Caught between the horns of a dilemma.

Groundwire

Strat-O-Master
Apr 16, 2021
762
Oregon
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Honestly this looks way better than expected. This is a pretty sweet guitar; just needs some love.

Another person you could send this to is someone like JW restoration. He would do everything: Pickup rewind, refret, refinish, etc. Won’t be cheap, but it’s a one stop shop and you’ll be getting top shelf work.

I bet when this is done, it will be an epic Strat. The neck and transition logo look to be in great condition. You’ll want a solid finish color for sure, to hide the routing. Good thjng White, Black, and Fiesta Red are the 3 best colors for a Strat….
 

Groundwire

Strat-O-Master
Apr 16, 2021
762
Oregon
Second, fixing the body is not a big deal, I have replaced worse butchery. Worth getting done.
Third, it deserves new frets and nut but does not need a new fingerboard!
Totally agreed! The wear on the board is great, and with some taller frets, you won’t feel any of the divots. Maybe a slight radius caul to ensure the board is true, but definitely not resurfacing, and certainly not a new board.
 

Strat Jacket

Senior Stratmaster
May 11, 2018
2,982
Illinois
Also, amazingly enough...though the Strat definitely looks dated (late '70s) at least one of my buddies has told me I should re-do it but leave the look the same, as that was my dream axe back in the day. Not sure how I feel about that, as it screams "ALTERED!" to me and would probably have any vintage aficionados running screaming for the exit. But still a thought. I have thought about doing a Warmothcaster with the leftover parts, tho...
 

Strat Jacket

Senior Stratmaster
May 11, 2018
2,982
Illinois
The only thing that detirmines the intonation is the frets, and the player’s technique of course. Assuming you don’t hammer grip the guitar, the divots will make no difference.
Well, I don't have a velvet touch...my first 5 years of playing were all acoustic and bad habits are hard to break.
 

sikoniko

Strat-O-Master
Jul 24, 2010
682
Inside A Parallel Universe
I follow JW Restorations on instagram. He does top notch work. This guitar deserves a proper restoration and the history you have with it is priceless. I would think it would be worth the investment. And you don’t have to source the vintage parts all at once… get some modern repro’s and rock out on it!
 

Butcher of Strats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2022
3,701
Maine
Consider also that "restoration" can mean many things.
You would have to pay big money to have a brand new original finish put on the body after filling wood with wood.
But then there is no evidence the body is vintage.
Or you could pay even more to have wood replaced, new finish applied, and new finish sanded off to simulate age.
Again, no real evidence it is old.
This is a late 50s Esquire body I got with several coats of paint, and after stripping just applied a simple clear "Tung Oil Finish".
Clapton and Bonny Raitt had vintage Strats with some version of natural finish, but on alder which has a nice reddish brown color.
I would guess yours is alder.
This is ash, and to most folks it does not lack mojo due to not having gotten shiny original style car paint applied.
Cool if the original finish is lost, to at least see original wood.
Even if it has scars and well done patches.
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Strat Jacket

Senior Stratmaster
May 11, 2018
2,982
Illinois
Interesting video fixing up a butchered up old Fender, note the even worse fingerboard condition


Funny you mention Dan (and the Bloomfield Tele)...
I found my original resto thread after a brief search.

 

Butcher of Strats

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 28, 2022
3,701
Maine
Funny you mention Dan (and the Bloomfield Tele)...
I found my original resto thread after a brief search.

I read through that whole 2019 thread and saw that you sent the neck to Dan for evaluation, but no mention of what he concluded?
Must have quoted some huge sum of $$$ to fix it up?
He is after all the top name in vintage guitar fixin', but hopefully he at least gave you some helpful suggestions.
I posted the Bloomfield Tele refret just to confirm that tou can keep the entire veneer board with no sanding at all if desired, just refret with tall enough frets and have it done properly by a tech who will do the least possible damage.
If original, the old frets should be removed by sliding out sideways, not by pulling up with end nippers.
That is how the frets were installed, and removal that way will not chip out the board surface.
Anyhow, hope you git-R-done good!
Might go one part at a time, give the body to a trustworthy tech first, and if that goes well give them the neck.
Really shouldnt be super costly unless your only choices are the kid at GC and a celebrity luthier!
Will you be digging the woid filler out of the body soon, to see what youre working with?
 

