Got a free guitar today! MIM Strat...

gtrdave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,852
A buddy of mine sent me a text today asking if I was interested in a guitar...for free...and the followed up with pics of a MIM Strat that has a body with a few stickers on it and a Pickguard and knobs that were treated to a homemade paint job. Some of the fret marker dots have also been 'colored'.
Without hesitation I replied "Sure! I be by to pick it up today."
Included was the original gig bag, a cord, a stand and some electronic tuners.
Turns out the guitar was my friends son's many years ago, but he hasn't shown interest in it for over 10 years and gave his blessing for his folks to get rid of it.

It's a legit 2007 MIM Fender Stratocaster HSS that was 'personalized', abused and subsequently ignored and left in a basement. Nearly every screw is loose, the pots are loose, the jack is loose, the tuners are loose, etc...so I'm currently going through the thing, getting rid of the stickers and giving it a thorough cleaning and tightening.

Before and after pictures will be following. Until I can replace the HSS pick guard I'm going to swap in a single-ply white pick guard that I have loaded with GFS vintage hot singles just to get it up and running.

So, HFNGD to me. :)
 

Strummerfan

Member
Messages
7,451
Sounds like a project just waiting to be enjoyed. Have fun! Can't wait to see the before and afters. Here's a before and after of a guitar I got practically free.
 

hank57

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,582
$49 Yard sale find some years ago I bought a black MIM Strat and the pickup covers and the top fiber board of the pickups were torn off. Horrible nut.
After cleaning it up with a set of Fender 57/62 pickups and a bunch of love my nephew go it.

It played like freaking dream. It still haunts me. Lightest strat too. Hoping after it sits a few more years they we’ll need to get rid of it too
 

gtrdave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,852
I finally got the body cleaned of the sticker adhesive and then polished the frets, oiled the board and went about the rest of the tweaks, including installing the temporary pre-wired pick guard that I have. Installed new strings and fired it up...and I was quickly reminded why I had this pick guard lying around; the GFS vintage hot pickups sound like total @$$. Seriously, I've heard Squier Affinitys that sound better.
I really need to order a replacement HSS pick guard stat!

Next issue is that the neck is a bit 'off'. I adjusted the truss rod because there was a pronounced front bow and the adjustment seemed to take care of that, BUT the action and fret buzz are horrible. Raising the bridge saddles to eliminate the buzz raises the action way above what should be normal. I'm going to give it 24 hours to settle and then probably make an appointment to get this thing a proper set up. Whether I keep this thing or sell it/give it away, an $80 investment in a setup is going to be worth it.

Overall the guitar is in great shape and will probably be better than new once I get the OEM pickups in and get it set up properly.

Here are the before photos...

IMG-7401.jpg

IMG-7402.jpg


And the after...

IMG-7409.jpg

IMG-7411.jpg
 

Strummerfan

Member
Messages
7,451
Looked better before you touched it if I’m honest. Ha!
It was unplayable. I know the finish looks a mess, my first time trying to do one, but it plays like butter now. I swapped out the bridge, added the humbucker, changed the pots, and did a fret dress. My next attempt at a finish will be better.
 

Strummerfan

Member
Messages
7,451
I finally got the body cleaned of the sticker adhesive and then polished the frets, oiled the board and went about the rest of the tweaks, including installing the temporary pre-wired pick guard that I have. Installed new strings and fired it up...and I was quickly reminded why I had this pick guard lying around; the GFS vintage hot pickups sound like total @$$. Seriously, I've heard Squier Affinitys that sound better.
I really need to order a replacement HSS pick guard stat!

Next issue is that the neck is a bit 'off'. I adjusted the truss rod because there was a pronounced front bow and the adjustment seemed to take care of that, BUT the action and fret buzz are horrible. Raising the bridge saddles to eliminate the buzz raises the action way above what should be normal. I'm going to give it 24 hours to settle and then probably make an appointment to get this thing a proper set up. Whether I keep this thing or sell it/give it away, an $80 investment in a setup is going to be worth it.

Overall the guitar is in great shape and will probably be better than new once I get the OEM pickups in and get it set up properly.

Here are the before photos...

IMG-7401.jpg

IMG-7402.jpg


And the after...

IMG-7409.jpg

IMG-7411.jpg
Hopefully the truss rod adjustment settles in and you don't need to do much more. Can't argue with a free guitar though.
 

R.T.

