1955 Fender Stratocaster ~Refinish/Restoration~ BEFORE

Strats are my thing. I get them. They are a quirky blend of Leo Fender and his team’s visions for a creation that nobody had ever seen before their introduction to the planet in 1954. This amazing example was made just one year after the first batch hit the streets. Unfortunately, after many years of previous owners having their way with it, this one came to me in a bit of a sad state. Previously and improperly refinished, this was the perfect candidate for a proper refinish of both the body and the neck.

The penciled original neck was still with us and was in line with the rest of the parts and dates on the guitar.


However, the original decal didn’t make it through and had been replace with this second rate version. These were typical of those available in the 1980’s, before the market demanded a more authentic replacement. Also present was an added string guide.


…and, in true 70’s fashion the original tuners had been tossed out and traded for a number of different replacements, with no regard for filling in the holes that had been left behind.


The body had been refinished in an almost proper 2-tone sunburst, with only one problem: the dark tone was a little shy of wrapping around the top and back enough, leaving a pale looking transition between the colors.


The silver lining in this project was definitely the highly select and ultra-lightweight piece of Swamp Ash that was revealed after stripping. The owner: Gary Westlake brought this wonderful guitar to me to restore to a proper blonde finish. Stay tuned for the next blog post for the images of the final product.



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