1988 Fender Strat Plus for some major TLC
Ian kindly contacted me to have a look at his long time owned 1988 Fender Strat Plus. It had been unplayed for a while sadly as there was some severe fret wear/divots along with a troublesome setup, but it was time to get it back in use and being enjoyed again. He popped by with it so I could see whether there was enough fretwire to play with for a level/crown/polish rather than a re-fret, of which there was plenty to work with so the level/crown/polish was the plan this time around. It was also in need of a thorough inspection/clean too, but selfishly I was really really looking forward to this little project as I have a soft spot for this era Strat, especially the Strat Plus, Ultra and Jeff Beck models from the Lace Sensor times. Very nostalgic for me, and this seemed like an era where it felt like every major player was sporting a Lace Sensor equipped Strat of some form! This one was particularly cool though thanks to it's original Graffiti yellow finish, which has darkened somewhat (which my photos don't really capture all that well unfortunately) but still looks super vibrant. Such a great colour. So, let's dive in with the work and I'll share some photos of it's prior condition to the finished guitar - 

One aspect of the current setup Ian disliked were the saddle grub screws sticking out, thankfully this will be a simple resolve as the neck heel on these feature the 'Micro-Tilt' functionality, meaning I can effectively 'shim' the neck via the adjustable screw at the heel, raise the neck break angle and therefor raise the saddles whilst retaining a low action. So I'll get to that once it's setup time.

The neck pickup was almost touching the strings on the bass side, so I'll certainly be correcting that for both play-ability and tonal improvements.

Here's a hint at the fret wear. There were divots across the majority of the board, but that 1st/2nd/3rd fret was particularly bad. Thankfully these were a rather jumbo fretwire size, so enough material to get away with a level and crown this time and still leave us with a nice playable wire size.

The classic oversize roller nut, which was in great working order, just needed a bit of a clean out. These feature a full length roller bar for all 6 strings, then for the three plain strings a second shorter bar which the strings pass under before heading off to the locking tuners. These are adjusted via some shims under the nut, which I'll no doubt need to adjust after the fretwork.

So lets get stuck into the hardware strip down and clean up.

The unique Lace Sensor pickup construction on show here. I personally really like how Lace Sensors sound, particularly neck and middle single coils and their 'gold' double coil humbucker bridge models.

Wiring was quite mucky looking but worked surprisingly well still, no need for any replacement items, so just a thorough clean with quality contact cleaner and hopefully they'll have a bit more life left in them.

Pickguard cleaned up nicely.

Onto the fretwork...

There's a few steps I forgot to photograph, cleaning up the control knobs, machine heads, roller nut and saddles, but it was much of the same. Looking nice! Let's get some beauty shots of it finished up after it's setup which all went really well. Nice action and plays beautifully well, love these old Strat Plus's!

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.