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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / "I'll take it"

Contributing Member


Too Much GAS
Nov 11th, 2016 06:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

A co-worker brought a Japanese Strat with him to work about a month ago. It was in pieces. Totally disassembled. He wanted to know if I could put Humpty back together again. I told him I'd give it a go and see what happened.

The pickguard was still on the body and all the electronics were in tact so, I screwed on the neck, assembled and installed the bridge, and put the tuners back on. I plugged it in and the pickups and selector switch seem to be working.

It needs re-fretting and all of the frets are corroded. I told him I was taking it home to polish the frets to see what they looked like beneath the gunk. He told me to just keep it. He's an acoustic player and said he'd never have an amp for it so he had no reason to keep it. It was given to him by his brother so it didn't cost him anything.

The finish has some dings in it and such. It has a rosewood fingerboard that looks to be in good shape. The neck is straight. I'm going to string it up after I clean up the frets just to see what it's like after all of the adjustments are made. If nothing else I can hang it on a wall somewhere but, if it's playable I may have it re-fretted and change out some things. The saddles are pretty worn and it may need a new bridge.

Hey, I'll take a free Strat, or any other decent guitar for that matter, any day of the week.

Contributing Member

Edmond, OK

Nov 11th, 2016 09:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

Sounds like its been loved/played. What year is it? pics?


United States

Nov 11th, 2016 09:36 PM   Edit   Profile  

Depends on what you mean by Japanese. If you plywood faux strats that cost $100, I'd toss it. If it's one with decent pickups, real wood and either made in the 90's or are one of the higher end Japanese strats I'd keep it. I've played those really cheapy strats before and man, I'd rather rub my d*ck in an ant hill than play those. Such terrible guitars.

Contributing Member


Christian Slater
Nov 12th, 2016 08:52 AM   Edit   Profile  

If nothing else--it will be a *great* platform on which to practice your tech skills. Who knows--you may get a real player out of your efforts.

Any (and I do mean any) guitar that has a straight neck and a working truss rod can be made to play and sound great without dumping a lot of $$ into it.

Some take more work than others, but this is a true statement. I've bought beater import "junk" for $20 or less at garage sales (including Kays and no-name 60s imports) and have turned them into easy-to-play and great sounding instruments. All you need are a straight neck and a working truss rod. Sometimes the geometry is wrong (bridge is in the wrong place, etc.), but that is fixable too.

The reason cheap guitars are cheap is the lack of handwork that went into their manufacture. With some TLC and attention to detail, you can turn a rubbish-bin queen into a real player.

Contributing Member


Too Much GAS
Nov 12th, 2016 09:15 AM   Edit   Profile  

"Sounds like its been loved/played. What year is it? pics?"

From what info I've found it's probably a 1987 or 88 according to the serial number. Some of the other indicators are there and some are not. I think pot codes may be a good resource. Anyone know where I can look those up?

"If nothing else--it will be a *great* platform on which to practice your tech skills. Who knows--you may get a real player out of your efforts."

My thoughts exactly. Near as I can tell, by looking at the wood in the pickup and spring cavities, it's not plywood. That's a plus.

Decades ago, I used to do all of my own setups and adjustments. Sometimes it would take me a few tries but, I could always get it "right" eventually. Changing out pickups and pots is a no-brainer. As far as fret dressing and such, I'm a bit cautious of that. There is not much meat on these so I'm not going to tackle that. If that's a problem I'll just have it re-fretted. I live near Nashville so, I'll bet I can find someone around here to do that. :o)
Since the guitar was free I can afford to throw some money at it.

Free Guitars Make Me Happy

(This message was last edited by ninworks at 11:16 AM, Nov 12th, 2016)


Alcohol- Because No

Good Story Ever Started by Drinking Milk
Nov 12th, 2016 04:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

Looks real nice to me. Enjoy it.


Texas Gulf Coast

Fender Aficionado BF Lifetime Member
Nov 12th, 2016 04:34 PM   Edit   Profile  

Congrats on a very nice looking guitar.

Can't beat a free guitar.


Modal Magic

MBJ, Highway Hound.

You Can't Bend It Aussie!
Nov 13th, 2016 05:12 PM   Edit   Profile  

Looks like Lake Placid Blue. Looks similar to my Japanese '66 RI 'cept mine has the large headstock.

Contributing Member


Too Much GAS
Jan 14th, 2017 08:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

Well, I polished the frets and found that 2 of them were loose. Game over! I put new saddles on the bridge and had it re-fretted with .110" fret wire. I like big honkin frets. I found out that it has a 12-1/2" radius.

The tech did a great job on it. It plays really, really, well. I knew I could find someone around this area that could do it. All the electronics work and it sounds very good. I still think I'm going to change out the pickups to something a bit higher up the food chain. I may end up putting some better machine heads on it at some point but, for now, the pickups will be enough.

For about $500 I will have a very nice, and usable, guitar, that would probably cost a lot more than that if I had to go out and buy one of that quality. WOO HOO!!

(Edited because my typnig sukcs.)

(This message was last edited by ninworks at 10:52 AM, Jan 14th, 2017)

Contributing Member

The spotlight

looks like a prison break
Jan 14th, 2017 01:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

Very very cool!

Next time you encounter a loose fret on a lower-end guitar, and you (or the owner) don't want to sink a lot of work or $$ into it, here's a simple and dead-easy fix.

Tape around the loose fret (along the sides across the fretboard and around the ends) with Scotch tape. Press it down firmly into contact with the wood using the tip of a guitar pick. This protects the wood as you work.

Carefully wick in some water-thin CA adhesive along the sides of the fret. Be sure the fret is pressed as far into the slot as it will go before you add the CA. The liquid CA will draw into the space just like molten solder does when joining a wire connection. Add CA until it stops drawing in. Carefully clean up any visible wet CA with the corner of a paper towel.

Remove the tape and allow the CA to set up for at least one hour. You can use accelerator, but it still needs time to cure because it's not a surface bond; the CA goes deeper, under the fret.

Check the fret with a rocker and adjust as necessary.

Contributing Member


Too Much GAS
Jan 15th, 2017 06:10 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks Peegoo. I'll remember that.

I ordered a shielding kit for it to stop the static noise when rubbing my fingers across the pick guard. That will be my next project.

(This message was last edited by ninworks at 08:13 AM, Jan 15th, 2017)


Gulag Archipelago

E'lera del terzo mondo
Jan 23rd, 2017 01:34 PM   Edit   Profile  




Jan 26th, 2017 09:05 PM   Edit   Profile  

i'm not sure the shielding kit will stop the static noise. putting a dryer sheet in the control cavity got rid of that noise for me.

late 80s japanese strats are pretty great.

Contributing Member


Too Much GAS
Jan 28th, 2017 03:32 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have never been a fan of tuning down my guitars a half or whole step but, this Strat LOVES it. I was messing around tapping on the body just to see if it had any particular pitch to it. It resonated at a very strong Eb. So, I tuned down a half step and this thing came to life. I would have never believed it if I hadn't heard it myself.

The only other time I tuned my electric guitar down, other than a drop D tuning, was when I was going to be the primary singer in a band that wanted to do some Journey tunes. I have a bunch of guitars so I set one up for D standard tuning to make it possible for me to hit the notes when singing.

FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / "I'll take it"

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