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Thread: To finish or not ...

  1. #1
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    To finish or not ...

    Hi.

    I'm the lucky owner of a '61 Strat that I bought in 1974 for $200. (My wife thinks I'm joking when I say it will be buried with me. ) (I'm not.)

    Anyway, when I got it a previous owner had stripped the body to the bare wood. All I did back then was Varithane it. It's a really nice honey-color.

    I don't know what the original finish was. My only clue (if I remember back 40+ years) is some black under the pickguard.

    So, a couple of questions:


    • Is there any way of determining the original color based on the serial number? Doubtful ...
    • If I do finally decide to have a finish applied, any pointers on this endeavor?
    • I'm in Toronto. Who here would I trust with this job?


    Thanks for any advice you would like to contribute.

    Bob

    P.S. - I was kidding. It won't be buried with me. It will go to another loving owner for them to enjoy like I have for nearly 50 years.

  2. #2
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    A certain amount of intrinsic value and curb appeal has been diminished due to the loss of the original finish, no doubt about that. However, righting that "wrong" needn't compound the issue if the restoration is competently performed and executed. As for determining the color of the original finish, you'll have to closely examine the body using an Optivisor. Pay particular attention to the neck pocket and the pickup/control cavity routings -- even inside any of the holes used to mount the neck and bridge. You *may* find clues there. Absent any, select a period-correct color of your choice. Be sure to document the process with plenty of photos. Share them here if you care to, we love these types of projects. Best of luck.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

  3. #3
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    Personal opinion: Leave it as is. To me, there's nothing sexier than a natural-appearing wood Strat. Nothing that isn't walking and breathing, that is.
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  4. #4
    Forum Member S. Cane's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    +1 leave it as it is unless you really prefer it color painted.

    Stripping guitars was a trend back in the late 60s and early 70s (some say the Beatles started it, it’s controversial) and it was part of the history of your instrument… I’d say painting it back would be more of a value decrease than just leaving it as it is.

    btw pics would be cool

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    Re: To finish or not ...

    Arg! I have some nice pics. But can't figure out how to embed images in a post. (FAQ instructions don't seem to have any basis I can figure out.)

  6. #6
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    Quote Originally Posted by torontobob View Post
    Arg! I have some nice pics. But can't figure out how to embed images in a post. (FAQ instructions don't seem to have any basis I can figure out.)
    It's really quite easy, torontobob. The key is having the photo hosted on an image site like imgur.com (I like postimages.org). They are free and quite easy to use. Then, once you get the URL they generate to the photo you just stick that between the IMG tags. The opening tag is just placed between square brackets ("[]") and the closing tag adds a slash ("/") right after the opening bracket (e.g., [/). It would be easier to describe if the forum software didn't attempt to actually interpret the above.
    Striving to be ordinary

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  7. #7
    Forum Member S. Cane's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...


  8. #8
    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    I would either leave it as-is or have it sent out and professionally restored. What you don't want is a half-assed paint job.

    A friend had a 55 Les Paul that was in a fire restored and it was righteous.

    Once the original paint is gone the value hit (large!) is done. If it's going to be refinished, make sure it's beautiful.

    Chuck
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

  9. #9
    Forum Member S. Cane's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    People pay loads of cash for custom shop guitars with trashed up finishes, artificial refinishings (!), semi-stripped paintjobs… I think there’s nothing wrong with a genuine stripped finish

  10. #10
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    It all boils down to this.

    You own this......



    But you'd rather it looked like this......



    It's as simple as that.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

  11. #11
    Forum Member blackonblack's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    Is that a 68 or 69? Without seeing the tail lights, I am guessing 68.
    Mark

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    Re: To finish or not ...

    HTML Code:
    https://imgur.com/3kyanp6
    HTML Code:
    https://imgur.com/1x0Z9wT
    Ok, images (Strat-Porn) hosted. Not sure how the car pics show directly in previous thread response. Whatever ...

    More to the story - guitar as bough has no decals on headstock. A shop in Toronto added them in 1978 or so. Appraisers never twigged they were not original. As bought, tuners were not Klusons - they were Schallers. (WTF?) Last year I replaced them with "vintage" style Klusons from Amazon and aged them using ferric chloride (as described somewhere on Stewmac.)

    Twenty years ago my mother ran into the guy I bought it from (20+ years before that) and he still regretted selling it to me. I don't blame him. It sounds so sweet ...

