Guy Has Made a Custom 1962 Stratocaster Tribute, but Doesn't Know Its Worth

The guy can't be objective about its value. Perhaps you can help him?

Ultimate Guitar
Guy Has Made a Custom 1962 Stratocaster Tribute, but Doesn't Know Its Worth

I need your help assessing my Strat. I am proud of my accomplishment. To call my custom-made Stratocaster a mere reproduction would be an insult to the guitar. This guitar is more accurate than a new Custom Shop 1962 re-issue, inside and out. Besides, Custom Shop guitars are mass produced; they have quotas to meet. Mine is a one-off, handcrafted guitar that I took as much time as I needed to complete.

To find an authentic 1962, you’d have to pay $10,000 and up for one in poor condition and more than $30,000 for one in excellent shape. Even a new Custom Shop re-issue would be $4,000-$5000; and it wouldn’t have the detailing that this one has.

I started this project 10 years ago, and my goal was to re-create the most accurate ’62 Strat that I could. Since then, it’s been my pet project and a labor of love. I’ve been perfecting it as I went along. Every time I come across an authentic piece or a high-end replacement part, I’d add it to this guitar (e.g., finding a NOS Red Dime .1µF 50V capacitor; it was worth it for the tone). Since this is my own personal guitar, the cost of finding the right parts was not an issue. That’s why this guitar has the best of the best and everything on this guitar is accurate to the period.

As you can see in one of my profile pics, the American-made Alder wood body has the same pickup routing and cutout pattern as a 1962 Strat, including that secondary curved groove between the controls and the bridge pickup. The guitar has a nitrocellulose finish in classic Lake Placid Blue Metallic on both the body and headstock (an option in '62).

The custom neck was made for me by the B. Hefner Company in California, a licensed Fender contractor known for their outstanding quality. This neck was specially made to 1962 specs. Mr. Hefner, himself, took the order from me. It has the traditional “slab” Brazilian rosewood fingerboard (FYI: ’62 was the last year Fender used Brazilian rosewood before switching over to an Indian rosewood veneer). The fret markers are genuine clay. And, of course, the truss rod is located at the bottom end of the neck, right where it’s supposed to be (see photo). As I said about the parts, there was no cutting corners. B. Hefner charged $400 for this custom neck without tuners. (Check it out for yourself:

The ’62 Strat came with single-line Kluson Deluxe slotted safety tuners, and that’s what I put on this guitar.

The pickguard is the famous “mint” color with full aluminum shielding. It even has the small neck cutaway for truss rod adjustments.

I installed those incredible re-issued Fender ’59-’62 alnico 5 magnet single-coil waxed pickups for a truly classic Strat sound.

But, it doesn’t end there. As you can see from my profile pic, the wiring is true to the original, right down to the cloth insulated wires, CTS pots, and the Red Dime capacitor. And, as with all Strats prior to 1964, the tremolo ground is attached to the output jack and not to the volume pot like later model Strats. The one concession I made is I installed a Fender 5-way switch, even though Fender still offers the original 3-way switch. It still has the look of the original.

The bridge has the old style “Fender Pat. Pending” saddles.

With all the time and attention I've put into this guitar, I can't step back and evaluate it objectively. If you were to put a price on it, what would it be?

