Strat Detectives Unite: Help me identify anything at all about this partscaster

dogbark

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 4, 2022
14
Canberra
Hey legends! Hello from Canberra, Australia. First post here though I have found the community very helpful in planning my big strat adventure.

For background, I've recently recovered from double elbow surgery that fixed an issue preventing me playing guitar for nearly 2 years and I am so happy to be back I've decided to treat myself to a modest strat purchase.

I was tossing up trying to find a cool vintage japanese copy (I have two vintage Daion acoustics and they are to die for), a new MIM model (love the buttercream they have at the moment and so cheap in EOFY sales), or... buy and modify a partscaster as there are so many around atm. I want something that is a true player, not majorly fussed about authenticity - I just want to love it, and for it to look cool (more on that later).

The story the seller gave to me is that he bought it in the early 2000s from someone who says they assembled it out of all American parts in the 90s. He's selling it because he is a classical player and is not using it (and he is a serious player might I add!). The only other tidbit he gave me is that the guy he got it off said it was the same pickups "as used by the pink floyd guy" - his words not mine. He's also selling a bunch of other gear that is definitely authentic.

I've found a guy selling the guitar below for a very reasonable price, and I am firmly in the camp of pro-big headstock strats. The maple fingerboard and big headstock is enough to make me really want this as I've found them quite hard to find (in my price range anyway). The question is whether I can identify whether the rest of it is worth keeping or I should just swap the neck out into something else for pure aesthetic purposes.

It has no serial, and I recognise there's a risk that it's cheap or a fake so just trying to take stock and weigh up the price against the look, and what budget left to do elsewise.

Thanks in advance for your help. Love your work!

Cheers

Liam
 

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SpeedKing

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 9, 2015
2,223
UK
Hello and welcome. Beautiful country you have there.

Well it's a weird one because it looks like a 70's style neck on a late 60s body. It's odd as it should have a 3 bolt fixing with the 'bullet' truss rod usually (though they were occasionally changed back to 4 bolts by owners back in the day). The fact the decal appears slightly oversized leads me to believe it's Japanese and the single string tree would point to an ST71 with the serial removed but I'm not sure I've seen one except for very recent examples where the decal included the original pat. numbers. It could I guess be an original from '71 or early '72 (by the end of '72 they all had the second string tree) someone modified to 4 bolts but you'll only tell from opening it up.

Other than that the components all look to be of good quality and possibly Fender but we'd need many more and more detailed pics to say anything for sure.

Are the tuners the '70's 'F'style to match the '70's truss rod? They don't look it in that one image.

Anyway, the only important question is how does it sound and feel to you? Can you try it?
 

stevierayfan91

DEEPLY SHY.
Feb 20, 2011
12,231
Private.
Hi, @dogbark ; welcome 😀

I am very tentatively thinking that partscaster might have a Neck from Made In Japan ST71 Fender Stratocaster since is a big headstock neck with bullet shape truss rod adjuster .

Would seller show you the neck heel inside the guitar? .Warmoth has a turtle stamp logo.

The body might be an Made in Mexico older MIM Standard body with the 6 screw vintage tremolo. If the body is thinner, that might not be it though.
 

dogbark

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 4, 2022
14
Canberra
Hello and welcome. Beautiful country you have there.

Well it's a weird one because it looks like a 70's style neck on a late 60s body. It's odd as it should have a 3 bolt fixing with the 'bullet' truss rod usually (though they were occasionally changed back to 4 bolts by owners back in the day). The fact the decal appears slightly oversized leads me to believe it's Japanese and the single string tree would point to an ST71 with the serial removed but I'm not sure I've seen one except for very recent examples where the decal included the original pat. numbers. It could I guess be an original from '71 or early '72 (by the end of '72 they all had the second string tree) someone modified to 4 bolts but you'll only tell from opening it up.

Other than that the components all look to be of good quality and possibly Fender but we'd need many more and more detailed pics to say anything for sure.

Are the tuners the '70's 'F'style to match the '70's truss rod? They don't look it in that one image.

Anyway, the only important question is how does it sound and feel to you? Can you try it?
Hi SK and thanks for your reply! Great start - agree the pat. number is what makes it particularly confusing. If I accidentally buy an original 71 neck I'll be pleased, let me tell you!

The guitar is interstate at the minute. My partner and I are going on a little road trip holiday and I've made the guitar purchase a fun part of this trip - so I'm going to inspect it on the 14th of July (Thurs next week). I will definitely update with more photos etc then and yes, as you say, the sound and feel is what really matters! Worst case I can start over with a great looking and feeling neck, best case I've got something quality for a sweet price.
 

dogbark

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 4, 2022
14
Canberra
Hi, @dogbark ; welcome 😀

I am very tentatively thinking that partscaster might have a Neck from Made In Japan ST71 Fender Stratocaster since is a big headstock neck with bullet shape truss rod adjuster .

