Caught between the horns of a dilemma.

Strat Jacket

Senior Stratmaster
May 11, 2018
3,021
Illinois
The back story...Some of you may recall from posts in years gone by that I have a 1965 Stratocaster. Not a re-issue, a vintage '65.
I bought it disassembled circa 1978. It was a train wreck, missing the pickguard, wiring, pots, switch, trem springs and claw and having a set of horrid Kluson tuners installed, which I replaced with Schallers. It had obviously been strung with heavy gauge strings as the nut slots are way too loose for the .009s I prefer and the G string pops out of the nut every time I bend it...which is all the time. The frets are badly worn and the fretboard has divots from years of heavy playing; partly from me, and partly from the PO. The lead pup is simply a bobbin with no windings for whatever reason. I slapped a Fat Strat in the lead pup position and put a chrome pickguard on. The wiring and pots I bought way back when are junk. No shielding on the wiring, and this thing hums like a swarm of mosquitos as a result.
But that's not the worst part...
The PO, in his infinite wisdom, decided to install a Bigsby (WHY? For Pete's sake, WHY?) but thankfully never got around to it. He did, however, rout a huge fleur de lis in the top surrounding the bridge cutout, which I managed to fill using scrap wood and wood filler back in the day. It looked OK, played OK, but I never really liked it. In fact, when I bought my 2nd Strat in '02, I pretty much relegated it to the case for the most part. The '02 plays, feels, and sounds better, stays in tune far better and has pretty much been my go-to since I got it in 2004. When the neck pup crapped out a couple years ago, I decided to tear the '65 down and give it a proper rebuild. So, here's the thing;
I realize that with all the trauma induced upon this poor thing, in reality it's nothing more than a Partscaster...even though the neck and body are original. I figure redoing the neck will probably cost me in the $400.00 range (frets, nut and fretboard) and doing a proper inlay of alder on the top will likely run me a couple hundred minimum. It would be far easier to just get a Warmoth pre-finished vintage body, but now I'm looking at even more of a Partscaster. Thankfully the neck pup issue turned out to be a wiring problem. Now I know vintage Strats are fetching tons of money these days, but something tells me if I sink all the money into this thing to return it to it's former vintage glory, I'll never get back what I put into it, even if I did decide to sell it (which at this point in time I won't). In fact, I'm quite sure I could build a partscaster for less than it will cost to rebuild this one properly using a new neck and body.
Common sense tells me just put it back together correcting what I can and play it on occasion. The Village Idiot in me keeps whispering to put it back together with vintage or vintage correct parts and have a professional repair the inlay disaster with a nice piece of matching alder. As it is, I'm kind of paralyzed with indecision so it just sits in the case in pieces. Am I totally out of line thinking there might be some genuine collector value if I handle this properly, or is this just another partscaster?
Thanks in advance for any input from both players and vintage Strat experts.
 

Groundwire

Strat-O-Master
Apr 16, 2021
762
Oregon
My $.02 is that pretty much all vintage Strats deserve to be restored to their full glory as much as reasonably possible.

With new frets, nut, and setup, it will probably play awesome.

Get the original bridge pickup rewound by JM Rolph or another vintage correct rewinder.

Get the routing in the body filled. Have it professionally wired up.

Get some Raw Vintage trem springs, and use all 5 of them, so it has proper vintage feel.

Then play the hell out of it.

It may never be worth a crazy amount, but it might be your dream Strat when it’s done. That said, even restored it will have some value, as just the neck alone is worth some dough.

Good luck and please take lots of before and after pictures.
 

Strat Jacket

Senior Stratmaster
May 11, 2018
3,021
Illinois
Thanks for the insightful answer! I've already posted a bunch of pix here a few years back (pre-disassembly) and I'll try to link them to this thread or re-post them. This is probably the closest I will ever come to owning a classic vintage guitar, so even if it doesn't come out perfect, it could be the next best thing for me.
 
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Groundwire

Strat-O-Master
Apr 16, 2021
762
Oregon
Thanks for the insightful answer! I've already posted a bunch of pix here a few years back (pre-disassembly) and I'll try to link them to this thread or re-post them. This is probably the closest I will ever come to owning a classic vintage guitar, so even if it doesn't come out perfect, it could be the next best thing for me.
It’s not the closest thing, it IS a classic vintage guitar, and with a little love, it might be more enjoyable for you than a pristine example that you’re afraid to take out, or get a scratch on…
 

Jimbo99

Senior Stratmaster
Jun 5, 2021
3,452
Palm Coast, FL
Take some photos of it, kind of hard to make any recommendations without seeing the patient first. Fender doesn't do restorations like Gibson will. And it's never going to be the original 1965, but that doesn't mean it won't be quite a restoration from a 3rd party. If you do decide to restore, I realize it sounds selfish but I wouldn't sell it after going thru the process of a complete restoration. I'd leave that call for the heirs to your estate. The whole concept of the modular Fender guitar was that parts are parts. So they all are partscasters or originals waiting to become the next partscaster.