44 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'll bite. A '62 strat is worth something because it has 52 years of history. Yours is a replica bitsa made to 62 specs. That means it has old, inferior pots/wires/tuners etc. A strat was/is designed by leo to be easy to make and assemble, there's no real craftsmanship in them, despite what the custom shop may say. That's why they are so easily copyable. It maybe worth something to someone who wants a 62 reissue but that's about it. I don't see how it can be worth more. It doesn't have the one thing a real '62 has which is years on the planet. Kudos for the attention to detail though it's no doubt a lovely guitar.
    Isn't posting this as news pretty mean-spirited? 'This guy is in denial about how little partscasters go for, let's learn him a lesson!' Ultimately, whether or not you use Fender's own original parts, that you put more attention to detail than even a tech might, in the end, because it WASN'T a tech working for fender who put it together, you'll ultimately have a hard time selling. It might look like a Fender, it might sound like a Fender... but it wasn't built by Fender. If you enjoy it, if it plays as well as you feel it does, if everything clicks, then I'd value it at 10 years of on again off again labour
    Mud Martian
    I don't understand entirely how news articles are approved for this website, but this has to be among the oddest I've seen. It's not my intention to be rude or to make you feel bad, but you've only been here for five days and your sole contribution to the website is a news article about a guitar you built. I don't know how others feel about this, but I think this is a glorified forum post, and as such it should be relocated to the Gear Building & Customizing forum. Nevertheless, it is more interesting than some news articles here so I'll give you my thoughts for what it's worth. It's a very, very nice guitar and you've done an outstanding job creating a replica of a '62 Fender Stratocaster. However, it is just a replica, and as such, it doesn't have the value of a '62 Fender Stratocaster that is 55 years old and was originally crafted by Fender. This is something that I would consider a work of art, a showcase of your passion, and an heirloom for your children to remember you by. If you dig the sound, it might even become a signature sound for your future music. Whatever value it has is not in terms of dollars. I don't think any dollar amount can make up for 10 years of work. I bought a brand new Stratocaster in 2007 for roughly $1,100. I couldn't see myself buying a replica Stratocaster for anywhere near that cost. I'd value it at $750, because to me, it's a beautifully made replica, but just a replica. I wouldn't buy it from you even if you accepted that price, because I think I would feel bad in the end. I think this is something you should hang on to rather than concerning yourself with the resale value. Good luck with your future projects and congratulations on a quality custom-built guitar.
    A guitar is only worth what someone will be willing to pay for it. That being said, It's NOT an original 62'. Collectors for the most part want the real thing. Putting original parts on a non-original guitar is like putting perfume on a goat. However, it is a beautiful guitar, and I wish him years of enjoyment. As far as price, your guess is as good as mine. I'd be at around $1,500.
    From a semantic perspective, wouldn't labelling it with Fender custom shop decals be a misrepresentation? This is not to downplay the amount of work that you put into it and what a fine job it looks like you did, but it's not actually a Fender. Might make it hard to sell... As to the value, I can only imagine that you're looking to insure it, not sell it, so I would insure it for the sum of the parts, plus your time, +20%... And then round it up to the nearest thousand.
    There is no Fender Custom Shop decal on this guitar, ergo, nothing has been misrepresented. So, then, what's your point?
    My failing eyesight caused me to misread the "original contour body" decal...but you do have Fender Stratocaster decals on there which would lead one to believe that it is an actual "made by Fender" Strat which, technically, it is not... No disrespect, just stating a fact...
    Actually, the neck was made by B. Hefner, an officially licensed Fender contractor. But, I've been truthful here. I have never claimed it was an original 1962 Strat.
    True... I wasn't trying to start a riot here, I was just saying that it could easily pass for a repainted Fender which would piss off a potential purchaser if you weren't an honest person [which, clearly, you are...]
    800$ Top and thats pushing it, based on parts being newly made (doesnt matter who made it, a neck made to spec is a neck made to spec), where the truss is, the extra groove cut out....all of that is irrelevant and tbh with the guy, it will never be worth what you put in. Its a Strat dude. I dont even care what year it was made. It could be the first one ever made and in my mind its just a strat. Im biased, in that I am not a fan of Fender and def not Strats, but even if I were to buy this one, the most I would even consider is 800 and at that price I can think of a dozen others I would choose first. Its kick ass what you did and I commend you for the effort. But its just a replica Strat bro, nothing you can do will change that.
    Thank you for your opinion. Especially from someone who is not a Strat guy.
    I'll come in, since everyone has to be a dick about it. Unfortunately, the dicks are right, but only partially. Value is subjective in 2 ways. The obvious is, it will be worth more to you than to someone else, on account of your investment. Second, it would be more costly to replace than you could possibly get in insurance. You couldn't have made this for $1000, even though that's about what it's worth. Honestly, I wouldn't insure it. Write it off as entertainment, a hobby. You didn't waste your time, you worked your heart out and now have a fantastic instrument to show for it. Don't get down because you can't sell it, because it's worth so much more now than the parts it's made from.
    It's hard to put a price on it but at the end of the day, it's a partscaster therefore its value will be a lot lower than what the owner hopes. It can be all 100% official Fender parts but unless it was assembled by Fender, it's always going to have limited value. Fenders aren't my thing, but I'd put it between £600 - £950. It depends who is buying it. I once bought a new gold Bigsby B7 for £120. Sold it used on ebay for £170. I personally wouldn't pay more than £700 (if I played it and liked it) but you might find a guy who had an identical vintage strat stolen and can't afford to replace it with another vintage, so he may offer higher than anyone else. As he said himself, it's his guitar and he has no intention of selling. So it's value does not matter.
    Why's everyone downvoting the guy that built it? Fair play buddy. Resale value may not be worth anywhere close to what you put in to it, but that will always be YOUR guitar. And you can't put a price on that.
    Sir, you've built a beautiful guitar. You spent 10 years of your life honing your skills, and you put your heart and soul into building it. You obviously had a passion to complete this project and should feel a great deal of pride. As for value, consider it priceless, never consider selling it, and enjoy your guitar!
