Restoration of Rudy Pensa’s 1964 candy apple red Stratocaster

The future of Vintage Guitars, sooner or later will require some Restoration works to either woods, finish, electronics or hardware. Although all of these things used to be made in the past in the most frugal, cheap and quick way, because they were “just guitars”, nowadays that approach is not longer acceptable, and Professional Restorations are now the only way to bring back an old guitar to its pristine glory.

It’s not always true that the right approach to a Restoration implies a radical transformation or an extensive work, on the contrary, one of the most famous quote from the Bauhaus movement, “less is more”, must be the leading light to any aspirant Restoration Luthier. In fact, when coming to restore a Vintage Instrument, it’s fundamental to determine which works are absolutely needed in order to bring back the guitar to professional use, and which others can be avoided, thus preserving the original instrument’s patina, age and vibe.

For example, if you rebuild carefully the finish with correct materials and finish procedure, there will be no need to “relic” it in order to make it looking “right”, Relic most of the time is nothing but an excuse or a safe escape to cover a “so and so” finish job, while Time is what will always make a difference to achieve real and genuine “aging” on your guitar.

That is why at ToneTeam we spend a lot of time discussing with the customers what their expectations are, and in which way to fulfil them, doing our best to reduce the actual works to what is strictly needed.

When Rudy Pensa asked to the ToneTeam to take care of the Restoration of some of the guitars from his Vintage Collection, the aim of the works has been exactly to bring the guitars back to their initial appearance, replacing the non original parts eventually found, while preserving the integrity of the original parts and elements when present.

Today, for Vintage Vault, we’re happy to present a gorgeous guitar, a late 1964, early 1965 Fender Stratocaster in gorgeous candy apple red,  serial #L40725

The guitar arrived with a “natural” stripped look, so we decided to bring it back to the look it had back in the day. Aside from the finish job on the body and an humbucker route on the neck pickup position done long ago, the instrument remained in good conditions with all the important original parts still there.

The ToneTeam Master Luthier Romano Burini filled in the humbucker route with a proper Alder insert,  and then prepared the lightweight body for the finish restoration, carefully maintaining the correct contour body, body thickness and edges shape. He then applied a period correct Candy Apple Red finish, with the correct yellow stain, white primer, metallic basecoat, cherry see through red finish and final clear lacquer topcoats.

In agreement with Rudy, we did not artificially “relic” the finish, although we did age it properly, with a very nice patina and “weather checking” texture, that was done also to match with the original finished neck, which is still in good conditions but it shows plenty of wear from years of use.

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