Vintage Guitars on my workbench

hogy

Member
Messages
13,611
Couple of very cool 1966 Strats came across my work bench recently. I dig '66s Strats, love that big, fat headstock. '66 headstocks are so thick in fact, you sometimes can barely get two wraps on the low e tuner before the string gets pinched against the ferrule.
I do think that extra mass up there gives those guitars something unique in their tone. They're often quite muscular and firm sounding, even unplugged.

By '66, the sunburst is very opaque and yellow, with little woodgrain visible. I think CBS was starting to count beans when it came to raw material costs, and less attention was payed to the cosmetic aspect of the body wood. That new type of sunburst no doubt was intended to hide some of that.

I do not think that necessarily affects the tone, though. In fact, I used to own a '66 Strat that started life as a custom color olympic white model. I bought it off a player who repainted the guitar every time his band took new promo pictures. It had at least five different separate layers of colors. I stripped it down to bare wood and found the body to be made out of seven strips of wood. Practically a butcher block. Incidentally, this was one of the best '66 Strats I've ever played, sonically...

Which reminds me, I've always wondered why 1967 Strats are so extraordinarily rare. I probably have seen ten '66s for every one '67. Maybe they made so many Strats in '66 that it took them two years to sell them all?

'66 Strats often have very nice, medium size "C" shaped necks that feel great. Not big, not small, with an even taper. Very playable. Pickups are strong that year, yet still very stratty sounding.
They're great guitars all around, and used to be a "cheap" alternative to "pre-CBS" guitar that cost a fraction of the small headstock models. Of course, that has completely changed now, and prices have caught up.

The white PVC pickguards of these guitars didn't shrink nearly as bad as the earlier nitrate guards did, so typically they aren't cracked.

Fingerboards are East Indian rosewood by 1966, no longer Brazilian.

This cool sunburst model here got new frets and a new nut. Great sounding vintage Strat with a comfortable weight and a really cool vibe. Tone wise, this guitar has everything you could ever wish for in an old Strat. Tons of character, clarity, and strong output. A punchy, yet sweet tone.







Next up was this really vibey Lake Placid Blue model. This one's got some miles on her, and some bar room funk. Guitars will never again age like this now that there is (thankfully!) almost no more smoking in bars.



You can see how the clear nitro top coat over the LPB has yellowed, giving this guitar all kinds of blue and green hues. The back in particular could almost be mistaken for Sherwood Green.



This road warrior has seen a few refrets in its life, and the fingerboard radius was at some point flattened all the way to 10". '66s tend to have fairly thick boards, so they got away with this without going through the board or even the pearloid dots.

This guitar is going to see a lot of gigging, and its owner plays very hard. He burns through a set of frets in just a couple of years, so we opted for 6105 (.090x.055) size Jescar EVO fretwire. EVO is much harder than nickel silver and holds up almost like stainless, while sounding much more musical to my ear. It takes a polish and feels very slick. It has a slightly golden color, which may look inappropriate on a very original and collectible vintage guitar (if one cares about such things), but on this race horse of a Strat it's a great choice.

This Strat is bad to the bone! Plays like a modern Superstrat and sounds like Hendrix. The owner had me set it up with .011 strings and it plays effortlessly.
Great weight as well at around 7.5lbs.





 
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Mobass

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
555
Which reminds me, I've always wondered why 1967 Strats are so extraordinarily rare. I probably have seen ten '66s for every one '67. Maybe they made so many Strats in '66 that it took them two years to sell them all?
That's interesting Hogy. I've noticed the same thing regarding '66 and '67 P basses. You just don't see '67s.
 
Messages
976
I had long heard that the Strat's popularity was seriously waning, by 1967, as the offset Fenders were all the rage (or, at least, those -and the new Coronados- were more highly prioritized by Fender's marketing), and that the model was given a new lease on life -and restored relevance- by Hendrix's high-profile use of the Strat, with increased production as a result.
It certainly would be cool to have a Birth-Year-Strat, but no full year of production seems more elusive, and that's been the case, for the four decades that I've been paying attention.
 
