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And so it begins.

Discussion in 'Pre-CBS Strats (before 1966)' started by Strat Jacket, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. Strat Jacket

    Strat Jacket Senior Stratmaster

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    After much Q&A here on Strat-Talk, and discussion with others (as well as myself) I have finally made the first move towards restoring my '65 Strat.
    Now, I use the term "restoring" loosely, as reconstructing a vintage guitar using original 'period' parts can get really pricey and not always give you the return on investment (ROI) you think it might.

    Let's start at the beginning. I picked this guitar up as a basket case back around 1976-77. It was completely disassembled, the body stripped of paint, and some previous owner had the nightmarish conception that they were going to ditch the standard Strat trem bridge and install, of all things, a Bigsby trem. :eek: Worse yet, whoever it was had also concocted the idea that they would rout around the bridge area and do a contrasting fleur de lis inlay with dark wood...one of those "what were they thinking?" things...I was told that the Strat had belonged a local band called "Hot Mama Silver" who were pretty active in this area during the 70's. There is only one video on YouTube featuring HMS pieced together with a bunch of stills, nowhere in any of those shots do I see a Strat. In fact, all I see is guitarist Bob Stanley playing a Gibson, so I really doubt the validity of this claim. However, due to the finish being completely gone from the back of the neck and really heavy wear on the frets and fretboard, I'm guessing this guitar was gigged pretty hard. While I've own and played it for 40+ years now, I've never gigged it and rarely played out with it. Somebody rode this horse hard and put it away wet long before I ever laid hands on it, and bear in mind that when I got it, it was only a little over 10 years old and somebody had spent a bit of time butchering it as well. A lot of hard wear for a decade.
    In hindsight, I probably paid too much for it in 1977 dollars, but I got the hardshell case and it had the small sixties headstock, which I preferred. Even though there were a number of parts missing, I figured "I can make this a really cool hot-rod guitar", and set out to do so.
    Had I known the astounding values that vintage pre-CBS Strats would climb to, I might have taken a different approach up to and including saving the parts I didn't reuse. But at the time, I was just buying a box of junk, so who cared?

    to be continued...

    Here's the video of HMS: Tell me if you spot a Strat anywhere!

     
  2. Groovey

    Groovey Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Very exciting! Can't wait to see this progress.
     
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  3. Mipstoo

    Mipstoo Senior Stratmaster

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    Go on.... ;)

    Any pictures of how it looks today?
     
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  4. T Guitar Floyd

    T Guitar Floyd Senior Stratmaster

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    Wow! I was in bands like that in the 60s and 70s. :cool: Which instrument did you play in the band?
    Love the guitar down around the knees! :)
     
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  5. dueducs

    dueducs Senior Stratmaster

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    Didn't spot the Strat , but I did spot a tasty R75/6 scooter. :D:D
     
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  6. Strat Jacket

    Strat Jacket Senior Stratmaster

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    I was never in the band. Supposedly the Strat was, but I have my doubts. I think it was an urban legend designed to talk me into buying the Strat. It worked.:confused:
     
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  7. Strat Jacket

    Strat Jacket Senior Stratmaster

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    You too, huh? Nice bike.
    No, I didn't see a Strat anywhere in that montage either.
     
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  8. Strat Jacket

    Strat Jacket Senior Stratmaster

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    I have pictures from earlier this year:

    The Eighties look...cool then, but now...not so much.
    [​IMG]

    Today it looks like a pile of parts.:)
     
  9. Mipstoo

    Mipstoo Senior Stratmaster

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    :eek::eek::eek:
    It definitely needs some work to make it look like a pre-cbs... ;)
     
  10. Strat Jacket

    Strat Jacket Senior Stratmaster

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    So, back to the storyline...

    Time was of the essence. I had just finished up 2 years of college and was leaving out-of-state for another 18 months of tech school, so I had a lot on my plate and not much time to accomplish it. I had no intentions of letting the guitar sit for 2 years in my absence. I determined that the fret and fingerboard wear needed to be addressed, but not at that moment. I guessed I could live with it a while. Little did I know "a while" would encompass 40 years.:rolleyes:
    I checked out the Kluson tuners that came with it and immediately deemed them junk. Ugly, loose, wobbly things pocked with surface rust on the back covers...ugh. (Little did I know those Klusons would be very highly collectible in 30 years). I ordered up a set of Schaller M6 tuners and had my guitar buddy Tom (a recent grad of Roberto Venn School of Luthiery) help install them. He managed to twist off one of the screw heads on one of the new tuners, but there was enough screw shank to keep it from moving, so I filed that under "later" and moved on.

