RD-redstratSince I was a young kid I wanted a red Fender Stratocaster. It all started with Hank Marvin of the Shadows followed by Rick Derringer and Mark Knopfler. I remember seeing Rick Derringer’s album cover for All American Boy and was sold. Somehow the “red one” still alluded me. I ended up with many Strats over the years, but never the red one I craved as a kid. So I decided to build a very nice partscaster with all the features and appointments I dreamed about.

Rick Derringer made quite impression on me with the red Fender Stratocaster. Story is that was it given to him by the legendary Johnny Winter who claimed he liked it, but was not comfortable playing a strat. Shame Rick soon changed axes and you rarely saw him wielding the red Strat anymore.

Hank Marvin and Mark Knopfler have played red Strats their entire careers. Sure they play other guitars, but after many years still are know for those cool red Fender Stratocasters. Both Hank Marvin and Mark Knopfler have had Fender Custom Shop Signature Tributes.

Hank Marvin and the Shadows

Hank Marvin and the Shadows

Hank Marvin, like most young guitar players in England, first saw a Fender Stratocaster being played by Buddy Holly on the telly. It most of looked like a space ship to them as there were no Fender Stratocasters available in England in those days. Many of the British players were all playing cheap Fender copies. The Shadows were the backing band for Cliff Richards. So when Cliff Richards told Hank Marvin he wanted to buy him a “good” guitar asking him what he wanted. Hank took the Fender catalog and picked out the most expensive guitar listed, a red Fender Stratocaster with gold hardware and a birdseye maple neck. Birdseye maple was rare for Fender at that time. This guitar was purchased in New York City at Manny’s on 48th Street and brought back to England. It was likely the first Fender Stratocaster in England. It made quite an impression on the young brits. One in particular was Mark Knopfler.

Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler dreamed of Stratocasters and his first electric guitar bought by his dad was a Strat copy that Mark STILL owns. Mark Knopfler has credited Hank Marvin as an influence for the love of the red Stratocaster.

Located in Downtown Fullerton, this mural with a Fender guitar is 20' x 6'

Located in Downtown Fullerton, this mural with a Fender guitar is 20′ x 6′

George Harrison playing a red Stratocaster

George Harrison playing a red Stratocaster

John Lennon did have a red one also

John Lennon did have a red one also

Stevie Ray Vaughan playing his Red Stratocaster

Stevie Ray Vaughan playing his Red Stratocaster

The Edge playing his Red Stratocaster

The Edge playing his Red Stratocaster

Bruce Welch and Hank Marvin from The Shadows with Cliff Richard

Bruce Welch and Hank Marvin from The Shadows with Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard bought the famous Hank Marvin Strat

Cliff Richard bought the famous Hank Marvin Strat

OK, the sexy contours of the Strat affected us all!

OK, the sexy contours of the Strat affected us all!

Nancy Wilson playing a red Strat

Nancy Wilson playing a Red Strat

Jimi Hendrix perhaps the most famous Strat player. Before Jimi “sacrificed”, the now famous “Monterey Strat” that he hand painted it was originally a Fiesta Red 1965 Fender Stratocaster.

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Pete Townshend with his red Strat

Pete Townshend with his Red Strat

David Gilmour's Red Strat

David Gilmour’s Red Strat

Roger Waters playing a Red Strat

Roger Waters playing a Red Strat

John Mayer Red Stratocaster

John Mayer Red Stratocaster

Gary Moore Red Stratocaster

Gary Moore Red Stratocaster

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Hank Marvin

Hank Marvin

Mark Knopfler, Hank Marvin and Jeff Lynne  at the Abbey Road studios in London during the recording  "Wonderful Land"

Mark Knopfler, Hank Marvin and Jeff Lynne at the Abbey Road during the recording “Wonderful Land”

I almost bought a red Fender Stratocaster so many times. I never found the “one.” So I finally decided to build one with great influence from Hank Marvin, Mark Knopfler, Rick Derringer and others. This guitar will have some features from the early vintage Strats and some modern features. Nitro finish and 1-ply 8-hole white pickguard, but with a 22 fret maple neck with abalone markers, med-jumbo frets, 9 1/2 radius and Sperzel locking tuners.

The project starts with a red old school nitro finished Strat body from MJT Custom Aged Guitar Finishes I bought on eBay. I have built quite a few projects with their bodies and Mark and Matt are a pleasure to deal with. I recommend them highly and the quality of their bodies and the finishing is top notch. This body is a pretty clean light relic weighing around 4-lbs in Fiesta Red.

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Using copper tape I have shielded all the cavities where the electronics will be installed to reduce hum. I will be also using an aluminum shield under pickguard as well. Single coil pickups are more prone to hum than humbuckers. Not sure what pickups I will be using yet and not sure they will be noiseless ones.

Copper tape used to shield for hum

Copper tape used to shield for hum

I decided on gold hardware as I think it looks awesome on the red Strats like Hank Marvin’s. Fender gold jack plate and a Switchcraft gold plated jack are installed. Gold Schaller strap locks added.

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Musikraft Premium 5A birdseye maple “roasted” neck is on order. Nitro finish will be done by MJT Custom Aged Guitar Finishes.

