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Rediscovering a vintage old friend...

DHart

Member
Messages
598
In the 1970s I taught guitar at a music store while going to college. I bought and sold a lot of guitars from the music store during those years. In 1976 I bought a really nice '76 Strat. Around 1979 I stopped playing music as I began my career as a photographer, sold all of my other guitars (sure wish I'd kept that Martin D35!!!) but kept my '76 tucked away in it's case all these years.

Fast forward... I entered my sixties a couple of years ago and last year decided to retire from my commercial photography business. And just a couple of months ago I decided to get back into playing and to celebrate returning to music, I walked into Guitar Center North Portland, OR (my first visit to a music store in about 32 years!) and picked up a new Select Strat and then a couple of weeks later, a MIJ Pawn Shop '51.

I've been so excited with my new Strats that I sort of ignored (still!) my '76 Strat until today. Today I did a close comparison of tones coming from my three Strats, playing them all back and forth to compare tonality. and discovered that my '76 has a really unique, very characteristic "Strat" tonality that is much more pronounced than I've heard from any of the new Strats. Something about the pick ups, I guess... I sure wish I could find a set of pups that sound like those in my '76, because I'd put them in my Select in a heart beat!

Anyway... I'm really excited to be rediscovering my '76 Strat and to be returning to music after all these years. Here are a few pics of my Strat trio.











I really enjoy playing all of these Strats, but if I could only keep just ONE of these Strats, it would most certainly be this '76, as it has a feel and range of tones which I'm not sure could easily be replaced. It definitely has some special mojo of some sort!
 
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Blix

Wannabe Shredder
Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,302
Woa, such a stellar looking example, I'm jealous! Would love to hear it! :)
 

gdcx

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
888
Your 76 is a wonderful looking instrument.

The see-though finish on the body shows a beautiful grain so it is most likely ash.

That ash body certainly ads to the tonal qualities that you are hearing and enjoying, in my opinion.

Congratulations on your rediscovery.
 

CyberFerret

Member
Messages
10,036
That '76 looks beautiful.

Welcome back to the fold... music will never leave you, you know! ;)

Some day I am going to pull out my old '81 The Strat out of the cupboard and restring it and see if it has more magic that the 4 year old one I am playing at the moment...
 

sollophonic

Member
Messages
77
Very nice set there.

I like the '51, it looks very similar to my blonde Squier 51



Cracking guitars are '51 whether Fender or Squier, a unique design that works really well IMO
 

DHart

Member
Messages
598
Blix... I will try to put together some clips to "illustrate."

gdcx... thanks for your comments... perhaps the Ash is part of the "mojo"!

CF... yes, you're right... once you discover the music inside yourself... it never leaves, even if you ignore it for decades!

sollophonic... I agree... I love playing the '51. My three pup Strats get more range of tonality, but there definitely is something about the '51 that puts a smile on my face and just keeps me playing it.
 

treeofpain

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,298
I love the blonde 76. Since it has all white plastic and the serial on the neck plate, it could have been made a little earlier - you can check the dates on the neck, pickups, and pots to verify.

I find that 70's Strats, even with all their funkiness, have a certain sound that's very distinct. Glad you kept yours all these years.
 

DHart

Member
Messages
598
I love the blonde 76. Since it has all white plastic and the serial on the neck plate, it could have been made a little earlier - you can check the dates on the neck, pickups, and pots to verify.

I find that 70's Strats, even with all their funkiness, have a certain sound that's very distinct. Glad you kept yours all these years.
Until a month ago or so, I hadn't plugged the 76 Strat into an amp in 30+ years and had only played it for a few minutes once every decade or so.

I was really surprised to hear the sound of this 76 through an amp after hearing my new Strats amplified... it wasn't until closely comparing my new ones to the 76 that I realized what a dramatic difference in tonality - sort of a super-quacky-Stratty tone on steroids - this guitar has vs. the new ones.

Of course the new ones do sound good and Stratty, but something about this 76 dramatically exemplifies that characteristic Strat sound.

:idea I really want to find another set of pups that sound like my 76 and put them in my Select, but I know that quest may be long, arduous, and expensive. :eeks
 

chucke99

Member
Messages
5,121
Practice up on that beauty, D, then get your butt out to a local jam. If you're around the Everett, WA area, I can give you a list of the better jams to attend. But there are good jams (blues based for the most part) all over the state.

Gorgeous guitar.
 

cherrick

Member
Messages
2,584
Well, darn. I think I just crapped my pants.

Anybody want to guess the body wood? I see jail-bar grain all over the place which makes me think Swamp Ash.
 

IPLAYLOUD

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,104
Serial number probably in the high 650XXX range.
About $325 new?

She's aged wonderfully.
 

DHart

Member
Messages
598
Well, darn. I think I just crapped my pants.

Anybody want to guess the body wood? I see jail-bar grain all over the place which makes me think Swamp Ash.
I have no idea on wood... but the guitar weighs a little over 7 lbs. Does that help any with wood determinant?

S/N 667016
 

IPLAYLOUD

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,104
That's Ash.
They got heavier in the next few years and lost some of their contouring.
Play it, love it, keep it!
 

Koop

Member
Messages
380
Great story to read. I went to the local music shop in Longmont Colo. in 1975 and ordered a Strat to meet my aesthetic expectations - back then it was more important to look good than to sound good. IIRC I paid $425 for it with HSC.

Unfortunately I didn't keep that guitar. It cracks me up today when I talk about that guitar and someone asks "was that a made in USA guitar?". Dude, they were all made in California back then.
 

83stratman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,217
A decent real 70s strat will run circles tone wise over anything FMIC has made in the last 20 years.
 

levous

Member
Messages
793
great post!

My first guitar was a 68 Gibson es125. I had somehow convinced myself that something was very wrong with the neck or the bridge and hadn't touched it in 15 years. I pulled it out a couple of months ago and she just sings! Nothing wrong with the action at all. The wood around the tone pot needs to be repaired, the finish has crackled, but other than that, she's gorgeous. Its p90s and I plugged into an acoustic guitar amp and was literally blown away. What a sound!

I've seen 2 in stores and none of them were anywhere near the condition of mine.

I'll be getting that pot wood fixed and taking much better care for the next 50 years.

Congrats on hanging on to that strat for all these years. Take it to a good tech and have it set up with a new set of strings. Then post back here yet again :)
 

DHart

Member
Messages
598
A decent real 70s strat will run circles tone wise over anything FMIC has made in the last 20 years.
stratman... comparing the tones from my '76 to a new Select has certainly convinced me - amazing tonality from my '76.
 

Bluesdaddy

Member
Messages
981
That's a great looking strat ! It being a hardtail will make it sound different to your trem strat as well . I have a hard tail and it seems to have a bit more quack . I always believed The trem and springs on a strat actually acts a bit like a reverb chamber .
 






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