Restoration of Rudy pensa’s 1959 sunburst 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, refretting a rosewood fingerboard with plenty of vibe, divots, which fiercerly showing its age, will imply a particular approach, and the right Luthier will preserve all of that. If the Luthier you’re talking to will tell you that “board MUST be planed” and sanded flat to be ready for refret, just run away. There’s no need to do such a thing, and it’s instead important to preserve that story and vibe of the 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, one of the very first “slab board” Fender Stratocasters ever made, from summer 1959.

1959 Fender Stratocaster Sunburst serial #38425

The guitar arrived with a poorly made “gold” refinish on the body, but with evidence of original sunburst finish in the cavities, so we decided to bring it back to the look it had back in the day. Aside from a set of schaller tuners installed in the 80s the instrument remained in good conditions with basically all the important original parts still there.

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