#1
By an act of inexplicable and desirable consequence, I've been invited by a well-off family friend to string and play a vintage '69 Fender Strat (in olympic white, no less). I'm but an intermediate player (I've only been playing for about 3 and a half years), and I've strung plenty of guitars in my time, but as you understand, any ****-ups on this one could potentially have eight-digit consequences.

It may or may not have been properly set up recently, but It's currently not strung and I don't know how long it's been since it was used. The family friend is also a friend of another family friend that recently sold a music shop full of vintage, well-cared for instruments, but I don't know if this was one of them.

I have on me a set of my favorite strings: GHS Boomers in gauge .11-56. I don't know what gauge the truss on this strat is adjusted for, but I figure .11's a safe bet. Is it? My first guitar was a Squier Affinity Strat, so I know the basics of stringing a strat-style six-on-one-side headstock guitar, but I've never strung an instrument like this before

Any advice is appreciated, but at least try to give me an idea of how much experience you have on the subject.


P.S. I don't know (sensing a pattern here?) if this guy has an amp or not, so would plugging the '69 into a modern combo amp like a Vox AD30VT be safe? I know it'll sound like shit compared to a blackface, but I'm off to college in a month and I don't exactly have a lot of spare change. I do have a tubescreamer reissue, but I'm just going to assume that will be okay.

Thanks for taking the time to read this (or just skimming the bold parts).
#2
i think .10's would be a safer bet. Almost all strats I've tried in music stores were .9s or .10s.

Yes, plugging the 69' strat into ur Vox AD30vt should be safe. I dont see how it can damage the strat.
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#3
First, you can't really destroy a guitar just by changing strings unless you REALLY **** UP BIG TIME. If the truss rod isn't set-up properly then the worst that could happen is have a slight bow with 11s. Don't worry about it.

Second, the guitar (assuming it's mostly/all original) would be worth 5k tops.

Third, what you think plugging in an old guitar into a new amp is gonna make the sun blow up? Amplification is age old technology so believe me nothing is going to happen.
#5
Quote by JayLacelle
First, you can't really destroy a guitar just by changing strings unless you REALLY **** UP BIG TIME. If the truss rod isn't set-up properly then the worst that could happen is have a slight bow with 11s. Don't worry about it.

Second, the guitar (assuming it's mostly/all original) would be worth 5k tops.

Third, what you think plugging in an old guitar into a new amp is gonna make the sun blow up? Amplification is age old technology so believe me nothing is going to happen.


I didn't think that stringing it could do a lot of damage, but I wanted to be safe because last i checked '69 Olympic Whites in good condition are going for a lot more than 5k these days. Thanks for the reassuring words of advice, though.
#6
A set of 11s should be fine. I took a guitar, and put 11s on it without a problem.
Also you shouldn't have a problem with plugging it into a new amp. I plug my guitar that was made in 08 into an amp from the late 70s, and nothing bad happened.
Just take your time, and string it up like you would any other guitar. You'll be fine.
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#7
Given that it's a vintage guitar you know nothing about, put 9's on it. Safest bet. Let him decide if he wants to go heavier. I'm also going to suggest not doing any set up for him. No offence intended.
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#8
vintage fender necks aren't like new strat necks. they are much more flexible.

before restringing, attempt to bring the old strings into tune.

replace the strings one at a time. start with the low E. bring it into tune before moving to the next string. (A, D, etc...)

also, .10s are about as thick as i would go. strats ship with .09s.

it's not a 1960, but it is worth a fair bit of money. hard to say exactly how much really.

is the truss rod access at the headstock on a '69? if not, then adjustments are a bit tougher.

good luck, be carefull.
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#9
+1

i'd personally go wt 9s, 10 if you really wanted.

gradually bring the strings up to tune, and visit the setup thread,
if the bridge is raised, or if you're getting buzz.
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#10
Well, I'd heard all the detail about the guitar secondhand from a person who knows little to nothing about guitars until today. The owner of the guitar called me and told me that he would take responsibility for stringing it. He plans to put .10's on it and it hasn't been very long since the guitar was strung as set-up by a professional. Thank you to everyone that replied with such helpful comments, I'll try to pass these on to the owner since i know he hasn't been playing for very long.

As for the guitar, the owner acquired it several years ago from friend that owned a music shop. The previous owner walked into the store carrying the instrument, (which has a black finish, not olympic white as I was originally told) and offered to trade the instrument in or sell it for $600. Though this was several years ago, the guy that owned the shop recognized that the guitar (which was and is in good condition) was worth significantly more than $600, and the guy willing to sell it for that little didn't realize what he had his hands on. The music shop owner called up my family friend and offered to sell the guitar to him at the store's expense once he bought it off of that poor chump, and the family friend has been taking care of it ever since (he started playing a while after I did.) The instrument has since been certified and the family friend has all the paperwork. As valuable as the instrument is, he doesn't play it very often. He says he like his tele better (don't know the year on that one.)

@ ratraisin No offense taken. I understand, and I'm glad he decided to do it himself so I wouldn't have to take responsibility for it.

@gregs1020 In answer to your question, IIRC the truss rod access is underneath the pickguard at the butt-end of the neck on all strats manufactured before 1971.

Thanks again, everybody. I'll post some pics and perhaps a recording or two as soon as I get my hands on the thing.
#11
Quote by JayLacelle
First, you can't really destroy a guitar just by changing strings unless you REALLY **** UP BIG TIME. If the truss rod isn't set-up properly then the worst that could happen is have a slight bow with 11s. Don't worry about it.

Second, the guitar (assuming it's mostly/all original) would be worth 5k tops.

Third, what you think plugging in an old guitar into a new amp is gonna make the sun blow up? Amplification is age old technology so believe me nothing is going to happen.
I'm pretty sure an all original 69' Strat would go for WAY more than 5K
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