Just me, but if you're considering Warmoth body. A Warmoth neck also makes sense and just put the 1965 back to a complete partscaster it is now. And if you can live with limited Fender body & neck selections, the only justification that makes sense to go Warmoth is a custom color for the body & custom options for a neck that Fender doesn't do unless you deal with their Custom Shop. Ensenada Fender makes MiM bodies ($ 249.99) & necks ($ 299.99) that Warmoth would charge close to $ 400 or more for each finished wood piece. You'd just have to really like the 3TSB, Red or Black that Ensenada limits replacement wood pieces.

Looking forward to the photos. May not be as much work involved.
 

bbarott

Most Honored Senior Member
Mar 29, 2010
7,601
Marietta Georgia
My $.02 is that pretty much all vintage Strats deserve to be restored to their full glory as much as reasonably possible.

With new frets, nut, and setup, it will probably play awesome.

Get the original bridge pickup rewound by JM Rolph or another vintage correct rewinder.

Get the routing in the body filled. Have it professionally wired up.

Get some Raw Vintage trem springs, and use all 5 of them, so it has proper vintage feel.

Then play the hell out of it.

It may never be worth a crazy amount, but it might be your dream Strat when it’s done. That said, even restored it will have some value, as just the neck alone is worth some dough.

Good luck and please take lots of before and after pictures.
I tend to agree with this, or most of it. The guitar deserves and will benefit from a bit of TLC but honestly I think you should do this without consideration of resale value. That may come but you will likely not get back what you put into it dollar-wise. It will come back in the satisfaction of putting it right, or as close to right as can reasonably be done. For me personally there's tons of value in that.
 

Strat Jacket

Senior Stratmaster
May 11, 2018
3,021
Illinois
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GuitarTalk

Strat-Talker
Oct 7, 2021
117
Canada
I would only restore if the body has no routes and finish is original… the premium between an original finish/not routed guitar in original form vs not is very enticing. Once you get into the refin territory (especially with opaque finishes) with routs on the body… it’s almost NEVER financially worth to restore the guitar. Especially if you’ve been uninspired by it for so long.

Just to put things into perspective… guys hunt out “all original but body refin” strats and teles to SELL their parts individually for an easy 50%+ return. Who buys those parts? Guys with all original finish strats and teles who JUST need that one period-correct part to return their super rare guitar closer to collector grade.
 

Groundwire

Strat-O-Master
Apr 16, 2021
762
Oregon
I tend to agree with this, or most of it. The guitar deserves and will benefit from a bit of TLC but honestly I think you should do this without consideration of resale value. That may come but you will likely not get back what you put into it dollar-wise. It will come back in the satisfaction of putting it right, or as close to right as can reasonably be done. For me personally there's tons of value in that.
Agreed. This would be a labor of love, and not an investment for future profit. The satisfaction of restoring an old guitar definitely has tons of value.
 

Strat Jacket

Senior Stratmaster
May 11, 2018
3,021
Illinois
Everything said so far makes perfect sense. Please understand...it's not about money...that would only come into play with my survivors after I'm gone. Because I'm never gonna sell it unless I'm desperate. It's more about doing justice to a guitar that's been with me 40+ years and deserves better than it got first time around from a broke guy not even in his twenties yet, and has been beat to hell. I fully realize for the money I'm about to put into it that I could get a decent brand-new MIA Fender Strat reissue. But I'm reminded we really don't 'own' anything...we are just caretakers until we hand it off to the next generation for their 'shift'. Maybe I should include my son in the mix as he'll most likely be the next owner?
 

Butcher of Strats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2022
3,867
Maine
I would only restore if the body has no routes and finish is original… the premium between an original finish/not routed guitar in original form vs not is very enticing. Once you get into the refin territory (especially with opaque finishes) with routs on the body… it’s almost NEVER financially worth to restore the guitar. Especially if you’ve been uninspired by it for so long.

Just to put things into perspective… guys hunt out “all original but body refin” strats and teles to SELL their parts individually for an easy 50%+ return. Who buys those parts? Guys with all original finish strats and teles who JUST need that one period-correct part to return their super rare guitar closer to collector grade.
Interesting opinion but I think your observation of guys who strip vintage guitars to sell them as parts, does not mean this guitar will not be worth the cost of replacing the body routed wood and refretting the neck.
 


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