Here at PREMIER GUITARS in Sydney it seems that 2020-21 has been the Year Of The Partscaster, with lots of folks with time on their hands putting it to good use building some excellent Fender style guitars, the likes of which often cannot be found in stores.
Well, here’s one from way back in the Era of Eddie – the early 1980s, when Eddie Van Halen was shaking up the guitar world with his “Frankenstrat” – a stripped down Strat with one mighty Gibson humbucker, a Floyd Rose bridge and not much else.
This one was bought from legendary Sydney shop Rock Repairs back in 1982. Respected Sydney guitar tech and founder of Rock Repairs Alan Rigg personally built this guitar and remembers it well -
“Yes, we put it all together in 1981-82. I had it for about 6 months, but (the current owner) just loved it and wanted it so much, I ended up selling it to him. Originally it had a natural finish, 1 x humbucker with no guard, hence the rear wiring access. I think that body is actually one piece of mahogany - SO different to ash or alder. Perfect for a humbucker. It had a Gibbo 70s humbucker I think. Damn good guitar !”
As it turns out the pickup is actually a very sought after Gibson “Patent Number” humbucker from the late 60s. The Pat # pickup is the immediate successor to Gibson’s revered PAF pickup, after the patent was granted. Many Gibson aficionados swear there is barely any discernible difference between the sound & response of the PAF and Pat # pickups.
Trivia: the original patent number that Gibson printed on the stickers (Patent No 2,737,842) was incorrect; that was actually a patent for a Gibson trapeze tailpiece. The correct patent number was 2,896,491. The debate rages over whether this was accidental, or was intended to mess with competitors who were trying to copy the design.
Gibson Pat # pickups alone can sell for AUD$600 - $2000 +
Output of this one is 7.58 K
Alan hand carved the body from a single piece of mahogany purchased from renowned Sydney luthier Gerard Gilet. “I made all the contours real sharp, like a ’57 Strat, lots of fine curves instead of the chunky Strats bodies Fender were making in the 70s.”
Being solid mahogany, this guitar weighs in at 8.5 lbs
The neck is dated 22 January 1972 and stamped X Armenta, who was a Fender staff builder at the time. At some point it has been professionally refretted with large Gibson style jumbo frets which retain 90% of their height & girth.
This is a very nice maple Strat neck – a mid C profile, not too big, but not skinny either – just feels good in your hands. And it’s a 4 bolt neck, not the later 3 bolt necks which featured on Strats from mid 1972 – 1981.
Original Fender F stamped tuners are working fine & hold tuning well.
We think the bridge is a standard Fender Strat bridge from the 70s, with block saddles.
The pickguard is an after market unit. The pickup was deliberately slanted similar to a regular Strat bridge pickup, and so the pole pieces of the coils could be located directly under each string.
If you add up the cost of sourcing a good early 70s genuine Fender Strat neck, plus a killer Gibson Pat # pickup, let alone a solid mahogany hand carved body, you’d probably end up with rather more than the asking price of this guitar.
It has been a stripped down, solid workdog guitar for only its second owner for nearly 40 years. It sounds sweet and subtle low down and absolutely roars when dialled up. But it’s time to move it on, so it’s on the market for the first time since 1982.
Comes in a non Fender hard case in good condition.