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1993 Stratocaster rebuild update


Yes, my old, broken '93 USA Strat is going to be rebuilt.

I mentioned on my YouTube community page a few days ago that after all this time, I've finally ordered a replacement Strat neck for my '93 that I've owned since it was new. I purposely went with a cheap neck because I'm not about to spend 500 bucks on a new one. Yes, I know there's the cheaper Mexico neck, but the way I figure it, either go all out or just go cheap. I went cheap. It's not arrived yet at the time I write this, but will soon enough.

If this neck works out and actually plays right, that's the beginning of the very long overdue Strat rebuild.

The plan is to make a working guitar. It doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to work.

Because I got the guitar originally when I was 18 years old and knew nothing about guitars back then, I had the bridge pickup replaced with a rails thing. Then, like an idiot, I lost the original bridge pickup. This means I only have two of the original 3 pickups.

Will I use those original two? No. But even if I had the original 3 I wouldn't use those either because of the ridiculous electronics in the guitar.

In '93, all USA Standard models as far as I'm aware came with that oh-so stupid TBX control in it, with pickups voiced to use it. While the Mexico Standard came with wonderful pickups that sounded great with standard wiring, that wasn't the case with the '93 USA Standard. It was a trebly, clacky mess of a guitar.

Since there's no way I can put the guitar back to 100% original specs anyway due to a missing original bridge pickup and a busted neck, I'm gutting the whole thing and putting in a new alnico 5 Strat pickup set with all new wiring.

I do have the original tuners but they're 26 years old, so I'll most likely be installing a new set. I actually have a second reason other than age to do this. The new neck probably won't fit the Fender tuners so I have to get a set that fits 10mm pegboard holes, which fortunately is a standardized size.

The bridge, saddles and block will stay original as will the pick guard. I won't be refinishing the body since it's a color offered in '93 called Midnight Blue (a sorta blue/sorta purple color).

Why didn't I throw out this guitar years ago?

The '93 was an 18th birthday present from my father. Can't throw it out. Not an option.

I own two Strats. My '89 Squier II Stratocaster (which currently needs a bridge block), the very first guitar I ever owned, and the '93 Fender USA Strat.

These are two guitars that I own that once fixed will be staying with me for the rest of my days and will never be sold or traded out. They're worth fixing.

Things I entertained doing with the '93

I was considering going HH or HSH with the '93 since it has that infamous "swimming pool" route that allows for basically any pickups you want in there. But then I thought better of that and said no, let's just make this a standard 3-pickup.

I also considered blocking off the volume control hole and using the bottom two as master volume/master tone, but that would look a bit dopey so nope, not doing that...

...but I may still do the master volume/master tone thing and leave the volume control there as a dummy knob just for appearance. My reason for the control relocation is so I don't hit the volume knob accidentally during play. I'll decide what to do once I get around to the electronics.

Other nonstandard things I most likely will do

I will wire in tone control to the bridge pickup. Standard Strat wiring doesn't have that, but I definitely want it, so it will be installed. This is this simplest Strat mod that exists. All it takes is a 1-inch wire connected to one of the open terminals on the 5-way selector.

My choice of taper for the volume potentiometer will be linear instead of audio, which means that as the volume is turned down, treble is cut off sooner. This is exactly the opposite of what most Strat guys like. Strat players want all the treble kept in when volume is reduced. I want the exact reverse.

I first encountered a linear taper volume pot on the Jazzmaster. That guitar uses a 1meg linear taper pot for volume and a 1meg audio taper pot for tone. And I frickin' loved the fact that whenever I wanted just a little treble knocked off, all I had to do was turn the volume knob from 10 to 8. Brilliant setup. The tone control being audio taper also played very nicely with the volume control's linear taper and vice versa.

The body does have factory installed strap lock buttons. Back in the day I even bought a set of locks. Hated them. If it's not too annoying to do so, I'd really like to take those out and go back to standard strap buttons.

Oh, and the pick guard shown at top? No, I won't be using that. I'm just showing it because it's the fugliest Strat guard I've ever seen. But I'm sure someone out there digs it, and if so, cool.

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