Strat Jacket

Senior Stratmaster
May 11, 2018
2,982
Illinois
I read through that whole 2019 thread and saw that you sent the neck to Dan for evaluation, but no mention of what he concluded?
Must have quoted some huge sum of $$$ to fix it up?
He is after all the top name in vintage guitar fixin', but hopefully he at least gave you some helpful suggestions.
I posted the Bloomfield Tele refret just to confirm that tou can keep the entire veneer board with no sanding at all if desired, just refret with tall enough frets and have it done properly by a tech who will do the least possible damage.
If original, the old frets should be removed by sliding out sideways, not by pulling up with end nippers.
That is how the frets were installed, and removal that way will not chip out the board surface.
Anyhow, hope you git-R-done good!
Might go one part at a time, give the body to a trustworthy tech first, and if that goes well give them the neck.
Really shouldnt be super costly unless your only choices are the kid at GC and a celebrity luthier!
Will you be digging the woid filler out of the body soon, to see what youre working with?
I never sent it to Dan...I got distracted by life and then Covid happened...
That's why I chose him, though. One of the best in the biz and I go back to reading his stuff in "Guitar Player" Magazine back in the 1970's...
I need to re-establish contact with him and get it sent off for eval.
As far as the body goes, I need to get busy with the Zip Strip and get those dozen-plus layers of paint off to see what I did to fill that nightmare void and go forward from there. Sounds like a good winter project, anyway.
IIRC Dan charges $450 and up for a fret job, but I'm thinking possibly only a few frets might need replacement and the rest can be leveled. Also I've seen where he has filled nut slots with his magic goo and re-cut them; that would also be to my liking as it would keep the neck as original as possible. I also need to start looking for a good rewinder that could rewind the bridge pup to factory specs so I can re-use that as well.
 

GuitarTalk

Strat-Talker
Oct 7, 2021
116
Canada
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.

I’m going purely based on the information given by the OP who said, quote:

“missing the pickguard, wiring, pots, switch, trem springs and claw and having a set of horrid Kluson tuners installed, which I replaced with Schallers […] 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[…] 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.”

So… now the math on how much OP will have to “sink”, as OP said it, “into this thing to return it to its former vintage glory”:

1) 65’ pickguard - $1,000 to $1,250
2) 65’ harness - $800 to $1000
3) 65’ trem springs and claw springs - $250 to $500
4) 65’ 2-line tuners $500 to $750
5) 65’ bridge pickup w/ cover - $500
6) Refret - $400
7) 65’ OHSC (optional) - $250 to $500

Total: $3500 - $4500

Value of a 65’ refin, all period correct/original except a rough refin and a body route: $9k to $10k. So in other words OP would net $4500 to $5500 hopefully from doing a restoration project like this + he needs to consider the hassle, risk, and time he needs to put into a guitar he clearly doesn’t even care for all that much. Correct me if I’m wrong, but OP can probably get well above $5500 by selling the guitar as is to a chopper/entry-level buyer or chop the guitar himself and make even more (as “unethical” as it may seem to some, nothing inside me is uneasy about seeing this particular guitar becoming an organ donor given its state).

1965 strats are cheaper by the dozen. Sell this thing in whole or in parts and hunt for a deal on a guitar that inspires the OP would be my suggestion (unless he already has a guitar that does it all for him, in which case, take the cash and run). Or hunt for a similar mid 60’s guitar first (that has original finish, no routes, a fretboard that inspires the OP) that’s missing some of the parts that this guitar DOES have (which should get him a nice discount) and use those parts to restore the “new” guitar to its original glory, sell the rest. Money saved, time saved, inspiration guaranteed…

Lastly, I can’t promise the OP that down the road, his current or potentially “new” strat will be worth more money; in fact, no one can. They can go to $0 and they can also go to $1,000,000 as can any other asset. BUT I can promise with a certain degree of confidence that an original cleanish 65’ will always be easier to move than a routed out, refin, restored, butchered and resurrected strat.
 
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simoncroft

Still playing. Still learning!
Silver Member
May 30, 2013
20,295
SE England
I went through a similar situation in about 1983, when I bought a chopped-about 1962 Strat for £300. Sounds like a total bargain, right? Except then, a really nice 62 would have cost me £500 tops. Well, I ended up spending £500 anyway, but ended up with a guitar that still wasn't worth as much as an original example. I really liked it though, and used it on many, many paying gigs.

This is what I suggest you do. Sink some money into getting the neck refretted and a new nut, so it plays great. Get any of the original pickups that don't work rewound by someone who really knows their stuff. Get them to rewire with quality pots and switch.

Carefully strip the body, rub down the front so there is no appreciable fluctuations where you had to fill the unwanted routs, and use Titebond to glue a veneer over. (If you don't have a press, or a shed load of clamps, turn a coffee table over, then put weights on it. It will work.) Sand down carefully, and cut through the veneer where the pickup routs are etc, filing away until it's hard to see any repair work to the unfinished guitar.

Send the body to a pro refinisher. with a decent spray job, those old body routs will hopefully be gone! Then either set the guitar up yourself, or take it to a pro luthier.

Personally, I don't think you have to replace every part with one from 1965 when the guitar is never going to be 'original'. So, I'd skip some of the more expensive options. If you keep your spend down to $1,000 - $1,500, you'll end up with a really nice guitar that also has a decent profit if you want to sell it.
 
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Strat Jacket

Senior Stratmaster
May 11, 2018
2,982
Illinois
I’m going purely based on the information given by the OP who said, quote:

“missing the pickguard, wiring, pots, switch, trem springs and claw and having a set of horrid Kluson tuners installed, which I replaced with Schallers […] 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[…] 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.”

