly White from other..

    I would have doubts endlessly, but I have spoken with the guy who can refinish guitar wisely, even with nitro.

    He sent me some samples of his work, I think this is the best option for my Strat:



    Of course, no relic work for me, but color variety under and outside the pickguard seem pretty authentic for me. He also uses original Fender paints and lacquers, and original color formulas from vintage time. He can also add some patina over painting/lacquer.

    I think this is going to be a new new life for my Strat, ain't it?
  15. bamoore07

    bamoore07 Strat-Talk Member

    Dec 24, 2013
    Movin' On Up
    it is your guitar and you will make the decision that you think is best, but since you asked, I'll offer my 2 bits. To me, the great thing about old guitars, particularly Olympic White Strats, is the patina they have accrued over the years. The way an Oly White Fender ages is sort of a magical alchemy– turning a buttery cream which modulates across the surface depending on how the player's arm rests on the body and a myriad of other factors such as whether it was kept in the case, exposed to smokey venues, exposed to lots of sun light, etc.

    If you want that classic Oly White vibe, it ain't happening with a refinish. And if what you want is a time machine guitar– something that feels like you traveled back to 1977 and brought a Stratocaster back with you– what does it matter if the body is an original 1977 model? In that case, a reissue would serve the purpose just as well, and you wouldn't be defacing a vintage classic.

    My advice, and again, only because you are asking, I would either find an original 1977 Start in Olympic white or find a reissue body. I have a 79 hardtail and had a Japanese reissue 1970's model, both in Olympic white. The only thing that was better about the original was the patina, and it's one heavy beast of a Strat.

    Good luck, YMMV.
  16. turdsinmilk

    turdsinmilk Strat-Talker

    Mar 17, 2013
    I like it with the natural finish....
  17. Check

    Check Strat-Talker

    Jan 17, 2012
    West Hartford, CT
    you make good points, but (there is always a but) I'll disagree (to a point).
    In the hands of s good refinisher they can really work magic. I have had 3 (2 in Nitro, 3rd had to be Urethane because of the graphics) guitars done by R&S in Winchester, KY

    RS Guitarworks | Winchester, KY

    My son wanted a Fiesta Red (Nitro) that was starting to pick up the amber Orangey color that they developed as they aged. They did a great job on his project.

    My '63 Strat was lightly aged in Surf Green (Nitro) they picked up the mild yellowing and checking. After 10 yrs the naturally ageing has progressed nicely. A stunning finish.

    And third was my USA Flag hollow body strat project. Job had to be in Urethane but impeccable results.



  18. softwarejanitor

    softwarejanitor Most Honored Senior Member

    Apr 8, 2010
    Central Texas
    Despite all the silliness you will hear, the finish on a solid body electric makes virtually no difference to the sound. It will basically destroy any last vestige of collector value your guitar's body might have ever had... But its a 1970s Strat, and that is very little to begin with, and likely won't ever be much. So since you don't really care... why not... FWIW, the natural Ash finish is generally considered to be the least sought after and therefore generally the lowest valued color, although a good part of that is most of them from that era are heavy as a MFer as it is the dated look to the cosmetics.
  19. Moopha

    Moopha Strat-O-Master

    Jan 29, 2011
    Northern Caucasus
    +1 to your words!

    I was also promised that newly refinished guitar will be looking as a real vintage one, with aged body color and a newer one under the pickguard!
  20. devnulljp

    devnulljp Strat-Talker

    Jul 11, 2012
    The thick poly on those 70s Strats isn't so great anyway. Get rid of it and you won't lose anything of value. Oly white nitro will look great (esp with a mint pickguard).
    I'd put in the black pickup covers with the flat one in the middle too :)

    How heavy is it? My 79 is a real boat anchor. I love it, but it's damn heavy.