Would seller show you the neck heel inside the guitar? .Warmoth has a turtle stamp logo.

The body might be an Made in Mexico older MIM Standard body with the 6 screw vintage tremolo. If the body is thinner, that might not be it though.
It being interstate and a week away, I've asked him to hold it for me until I can see it - I don't want to push too hard in case it touches a nerve! The price is very good so I'm not terribly worried but I will definitely be taking it to bits when I get it. I have looked at the ST71 and agree it's close but the pat. no doesn't seem to be on them... the plot thickens!
 

sunburst_xxii

Strat-Talker
May 11, 2022
263
R86050
Is it just me... or does the font for 'Stratocaster' look particulary bold? It could just be me... it might be a genuine neck of course, but... the lack of serial number - that would concern me slightly. Anybody else think the 'Stratocaster' font looks particulary bold? Or am I just seeing things??

Welcome OP :)
 

Bakelite1

Strat-Talker
Nov 26, 2020
443
Vancouver BC
I wonder if that neck is refinished? I had a seventies tele neck kicking around in my parts pile for twenty years before I sold it. It was U shaped and thick! It was common in those days to reshape seventies necks to earlier specs. This would usually mean a refinish, perhaps including new decals.
 

SpeedKing

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 9, 2015
2,223
UK
With the wide 12th fret markers and the decal with the pat number my best guess neck wise to fit with the seller's story was going to be a Squire SQ which had the wide markers but otherwise correct neck (with 7.25 radius, bullet truss, vintage frets etc) with a fake Fender decal replacing the Squier one.

Then I thought ... mmm, but that should have 2 string trees too!

I'm stumped I confess but very much looking forward to hearing how it all turns out.
 

dogbark

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 4, 2022
14
Canberra
With the wide 12th fret markers and the decal with the pat number my best guess neck wise to fit with the seller's story was going to be a Squire SQ which had the wide markers but otherwise correct neck (with 7.25 radius, bullet truss, vintage frets etc) with a fake Fender decal replacing the Squier one.

Then I thought ... mmm, but that should have 2 string trees too!

I'm stumped I confess but very much looking forward to hearing how it all turns out.
SpeedKing, your comments gave me a totally different avenue down which to waste away the hours until I go on holiday - so thank you.

I've found online what appear to be some all-original strats from 1972 that match the details of what we're seeing in the one for sale: this one,
this one and this one. Now, of course, whether they are all original is a whole other question but it does appear that for a period late 1971 to somewhere in 1972 there was a single pat, single string tree combo.

I am daring to dream...... I really must drag myself away from all this clue searching though. I find myself in some dusty old corners of the internet!
 

Wrighty

Dr. Stratster
Mar 7, 2013
11,308
Harlow, Essex, UK
I don't know anything about anything but I would go with a brand new player series mim strat if these were my alternatives.
Have to say I agree. Provenance isn’t everything but this one seems ‘honest but dubious’. I’ve just picked up a Korean Squier Tele with an amazing neck for nit much money. I don’t care that it isn’t a MIA instrument but it’s nice to know what it is!
 

SpeedKing

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 9, 2015
2,223
UK
I've found online what appear to be some all-original strats from 1972 that match the details of what we're seeing in the one for sale: this one,
this one and this one. Now, of course, whether they are all original is a whole other question but it does appear that for a period late 1971 to somewhere in 1972 there was a single pat, single string tree combo.

I think we have crossed lines.

The neck certainly isn't an original Fender from the early 70s.... the 12th fret dot markers are in the older wider pre '63 position.

All strats from '54 on had a single string tree until somewhere around late '71 or early '72 when the first '2nd trees' appeared but by the end of '72 the second tree was factory standard. The decal with the large curved 'Stratocaster' yet no 'with synchronised tremolo' text underneath but retaining a single pat number first appeared I think in '70 but was then used constantly through till '76 (when the instrument's individual serial number was added and the 'Original Contour Body' text on the headstock ball deleted). The older decal including the 'With Synchronised Tremolo' text and 2 pat numbers was used alongside till supplies ran out sometime late in '71.

This all means that yes many of those original '71 3 bolt necks have the decal with just the pat number and also a single string tree but as I say they also had a three bolt fixing if they had the bullet truss rod as well as the aforementioned post '63 dot spacing. You can change the 3 bolt to 4 easily enough but moving the dots...?