So… now the math on how much OP will have to “sink”, as OP said it, “into this thing to return it to it's former vintage glory”:

1) 65’ pickguard - $1,000 to $1,250
2) 65’ harness - $800 to $1000
3) 65’ trem springs and claw springs - $250 to $500
4) 65’ 2-line tuners $500 to $750
5) 65’ bridge pickup w/ cover - $500
6) Refret - $400
7) 65’ OHSC (optional) - $250 to $500

Total: $3500 - $4500

Value of a 65’ refin, all period correct/original except a rough refin and a body route: $9k to $10k. So in other words OP would net $4500 to $5500 hopefully from doing a restoration project like this + he needs to consider the hassle, risk, and time he needs to put into a guitar he clearly doesn’t even care for all that much. Correct me if I’m wrong, but OP can probably get well above $5500 by selling the guitar as is to a chopper/entry-level buyer or chop the guitar himself and make even more (as “unethical” as it may seem to some, nothing inside me is uneasy about seeing this particular guitar becoming an organ donor given its state).

1965 strats are cheaper by the dozen. Sell this thing in whole or in parts and hunt for a deal on a guitar that inspires the OP would be my suggestion (unless he already has a guitar that does it all for him, in which case, take the cash and run). Or hunt for a similar mid 60’s guitar first (that has original finish, no routes, a fretboard that inspires the OP) that’s missing some of the parts that this guitar DOES have (which should get him a nice discount) and use those parts to restore the “new” guitar to its original glory, sell the rest. Money saved, time saved, inspiration guaranteed…

Lastly, I can’t promise the OP that down the road, his current or potentially “new” strat will be worth more money; in fact, no one can. They can go to $0 and they can also go to $1,000,000 as can any other asset. BUT I can promise with a certain degree of confidence that an original cleanish 65’ will always be easier to move than a routed out, refin, restored, butchered and resurrected strat.
I seriously appreciate your comments and reasoning. You are spot-on in your value assessment, which is why I'm going at this slow but steady with a lot of forethought. I saw an original '65 pickgard on eBay, asking $5000.00. I also saw a "vintage" aged pickguard on Stew Mac for $27.00 that looked identical. I might be a vintage fan but I'm not a complete idiot...it's a piece of plastic that gets the hell scratched out of it, probably worth .27 cents and I doubt anyone but a cork sniffer would really care when it was made as long as it looks the part and serves the purpose...I certainly don't! And when I decided to install the Schallers I had to go oversize (10mm, IIRC) on the peghead holes so that ship has already sailed as far as putting Klusons back on. Finishes? Fender did a number of solid colors in '65 that should make a proper wood inlay invisible under several coats of solid color (and not swelling up over time like the filler did). As long as it's as historically correct WITHIN REASON I'm fine with mix-n-match mundane vintage parts. As you said, it could end up only being worth $1000.00 in the end and I could easily sink 5K into it if I allowed it.
Last but not least...the only reason I'm really not "in love with this guitar" is because the G-string constantly pops out of the nut slot, it needs a good professional setup, it hums annoyingly (especially through a tube amp) and the frets are worn, which is aggravating especially when I have a half dozen guitars that play better. That being said, if I can bring this old relic even halfway around the curve of improvement, I'll be happy as a lark! If that much happens I intend to go right back to playing the hell out of it. If that all makes sense?
 

Groundwire

Strat-O-Master
Apr 16, 2021
762
Oregon
That being said, if I can bring this old relic even halfway around the curve of improvement, I'll be happy as a lark! If that much happens I intend to go right back to playing the hell out of it. If that all makes sense?
This is exactly why you restore it. You don’t need all vintage parts. A repro pickguard, saddles, and springs will likely be just fine. You could always swap parts down the line, but by bit, if you find decent deals here and there. But the main thing is getting it playing and sounding great, and I’m pretty sure you can do this easily. Who knows, it may blow away all your other guitars once it’s done. Even if it doesn’t, it’s a labor of love and a great story.
 

NobodyReally

Strat-Talker
Oct 22, 2022
334
Sikeston MO
That body is very fixable, especially if you're finishing in a solid color. If the neck is straight, lay on a new board and frets, and let er rip. I can't see replacing bits that are repairable. If it's too much right now to restore the neck, I would bolt on a warmoth or some such to get it playable but stash the original away until you can get around to getting the work done. I'm sure that guitar won't mind. 🙂
 

Oldiemurphy

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 23, 2022
1,266
Austin, TX
Apart from the area behind the bridge, is the black finish original?

If so, I would not refinish it. You could possibly smooth the rout seams and retouch that one spot, since it's already been altered. If you could get the original bridge pickup rewound it would probably be worth it. I think your instincts about getting a pickguard that looks close to original without paying all the money for an actual '65, is right. And I agree that you could probably get the nut grooves fixed.

Anyway, to my way if thinking, I'd restore in the least intrusive ways.
 


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