A sentimental restoration

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by kmcanney, Jan 19, 2020.

  1. kmcanney

    kmcanney Tele-Meister

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    I’ve had a Squier Contemporary Strat since my dad bought it for me in 1986. It originally looked just like this one:

    unuiuc3i3kokidpgzodj.jpg

    (This image isn’t my guitar, but they could be siblings; their serial numbers are only 18 apart.)


    Unfortunately, it didn’t take me long to butcher that old Squier. As a teenager, I had endless curiosity but no real skills with tools:
    • I replaced the Fender Trem with a Kahler unit, cracking the body when I doweled the original bridge post holes and installing the Kahler studs crookedly.
    • I drilled four holes in the headstock to install a string lock behind the nut.
    • I replaced the humbucker with a Seymour Duncan JB that wasn’t spaced correctly for my bridge.
    • I replaced the tone knob with a TBX control.
    • I cracked the body again when the knobs had a chance meeting with a speaker cabinet.
    • A friend with an auto body shop refinished it in a metallic gray to try to match the Clapton pewter Strat.

      (kids, right?)

    I played the butchered guitar for years, but as I got older and learned how to use my tools, I always regretted my teenage butchery. I finally got around to restoring it this year:
    • I removed the string lock and filled the screw holes. I didn’t want to recreate the decals, so I just oversprayed with clear.
      IMG_3934.jpg
    • I replaced the plastic nut with TusqXL.
    • I replaced the Fender tuners with Gotoh staggered locking tuners.
    • I leveled and crowned the frets.
    • I stripped the body, steamed and filled dents, replaced the fluted dowels with properly sized plugs, and inlaid new wood where the body cracked between the bridge posts and trem cavity.
      IMG_2456.JPG
    • I replaced the Kahler with a modern Fender two-point trem.
    • I refinished in GM gunmetal metallic with nitro clear coats.
    • I replaced the humbucker with an F-spaced DiMarzio PAF.
      IMG_3933.jpg
      IMG_3942.jpg

    It’s not my nicest guitar, but it plays great and it has a lot of memories in it. It makes me happy to see it whole — and relatively close to stock — again.

    34 years later, it looks better than I do. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
  2. esseff

    esseff Tele-Holic

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    Nice job! Looks great.
     
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  3. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    34 year later, both have changed, you and the guitar and if the results on you are the same as on the guitar i think one can not complain. ;-)
    great job, i like it
     
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  4. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    That came out really nice. I love those colors together.
     
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  5. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Bravo!
     
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  6. peeweepete

    peeweepete TDPRI Member

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    Well done! How did you strip it? Sanding?
     
  7. preactor

    preactor Tele-Holic

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    Another wonderful story with a happy ending.
     
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  8. Speedfish

    Speedfish Tele-Meister

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    Great job! I love these restoration stories!
     
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  9. kmcanney

    kmcanney Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, all!

    It's nice to have it back to what it was meant to be and to embrace it for its differences — short scale, narrowish neck, and mini toggles — rather than trying to make it into something else.

    I used a combination of a heat gun and sanding. Initially, I used the heat gun as a way to work while the family slept, but I got carried away and set off the smoke detectors on a school night, so I finished up with the orbital sander while everyone was awake. :)

    After the wood repairs, I sanded down to 220, primed with BIN white shellac, used Duplicolor for color coats, and finished with Minwax clear nitro.
     
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  10. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Friend of Leo's

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    Nice tidy job! I absolutely hammered my first electric with so called mods. No skills, meant one seriously screwed up guitar. Fortunately I sold it on rather cheaply to my cousins boyfriend, who restored it and still uses it today.
     
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  11. MrCairo46

    MrCairo46 Friend of Leo's

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    B7CB05BD-DD54-4352-B2F9-3EFCFD515668.jpeg Very nice. I have an Epiphone ET 276 mom gave me for Christmas in 1978. I pulled the pickups out and lost em. I kept it and later after 30+ years found original pickups and restored it.
    I now play it every Sunday at church.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
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  12. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I have a 1989 Squier Strat which went through everything one shouldn't do to a guitar (But hey, teen me wasn't going to be told that) in the end, the sole remaining original part was its body.

    These days, she's retired from road duties and with me having respectfully restored her still is my baby.
     
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