Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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MIM 50's Strat Upgrades, Continued

I'm going to try to wrap up the upgrades/changes I made to my MIM 50s Strat since it's actually been finished for months and I left it open-ended here on the blog.

For some reason, the neck pocket is stamped with two dates: Sept 2 1999 and 17 Oct 1999.  Maybe the earlier date was when it was originally made and the second is the date it was finished or QC'd?  I don't know but I thought it was interesting.

Since I had to take the neck off, I figured I'd go ahead and put brass inserts in it (or is it 'on it'?).  I've documented this in more detail before, but I have a couple shots of this process on the Strat.

This is post-drilling - I'm finishing the taps on the neck by hand with the tap.  This is a pretty cool part of the process as you can feel the tap cutting into the wood and watch the tap gradually thread itself down. 

Here we have one tap in the neck, and three others about to go in.

I've seen some folks (namely Buckocaster) on the TDPRI forums do this and use a threadlocker to help keep the inserts in place.  I don't really think it's necessary - the inserts are a tight fit, and you're turning the bolts the same direction (clockwise, they're right-handed threads) to tighten them into the inserts.  I'd be surprised if the inserts could work loose.

The old pickup covers and knobs are pretty cool looking.  I'm not sure if they are actually naturally aged or they were a cream color, but I like the shade. 

Unfortunately, the pickguard itself is a real bright 'refrigerator' white.  I suspect it was a replacement and not the original.  In either case, I have a nice 1-ply 'parchment' pickguard from Callaham Guitars to put on.  I personally like the pickup covers and knobs to match the color of the pickguard as much as possible on Stratocasters.  And I don't like bright white guards on them either.  So I'm attempting to get a closer match.  I want to reuse the covers and knobs since they have a nice 'old' vibe to them, and they are a bit scratched up...I'm trying to make the guitar look more like a '56 if possible.

Here we have the pickguard assembly removed from the guitar.  I'm going to reuse the volume and tone pots from this one, but I have some new pickups, new tone cap, and a blender control to go onto the new pickguard.


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