Buying a 1971-1974 Stratocaster would appreciate any advice!

hrstrat57

Strat-Talker
Jun 11, 2016
277
RI
3 bolt Strat is a absolutely mandatory hands on purchase.

I have a 76 hardtail that is a lightweight tone monster. I had a 74 that was literally such a POS I gave it to a good friends son.

A great one is magical tho and well worth the quest.

Good luck!
 

ptb1

Strat-O-Master
Aug 20, 2020
652
Norway
it would take a suicidal sales clerk with a raging death wish to try to sell Blackmore a crappy Strat. He had decades of experience by the time the '70s rolled around
Blackmore choosed 70s for his certain reasons - and he was only aming at the "right" neck that had the right "feeling". It was his tech´s that picked out potential guitars in the shops, and those he liked, they glued the neck to the body to make it more rigid. Blackmore had/has a lot of 70s Strats - but only a few has been his master Strats during all these years. The later years he has mostly used his ´77.
 

ptb1

Strat-O-Master
Aug 20, 2020
652
Norway
When it comes to prices I know, and I see how the prices for a 70s Strat has increased during the last years - and still increasing.
It still seems to be kind of a divide at 75<->76, the earlier ones "naturally" more expencive than the newer ones.

As added info regarding prices, I payed 1400,- to 1450,- Euro (depending on the exchange rate) for this ´79:
https://www.strat-talk.com/threads/ngd-79-stratocaster.563472/
 

Cerb

Anti conformist reformist
Jan 22, 2016
15,162
Sweden
When it comes to prices I know, and I see how the prices for a 70s Strat has increased during the last years - and still increasing.
It still seems to be kind of a divide at 75<->76, the earlier ones "naturally" more expencive than the newer ones.

As added info regarding prices, I payed 1400,- to 1450,- Euro (depending on the exchange rate) for this ´79:
https://www.strat-talk.com/threads/ngd-79-stratocaster.563472/

That looks like a kick a** guitar! Congratulations!
 

nutball73

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 12, 2013
3,492
Southern UK
Call me shallow but I can never get over the naked truss rod hole on Suhr's. If I was to spend all that money on a guitar I'd at least want some black plastic around there.

Have you played one? When you do a) you can't see the truss rod hole but more importantly b) you'll find they play so well you forgive them...:thumb:
 

Old Tone

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 8, 2019
17
Louisville, KY
No worries matey.

I'm going to take my time with this one and get to test out a few here in Sydney when they come up for sale this way I dont also have the extra cost of freight and I can make sure its a decent player.

Partsie: Pure and simple, a 70's Strat is a "tweener", sandwiched between the Leo years and the William Schultz era. Gone were the labor intensive multi-layer lacquer finishes, cloth wiring, hand wound pickups, high strength steel bridges, heel truss rods, etc.. Hello to the 3-bolt neck, which will wiggle slightly, in the neck pocket, simply by grabbing the head, while holding onto the body and applying a minor amount of force! These are facts and impossible to argue as benefits.

However, I can say, objectively, (as I still own Strats from each of these era's and play out weekly), that my '73 is the most "Straty-sounding" one in the bunch and has held up like a champ since I bought it second hand in 1978. The "quack" is undeniable and perhaps it's just mine, but the neck pickup setting is the purest, most "un-muddy" clear tone as I've ever played. Yes, it is all original.

In short, my experience is that if an all original early '70's Strat is available, for less than a new comparable Custom Shop, I give it a huge thumbs up. The old vibe is in there, which is impossible to equate. I own Custom Shops and they are GREAT, but for some reason the individual mojo feedback you get from a 48 year old guitar further inspires the playing experience.

Thanks for reading.
 

Cerb

Anti conformist reformist
Jan 22, 2016
15,162
Sweden
Have you played one? When you do a) you can't see the truss rod hole but more importantly b) you'll find they play so well you forgive them...:thumb:
Never. I don't touch guitars with naked truss rod holes ;)

I've played a lot of other strats, including some CS Fenders. I've never liked one better than my 1977 Strat.
 

nutball73

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 12, 2013
3,492
Southern UK
Never. I don't touch guitars with naked truss rod holes ;)

I've played a lot of other strats, including some CS Fenders. I've never liked one better than my 1977 Strat.

Off topic, I know. I've played a lot of Custom Shop strats and none play better than my partscaster. But every single Suhr I've ever played beat every single Fender I've played hands down. They really are worth a try, just make sure your wallet is full when you do. My partscaster still wins, but if I didn't have it I know what I'd be buying!
 