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bluejaybill

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
998
That's interesting Hogy. I've noticed the same thing regarding '66 and '67 P basses. You just don't see '67s.
IIRC, '67 was the year that Gibson came (back?) into vogue because all of the Brit players played them? As well as Bloomfield. And those in the surfy camp went for Jazzmasters/Jaguars.

That changed back when Hendrix reappeared, and Clapton and later Beck switched to strats.

I always thought that early '60's telecasters were comparatively rare and hard to find. I once played a '60 telecaster that was to die for, nice big neck and nice big sound. In fact a friend of men was returning it, partly because of that big neck. Felt perfect to me. At that time, $4500 IIRC. They were not as in demand as the earlier ones.
 

redgold

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,906
I wish everyone treated fret ends like this. Most have such a shallow angle that playability is really compromised.
 

hogy

Member
Messages
13,611
I'm tired, so forgive me for the cut+paste job from my facebook page. I can get into more details if you guys have questions.


This one may raise some hackles. It’s a ‘55 Gibson Les Paul Custom. It belongs to a couple of fine gentlemen who have assembled a collection of misfits they affectionately named “the turd pile”. These are beat up, modified, broken, ugly three legged dogs that nonetheless have something really magically going on. No longer pristine collectibles, but great guitars.
This old Custom has seen a lot of miles, some really crappy refrets (see before and after pictures of fretboard damage), changed parts, general neglect and the like.
My job was to rout it out for a genuine ‘59 zebra PAF pickup in the bridge position, repair the fingerboard damage and install a set of Hogy frets. In this case Jescar .095x.047. Plus various other little odds and ends.
I understand that some will disagree with the pickup mod, but the outcome is hard to argue with if you are a player. That stock P-90 wasn’t really happening in this guitar, and I love P-90s.
You’ll likely see this guitar again on a big stage somewhere. It sounds and plays killer now.













This picture is before the final fret polish. I forgot to take one after. Just wanted to show the repair of the fingerboard damage:



Before:

 
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Fitzer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,505
I'm tired, so forgive me for the cut+paste job from my facebook page. I can get into more details if you guys have questions.


This one may raise some hackles. It’s a ‘55 Gibson Les Paul Custom. It belongs to a couple of fine gentlemen who have assembled a collection of misfits they affectionately named “the turd pile”. These are beat up, modified, broken, ugly three legged dogs that nonetheless have something really magically going on. No longer pristine collectibles, but great guitars.
This old Custom has seen a lot of miles, some really crappy refrets (see before and after pictures of fretboard damage), changed parts, general neglect and the like.
My job was to rout it out for a genuine ‘59 zebra PAF pickup in the bridge position, repair the fingerboard damage and install a set of Hogy frets. In this case Jescar .095x.047. Plus various other little odds and ends.
I understand that some will disagree with the pickup mod, but the outcome is hard to argue with if you are a player. That stock P-90 wasn’t really happening in this guitar, and I love P-90s.
You’ll likely see this guitar again on a big stage somewhere. It sounds and plays killer now.













This picture is before the final fret polish. I forgot to take one after. Just wanted to show the repair of the fingerboard damage:



Before:

Was the fretboard chip repair job a matter of ebony dust and super glue drop filled throughout, or was it some other method? Well done—truly. Very impressive work.
 

Phineas Ball

Fuzz
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,791
Lovely. Is that repair accomplished by sanding the fretboard or by adding some kind of filler?

My girlfriend was looking over my shoulder and said, "Wow, that's a cool one!"
 

56Tweed

Ge Fuzz-o-holic
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,484
That really look like a fun guitar with a great story. I would love to give it a go. I dig the original finish. Great job with the frets!
 

