Buying a 1971-1974 Stratocaster would appreciate any advice!

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Parksie, May 23, 2021.

  1. Mac62

    Mac62 Strat-Talker

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    Don Randall said that CBS was as interested in keeping up the quality as the instruments from the Leo Fender era. The new owner's changes would suggest differently.
     
  2. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Senior Stratmaster

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    @Parksie what's the reason behind the acquisition? This is relevant to getting advice. If it's a collector thing, I'd probably only care about originality, condition and the price tag. If it's for playing, I'm not sure that getting a 70s Fender is an avenue I'd pursue. Don't get me wrong, as many here attest some great ones were still made and I am in no way suggesting that their strats are inferior under any respect. But you'd probably get as good if not better a playing experience – and certainly more consistent production standards – buying one of the many 70s reissues around… including Vinteras. At a sane price, too!

    BTW I had a late '70s and it had all the flaws usually associated with 70s strats: heavy as ****, thickly coated in poly, weak-sounding pickups. I still have fond memories of it because I had it when I was very, very young and it was my first real strat. Still, I was quite thrilled when I exchanged it for an American Standard many years later, and even more thrilled upon getting my AVRIs.

    YMMV of course, but just make sure you're clear about why you'f want to pay premium for a 70s strat over a current production reissue (indeed, the same question applies, to my mind, for players looking to spend big money on a 50s or 60s Fender).
     
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  3. Parksie

    Parksie Strat-Talker

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    There are a couple of reasons why I am thinking of an early 70's Stratocaster.

    I have checked a few on line videos of guys playing early 70's guitars and to be honest to my ears they sound great.

    An example of Thomas Hoffmann from Vintage Guitar Oldenburg is below:



    Take a moment to have a listen to this guy play (pure joy to my ears at least)

    I like the history of a guitar and generally a true Vintage guitar as opposed to anything new.

    I have a 2011 Les Paul Custom that I bought brand new but in regards to Strats I'm keen for history and vintage.

    At the moment I'm not willing to outlay the cash for a 1969 or 1970 4 bolt strat so this led me to looking at the early 70's guitars.

    Ive read a lot of bad things about 70's strats like a lot of people however when you dig deeper a lot of reviews say that the early 70's guitars are great.

    Cerb also mentioned here today that the prices of the pre CBS guitars drives up the prices of the late 60's and early 70's guitars and I know this is true.

    So I am looking for a 100% original not messed with strat that I can play and enjoy.

    I think that the combination of the sunburst with the rosewood is pretty darn hard to beat.

    hope this helps understand my thinking.

    Cheers.


    Fender73StratSBRW515767_4.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2021
  4. Parksie

    Parksie Strat-Talker

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    Hey everyone....its a bit quiet in the advice area for a 71-74 strat :(
     
  5. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

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    Parksie, you've surely got enough advice above? Or are you waiting for positive affirmation?
     
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  6. kurher

    kurher Strat-Talker

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    If you want an all original one, you need to learn how to identify all the little bits and pieces, which might take time and then actually find one that fits the bill, which is not easy.
     
  7. Parksie

    Parksie Strat-Talker

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    To be honest with you I haven't got any where near enough advice.

    I'm genuinely interested in opinion and comments so I can make a more informed decision.

    So no, Im not waiting for positive affirmation but thanks for checking.
     
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  8. kurher

    kurher Strat-Talker

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    A few notes here.
    Staggered polepiece pickups are not better, only more desirable because they're like the 50s and 60s in that regard. Hardtails still have "tone-sucking" die-cast saddles and there are no modern replacements for the "poor quality" F tuners (1st generation). If you want to use the new versions you have to ream out the holes on the headstock.
     
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  9. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Senior Stratmaster

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    Gotcha. As I see it: the sound and look you like so much can be had for substantially less money with a reissue. On this at least I am quite positive even though each guitar is a story unto itself. So all the premium you pay on top of the ≈1000-1500 you'd pay for an AVRI 70s, or of the sub-800 for a Vintera 70s, is for the thrill and fascination of a vintage instrument. Which is perfectly fine, of course!

