Sunday, January 27, 2013

1990 Fender American Standard Strat (Project complete)

Hi all,

Hope you are having a good night :) I just finished practicing with my newly refurbished Strat, and thought I would just post some pics and tell you what I did with it.

First, here are some pics of the finished product.
Project complete - front photo 20130127_220805.jpg Project complete - back photo 20130127_220849.jpg

Looks pretty much like a Strat, no? It didn't start that way. I think it was a parts-caster that was sold to someone who didn't know better. I probably should have returned it myself, but instead, my son and I dubbed it 'The Project Guitar'.

The guitar came with :

  1. A purple pearloid pickguard
  2. black rear cavity cover
  3. 1980's Squier by Fender electronics (Japan)
  4. homemade tremolo claw (bent sheet metal)
  5. replacement springs (steel)
  6. mix-and-matched screws
I have also wondered about the body, since it had the Squier electronics, but it seems to checkout, as I have found examples of 1989-90 bodies with swimming pool routes and sunburst with black cavity paint. Apparently, the overspray on the black paint around the outside of the body was a new 'feature' to help hide deficiencies in the bodies. 

Crazy! I wouldn't have kept it, but I really like the feel and resonance of these late-80's-early-90's Fenders, and also have a desire to learn more about guitars and how to work on them, so this was a perfect fit. Here's what I did:
  1. Replaced the Squier electronics with 1993 Fender American pickups, and Genuine Fender tone and volume pots. (The 1993 electronics had original TBX tone pot, but the pots were pretty shot, so I just replaced them).
  2. Fender pickguard and back plate.
  3. Fender tremolo springs
  4. Aftermarket tremolo claw, (which made a big difference in the resonance of the guitar. I was surprised!).
  5. Fender tuning machines, (these also made a big difference, though the other tuning machines were ok. These are new, so they don't have any of the looseness that the originals had).
  6. Real Fender screws :)
This was a fun project, and I'm a bit sad to see it come to an end. I'm looking for more chances to work on guitars, so let me know if you have a guitar that needs to be worked on. I'm starting to connect with local luthiers, so have people who can handle refrets, wood work, and painting. I can do the rest!

Fix tinny strat pickups by replacing pots

These 1993 Fender American Standard pickups sounded tinny, and I didn't know why. It had the TBX tone control on the left, and a regular 250K tone pot for both tone and volume. I noticed the the neck tone pot didn't do anything, and the TBX tone control had some large tonal bumps throughout, so I decided to simplify and replace all of the pots with new 250K pots. It worked! Good learning experience for me.

Project guitar - replacing pots (Before shot)
 photo 20130126_082008.jpg

Project guitar - replacing pots (After shot)
 photo 20130126_220805.jpg