Parksie

Strat-O-Master
Sep 6, 2020
916
Sydney
Partsie: Pure and simple, a 70's Strat is a "tweener", sandwiched between the Leo years and the William Schultz era. Gone were the labor intensive multi-layer lacquer finishes, cloth wiring, hand wound pickups, high strength steel bridges, heel truss rods, etc.. Hello to the 3-bolt neck, which will wiggle slightly, in the neck pocket, simply by grabbing the head, while holding onto the body and applying a minor amount of force! These are facts and impossible to argue as benefits.

However, I can say, objectively, (as I still own Strats from each of these era's and play out weekly), that my '73 is the most "Straty-sounding" one in the bunch and has held up like a champ since I bought it second hand in 1978. The "quack" is undeniable and perhaps it's just mine, but the neck pickup setting is the purest, most "un-muddy" clear tone as I've ever played. Yes, it is all original.

In short, my experience is that if an all original early '70's Strat is available, for less than a new comparable Custom Shop, I give it a huge thumbs up. The old vibe is in there, which is impossible to equate. I own Custom Shops and they are GREAT, but for some reason the individual mojo feedback you get from a 48 year old guitar further inspires the playing experience.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks mate for providing your experience and insight!

Your 73 sounds amazing.

I really don’t want to buy a custom shop guitar as these days they seem to be really common. I would prefer to find an original early 70’s guitar in good shape.

I’m not in any particular hurry and will take the time to wait for the right one to come up also at the right price.

Cheers.
 

ptb1

Strat-O-Master
Aug 20, 2020
652
Norway
^ When you dream of an early original 70s - go for your dream, no matter what "everybody tells ;).

Why did I buy an original 70s when I already had the AVRI and two MIM 70s Classic?
Simply just cause I wanted one.

But, the advice - as many already have written - check it out (if possible) before buying.
 
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crashbelt

Strat-O-Master
Feb 27, 2012
903
England
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.
You're right about the reaming for the repro tuners - I remember doing that now. I don't regard that as a big deal on a 74 - its not a 64 or a 54! You're wrong about the other points though:D
 

gogaterz

Strat-Talk Member
Feb 26, 2010
49
PA
For that kind of money you better be willing to tear it apart to make sure everything is legit. Other wise, like "kurher" said, get a nice Custom Shop with exactly what you want.
 

hrstrat57

Strat-Talker
Jun 11, 2016
277
RI



Don’t overlook 76 Strats, again hands on required but gems can be found! This one would be a nice get imho!
 
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Slartybartfast

Strat-Talker
Aug 10, 2020
395
Ca.
I am thinking of buying a early 70's strat.

Ideally a 1972, 1973 or 1974.

Ive done a little research and prefer a 3 colour sunburst with a rosewood neck.

I would appreciate any tips or advice any one may have.

Anything to be wary of or any red flags?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Cheers from Sydney.



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Gotta love those conventional wisdoms, slagging 70's strats among them. I was a teen-ager back then, hanging around the music shops until they threw me out. They were fine guitars. That was basically crap spread around by rock-stars in Guitar Player Magazine who owned 56's and 63's and everybody bought into it. Fenders were never perfect or consistent and quality control was always dodgy until the mid 80's when you could be confident you'd get a consistently mediocre guitar every time. I have a 95 strat and it's easily my least favorite. No rule says you have to use the tone robbing micro-tilt - Fender still uses that stupid thing to this day - and the zinc bridges didn't come until about 76 or 77, but you said early 70's. Even so, a good steel bridge is a cost effective and totally reversible mod. Also 80's and 90's strats had zinc blocks. As for the pickups, the reason so many replaced them was basically for one reason -suddenly we could! It was the 70's, man! DiMarzio and others just popped up, fixing a problem we never actually knew we had, plus hotter meant better then and guitar players are an experimental lot. If DiMarzio and Duncan came along in '60 or '65 we'd have been doing the same exact thing. YES! go get it if you have the money!
 

mazzolar59

Strat-Talker
Silver Member
Apr 27, 2018
258
Chicago
I am thinking of buying a early 70's strat.

Ideally a 1972, 1973 or 1974.

Ive done a little research and prefer a 3 colour sunburst with a rosewood neck.

I would appreciate any tips or advice any one may have.

Anything to be wary of or any red flags?

Thanks in advance for any help.

Cheers from Sydney.



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My first brand new guitar was a '72 strat in black. It was pretty good but, nothing special. The quality control at Fender was really hit or miss in the '70s. If you can get one for a reasonable price, go for it. But I wouldn't spend more than $2000 on one.
 


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