My 1972 Fender Stratocaster



The original owner of my black with maple neck 1972 Stratocaster, sent it back to Fender in 1978 to clean the neck cavity on the 3-bolt system and install a new neck. Fender put the new 1978 serial number on the headstock. All the tone pots and the gray bottom single coil PUP's have 1972 serial numbers. The neck date stamp shows 77 and the body 1972.

Soon after the new neck was installed, I went with my friend Robin who bought the guitar from the original owner and that's how I know the history of the guitar. A few months after Robin bought the guitar, I bought the guitar from Robin sometime back in 1978. Over the years I have made some modifications to the guitar and it sounds so much better.

I do all my own work and I set my guitar up to Fender specifications with a floating bridge.

Electronics Modifications

The first thing I replaced was the worn out volume pot with a high-end one from Bourne. I was still working for | GenRad | at the time so I had easy access to electronic parts.

Over the past summer I replaced the tone pots and added one more for the bridge pickup. Now all 3 of the PUP's have their own tone control using the Fender Highway 1 Grease Bucket band pass filter design.

The original gray bottom single coil pickup for the bridge does not work anymore, so for now I have a inexpensive Hot Rail clone in the bridge position. I'm still trying to figure out what new pickups to install. The other two PUP's are weak and I'm leaning towards Fender's new 4th generation noiseless pickups.

I replaced the 3-way switch with a 5-way so now I don't have to use toothpicks to hold the switch in those in between positions. It's a little crowded under the hood but there was plenty of room for another pot. While the hood was open I lined the cavity with foil to reduce hum. It worked!

Tuner Upgrade

I replaced the old tuners with Fender Staggered Locking tuners and that made a huge difference in the sound. The old tuners were so worn out, they couldn't transfer the sound vibrations down the headstock, neck, and body like the new ones.

The staggered locking tuners don't need the string trees so that's what those two little holes are under the strings.

Bridge Upgrade

The original saddles became heavily grooved over the years and started breaking strings. Since I like to use the whammy bar, I put on roller bridge vibrato saddles. My whammy bar requires plumber's tape to keep it in place and working properly.

My new vibrato system sounds awesome, is easier on the hands, and stays in tune even after heavy whammy bar use.

Up Next

I would like to replace the old nut with Fender's LSR Roller nut.

Each of the strings would glide along two ball bearings during whammy bar use thereby reducing friction.