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Advice to restore a 1970's Strat

JonnyQ

Member
Messages
2,029
When I was a teen I got the best guitar I could afford...it was sort of an ugly duckling IMO 1972 Strat. It's in that natural finish that I find ghastly and the previous owner had removed the original 5 way pickup selector and electronics and put in some confounded flip switch system that could put and 3 pickups on/off and in and out of phase...but the original PUPS are in it. For all those reasons, I got it for a few hundred bucks.

In today's market, because of the colour and the modification, I gather this guitar is not much of an investment grade instrument, so I figured, why not make it the way I like Strats to be...with a 5 way selector and period correct electronics...and even possibly refinish it in a colour that is more pleasing to me.

So my questions to you guys: would you bother with vintage parts on this (pickguard, 5 way selector and electronics) or just go with reasonably priced replacement parts? Also, Is there any value in preserving this original finish?
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,689
original would be a 3 way switch, I think. But is it routed? I'm with you never a fan of those natural finishes. echh.. I'd refinish if the body is not completely original. If it is, then you pro'lly wanna leave it.
 

2HBStrat

Member
Messages
41,221
I would keep it as original as possible. Find a period correct pickguard and 3-way switch on the bay and put it back like it was meant to be.....imo....ymmv....fwiw...etc., etc....
 

JonnyQ

Member
Messages
2,029
I'm with you never a fan of those natural finishes. echh.. I'd refinish if the body is not completely original. If it is, then you pro'lly wanna leave it.

Unfortunately, it is the original finish :( reminds me of the wood on my parents' bar stools in the 1970's which sat above a shag carpet. Maybe I have PTSD from that.
 

JonnyQ

Member
Messages
2,029
I would keep it as original as possible. Find a period correct pickguard and 3-way switch on the bay and put it back like it was meant to be.....imo....ymmv....fwiw...etc., etc....

I was afraid this would be said. But when you're right, you're...
 
Messages
2,707
Yes, a '72 is worth enough to keep as original as possible. I would not refinish. The good thing is that you have the original pickups and (hopefully) pots. If you want to change the appearance, get a tortoise pickguard. I would get a good re-pro 3-way switch, and wire it back to original. Even with the re-pro guard and switch, you still have a 90% original guitar.
 

Shelby 412

Member
Messages
115
I'd keep what is original, and replace the electronics with new CTS 5 way switch and pots with original pups on a red tort shell guard to add some color. That would make the guitar the most useful to me yet do it no harm. Oh by the way you get no sympathy for having a 72 strat as a player!
 

GAD

Wubbalubbadubdub
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
14,788
I love natural-finished Strats, and there are others that do, too. If you think you'll ever sell it, you're likely doing yourself a disservice by changing it. If it will be yours forever, have at it.
 

treeofpain

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,386
Leave it original. I would just get a repro pickguard - the original early 70's white guards are scarce and very expensive.
 

AXEL276

Member
Messages
1,223
I had a 1970 strat that had some mods. The body and pickguard were routed, one pickup was missing. Even at that I was able to trade it in at the local SamAsh for a brand new Gibson 335 ($2000), even swap. The guys at Samash wanted the neck and salvage what ever electronics were left. They build custom shop guitars out of the parts and sell them for big bucks. I was much happier with the 335. I only paid $200 for that strat back in the late '70's.
 

monty

Member
Messages
24,140
I love natural-finished Strats, and there are others that do, too. If you think you'll ever sell it, you're likely doing yourself a disservice by changing it. If it will be yours forever, have at it.

I agree.
 

Jonny Hotnuts

Member
Messages
2,009
20-30 years down the road someone will look at that strat and cry that it has been refinished.

Remember....there are tons of PRE CBS bodies that were home refinished because someone didnt like the finish that was on it and thought they could make it look better; now you can buy a refin pre for a fraction of what it would be if it had the original finish....no matter how rough. That 70s made it 40 years.......


Leave it alone.....


~JH
 

Tidewater Custom Shop

Performance Enhancing Guitarworks
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,692
I'm embarking on a 70s Strat project. I have a 1973 natural ash body that weighs 5.5lbs... heavy. Like you, I can't stand the natural look and have considered painting it black. Luckily for me the previous owner removed much of the clear overcoats leaving it satin-like. For me, it won't be much off putting to paint it since the finish has been disturbed.

Value wise, it's ALWAYS be$t to leave the finish untouched. But ask yourself this: Are you restoring this guitar for yourself or the next owner? True, you are simply a custodian for the time being, but if you intend to keep this guitar for your own practical purposes, then you're doing yourself a disservice by retaining a finish you cannot stand.

Best of luck!
 

crhfish

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,590
I redid one a few months back and worked hard to get back to the original natural finish. I like the look of the black pick guard myself.

2h6as81.jpg
 

larimar

Member
Messages
1,938
Any pic's? You might want to hold off until you can establish the actual year, condition and some kind of value on the guitar.
 




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