ORIENTATION: Right for Right Handed Players
SCALE LENGTH: 25.5 Standard Fender
NUMBER OF FRETS: 22 Fret
NUT WIDTH: 1-11/16 (42.85mm)
HEEL WIDTH: 2-3/16 (55.56mm) Standard Fender
TUNER HOLE SIZE: 10 MM (Gotoh/Shaller/Sperzel)
TRUSS ROD TYPE: Single Acting Adjust at the Heel
FB RADIUS: 9-1/2
NUT SLOT STYLE: 1/8 Standard Fender Flat Bottom Style
SHAFT WOOD: Birdeye Maple Premium 5A
TOP DOTS: Abalone
SIDE DOTS: Black 2mm
12TH DOT SPACING: Wide (Vintage Pre 64)
FRET WIRE SIZE: 6150 Medium Jumbo Nickel Silver
FB EDGES: Semi Rolled Standard
BACK PROFILE: Clapton V 84 x 90
FINISH: MJT Finishing Nitro
NUT INSTALLATION: Install TUSQ Nut
OPTION: Neck Roasting

The neck roasting option is not only cosmetic. Although it darkens the neck and allows the grain to show better.

Musikraft Neck Roasting Option
COOKED MAPLE, CARAMELIZED MAPLE, ROASTED MAPLE
We are proud to offer our customers a very unique and exceptional wood choice for your project. Our roasted maple necks undergo a special kiln drying process which involves heating the wood to over 300 degrees in a special kiln, removing the moisture from the wood. This process vulcanizes the wood making it stronger, yet lighter in weight. The big advantage is that after under-going this process, the wood becomes much less susceptible to moisture and climate changes, resulting in a more stable, predictable piece of wood. This is great for necks especially, and will result in less need for adjustments between seasons and different weather conditions. An extra added bonus from this process is while stabilizing figured maple, that is typically not so stable, it also greatly enhances the color and figuring in the wood. The finished product is usually stunning, has improved tone and increased sustain!

The tuners are gold plate Genuine Sperzel Trimlok Locking tuners.

sperzeltrmlock

I am using an old style 1-ply 8-hole white Fender pickguard. Pickups are Lindy Fralin Vintage Hots with the blender control for more versatile sounds. I will be using an aluminum shield under pickguard to help keep the hum down from the single coil pickups. All the screws will be gold plated like the hardware.

I ordered a MannMade Vintage tremolo which are similar to the ones John Mann made for the PRS guitars that they still use. These tremolos are a bit pricy, but are highly regarded. I have tried several different tremolos on various builds and I like the ones on the PRS USA guitars. John Mann, the original tremolo designer for PRS, makes this version for the Stratocaster.

MannMade Vintage Tremolo Gold/Nickel Hybrid

MannMade Vintage Tremolo Gold/Nickel Hybrid

I liked the look of the Gold/Nickel Hybrid as it reminds me of a Rolex and Fender used this on the 40th Anniversary Custom Shop Telecasters. This Fiesta Red Stratocaster will be a mix of vintage old and modern new. Just a mix of what I would like in a nice Stratocaster.

Callaham does not make tremolo bridges in gold. I used a Callaham on my last project the Sonic Blue Stratocaster. I used a Super-Vee Gold Bladerunner on the Korina Stratocaster project and this is also a fine tremolo bridge. On the Mary Kaye Stratocaster project I stuck with Fender for the authenticity, but used a Callaham block for better sustain.

I picked up a nice Fender 60th Anniversary Vintage Style G&G Tweed case.

60th-case

MannMade Tremolo, pickguard and Lindy Fralin Vintage Hot pickups have arrived. The MannMade Vintage Tremolo is quite impressive. Looks extremely well made. The trem block and bridge is heavy and weighs over 14-ozs by itself. The way the block looks I expect it will add some great sustain.

Installed the tremolo

Installed the tremolo

Wired pickguard which is old school Fender 8-hole white 1-ply. Like the old Stratocaster’s like Hank Marvin’s had. Used an aluminum shield and gold screws.

Wired pickguard

Wired pickguard

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Pickguard in place

Pickguard in place

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The neck has arrived and I applied the Fender waterslide decal to give it the vibe (Fender did not build this guitar). I applied several coats of clear satin nitro to protect the decal over a few days time allowing it to dry in-between sprays.

Applied the decal and installed the gold locking tuners

Applied the decal and installed the gold locking tuners

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Premium Birds-eye Maple neck

Premium Birds-eye Maple neck

Ready to mount the neck

Ready to mount the neck

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Neck mounted

Neck mounted

Moved on to putting on some strings and doing the setup. Plays great and sounds fantastic.

The RED ONE is complete. Here are some pictures of the finished guitar!

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The 60th anniversary case I bought for this guitar.

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Dire Straits & Hank Marvin – Going Home

Hank Marvin on the Stratocaster

Hank Marvin Apache

The Shadows – Instrumental Show

Hank B. Marvin & Jeff “Skunk” Baxter Trans-Continental Jam on RED Stratocasters

Mark Knopfler Discussing the Fender Stratocaster

Mark Knopfler on his first “almost” Stratocaster a Hofner

Mark Knopfler on how the Strat changed Sultans of Swing

Hank Marvin & Mark Knopfler – Wonderful Land

David Gilmour with Red Stratocaster

Tommy Emmanuel on a Red Strat