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1955 Stratocaster Build

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by preeb, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. bmutlu

    bmutlu TDPRI Member

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    Hi Gil,
    absolutely killer job.
    Eric Johnson's 54 Strat Virginia was spruce,also Fender CS made some spruce body 55 RI.Did you made any Spruce body Strat ?
     
  2. Mr. Right

    Mr. Right NEW MEMBER!

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    Absolutely incredible build

    Gil,

    Just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to post your builds. Just amazing, inspiring work. I wish there was an inexpensive way to send cold beer to Israel, because I would sure like to buy you a cold one. Cheers sir!

    Mr. Right
     
  3. diermaker

    diermaker TDPRI Member

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    That neck almost looks to pretty to play on. Almost. Great work!
     
  4. pavel

    pavel Tele-Meister

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    Hi Gil,

    Checking out your wiring and other wiring shots on the web:
    [​IMG]

    -- it looks like a least some had the tremolo grounding wire hooked up to the output jack instead of the volume pot case, like say here:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    and
    [​IMG]

    Not on this 54 though:
    [​IMG]

    Very curious!
     
  5. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    This 50's blond Strat is almost complete and looking at the flamey neck I remembered this thread... I'll post the completed instrument shots in a few days.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Jake D

    Jake D Tele-Holic

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    yes, please do!
     
  7. MatthewK

    MatthewK Tele-Holic

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    Beautiful blond finish - what's your recipe?
     
  8. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Here's the blonde finish over a 1956 and a 3TSB 1959 sister (-;

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Thank you.
    2 kinds of blond finish were done in Fender during the pre-CBS era.

    The earlier (until ~mid 56) is as follows (and documented in Leo's paperwork with his own hand writing):
    1) Sealer (thin nitro) X1
    2) oil based creme pore filler + dry sanding
    3) oil based blonde color mixed with nitro thinner to allow adhesion of the consequent coat
    4) Nitro sanding sealer X 1 (+ mild sanding if needed)
    5) clear nitro coat - wet (no sanding)
    6) final clear nitro coat - retarder

    Like this
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The later blonde (more whitish and opaque):
    1) Sealer + pore filler (OR Fullerplast in later 60's years...YIKES!!!)
    2) Sanding sealer (not over Fullerplast) + mild sanding
    3) Clear nitro mixed with ~10% white for the blonde sprayed heavier over the sides and edges
    4) clear nitro coat - wet (no sanding)
    5) final clear nitro coat - retarder

    Like that
    [​IMG]


    The guitar I posted in the previous post has the earlier blonde type that has been extensively used on furniture in the late 40's-early 50's.

    If you want to learn more try to dig info about furniture restoration... Leo didn't invent the finishing schedule you know (-;
     
  10. Shepherd

    Shepherd Friend of Leo's

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    So is this the original color an early 50's Tele would have been when it was new before it darkened to the butterscotch color we see today?

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Hiflyer

    Hiflyer Tele-Afflicted

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    That blonde is a BOMB !! You're an artist.
     
  12. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Ah... well... yes and no (-;
    The very early blonde finishes applied by Fender in the early days (50-51) were trial and error thing and the entire thing stabilized toward the end of 51.
    Many of those early finishes are falling apart for at least two deferent reasons that I'm aware of:

    1) Oil based blonde applied over nitro based sealer = no adhesion

    and when that didn't work

    2) a single heavy finish coat that was a mix of the oil based blonde with the nitro... = non stable material that eventually (and literally) fell off the wood.

    in late 51-54 we find the first stable blonde we are all familiar with (Blackguards), but!!! in 1955 they started to use a lighter color blonde (still oil based) among other changes and used a slightly heavier spray over the sides to hide 2-3 piece body glue lines and imperfections. so.... by the time the blonde Strats came out they received the second version blonde and don't have the darker 51-54 blonde seen on BG's.
    Nevertheless, some early blonde Strats got very dark when exposed to the elements and look kind of the same as the BG's.

    Another factor that contributes to the ambering effect are the Nitro clear coats that changed both in material and thickness during the 50's and completely changed in the 60's but that is another (very long) story (-;
     
  13. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Well thank you (-;
    I think I'm more of a detective than an artist. Once you figure out how the real artists did this 50 years ago it's very easy to apply providing you can find or mix the correct materials. But I have to admit... simple as they are, Blackguards are the hardest guitars to closely replicate, and blonde (and Gibson TV Yellow) are the hardest finishes to figure out.
     
  14. jonal335

    jonal335 Tele-Holic

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    It looks beautiful Gil, is that 2-piece ash for the body?
     
  15. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Thanks. Yes, a 2 piece body.
     
  16. melomanarock

    melomanarock Tele-Holic

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    on the last finishing step.. what do you mean by retarder??
     
  17. preeb

    preeb Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    Do you really believe the girls at Fender sat for hours doing wet sanding 600, 800, 1200, 1500, 2000 on each and every body and neck ? (-;

    The last coat is pure retarder to smooth it all nicely.
    Needs some practice and experience, but when mastered saves a lot of time and sand-throughs on extra thin finish films.
     
  18. OuttaspaceMan

    OuttaspaceMan Tele-Afflicted

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    Never was a strat guy but that blonde strat is exceptionally beautiful..

    I think those are the best grains a strat could ever have!
     
  19. melomanarock

    melomanarock Tele-Holic

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    I had no idea that such a thing even existed.. :oops:

    nice guitars by the way.. I'm hacking a couple of strats.. I'll post them in a few days..
     
  20. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Gil, did any of the 50's strats have a black pickguard?

    I am wanting to build myself a strat, but I haven't decided which color. Mainly because I do not like white pickguards.
     
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