Fender “Classic ’50’s” Stratocaster

Hank Marvin Inspired, Fender “Classic ’50’s” Stratocaster. Finished Specification.

Every Stratocaster I’ve put together has a slightly different tone and feel. This “Classic 50’s” restoration gave me an opportunity to take a basic 50’s-type specification, and then tweak it a little. The Hank Marvin styling is a purely cosmetic upgrade – although I think the gold hardware really suits this Dakota Red body. The Bareknuckle pickups are pure single coils – but given a slight overwind – so they drive really nicely.

Hank Marvin Inspired, Fender “Classic ’50’s” Stratocaster. Setup, and the VML “Easy-Mute” tremolo arm.

Setup time. A “Classic Vintage” tremolo arm would finish off the 50’s retro look of this Fender “Classic 50’s” Stratocaster perfectly – but there’s an opportunity to follow the Hank Marvin inspired stylings even more. Hank, himself, pioneered the development of the “Easy-Mute” tremolo arm, and I’m delighted to find they’re still in production, here in the UK. Just the job. And once it’s sorted – I can setup the guitar.

Hank Marvin Inspired, Fender “Classic ’50’s” Stratocaster. Bareknuckle “Apache” pickups, and a 50’s wiring mod.

I’d originally intended to fit out the 50’s Stratocaster with Bareknuckle, “Apache” single coils, and had sourced them before I got the inspiration to make the Hank Marvin connection. The pickups seem to be a little bit overwound from the norm – so I’m going to hook them up using a wiring modification which should hopefully bring out a little more of their celebrated character.

Hank Marvin Inspired, Fender “Classic ’50’s” Stratocaster. Replacing the neck.

The Dakota red Stratocaster body looks like it’ll take the Hank Marvin styling well enough. The body came to me without it’s original neck, so I’ll need to source a replacement. I’ve already fitted gold hardware to an all maple Mexican Fender neck for the, (now repurposed), Gold leafed Strat body I was working on. It’s not quite the all-vintage specification I envisaged – but it’ll do a job.

Hank Marvin Inspired, Fender “Classic ’50’s” Stratocaster. Copper shielding.

The Dakota red body is ready to go. No point letting things hang. Fortunately, I’ve got most of the bits I’ll need, already in hand. Supplies have been getting a bit harder to source, with the current restrictions – so where some things are in short supply, I’ll just have to eke them out. The copper shielding foil is just one example – but this is no time to let standards drop. Sometimes, working through a problem can provide useful lessons in economy.

Sometimes… Where we end up, isn’t quite where we originally thought we were going.

With projects moving slowly – if at all – what with the global Covid-19 situation, and my continuing eye probems, it’s perhaps not surprising that I sometimes revisit, and remake, plans I’ve already thought were settled. Decisions which I’d thought were sorted, start to unravel, and other possibilities come to mind. I’ve been wondering about the finish on that gold Strat for a while now. And then I recently saw this Hank Marvin documentary…

Fender “Classic ’50’s” Stratocaster. Body repairs in quarantine.

So… the global epidemic caught me right in the middle of my cataract treatment. I’ve now got one repaired eye, and another still badly blurred. With all non-essential surgery cancelled, and with an extended period in Covid-19 lockdown leaving hours to fill, I’m left looking for things to do whilst still not having great vision. But I just can’t sit here, doing nothing…

New Project. Fender “Classic ’50’s” Stratocaster (2003 MIM).

It doesn’t always go according to any particular plan. Sometimes, a new project just presents itself. With my recent gold leafed Strat throwing up as many questions as it has answers, I recently bought a second hand Stratocaster body, with the intention of using it as an, ultimately disposable, low-risk candidate for some further experiments in gilding. But perhaps it’s just too good for that…