    Plus, it definitely won't sound the same. Those 55 years of wood aging play a big part.
    $750 tops. It's not worth what a real American strat is worth and it might worth a little more than a MIM strat. This is a copy and a copy is all it is.My personal favorite strat model, American or not is the Blacktop non Floyd Rose model.
    why is this an article? this guy will never get what he put into it out of it as no one will pay him for all that time etc. as mentioned in the end it's a no name partscaster that according to the maker is great. it's got 62 specs which is one of the most copied vintage Strats so nothing unique there. Ron Kirn can likely build one just as nice for $3000 or less and he has a name and a reputation that will keep it's value.
    Hate to say it, but if it's not fender parts, made by fender Luthiers, and assembled in a Fender plant, its not a strat, let alone a '62 reissue. Its a reproduction.
    10 years.... I can think of a lot better things to do with 10 years
    Well, it wasn't 10 years, 24/7, but thank you for your keen insight.
    Don't be upset, I'm just saying if I spent 10 years on a guitar putting old outdated and proven inferior components into it isn't something I'd be interested in. More power to ya but still this does nothing for me
    Yeah, it's kind of like all those idiots that take years to build exact replica of a '60s Shelby Cobra. Don't they know it's old technology?! What fools they are, right?
    So, you think Fenders are POS? That tells everyone here what your opinion is worth.
    Your comment on Cobras and your insult to the appearance of Fender guitars are merely your opinion. And you know the old say,"Opinions are like assholes; everybody's got one."
    Hey guy, no need to get upset. You asked for opinions and you're getting them.
    Truth. I was really on his side with the guitar, but his thin-skin is kind of turning me off here.
    Price and value are two different things. Even vintage 60's strats often have aftermarket replacement parts in them---so that's gotta be worth something right there. Playing a guitar with all vintage parts would be an irreplaceable experience for someone with the desire to hear / feel what the original might be like. The buffoon who said strats were never made with craftsmanship blah blah puke barf ---is ignorant. I had the pleasure of playing extensively on a completely original 50's model and I've never heard one that sounded like it since. If you KNOW the tone that Fender's are supposed to have then you know what I'm talking about. The best way I could describe it is that the tone was more "pure". By itself the money amount that the guitar is worth is no less than the amount of the vintage parts it was built with. So tally up that amount, and you will have a good starting point. Then forget all about the dollar value and just play it.
    Thank you.
    I think you are taking the original comment I made out of context. Let me clarify, I get why you would want to do this however I personally would not. Also, the reason that those old guitars all are what they are is because master craftsmen built them over and over again and each one held its own subtleties etc and lasted for all those years. Was every part purchased and installed one that was made in the time frame you're trying to recreate? Nope. Therefore the guitar shown above is a guitar made to look like something that old and to the same specs however is not. In comparison to your Shelby Cobra comment, this is like someone taking a '97 mustang base model and having a Cobra body put on it. lt's not worth anything to anyone other than the owner and the value it has to the owner is purely sentimental.
    I never said they didn't sound good, or different after 50 years. I said they didn't require craftsmanship - certainly not like hand carved scrolls or bent-wood archtops on violins, or contoured bodies on set-neck les pauls. They were designed to be simple to make - flat slab bodies with contours carved/sanded out, bolt on necks for ease of assembly, flat jack sockets (before recessed angled ones came in). Scratchplate to cover simple body routing and aid concurrent assembly. It's a fact, and is part of leo's genius. It was brilliant thinking and a genuine design icon to this day. But top drawer craftsmanship a la stradivarious violin or bosendorfer piano, it aint. Don't get butthurt that you idolise the vw beetle of the guitar world.
    First off let's stop with the lame douche jargin "butthurt". Second, if your idea of quality can only be measured by Stradivarius then I hope you didn't get your tiny white gloves dirty typing that reply, Jeeves. Must've been hard while holding out your pinky fingers.
    Velcro Man
    At the end of the day it will never be worth as much to someone else as it is to you because you made it and you can't put a price on the blood, sweat and tears you put into that labor of love. Anyone that would buy it would only buy it as a partscaster with what a lot of people consider inferior parts.
    You did a great job. But it's one you keep for yourself. A true collector isn't interested in the work of some nut job who dedicated his life on a garage project. You, sir, are a talented nobody. A very talented one. Regardless, you're not backed by fender at all. I repair equipment. I can't say my work is up to manufacturer specs and my prices reflect that. Whatever you think it's worth, cut that price down in half.
    As a Strat and Tele guy myself, I think what you've done is great! The craftmanship is outstanding, the finish, the detail, the everything is spot on. With that being said, at the end of the day it is still a parts-caster from a random schmo (no offense is what it is) and the price will reflect that. I would be proud as hell to own this no more than $1000. Beautiful guitar my friend!
    Its awesome work right there! I'm sure the right person will pay you what is right. I think you can get anywhere from 1200-2000$ for it. Still it is an copy but its the one you personally build. So dont sell yourself short.. Now that everyone knows your talent, build one for someone who pays you an agreed price! I guarantee you be making some cash. Beautiful work!
    As stated it price would be what some body would pay for it. As for insurance value cost of parts + labor +20% round up to nearest $1000 would also be a fair price. The question about finish the paint is not as flat as it should be (i see orange peel) may be an accurate re production, being a metallic paint was it done as a order ie, painted over a reject burst or a custom order as a one off paint, Was it using the fullerplast treatment (hard thick pore filler that is like an epoxy glass finish) or just layer and layer of paint till the wood stopped absorbing the paint, then the clear coat could have been acrylic or nitro. what about how it was painted, using nails or bracket bolted to neck pocket to keep the body off the work surface. I give the guy kudos for doing his best. if it was mine that I had made it just be used and enjoyed for what it is there would also be in the pick up cavity a I made this sticker lacquered in to the finish and a date.