Member
Messages
303
Congrats! Can't beat that. I had a friend trade me a HSS MIM strat for a fishing rod once... I explained thoroughly that he was getting ripped off but he didn't care. Ended up selling it to a friend who still has it.
 

romiso

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
987
I finally got the body cleaned of the sticker adhesive and then polished the frets, oiled the board and went about the rest of the tweaks, including installing the temporary pre-wired pick guard that I have. Installed new strings and fired it up...and I was quickly reminded why I had this pick guard lying around; the GFS vintage hot pickups sound like total @$$. Seriously, I've heard Squier Affinitys that sound better.
I really need to order a replacement HSS pick guard stat!

Next issue is that the neck is a bit 'off'. I adjusted the truss rod because there was a pronounced front bow and the adjustment seemed to take care of that, BUT the action and fret buzz are horrible. Raising the bridge saddles to eliminate the buzz raises the action way above what should be normal. I'm going to give it 24 hours to settle and then probably make an appointment to get this thing a proper set up. Whether I keep this thing or sell it/give it away, an $80 investment in a setup is going to be worth it.

Overall the guitar is in great shape and will probably be better than new once I get the OEM pickups in and get it set up properly.

Here are the before photos...

IMG-7401.jpg

IMG-7402.jpg

TBH the pickguard doesn't look that bad -- better than what I had pictured in my mind before seeing the photos. So if the replacement loaded guard sounds that bad and the original electronics work I'd go with that until a nice replacement comes your way.
 

gtrdave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,852
Hopefully the truss rod adjustment settles in and you don't need to do much more. Can't argue with a free guitar though.

I've done quite a bit of tweaking on the truss rod and bridge/saddles, but I'm thinking the neck is going to need to be shimmed. The action is way too high for my liking and there's still fret buzz all over, so the fretboard pitch isn't correct. I'll have one of my luthier friends correct it and probably have $100 into this thing once it's finished, which is more than worth it.
 

agquake

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,316
I've done quite a bit of tweaking on the truss rod and bridge/saddles, but I'm thinking the neck is going to need to be shimmed. The action is way too high for my liking and there's still fret buzz all over, so the fretboard pitch isn't correct. I'll have one of my luthier friends correct it and probably have $100 into this thing once it's finished, which is more than worth it.
Sounds more to me like the frets need to be leveled, but anything is possible I suppose
 

gtrdave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,852
For anyone following this story of the free guitar...I just got the replacement pick guard in today and was able to swap all of the OEM electronics over to it along with the new knobs, 5-way switch button and rear cavity plate. I went with "parchment" instead of the stark white or any other random color or design for the pick guard and rear plate, going for a stock look, although I like the slight contrast between the white knobs and the parchment guard.
After the install I did a quick pickup height adjustment and plugged it in. Thankfully, everything works and sounds as it should, so I don't need to sort out any electronic demons or issues.
The string action is still too high and any adjustment just leads to buzzing and many notes fretting out, so I'm taking it to one of my luthier friends and will probably have the neck shimmed. After that, the guitar should be a perfect player and a pretty good deal at an estimated $100 investment.

IMG-7466.jpg

IMG-7467.jpg


And, yes, I know I'm missing a screw on the cover plate. The hole is enlarged, so I need to fill-n-drill it to put the last screw in there. :)
 

VintagePlayerStrat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,484
I finally got the body cleaned of the sticker adhesive and then polished the frets, oiled the board and went about the rest of the tweaks, including installing the temporary pre-wired pick guard that I have. Installed new strings and fired it up...and I was quickly reminded why I had this pick guard lying around; the GFS vintage hot pickups sound like total @$$. Seriously, I've heard Squier Affinitys that sound better.
I really need to order a replacement HSS pick guard stat!

Next issue is that the neck is a bit 'off'. I adjusted the truss rod because there was a pronounced front bow and the adjustment seemed to take care of that, BUT the action and fret buzz are horrible. Raising the bridge saddles to eliminate the buzz raises the action way above what should be normal. I'm going to give it 24 hours to settle and then probably make an appointment to get this thing a proper set up. Whether I keep this thing or sell it/give it away, an $80 investment in a setup is going to be worth it.

Overall the guitar is in great shape and will probably be better than new once I get the OEM pickups in and get it set up properly.

Here are the before photos...

IMG-7401.jpg

IMG-7402.jpg


And the after...

IMG-7409.jpg

IMG-7411.jpg

Nice job so far. Fun project! Love me a Black Strat with a dark Rosie board.

You can shim it yourself, if you're inclined. Plenty of tutorials on the interwebs.
 




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