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Finish Repair and Upgrades on MIM 50s Stratocaster

I realized that I started a piece about some repairs and upgrades to my MIM "50s" Stratocaster and never finished documenting it.  So here we go!

If you read the previous post at the link above, you'll see that the previous owner of the Strat had put on some straplocks.  Aside from the fact that I don't use them, and I find them really ugly, the finish had a huge gouge in it as a result.

I took off the straplocks and filled the hole.  I was fortunate to discover that the original factory hole was still there; the straplock had been screwed into a different location.  So I ran a screw into the original hole when I filled the gap so I could reuse that hole.  The screw is covered with blue tape in the pic above.

I had to build up the filler in stages, since the hole was so deep.  After I got it built up to the surface of the guitar, I could sand it out.  I used tape on the areas I didn't want to sand.

The process was pretty much: sand some, fill any divots, sand, fill, etc. 
Here's the finished area before painting.  I did have to scuff sand the whole area to blend the repair in with the rest of the finish.  The scratches should buff out.

Since the repaired area is so small, I chose to just brush on some acrylic water-based paint.  According to Dan Erlewine and Don MacRostie's great (highly recommended) book on finishing guitars, the "black" on these 2-tone sunburst Strats is actually a very dark brown.  I used an ebony black and the match is so close I can't tell the difference.

If I didn't mention it, the finish on the guitar is poly, and it's quite thick.  I'd guess it's at least 1/32 of an inch thick.

After the black is dry, I put on a couple of coats of brush-on clear gloss poly.

This is a picture I took with the old strap button on it - the hacked-up area actually looked worse in person. Here's what I wrote about it before - sometimes I write funny stuff!

"Whoever put the straplocks on did a really awful job. They totally hacked up the finish on the top button. I have no idea how this happened, but it probably involved a big honkin' tool and a lot of beer."

Here we have the finished repair after final sanding and polishing.   I replaced the ugly straplocks with vintage-style strap buttons from Callaham guitars.

This guitar has its share of nicks and dents and scratches that give it a cool vibe, but the finish hack just had to be fixed!  It's not absolutely perfect - from a foot away it's clear it's been repaired, but from most angles it looks good.

More on some upgrades I did to the guitar coming soon...


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