Stratocaster project

As the year ends, I take on a new project with the curing lamps. Greg at Solarez® is sending me a gallon (yes, GALLON) of a new curing resin he is making for spray applications on wood, a thinner but quick setting resin. I expect to use it on the Telecaster project, but I also want to test it for patching ding. Part of the problem with the existing resins is how thick they are. This is great for many apps, but repairs and such need something that can get into cracks and harden, to reduce the white lines. So, out of sheer dedication to my task, I hit up the local pawn shops and brought home a 1999 Fender American Standard Stratocaster with a couple of typical dings. I know, it just shows how self-sacrificing I can be when it comes to a tax deductible expense account ;).

In all seriousness, it does show that I’m willing to take what is normally a $1300 guitar when new, and poke, prod, coat and bake it with UV. I probably won’t get it perfect simply because (honestly) I lack the skills. Like many of my other projects, the goal is to show luthiers how handy the lights and resin are. If I can do a halfway decent job, then YOU could do an excellent one. I’ve still never put finish on a whole guitar before (I’m still sanding on the Tele project, and it is Christmas time, so family has me tied up). But I’m confident I can make it look perfectly fine from a distance of 4 feet, which is about as close as you want someone when you are swinging the ax.

1999 American Standard Stratocaster with dings
1999 American Standard Stratocaster with dings

Image left is the whole guitar as I bought it, rusty strings and all. Upper right is the small ding next to the pickup selector. Lower right is the big ding, just below the input jack. These are going to be challenging for a rookie like me. First thing is to clean it, inspect the cavity to see if it is HSS or HSH routed, while I talk to the CPA and see if I could justify writing off a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates trembucker. I’m putting a fresh set of 09-42 gauge guitar string on it on as my old arthritic hands have a time with 11s and even 10s now. Gibson Brite Wires is my brand of choice for my Telecasters, we will see how they do with a tremolo that I don’t expect to use much.

I’m a Tele guy, so didn’t expect to be repairing a Stratocaster, but the deal was too good, and the neck on this guitar just melted into my hands. I was shocked at how “right” it felt. I had been looking for a Telecaster like this to repair, but pretty happy to find the deal I found on this guitar, and the end results will be the same.

One advantage of this project is that I can leave the strings on during the repairs, and of course, the cure lamps means that each layer will cure in about 5 minutes, so there is a lot of down. Might have to drag up my Fender Super Sonic 60 amp, which needs the tubes broken in anyway. In time, we will see if a fool (me) can make this guitar look a lot better.

Dennis