I have no mechanical skills whatsoever, but I often enjoy watching various TV car shows, whereby they either restore various ‘old barn’ finds, or indeed customise old vehicles into some form of a ZZ Top style hot rod – Such TV shows always make me think about similar projects that I might be able to undertake with the odd guitar from time to time – Obviously if you come across an all original/clean example, from any era, then best to leave it alone – Likewise if you come across a potential project, but somehow it feels wrong, plays like a dog, is to heavy, then with so little going for it, then again it is best to leave it alone – Then sometimes you come across a guitar that somehow gets you hooked and this is exactly what happened when I first came across this Fender 1977 Strat – Maybe I should have taken some before and after pics, so you can see why I took on such a project – This Strat possessed plenty of played in character, with all the natural relic of a guitar that has obviously been played on a regular basis for over 40 years – Good weight, played well, but with a non-original trem and what was basically a mess with regards to the pick-ups and wiring loom, it was prime candidate for such a project – No point in trying to put it back to original, as A) it will never be an original guitar and B) I knew with a few tweaks and upgrades, then I would be able to maximise the whole playing experience –
So read on for more details :-
- Whole guitar only weighs 7lbs and 9oz which is a good weight for any Strat from any era and far lighter than many 70’s models
- Ash body with original black finish – pics will reveal it has been played on a regular basis, so plenty of natural relic wear ‘n’ tear
- Original 3 ply pick guard with a serial number that matches that of the serial number on the headstock
- Original trem back plate, tuners, 3 bolt neck plate
- It had already been re-fretted when I acquired it and this is partly what got me hooked about this as a potential project, as it played so well – Chunky medium/jumbo size frets – Many 70’s Strats can play like a dog, but I feel this is a good Strat to play and enjoy
- Neck measures .851″ around the top nut end and .970″ around the 12th fret, so a comfortable amount of girth – More medium plus size
- As I mentioned earlier, it had a non-descript trem on it when I acquired it – Lying around in my spares box I had an aged Fender Custom Shop trem assembly as per those models from the 50’s and 60’s with the steel trem block and stamped saddles – Fortunately the 50’s/60’s trem systems still fit in the same holes as a 70’s version, so easy to fit as required – Most would agree that such a trem assembly is an upgrade on the 70’s models – Remember that Strats from the very early 70’s models can still be found with a 50’s/60’s trem assembly
- Again, as I mentioned earlier the whole wiring loom was a mess – Nothing original either – So I fitted a set of Fender Custom Shop Fat 50’s pick-ups, along with a whole new loom, inc pots + switch from Six String Supplies – CRL switch, Switchcraft socket, 250K Premium CTS pots with custom audio taper – I choose the option with a blend pot, so now you’ll have a master vol + tone pot, whilst the blend pot will allow you to mix the neck + bridge pick-up as/when required
- Re-strung with a set of 10 gauge strings and set-up with a sensible/fluid action that responds to a light touch – Set with the trem assembly flat to the belly, yet only a slight touch required for down pitch, so nice and sensitive – I can of course fine tune any set-up as required
- Price includes a good quality Studiologic flight case
Can I say it is the best Strat you’ll ever find ? – Certainly not, for many reasons – Can I say that it out performs many/most 70’s Strats, then I would say yes – This Strat is now well over 40 years old – Possesses plenty of natural aged character and now feels, plays and sounds like a very good Strat – Sure you can find an all original 77 Strat, many with a price tag that will be well north of the asking price for this Strat – But you won’t come across many examples of a 70’s Strat that can match this 77 Strat for the whole playing experience – The quality/taper of the pots allows the volume control to fully function as an expression control, especially on subtle, crunch, hi-gain overdriven amp settings – As such you can play a lot with the volume pot on/around the 6/7 mark, for a more ‘in control’ voice, that still retains all the guitars true character – Then wind it back towards 10, as you require more gain with a touch more oomph and attitude – Hence so much soul and emotion available at your fingertips – Buy it, play it and enjoy it for what it is and not what it was, or could be
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Guitars4You is not another corporate high street guitar store - My selection of premium grade guitars is about quality not quantity. Every guitar has been selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention to the set-up and playing performance. Every sale, phone call, email and mail order transaction is handled by me. A journey that is now over 40 years old, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars.