Fender HM strat "The Strat" - what do you know about it?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by spookyelectric, May 16, 2011.

  1. spookyelectric

    spookyelectric Supporting Member

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    I just got one of these as a pawn shop special on my lunch hour for a good price. I've wanted a strat with a floyd on it for a while, something in rough shape that I could fix up for not too much investment, and lo and behold, there it was.

    The body has numerous dings and wear spots on it, and it's a funky fuscia/magenta color. I got no sound out of it, but it's probably just a solder joint or something that's come loose that I can fix. Rosewood fretboard, frets are in very good shape, but the fretboard is grungy and needs a good cleaning. That's ok too as I've done a couple fret level & crowns and can handle that too if it needs it. The back of the neck is broken in like the best old Charvel Model One strathead--- friggin' great.

    From what I remember from having one with a maple fretboard about 10-12 years ago, it has a Kahler Spyder tremolo system and a Dimarzio Super 3 bridge pickup.

    Anyone know any more about them or can speak to the quality or value of them? I'm jazzed that i got it, but wish it wasn't quite such a garish magenta color.

    Trying to decide if I should fix 'er up, keep her stock and sell her since I got it for a good price, or if I should keep it and rock the heck out of it.
     
  2. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    Had a couple. Pretty cool. I had a black and I think the magenta one (can't remember), but I seen a lot in those funky pastel type color. Hey it was the 80's. Cool, oiled necks. Real flat and kinda wide feel from what I remember. The trem wasn't my favorite, the allen screws were smaller than the Floyd. But it stayed in tune like a Floyd.

    I liked the ones that came after those, too the Heartfield Talon. Had real Floyds and a lot of cool features, it looked a bit like an Ibanez. Vinne Moore used 'em for awhile.
     
  3. Bobby D

    Bobby D Member

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    they are actually pretty good guitars - i have had them over the years a couple of times when i could get them cheap. usually fixed them up and flipped them for profit.

    how cheap did you get it?
     
  4. edward

    edward Supporting Member

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    I believe you're referring to "The Strat" Model from 1980-83. These were "limited" productions (ha, FWIW ;) ), finished in CanAppRed and LakePlacideBlue, and I've heard a rare white one, but never seen that one myself. Headstock color is body matched, and gold hardware, which was real electroplated gold, yup gold not just the color, over brass which purportedly costed the factory more than they expected. If you pick up the knobs or bridge, you feel the brass (hey, it was the 80s :) ). I own a CAR "The Strat" with maple board from 1980.

    And many since then had their electronics molested, which I think was a cryin shame. It had the normal vol knob, one master tone, and the bottom knob was a two-position rotating switch that allowed you an additional four tonal options with pups in series, as well as the "tele tone" of bridge/neck in parallel. Think "S1" type switching as this was its predecessor. It was and still is cool IMHO. My electronics are original (save the pups) and it is the most tonally versatile guitar I own (among another Strat, Tele, and LPs), and has been my #1 go-to guitar for decades.

    The rest of it was pretty standard strat stuff, and QC was hit and miss. They were heavy because of the brass and (my guess) leftover ash from the late 70s. Not much love for them by collectors. But overall very cool guitars if left reasonably close to original. Otherwise, no point in owning one if it's been turned into any regular strat.

    Edward
     
  5. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    This is what he is on about.:bonk
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    All made in Japan regardless of the USA on the neck plate .
    Great guitars but the prices are going up for a nice one these days.
     
  7. edward

    edward Supporting Member

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    Crap, am I off base. The OP's "The Strat" threw me off since that is exactly what the model I am referring to was called. This one pictured is called a "Strat." Nevertheless, sorry bout that!
    :bonk
     
  8. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    No worries we all get the wrong end of the stick from time to time I know I do,and for the record your info on Fender "the strat" was all good.
     
  9. tsar nicholas

    tsar nicholas Member

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    These and their later brethren "HM Strats" are cool guitars and I love the necks on them. Fender really got the wide + flat thing right on these guitars. The two I've played also sounded real good with stock pickups.
     
  10. SMark

    SMark Member

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    I had two of them. One hot pink like yours and the other was white. I wore out many of the Kahler parts just from regular use. I actually still have the old Super 3 that I took out of the white one when I replaced it with a Duncan active pup. These guitars were very fun to play.
     
  11. spookyelectric

    spookyelectric Supporting Member

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    Mine's definitely one of the later "HM strats". I was calling it "the Strat" because it simply has "Strat" in a funky 80's marker type logo. I didn't realize there was an earlier one like Edward mentioned.

    I took it apart tonight and am doing the usual stuff to get it back up to gigging status-- taking the trem apart and using WD40 on all the parts that screw down so I don't have any frozen screws, etc. The B string saddle's locking piece (the tube like piece used to lock the saddle down) has a stripped allen thread, but luckily I can still use a thick flathead screwdriver on it to loosen it and tighten it down. I'll probably have to track down a replacement piece at some point (and that probably won't be cheap-- ouch!)