Squire SQs were '70s 'reissues' made in Japan in the early 80's and whilst sharing most vintage correct features were like the neck on the example we're considering wrong in the placement of the 12th fret markers. Like the guitar under discussion they too had the older wider placement but of course a different decal. Potentially quite easy though to refinish the headstock and replace the Squire decal for one closer to the original and including the pat number. Not so easy to move the dot markers. However the SQs also came with the 2nd string tree from factory like most three bolt strats and it's removal would surely leave a hole unless it's been remarkably well filled.

Whatever it is I have doubts it's Fender... unless it is indeed a rebranded, modified and really well refinished SQ.
Having said all that the neck plate and tuners look Fender.

Anybody know if the Custom Shop ever did an early 70's reissue? I know the earliest AVs had the wrong 12th fret dot placement but didn't ever think there was a 70s till later on after they'd rectified the error. Occasionally they do get it wrong (and sometimes even recognise and celebrate those errors. For example the brand new JV modified 60s MIJ strat has the 'wrong' dot placement for the late '60s headstock just like the guitar we're talking about but presumably that's as tribute to the original old early '80s JVs and SQs which are known for the error and which the new guitars are tribute to... supposedly).
 
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dogbark

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 4, 2022
14
Canberra
I think we have crossed lines.

The neck certainly isn't an original Fender from the early 70s.... the 12th fret dot markers are in the older wider pre '63 position. All strats from '54 on had a single string tree until somewhere around late '71 or early '72 but by the end of '72 the second tree was factory standard. The decal with the large curved 'Stratocaster' yet no 'with synchronised tremolo' text underneath but retaining a single pat number first appeared I think in '70 but was then used constantly through till '76 (when the instrument's individual serial number was added and the 'Original Contour Body' text on the headstock ball deleted). The older decal including the 'With Synchronised Tremolo' text and 2 pat numbers was used alongside till supplies ran out sometime late in '71.

Yes those original 3 bolt necks have the decal with just the pat number and also a single string tree but as I say they also had a three bolt fixing if they had the bullet truss rod as well as the aforementioned post '63 dot spacing.

Squire SQs were '70s 'reissues' made in Japan in the early 80's and whilst sharing most vintage correct features were wrong in the placement of the 12th fret markers. Like the guitar under discussion they too had the older wider placement but of course a different decal. Potentially quite easy though to refinish the headstock and replace the Squire decal for one closer to the original and including the pat number. Not so easy to move the dot markers.

Whatever it is I doubt it's Fender unless it is indeed a rebranded SQ Squire neck which would still be a three bolt fixing.... at least originally.
ahhhh I see - thanks for clarifying, that makes sense. SO much to learn and retain and cross check! I really appreciate your input and guidance For what it's worth, the guitar is about $400USD and maybe negotiable cheaper - I gather Fenders are generally cheaper in the US than here, but that is a price at which if it's a decent player, I don't really mind. I don't think. We'll see!
 

dogbark

Strat-Talk Member
Jul 4, 2022
14
Canberra
Have to say I agree. Provenance isn’t everything but this one seems ‘honest but dubious’. I’ve just picked up a Korean Squier Tele with an amazing neck for nit much money. I don’t care that it isn’t a MIA instrument but it’s nice to know what it is!
I think I'm coming around Wrighty. At the end of the day I wanted the neck for the look, not for the chance of a secret win, but knowing it's nearly not possible for it to be an actual fender neck throws doubt on the rest of it that makes me unsure. I guess the upside is I am back to plan A: go to every single guitar shop I see on my holiday!
 

SpeedKing

Senior Stratmaster
Apr 9, 2015
2,223
UK
Just for your further information Fender Japan did also make Fender branded products for sale in their domestic (Asian) market back in the early 80's in it's Fuji Gen factory alongside the Squire branded instruments which were produced for European export.

Not sure I've seen a 'Fender' neck from FujiGen with the same 12th fret error as the Squiers but it may be a possibility, particularly on the earliest guitars... someone with better knowledge of the early Janaese stuff is needed. How many string trees such a model originally came with I'd have no idea.

The reason I mention it is because of your location and the obvious fact more from that Asian market finds it's way to Oz than to Europe or the U.S. Quite common in the early days also (before the value of the instruments in and of themselves was recognised) to delete serial numbers on imported Asian stuff as they also included the giveaway 'Made In Japan' which was the only obvious outward sign it wasn't US made since the quality was right up there and top notch.

If anybody can confirm Fender Japan did indeed make the 12 fret marker error on a domestic market Fender branded '70s model I'd be pretty convinced that's what you had. String trees? Who knows?
 


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