Rebirth of a Stratocaster

Since fishing season is finished around here, I decided to
tackle a project I’ve been thinking about for a while. Quick
background- I was in a band in college and always wanted a
Fender Strat. Unfortunately, they were out of my price range
and I settled with some garden-variety overseas knock-off.
Somewhere along the way, I ended up buying a Mexican made
Fender “squire series” strat off a guy for $75 (he needed cash
quick for a habit). Despite being cheap, the thing played nice
and served me well picking songs in Vermont bars. I’ve held
onto this guitar and played it from time to time; always
admiring it’s tone and playability.

A few years ago I bought myself a proper strat; one that
got rave reviews and looked gorgeous with its maple fret
board and white finish. Unfortunately, no matter how much I
played it and tried to convince myself of its greatness, I
never bonded with it. Recently I admitted to myself what I
knew all these years. The old black strat, deep down was
really nice. It just needed a little attention. So I sold the
white strat and prepared to overhaul my old companion. Off
with the thick, ugly polyurethane finish, replaced with Surf
green Nitrocellulose lacquer (like the old originals).

I had no idea the process I was in for when I started
stripping the black poly off, but am glad I did it. Below are
photos that show the transformation. Sure, I could’ve done a
few things differently, but overall the thing turned out great
and my old strat is exactly how I always wanted it. It’s
lightweight, comfortable and rings like a bell (or growls when
the bridge pup is run through a cranked tube amp)!

Naked strat body

Stripped down to bare wood, scratches filled and

ready for paint

In my homemade painting booth after first coat of

sanded and polished

painting complete, cured for 30 days and


reassembled and back in action

at home

back with the family