Seeking 1963 Stratocaster Restoration Advice

Discussion in 'Pre-CBS Strats (before 1966)' started by Fourfingers, Feb 14, 2021.

  1. crashbelt

    crashbelt Strat-O-Master

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    I'd leave it alone too. It can never be restored to its original spec with those irreversible mods and they are a quirky part of its one-owner back story!

    Whilst Huw Price's restoration of the Chris Buck Strat was a superb piece of craftsmanship, the bit that stands out unattractively to me is the filled hole in the guard - that would really bug me.

    Still, we all have our different opinions and red lines, so good luck whichever route you go.
     
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  2. Nokie

    Nokie Strat-Talker

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    The most sensible advise is to leave it alone, fer sure. While that is the most sensible advise, it is not what I would do. Personally, I'd try to bring it back to original state as much as possible, 'cause that's the Strat I like to play - with the original vintage appointments. I'd be getting that route filled and trying to match the paint in the route to make the repair as undetectable as possible. Yes, nobody sees that route under the pickguard but I'm also one who just put a wax and paper cap in a '50's reissue Jazzmaster even though nobody can see it and not because I can tell any difference in sound -I can't. Ideally, it would get an original pickguard but realistically I'd be happy with a good repro and then slap in the original pickups, switches and wiring. Alternatively, you could use the original pickguard with the Jag switches removed and cover the hole with a Blue Oyster Cult sticker (actually, some variation of that is not a bad idea - though you'd want to shore up the hole with more than the sticker).
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2021
  3. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Senior Stratmaster

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    Welcome! What an entrance!

    Personally, I would only worry about the frets and the fingerboard. The mod tells a story of its past and is kinda cool IMHO.

    Fantastic guitar.:thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
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  4. Fourfingers

    Fourfingers Strat-Talk Member

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    Hello all

    Thanks for the replies - after some thought I did remove the new electrics, as I said some of the switches appeared to do nothing and the remaining ones were pretty hard to fathom too. I couldn't see myself using them so I got rid. I'll keep the switch and the hand-drawn wiring diagram in the case for the historical value...

    After I took the switches out I re-wired back to it's original form - I think it looks pretty neat and tidy and fortunately all the old cloth wiring was uncut and easy enough to put back together. I also gave the whole guitar a clean - it was covered it what looked like very light mould spores (it's been untouched in a case for years) but a tiny bit of polishing compound has cleaned it right up - it now gleams!

    As for the pickguard, I've replaced it with a repro guard for now and I have asked Huw (who is doing the refret, thanks for the recommendation) to have a go an repairing it. My thought process is I can't use it as it (unless I put the now useless switch in it) so I may as well have it repaired and see if I can live with the look.

    Anyway thanks for all the advice so far, I'll post some more photos once its re-fretted and ready to go!
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Nate D

    Nate D Most Honored Senior Member

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    I’d probably get a good vintage repro pickguard and and wire it up with a 5 way and enjoy a killer guitar.

    As far as the refret goes, I’d be very very judicious on the person I’d have refret the guitar. A bad fret job would be disastrous.
     
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  6. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Silver Member

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    +1. You have to be so careful with those thin boards.
     
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  7. Fourfingers

    Fourfingers Strat-Talk Member

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  8. Nate D

    Nate D Most Honored Senior Member

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  9. EyeLikeTortoise

    EyeLikeTortoise Strat-Talker

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    Regarding the Pickguard repair. I watched the videos awhile back of his repair on the Chris Buck Strat. For that repair he used the back side of a tort guard to fill in the gaps on the original guard. I understand his reasoning behind this - the original white nitro backing on the tort guard might start to turn green over time with light exposure. It didn't, and they look white and a bit out of place. Learn from this experiment. I would probably have Huw use a piece from a good mint green repro guard that would better match the color of your original guard as opposed to using the back side of a tort guard. Just my thoughts.

    Also, you might want to get a repro metal back plate so you have some support behind the guard repair otherwise it could get knocked in.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2021
  10. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Silver Member

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    I think whatever repro guard you have on there looks pretty good! it's hard to find a repro guard to match the original plastics, and that one really does! :)
     
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  11. Fourfingers

    Fourfingers Strat-Talk Member

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    This is exactly what he recommended in order to get a better colour match (I also don't think he has a big enough piece of the Jag guard left anyway). I would hope that any repair would be strong enough not to need re-enforcement but I might add a patch of sheet aluminium anyway just for completeness.

    This is a cheap scratchplate I got from Charles Guitars (https://www.charlesguitars.co.uk/ma...64-wide-bevel-mint-pickguard?addProductId=278). It was a brand new one (their aged ones looked far too beaten up compared to the original). I put in a scoop, scuffed it up a bit and added a tiny bit of yellowing trying to get the look of the original one. I might do a bit more "aging" but I do think the results are pretty good so far. Getting a real celluloid guard seems to be extremely difficult (If anyone is aware of where I could get a Lashing one please let me know!).
     
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  12. Fourfingers

    Fourfingers Strat-Talk Member

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    That said, Portland Music have a few for sale - does anyone have experience with them?

    https://www.ebay.com/str/Portlandmusic?_trksid=p2047675.l2563
     
  13. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr Strat-Talker

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    You did what I would do getting the repro pickguard and restore the wiring on that guard. I wouldn't do any repairs on the pickguard or route. Nothing to be gained and the cuts are a part of its history.

    I'd seal in a plastic bag the original guard, electronics, and diagram to document the guitar's story. Since it was done in the 60s/70s that explains the repro guard and the hidden route.
     
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  14. EyeLikeTortoise

    EyeLikeTortoise Strat-Talker

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    You probably already realize this but those are all re-production guards. I'm not sure I'd pay in the $400 range for a re-issue repro mint-white guard.

    I support repairing and using the original guard as opposed to preserving it in its unusable state. It is already de-valued by the hole in it so you might as well try to repair it and put it back to use. An authentic original nitro mint guard is going to cost over $1000 if you can even find a decent non-broken one.
     
  15. Fourfingers

    Fourfingers Strat-Talk Member

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    My hope is to get a good result with the repaired pickguard, but if not I guess I would be looking to replace it with something, and celluloid just has a certain look that more modern plastics just can't recreate.

    As you say, most genuine vintage pickguards will be in some state of disrepair, which wouldn't suit the general condition of this guitar (and they will probably have shrunk) which leads me to consider a good repro celluloid one (but they are ludicrously expensive, when they can be obtained at all)...
     
  16. EyeLikeTortoise

    EyeLikeTortoise Strat-Talker

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    Check out my recent NGD: 61 Refin thread to read the saga of my own original nitro pick guard adventure. I replaced a crappy repro guard on my white strat with an original nitro tort guard off a 62 Strat. It had shrunk considerably, but I was able to get it on ok with some slight alterations to some of the screw holes and with some modification to the metal shield plate. Honestly, it looks amazing now. So don't let a little shrinkage completely deter you. That being said, I think you should stick with your repaired original guard since it is indigenous to your guitar.
     
  17. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Silver Member

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    There is no way to make a pickguard patch non-conspicuous. I'd either cover it with a sticker, or decal of some sort. Or just stick with the replacement guard.

    upload_2021-2-23_21-15-27.png

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Michelotti

    Michelotti Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    Fourfingers, looks like your man wasn't even trying, with just four switches...
    upload_2021-2-23_13-46-49.png
     
  19. Fourfingers

    Fourfingers Strat-Talk Member

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    If the repair turned out like the circular patch I'd be very happy!

    My four switches were all three way too, so if this was the same, they had plenty of tonal options available to them...
     
  20. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Silver Member

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    The colour match is spot on, I agree!