    The wiring is cool-- it has the TBX tone controls (2 of 'em) a volume and what I believe to be a series/parallel/split switch that I'm not sure is doing all 3 of those things. Sounds like it's only doing series/parallel.

    Hard to tell since the "dead" wiring was just the lead wire for the bridge humbucker that came off. Problem is, it's a weird plastic encased 5-way strat switch and the lugs look different than what I'm used to. In positions 3, 4 and 5 instead of getting middle, middle/bridge and bridge only, I'm getting middle/bridge out of all 3.

    I'll probably take the 5-way out and replace it with a switchcraft 5-way. I also have a 2-position toggle switch that I might replace the existing 3-way mini-toggle with.

    In reality though, any wiring I do depends on how well I can get it to play. If it plays really really well, I plan on keeping the Super 3 at the bridge, taking the single coils out and replacing the neck position with a Dimarzio Chopper single, and taking the tone pots and 5-way out and just putting in a push/pull 500K pot to switch between bridge and neck pickup. Make it a dead simple setup that just RIPS.

    I polished the frets tonight and they look to be in excellent shape. Hopefully I won't need to do a level/crown on them. I also cleaned and oiled the rosewood board-- that sucker was dryyyy! Soaked up lemon oil like a sponge and looks a hundred times better now.

    Also, once I got the guitar out of the pawn shop, it seems more like a cherry red color with just a tinge of magenta to it. I'm liking the look alot more now that I have 'er home.

    Overall, it's shaping up to be a real player. I'll keep you all posted!
     
  12. spookyelectric

    spookyelectric Supporting Member

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    My fault too-- I didn't realize there was a "The Strat", in addition to my "Strat"..... sheesh, such inventive takes on the name "Stratocaster"! Thanks for the great info on "The Strat" though!
     
  13. zorak

    zorak Member

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    I had one when years ago that was Midnight Blue. Greg Howe was the big endorser of these and he played them until he starting playing Laguna. The neck on that guitar was one of the best playing necks ever. Like Fender's version of a Charvel. They were Japanese guitars that had some assembly in the USA, but were mosdef Japanese. Used to be great bargains out there on them, but prices have gone up. And for good reason. High quality parts on the guitar and supreme playability. Most of the ones you'll find these days are beat up.
    Yours looks sweet! Great buy!!!
     
  14. danelectro

    danelectro Supporting Member

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    I had one for a while a few years ago. The Kahler worked amazingly well. It took a while to setup, but I could bury it until the strings were completely slack and it would come right back in tune. I ended up selling it because the neck was too thin for me. Felt like a yardstick.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  15. jtm622

    jtm622 Member

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    I had two of 'em up until last month - a "metallic blue" one (rosewood neck) and a "cranberry" one (maple) neck - I sold the "cranberry one for $500 and used the proceeds to buy yet another Strat to add to the collection (a 1987 FMIC "first year" American Strat)... I kept the metallic blue one 'cause I bought it brand new in 1991 (I guess I've grown attached to it...)
    Anyhow, those HM Strats are truly great guitars - and they are comparable in quality to any USA-built Charvel from that time frame... A Great 17" radius neck and a basswood body - built for shred...

    :)
     
  16. spookyelectric

    spookyelectric Supporting Member

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    Cranberry-- that's a good name for that color, better than pink or magenta :)

    I'm going to hit the fretboard with another scrub of lemon oil. Last night I just sort of let it soak in since the board was so dry. Tonight it'll be more to clean things off since it had a fair amount of gunk from probably not being cleaned for the past 10 or so years.

    What condition was the cranberry one in when you sold it?

    I'm actually thinking of holding onto it since I don't have a strat or anything with a trem on it in my stable of guitars. But if the market is right, I might sell this one.
     
  17. jtm622

    jtm622 Member

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    Here's a pic....
    It was in really good shape - all the parts were there... just a little discoloration on the maple fingerboard was all that was wrong... Not much fret wear, either...

    [​IMG]
     
  18. sahhas

    sahhas Member

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    didn't greg howe play them back in the late 80s?
    everyone i picked up and tried back in the day had a great feel to me.

    one of my students back in the early 90s had a HM tele-which i thought was cool at the time....

    funny i haven't seen one of those in A LONG TIME!!!!
     
  19. notnac

    notnac Senior Member

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    Greg Howe did some ads for them when they first came out.
     
  20. Tito83

    Tito83 Member

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    After searching a lot for my one "shredder" I ended up buying one. The single coils sounded really bad on mine, don't know if it happens with every single one, but changed to dimarzio HS4 on the neck and now it's rockin' (I really don't use the middle pickup with this guitar). I'm gassing really bad for a SD 78 for the bridge right now.

    [​IMG]
     

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