• We would like to remind our members that this is a privately owned, run and supported forum. You are here at the invitation and discretion of the owners. As such, rules and standards of conduct will be applied that help keep this forum functioning as the owners desire. These include, but are not limited to, removing content and even access to the forum.

    Please give yourself a refresher on the forum rules you agreed to follow when you signed up.

1961 strat build.

Andy Eagle

Power User
As you may have seen in other threads I built a 54 replica which is ash/maple and I play this guitar all the time BUT I can't help wanting another in the other big strat category; alder/rosewood .
I recently spent a bit of time playing and assessing a couple of nice 64 Strats and decided that the only way I will get one I like is make it myself.
I want SS 57110 frets and a 16" radius for a start but the rest I want to be micrometer correct.
First problem is what year is the best speck for alder/rosewood ? IMO end of 60 to early 61 has the speck I like so that's the one.
The things that I like are the slab board the wax paper 50's cap the longer 2" neck bolts and the D profile neck ( this is what early Charvels are modelled on.)
Parts;
Single line Kluson ,Fender pat pend saddles bridge with tooling marks and a correct neck plate with right number in the right font stamped THEN chromed on the right thickness plate that is rough cut. 2"imperial cut neck bolts that look right. Nitrate pick guard with the right thickness black line and the right shade of off bluey greenish cream. Fender have helped recently with there 60's knobs and screening plate which are exact. Logo is always a challenge. Even Fender's own custom shop ones are not right. I do however have some restoration quality replicas that I save for actual vintage Fenders only. Thes are made in the exact same way as the originals an it needs to be the two pat member version.
I will probably use SD antiquity pickups in this as I like the alnico 2 magnet combined with a slightly hot wind.
 
Last edited:

Andy Eagle

Power User
Neck and body;
There are a lot of quality ones out there but I need to limit them to who makes vintage accurate.
This rules out Hosco (allparts and wd) Warmoth USA custom and almost everyone. It only leaves Musikraft for the neck ( or make it) and UK guitar build for the body.
I'm going to use these.
UK guitar build bodies are the best I have come across in terms of vintage accurate. They are simply the same in all but the hand variable areas.
You can always alter the rib and forearm contours to taste anyway . The big advantage of buying a ready built body is you can see the grain and you know the weight. This is better than building one yourself because you can cherry pick from available stock. Remember that the vast majority of vintage Fenders are off centre 2 piece or 3 piece. I've been weighing vintage strat bodies for years and the vast majority of alder ones are around 4lb usually just under with the lightest being 3lb7oz (that I weighed )
Question;
Do one piece bodies sound better ?
Not in my opinion , in fact three piece ones are just as good.
So UK guitar build 3lb7oz to 3lb 10oz is my preferred choice.
I have scratch built strat necks in the past and it is mostly not worth doing anymore as you can pretty much always speck exactly what you want now. It also takes many jigs and a template that unless your are going to build quite a few will cost more than having one built for you. Now factor in the time.
Remember a Fender Master built is not any different in this respect.
I will speck a Muskraft and alter the thing that are not exactly right.
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
It will be thin nitro, painted on nails and reliced because paint as thin as I am going to do is not going to be poly perfect. It's final condition will be similar to my other strat.
I have a handle on quite a few of the parts including some already.
I will post pics of those soon.
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
When I'm talking here about it being better to select from available necks and bodies for a build than actually make them it is only referring to replica Fenders where the selection of options available is big and the instrument is practically modular.
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
One other thing to consider if you are making something yourself ; Imperial parts don't perfectly fit, even the closest metric equivalent.
For instance a Fender neck heel is 1 3/16" = 55.55 mm and allparts necks are 56mm now add tolerances and its loose or doesn't fit, and that's before you paint it. Hardware is usually fine though as long as you get things that are direct replacement parts for USA fender.
Beware pick guards, they vary wildly from some manufactures.
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
Here is some hardware I have accumulated with this in mind.
IMG_1735.jpg
These are all original or dead on replicas.
Neckplate detail;
IMG_1734.jpg
I came across these in my work authenticating vintage Fenders (for auction and insurance ). This little machine shop is making parts that if aged well simply can't be identified from the originals. Thats an early 61 serial number BTW.
IMG_1732.jpg
Part original part repro.
 
Last edited:

Andy Eagle

Power User
Logo;
These are getting pretty much impossible to get since the vast majority are now done on laser printers.
They HAVE to be screen printed exactly as the originals to look right . This is before you even get to the type and colour.
IMG_1738.jpeg
Here are the three type of spaghetti logos used from 54 to 64.
No pat no until 60, two in 61 and 3 in 62.
note the texture;
IMG_1739.jpeg
This is caused by the screen. Note the 3D look of the black outline, this is missing from the modern fender custom shop decals as they are not produced in this way . Now Fender seem to have a flat decal that is too sharp that they screen the tinted clear over to get a similar look (not the same though.) These are made in four passes; clear ,gold, black and clear again. You can just see the overlap of clear around the edges .
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
Anyone thinking about getting in to the vintage market can see from this that "IF" I wanted too I could get the parts and build a totally convincing fake. IF I was doing this (and I'm not) you could easily justify some NOS pots and an original shape switch for £1k as the guitar would have a market price ( if accepted as real of £30K+). The standards of provenance in this market are still woeful and a dodgy hand written receipt and story are still accepted. As prices go up for the really good examples this has to change to the standards required in the Art market.
If you wanted to get in to this you would find over 50% is not as claimed and 100% original pieces are only found at the top end of the price range. I could write a book on this but not here.
 

chucma

Fractal Fanatic
This build will be slow to finish as I will have to wait for Musikraft with the neck (15 weeks at the moment)
This will give me time to get the details and let the paint get hard enough to do the checking right.

Nooo I was so looking forward to more photos!! Loving the detail you are going into with these build threads Andy, thank you for sharing!

I am keen to see how your paint job goes on that body!
 

OrganicZed

Experienced
Will the rust in the pivot holes on the bridge be an issue? I would think you'll want those contact points to be smooth for proper functionality.
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
Will the rust in the pivot holes on the bridge be an issue? I would think you'll want those contact points to be smooth for proper functionality.
Strictly speaking your right but in practice the points of contact kind of wear together and it you play it regularly it will work as well as a six screw normally would. This part on the screw will probably not get rusty very easily either.
 

Andy Eagle

Power User
The thing about a convincing relic is how you put the paint on. You need to replicate the look and thickness of paint that has been thinning out for 60 years not how it was when it was new. This means thinner and with a slight sink in to the grain. On ash this would be thinning the grain filler a little more and alder would be less sanding sealer and don't perfectly flat it before the primer and colour coats.
Many early custom colours are missing the clear top coat altogether. Often also painted over failed sunbursts or other mishaps.
Here is some great info on early paint.
http://www.guitarhq.com/fenderc.html
 
Top Bottom