    Schaller M6 tuners

    [​IMG]

    Note the twisted off screw head at the bottom of the photo

    [​IMG]

    Close-up of the Schallers. Note the holes and cover imprints left from the original Klusons

    [​IMG]

    The finish was worn off the back of the neck to bare wood. I thought this was kind of cool in a Randy Bachman sort of way (rumor was that Randy took after the necks on his guitars with sandpaper because he hated sticky gloss finishes) and since the clock was ticking, I had no time to waste on such foolishness anyway. I left it as it was (thank goodness!) Though I had ordered fret wire, Tom was too busy to get to it so the neck got set aside as "finished for the moment" and I got to work on the body. Looking back, I am so glad we never messed with the frets at the time.

    To be continued...
     
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  11. Strat Jacket

    Strat Jacket Senior Stratmaster

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    On to the body.
    It's probably a good thing Warmoth was not in biz back then, because I almost certainly would have tossed the original body on the firewood pile. Remember; back then this guitar was nothing much different from a beat-to-snot 10-year old Mexi Strat in today's day and age. Fortunately, I decided to work with what I had. I honestly can say I can't remember exactly what I did to fix the horrendous routing nightmare the PO had created, but I'm pretty sure it involved Plastic Wood filler in large amounts. I know I may have some surprises in order when I get to stripping the paint. Bottom line; when I had finished with my sanding, the butchery was virtually invisible. Several coats of sandable primer, wet-sanding in-between coats left a body that looked pretty much like a new, primed body.

    I had decided from the get-go that I wanted a black Strat, so color choice was a no-brainer. Tom had told me the best way to get perceived depth was multi-coats of color with a clear lacquer cover coat to add depth, so I fashioned a 'handle' to bolt up to the neck pocket and bought a bunch of black rattle-can lacquer and got to spraying.
    In retrospect, I can most definitely say I must have rushed it. Though I thought the lacquer was fully cured when I assembled the guitar, my recent post-mortem last week clearly showed it was not, as a bunch of it remained firmly stuck to the neck, bridge, and pickguard. And there are spots on the back of the body where the crushed velvet from the inside of the case left marks in the finish. Oven curing on low heat probably would have helped immensely, as would probably just waiting longer in between coats. But as I said, I was a man on a mission, and in a hurry to boot.
    I would spray a couple light coats, then wet sand most of it off with 600 grit wet-or-dry...lather, rinse, repeat. In the end, I ended up with probably a dozen or more coats (no hyperbole here) and it was really thick, but smooth as glass. I finish-sanded it with 1500 grit W/D and left it to hang for a week, then applied 3 or 4 coats of clear lacquer, wet sanding in between with 1500. I was pretty proud of myself when I finished. It looked like a brand new body. Leaving that to hang, I moved on to the electronics portion.

    To be continued...
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
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  12. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Strat-Talk Supporter

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    What's the deal with the other holes there? As you say, you replaced the Klusons with the current ones. Is it possible a previous owner put different tuners on then reinstalled the tuners? That would account for the extra offset holes...
     
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  13. Mipstoo

    Mipstoo Senior Stratmaster

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    Yes, I count a lot of holes...
     
  14. Strat Jacket

    Strat Jacket Senior Stratmaster

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    Honestly, no idea. It does seem like an awful lot of holes, doesn't it?
     
  15. Strat Jacket

    Strat Jacket Senior Stratmaster

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    It almost looks like a set of inline Klusons had been installed either before or after the individual ones? Since I no longer have them, I can't say for sure what was on there. 40 years was a long time ago. Only thing for sure was that I hated them.:rolleyes:
     
  16. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Did it have these:

    [​IMG]

    or these:

    [​IMG]

    My guess is both ;) Fairly common for the originals to be replaced with the 70s style. My headstock shows evidence of this too.
     
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  17. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Here's a shot of my headstock with those extra holes (filled). Whoever filled the holes when reinstalling the original tuners also filled the clamp hole!

    It's the second 63 strat I've had with those extra holes from retro fitted "F" tuners. Fortunately the F tuners fit the same size hole as the Klusons, so the tuner holes weren't enlarged:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Mipstoo

    Mipstoo Senior Stratmaster

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    My bet is on both as well
     
  19. Strat Jacket

    Strat Jacket Senior Stratmaster

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    The tuners definitely said "Kluson"...beyond that I couldn't say for sure any more.
     
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  20. Strat Jacket

    Strat Jacket Senior Stratmaster

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    I'm gonna go with Door Number One. The ribbed covers on the top pic are jogging the old memory bank. I don't recall any F-covers, but who knows what transpired before I got it...
     
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