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NGD: 73/74 Strat

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  • NGD: 73/74 Strat

    Weird new guitar day. I inherited it from my dad, after deciding not to buy it 25 years ago. It’s a boat anchor (weighs more than my Les Paul Standard), has teeny-tiny frets, a 7.25” radius, this awful cast bridge where the block and plate are one piece, an ugly pearl pickguard on a very yellowed Olympic white finish, and a 3 bolt, super chunky maple neck covered in super thick poly.

    This is the first time I’ve spent any time with it since learning to do setups well, so imagine my surprise when I tightened the truss rod, lowered the action, adjusted the pickup heights, and it sounds and plays great

    I have the original poor condition pick guard and aged covers and knobs. I think I’d like it better with those, but for now, I’m leaving it as is. The bridge pickup is a DiMarzio that sounds awesome, and the stock middle and neck pickups are excellent.

    Click image for larger version

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    "Patience is key. Hard work is obligatory. And itís the decisions you make right now, not the habits of the past, that will shape your success in the future." - Janek Gwizdala

  • #2
    I think the bridge is a replacement. Possibly Mighty Mite. There was a brass fad in the 70's and it looks a lot like the types seen on early Charvel guitars.

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    • #3
      Is this the one you're thinking of? https://www.mesonline.com/guitar_par...at-bridge.html

      I'm pretty sure it's the stock bridge, probably replacement saddles. It's one of these https://reverb.com/item/2884325-70-s...ck-part-101347
      "Patience is key. Hard work is obligatory. And itís the decisions you make right now, not the habits of the past, that will shape your success in the future." - Janek Gwizdala

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      • #4
        Nice guitar, and you have a great dad.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ArtieToo View Post
          Nice guitar, and you have a great dad.
          I did, indeed.

          As I said, I’m leaving it intact for now... but my sentimentality ends at keeping it I love having a vintage guitar who’s guts have already been cut into, so I won’t feel bad doing the same. Ironically, the DiMarzio SDS-1 might be everything I’ve wanted from a Strat bridge pickup.

          Its construction is similar to a P90, and it sounds the part, too. It’s much darker sounding than the stock pickups, so no ice pick when switching, but doesn’t overpower them.
          "Patience is key. Hard work is obligatory. And itís the decisions you make right now, not the habits of the past, that will shape your success in the future." - Janek Gwizdala

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          • #6
            That is sweet. Definitely something to keep and play in his memory. The SDS-1 is a great pickup. Jake E. Lee uses them in the middle and neck of his Charvels.

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            • #7
              I’d like to see it with the original pickguard and covers, the if it plays and sounds good, perfect!
              Oh no.....


              Oh Yeah!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by PFDarkside View Post
                I’d like to see it with the original pickguard and covers, the if it plays and sounds good, perfect!
                Next string change I’ll swap them out and post a pic. I feel a *little* bad undoing his swap, but hey... I’m a beat up Strat kind of guy.
                "Patience is key. Hard work is obligatory. And itís the decisions you make right now, not the habits of the past, that will shape your success in the future." - Janek Gwizdala

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                • #9
                  the sds1 is a cool pup for sure, seems like a fun guitar. other than the weight

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                  • #10
                    Thinking it’d be cool to have it refretted with huge wire. It’s playable as-is, but the frets are so small it feels like I’m trying to push through the neck.

                    Also surprisingly, I’ve got 11s with medium low action, and I can do whole step and minor third bends all over 7.25” radius. No fretting out.
                    Last edited by JB_From_Hell; 01-18-2021, 02:17 PM.
                    "Patience is key. Hard work is obligatory. And itís the decisions you make right now, not the habits of the past, that will shape your success in the future." - Janek Gwizdala

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Awesome! Congrats.

                      The bridge is original (or at least original spec), and the saddles are not (obviously, re: the saddles).

                      It's blonde, not Oly White. WAY cooler than Oly White, IMO.

                      Those frets are the bee's knees IMO. Play on them a while. Figure out what they're good for and what they're not. Use the guitar for what it's good for.

                      If you must have larger frets, I highly suggest a neck replacement, and storing the original.

                      Definitely put the original guard and pickup covers back on. That stuff on there is very unflattering, IMO.

                      As for what I would do with it if it was mine:

                      - Track down period correct saddles
                      - Track down an as-original bridge pickup
                      - Put original plastic parts back on
                      - Track down original spec hard case (if you don't already have it)

                      ...even if I was gonna leave the retrofitted parts as they are. Just put the original parts in the case.

                      It's not a pre-CBS, or even an early CBS, buuuuuuuut it's a particularly cool '70s Strat, and it still has more value and collectibility than you'd think, especially if it maintains original specs.

                      And, yes, the whole "fretting out" thing is much ado about nothing. If you really need to bend that far that high on the neck, then raise your action. Low action sucks for bending anyhow.
                      Last edited by ItsaBass; 01-18-2021, 06:26 PM.
                      Originally posted by LesStrat
                      Yogi Berra was correct.
                      Originally posted by JOLLY
                      I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I do have the original case. It has a previous owner's name and a band name stenciled on, which I think is pretty cool.

                        Am I correct in that blonde finishes have some degree of transparency (as this one has), rather than being solid like Olympic White?

                        A couple of the frets have grooves that cause some buzzing. If I had them dressed, they'd be level with the board. If I was gonna get a new neck, I'd just as soon build a lighter Warmoth and use the pickups and tuners. I think *maybe* the tiny frets would be better with lighter strings, but it had 10s on it, and I prefer the feel of 11s. As far as what they're good for... I'm at a loss on that one. My MIM has medium jumbos and 13-56 strings, and feels slinkier.
                        "Patience is key. Hard work is obligatory. And itís the decisions you make right now, not the habits of the past, that will shape your success in the future." - Janek Gwizdala

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                        • #13
                          What they have been good for is most everything that was played on a Fender guitar from about 1950 to about 1984...and everything played on a Fender vintage reissue since then.

                          Give it time. Whatever it is you need to do...you can do it on those frets. I hate big frets with a passion. They are stiff, clunky, and exhausting to play on for me. But I can still play on them just fine in the end. Frets are never the deal breaker between being me able to do something musically and not being able to do it. That's 100 percent on me, not the frets. It's just a personal preference for feel, is all. I have some guitars with big frets and flatter boards...and I just suck it up and get over it when I go to play on them. Maybe it needs a fret job, sure. But think long and hard before using a different wire than stock. Thousands have already been altered from original, and it is harder and harder to get ones that were not. And the rest of the guitar is very easy to "restore" to original. On a beater that had been hacked already, sure, who cares? But you have a pretty complete example there.

                          Blonde is translucent white. You can usually see at least some wood grain through it, though at times in the late '60s and '70s, the color was sprayed so opaquely that it was hard to distinguish from Oly White. You happen to have a particularly beautiful blonde finish on that guitar, for a CBS-era Fender. And with the maple neck too. Really, really gorgeous instrument. You're very lucky.
                          Last edited by ItsaBass; 01-18-2021, 08:51 PM.
                          Originally posted by LesStrat
                          Yogi Berra was correct.
                          Originally posted by JOLLY
                          I do a few chord things, some crappy lead stuff, and then some rhythm stuff.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'd think refretting would make the guitar more usable, and give it plenty of life. Those tiny frets are hard for any modern guitarist to get used to, much less ones with grooves in them.
                            Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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