    I hope you can see the pics.

    B

  13. #13
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    That's a gorgeous hunk of Fender you got there, love that Brazilian fretboard. Is that a Hammond B3 in the background? The uniformity of the body's grain and the matching of the pieces begs for a 3TSB finish.

    Were it my guitar I know just what I would do and who to send it to in order to make it happen.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

  14. #14
    Forum Member S. Cane's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    Very beautiful strat indeed. That one is an absolute keeper.

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    Re: To finish or not ...

    Thanks folks.

    Yes. It is lovely. I don't play it much now as I want to preserve the frets as long as possible.

    Ten or fifteeen years ago I picked up a Yamaha Pacifica at a yard -sale for $25. (That's $25 Canadian, so - like five bucks U.S.! :-) It was filthy, covered in stickers, and only had four strings. With the stickers off, new strings and a quick setup it turned out to be a really fine guitar! So it's my go-to day-to-day. So good I grabbed a 2nd one cheap last year. Not nearly as nice. TOtally different neck profile. Weird eh?

    Oh - and close - that's my C3 in the photo. (B3 - Camaro, C3 - Firebird) The B3 not in the photo is a chop I rescued by having the legs, etc. fabricated, re-capped the pre-amp, re-installed the generator, etc., etc., etc. It roars!

    Bob

  16. #16
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    Does your C3 have percussion?
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: To finish or not ...

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomman View Post
    Does your C3 have percussion?
    Yes. The C3 is a B3 in a church-style cabinet. Same guts totally. (Hence the Camaro-Firebird reference.)

  18. #18
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    Decades ago i remember having to help load and unload a B3 with several different bands. Even with the factory dollies it was a real ballbuster. Even worse when it needed to be schlepped up several flights of steps, which happened on occasion. Hope you got some roadies on the payroll.

    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: To finish or not ...

    Roadies. Ya. I was one back in high school. Yes - shlepped Hammonds, Marshalls, A7s, etc. in and out of trucks, up/downstairs. That was the closest I ever came to being a musician. Now I'm a 66 year-old was-to-be guitar-god. Never happened. So with two left hands (apologies to lefties) I settle for collecting distressed gear and fixing it. Last project was a 1973 Ovation acoustic that looked like it lost a bar-fight - head broken, bridge ripped off. Fixed. Still kinda ugly. But I love it. Same as the one a neighbor had back in '73 or so and I coveted. See Official Luthiers Forum! • View topic - Ovation acoustic repair

  20. #20
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    A7's, that brings back some memories! Our first "real" PA was a pair of Altec's, driven with a Dynaco Stereo 70 that my Dad built for us. Ours was the first band in our area to use such hi-fi gear and it was quite a sonic improvement over the typical fare then available (Shure Vocal Smasher, Kustom K200, Peavey columns, etc). But it sure was an ordeal hefting those VOTT cabs around.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Re: To finish or not ...

    I'm a strat newbie but here is my 2 cents. Would it look good with a new finish? Of course! Would I re-finish this guitar? No! It's gorgeous as is. I'd leave it alone.

  22. #22
    Forum Member S. Cane's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    Quote Originally Posted by OldStrummer View Post
    Personal opinion: Leave it as is. To me, there's nothing sexier than a natural-appearing wood Strat. Nothing that isn't walking and breathing, that is.

    Pretty sure Bobby Weir agrees


  23. #23
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    I have a particular fondness for natural finished guitars. A while back, I started a thread called "Hot? Or Not?" Lots of photos of glamorous guitars, most of which are wood finished, rubbed, stained, glossed or otherwise left in their "natural" state. Check it out!
    Striving to be ordinary

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  24. #24
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    Quote Originally Posted by OldStrummer View Post
    I have a particular fondness for natural finished guitars. A while back, I started a thread called "Hot? Or Not?" Lots of photos of glamorous guitars, most of which are wood finished, rubbed, stained, glossed or otherwise left in their "natural" state. Check it out!
    Those guitars are not historical instruments that have been mauled or mutilated in the interest of a whimsical fad.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

  25. #25
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: To finish or not ...

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomman View Post
    Those guitars are not historical instruments that have been mauled or mutilated in the interest of a whimsical fad.
    Nor did I intend to make them seem so.
    Striving to be ordinary

    Proud to be a TFF Dumbass!

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