    As you venture in that territory, there are only two rules really:
    - Be extra-thorough on your research of what each part for each year is supposed to look like (check guitarhq, fuzzfaced and the other usual suspects). I am not saying you need to get a pristine guitar – I personally like the idea of getting good vintage instruments whose price has returned to "sane" because some parts were swapped out or because of a refin. Just don't pay premium prices for such an instrument.
    - Always, always try before you buy. This is a golden rule for each and every vintage instrument because the guitar you'll buy will be 50 years old and in 50 years lots of things can happen to it. Plus everyone – including the most passionate 70s strat fans out there, whom I salute – agrees that quality control went down at increasing pace during that era. I cannot claim vast experience with vintage Fenders but I must have had about fifteen in my hands, ranging from a "Holy Grail" '56 strat to early 70s teles and all points in between. In most cases I had a modern-production, mid-priced guitar handy for A/Bs. All but five of those I tried had developed issues of varying severity or had other flaws (early 70s teles I tried were all boat anchors). Only a couple of those vintage instruments were "wow" – an amazing '55 Esquire and a truly exquisite '66 blonde tele – and the 60s Baja I tested alongside them was not far behind, so much so that I eventually did not buy the 66 (the Esquire was totally out of price range).

    If you're paying that kind of money, make sure you get an instrument you love!

    And here, a little vid to spur you on on your quest ;D She could have had anything but her "dream guitar" was a 1970 strat!



    PS: I listened to the vid you posted above. It does sound great! Not sure it reflects some special sonic quality of early 70s strat – actually, that'd be an interesting discussion… is there a special 70s strat tone? To my ears it sound just like a good strat very competently played through a top-notch rig. Which means, as said: sounds great!
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2021
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  10. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    He doesn't want advice, that's quite obvious by now.
     
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  11. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

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    I think @RadioFM74 has given you comprehensive information, and you have opinions from both sides. It's a risky proposition, so try before you buy.

    A "correct" 70s strat will have the obvious appointments (bullet truss rod, string trees, big headstock, narrow nut) and then trapezoid/F tuners, pot metal bridge with unique saddles, three-screw neck of variable fit, and pickups that varied in windings dependent on the year - some weak, others not so. The finish was always thick poly. The body contours became increasingly "blocky" as the years went by.
     
  12. Parksie

    Parksie Strat-Talker

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    Thats great advice mate. Much appreciated.

    I guess the biggest take out from what you have said is to play the guitar before you buy it.

    Thats a bummer in a way as down here in Australia my options will be quite limited.

    However I guess I'll just have to wait and see what come my way.

    Currently my AVRI is keeping me pretty happy so I wont have any issues waiting.

    Thanks again and appreciate the time you took to provide your insight and advice.

    Cheers.
     
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  13. Parksie

    Parksie Strat-Talker

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    Thanks for adding this info it much appreciated.
     
  14. Parksie

    Parksie Strat-Talker

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    Let me be very clear in case you missed something.

    I did want advice.
     
  15. Parksie

    Parksie Strat-Talker

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    Thats great advice mate. Much appreciated.

    I guess the biggest take out from what you have said is to play the guitar before you buy it.

    Thats a bummer in a way as down here in Australia my options will be quite limited.

    However I guess I'll just have to wait and see what come my way.

    Currently my AVRI is keeping me pretty happy so I wont have any issues waiting.

    Thanks again and appreciate the time you took to provide your insight and advice.

    Cheers.
     
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  16. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Senior Stratmaster

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    Or make sure you have an ironclad, no-questions-asked return policy. A little more potential hassle and expense, but a much bigger market! Take care!
     
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  17. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist

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    Mine isn't (either thick or poly) but I'm not sure what it is. When I sweat on it, it turns milky white and I can scrape it off with my finger nail. It sounds bad but it's very comfortable to play, kind of matte and smooth as silk. I've read some rumor about CBS experimenting with water based finishes towards the end of the 70's, I don't know if it's correct but the finish on my guitar seems to at least be sweat soluble.

    The pickups are pretty weak and microphonic as f**k but I really like them. By turning up the gain, bass and treble while turning down the mids and guitar volume I can get a pretty convincing Hendrix (Little Wing) tone.

    Mine's mostly original and worn as hell, but in good playing condition with fairly new frets. It cost me $850 four years ago and I bought it (knowing the reputation of CBS strats) with the intention of possibly flipping it for a small profit. I ended up selling my other strat instead and never looked back.
     
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  18. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist

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    Yes, but a must. Or buy it cheap enough that you know you can get your money back regardless of what you discover.
     
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  19. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist

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    That does sound great. I could post a video of me playing mine, if you want to be deterred...
     
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  20. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    Deathtrap!

    Freeeeeebiiiirrrddd!