Best Shop to restore my '57 Strat?

Craftmatic

Member
Messages
1,842
I bought it in '71 for $75. I thought the guy I bought it from was pretty stupid. He wasn't the only one. In the 70's people did dumb things to guitars. He had painted the body dark green with a spray can. The neck looked like Clapton's on the back cover of Layla. Very pitted. Well I did something I will always regret: I hated the green and liked Bonnie Raitt's bare, wood-stained Strat's body so I took off all of the finish - including the red finish under the green sprayed on paint! The guitar was actually a custom color under the green - Fiesta red and I removed it!!!! Then I stained it with Mini-Wax stain. Years later I had some lame repairman on 48th st. in NYC do the best he could to remove the stain and attempt a sunburst on the alder body.

Not long after that I took it to Matt Uminov's in NYC to have the neck refretted and refinised. The frets were extremely worn down. Well the idiot who did the job REMOVED THE ORIGINAL DECAL from the headstock. The fret job sucked and so did the refinishing. Years later I had this guy named John who worked in a shop above Rudy's on 48th st., who did all of Mark Knopfler's work, redo the finish, and (here I go again!) refret with super jumbos! He did a great job but put a poorly made, '60's counterfeit decal on the headstock.

That's my sad story so far. I won't go into greater detail but it needs some vintage replacement parts (small ones) but the pickups are original, the neck is as straight as an arrow, the back plate has a very nice '57 serial number (beginning with "-"), the neck heel still has the penciled in date, and a good part of the rest of it is original.

So as the question says, who is the expert on bringing these blundered repair job guitars back to vintage specs - restoring everything that needs to be restored - including an accurate Fiesta Red?
 

mad dog

Silver Supporting Member
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11,194
Craft: Why restore the finish? Certainly the hardware and small bits, but would you benefit from refinishing? I'm in the same boat with my '61 as far as the look, only I didn't participate in the desecration. that was owner number one. I've grown to like it au naturelle (luckily, he left the neck alone ...)

Roger Sadowsky would be a logical person to talk to. I've heard he's not taking any more outside work, but who knows? He did a classy job on refretting mine, really good. Perhaps see if you can find Flip Scipio out in CT. He did lots of work at Mandolin brothers, including remarkable stuff on two Martins for me. He may be better known for acoustics, I don't know.
 

Eugene

Silver Supporting Member
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1,805
Wow! I'm stunned to hear that about Matt's shop. How long ago did that happen?

Best of luck!

Eugene
 

Craftmatic

Member
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1,842
Wow! I'm stunned to hear that about Matt's shop. How long ago did that happen?

Best of luck!

Eugene

I think it was early 80's. The repair guy was pretty young. I couldn't believe it either. Matt Uminov had a pretty good reputation back then.
 

Teleplayer

Moder8er
Staff member
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20,508
Speak with TGP member wichita (Lance). Ask/beg him to put you in touch with Ed Reynolds in Austin.
 

MetalHeadd

Member
Messages
166
Mark Kane at Fatsound Guitars in Cary, NC might be able to help you. They deal in lots of custom shop Fenders, so I imagine he has a lot of experience in such things. He fretted my Les Paul last year and his work is top notch.
 

rastus

Member
Messages
1,531
I have had experience with this type of work being done by Gary Gilbert @ King Bee Guitars in Arrington TN-I have seen him transform some very badly botched old Fenders into amazing restorations. Best I have seen, and I have seen a lot over the years. Gary is one of the best in the Nashville area, has been at it for over 30 years, and his clients are A list Nashville cats. He redid a 63 in Fiesta that fooled everyone that saw it, looked dead nuts original. I recommend you give him a call at (615)395-0044.He is closed Wednesday and Sunday,however. BTW he just moved into a new shop that has state of the art finishing facities, and only uses nitro. Give him a shout, you will be glad you did! His Fretwork and setups are stellar also.

ps: I am just a good customer and friend of Gary's. I admire his work and skill. I don't have any vested interest, other than seeing you get that Strat back to A+ condition.
 

flyingvees

Member
Messages
1,986
You may even want to talk to Bill Chapin....He think he may dig getting to resurrect a classic...But I really dont know what his turnaround is...I just sent him my old road dog and am getting a new Houla but I shall just wait for the call...:munch
 

eddie101

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,697
IMHO, there is no one better than Terry Mueller (618-529-2844) in Carbondale, IL to do the "dirty work" and for the finish work, he outsources it to Jay Black, who is the best in the business for finishing, especially Fender guitars. He also does "authentications" for vintage guitars - been doing it for years - and even Gruhn calls him sometimes to pick his brain apart. He has many replacement "legit" vintage parts in his inventory and knows where to get them, if he does not.

He worked on MANY of my guitars over the years and I still use his service exclusively for his expertise in authentication. He is very professional, very trust worthy and a great guy. Give him a call and tell him I said "hello" if/when you do. Hope this helps, Ed
 

Craftmatic

Member
Messages
1,842
Here's some photos. I forgot to mention the repairman who did the neck the second time replaced the tuners and never gave me the originals! I just didn't know about this stuff back then. I'll show photos of the headstock in another post.

bridge_01_sm.jpg


body_01.jpg

 

eddie101

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,697
If it is indeed a '57 as you claim, it should have been done in 2 tone sunburst rather than 3 tone. In other words, the finish is wrong and I am sorry to hear about the tuners as the original tuners are not cheap. Once again, call Terry and ask for his opinion. Unlike a lawyer, he won't charge you any for the consultation. :)
 

Craftmatic

Member
Messages
1,842
If it is indeed a '57 as you claim, it should have been done in 2 tone sunburst rather than 3 tone. In other words, the finish is wrong and I am sorry to hear about the tuners as the original tuners are not cheap. Once again, call Terry and ask for his opinion. Unlike a lawyer, he won't charge you any for the consultation. :)

It is a '57. I do not want to divulge the serial number but it starts with a "-" and is followed by five digits. The date was penciled on the bottom of the neck. If you read my original post, I said that when I bought it, it was spray painted dark green, but where the green was chipped away it was bright red - the original finish. The body is also alder which is what they used back then for solid color finished bodies. In '57 a Fiesta Red was a custom order.

I know the tuners will be very expensive. The whole thing is so upsetting I've kept the guitar in the closet in it's shredded tweed case for years without playing it.
 




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