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1957 Fender Stratocaster

 

This guitar was shipped over to the UK by its current owner, it had a good provenance and although had been modified over the years it had stayed with the previous owner for a long time and ahad a documented history. I was asked by the new owner to refinish it in its original blonde colour.

The guitar had a black sparkle finish applied at some time in the 1970's so there was no real way to tell whether the guitar had been blonde. I began work by stripping off all the black paint, which was not an easy task since the undercoat was a thick self leveling primer, more like a putty, but after many hours things were looking better.

There is always a worry, especially when considering the value of these guitars, that what you've purchased is genuine, but on exposing the wood and cleaning up the body I'm pretty certain that this beast is the real thing. It is very light, has lovely grain and one peice ash which would be consistent with a Mary Kay '57 Strat. The body contours are very sculptured which again is a sign of a fifties body.... as an aside I frequently go to the Hard Rock Cafe in London, where you can hold and feel the 'guitars of the stars' this is a great way to get the feel of genuine old guitars. The neck has a pronounced 'V' profile which is again consistent with this age of instrument.

Restoring the body to its original blonde finish proved to be quite time consuming, the main problem was removing the previously applied undercoat from the pronounced ash grain, this was proving to be almost impossible so I ended up using grain filler, then sanding sealer, followed by white tinted lacquer.

It seems blondes are getting more and more popular!

 

Here's the body mostly stripped it was decided not to fill the extra switch and wiring channel, as it was going to be a transparent finish anyway a repair would always be visible.

 

 

As for the relicing there is no way that I would consider adding dents and sctarches to a genuine vintage instrument, so wear marks were made to the paint and dents were only 'put back' where they had been before !