Highnumbers

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,215
Alright, I’ll be that guy…

Charlie and Joe have more money than taste. It’s their guitar and I understand the benefits of swapping the pickup out for a PAF. But I can also think of a half-dozen other great pickups that wouldn’t require routing that old LPC. Joe often talks about being a “steward” of old guitars, so….?

That said, nice work with the conversion @hogy and it looks like a seriously cool guitar.
 

balde

Member
Messages
965
Couple of very cool 1966 Strats came across my work bench recently. I dig '66s Strats, love that big, fat headstock. '66 headstocks are so thick in fact, you sometimes can barely get two wraps on the low e tuner before the string gets pinched against the ferrule.
I do think that extra mass up there gives those guitars something unique in their tone. They're often quite muscular and firm sounding, even unplugged.

By '66, the sunburst is very opaque and yellow, with little woodgrain visible. I think CBS was starting to count beans when it came to raw material costs, and less attention was payed to the cosmetic aspect of the body wood. That new type of sunburst no doubt was intended to hide some of that.

I do not think that necessarily affects the tone, though. In fact, I used to own a '66 Strat that started life as a custom color olympic white model. I bought it off a player who repainted the guitar every time his band took new promo pictures. It had at least five different separate layers of colors. I stripped it down to bare wood and found the body to be made out of seven strips of wood. Practically a butcher block. Incidentally, this was one of the best '66 Strats I've ever played, sonically...

Which reminds me, I've always wondered why 1967 Strats are so extraordinarily rare. I probably have seen ten '66s for every one '67. Maybe they made so many Strats in '66 that it took them two years to sell them all?

'66 Strats often have very nice, medium size "C" shaped necks that feel great. Not big, not small, with an even taper. Very playable. Pickups are strong that year, yet still very stratty sounding.
They're great guitars all around, and used to be a "cheap" alternative to "pre-CBS" guitar that cost a fraction of the small headstock models. Of course, that has completely changed now, and prices have caught up.

The white PVC pickguards of these guitars didn't shrink nearly as bad as the earlier nitrate guards did, so typically they aren't cracked.

Fingerboards are East Indian rosewood by 1966, no longer Brazilian.

This cool sunburst model here got new frets and a new nut. Great sounding vintage Strat with a comfortable weight and a really cool vibe. Tone wise, this guitar has everything you could ever wish for in an old Strat. Tons of character, clarity, and strong output. A punchy, yet sweet tone.







Next up was this really vibey Lake Placid Blue model. This one's got some miles on her, and some bar room funk. Guitars will never again age like this now that there is (thankfully!) almost no more smoking in bars.



You can see how the clear nitro top coat over the LPB has yellowed, giving this guitar all kinds of blue and green hues. The back in particular could almost be mistaken for Sherwood Green.



This road warrior has seen a few refrets in its life, and the fingerboard radius was at some point flattened all the way to 10". '66s tend to have fairly thick boards, so they got away with this without going through the board or even the pearloid dots.

This guitar is going to see a lot of gigging, and its owner plays very hard. He burns through a set of frets in just a couple of years, so we opted for 6105 (.090x.055) size Jescar EVO fretwire. EVO is much harder than nickel silver and holds up almost like stainless, while sounding much more musical to my ear. It takes a polish and feels very slick. It has a slightly golden color, which may look inappropriate on a very original and collectible vintage guitar (if one cares about such things), but on this race horse of a Strat it's a great choice.

This Strat is bad to the bone! Plays like a modern Superstrat and sounds like Hendrix. The owner had me set it up with .011 strings and it plays effortlessly.
Great weight as well at around 7.5lbs.





You know i wouldn´t have thought you dig the big headstock era! they look lovely!!! i kind of hate them myself, but i´m sure it´s some visual prejudice. The y must sound great
 

Sampler

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
728
Nice work on the Custom Hogy, it sure looks like a great player now that you’ve worked your magic on the fretboard. It’s not my guitar and Joe and Charlie can always do what they will with their turd pile...wouldn’t have been my choice. I’m actually surprised they did that given the state of the guitar.
 




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