Fender Coronado Strat

My new/old dream Fender Strat.

The story of this guitar started a few years ago, with me playing Spencer P. Jones’ beautiful white 60’s Strat.

While I was stoked to be playing it, I was amazed at how light it was. I now knew what the term ‘featherweight’ meant. This thing was lighter than most acoustics. A little while later, I played an absolutely stunning sunburst 1955 Fender Strat at Jackson’s Rare Guitars in Sydney. Again, this guitar was one of the mythical featherweight Fender’s, and rang like a bell. Unfortunately it was close to $100,000.

Fast forward a few months and Tim from Tym Guitars said he’d found a body in his body pile that I may be interested in. Tim’s body pile is a stack of guitar bodies that Tim had accumulated over the years from repairs etc. One of them… probably a Profile Strat body… happened to be a freak, an absolute featherweight. It was perfect. But before I could get my hands on it, Mark from Amwatts Amps snagged it. Mark LOVES building Fenders.

Fast forward a few years and Mark wanted to say thanks for some design work I’d done for his amps, so he gave me the fabled featherweight Strat. But in the meanwhile, it had become more than that… it’d become one of the coolest Strat’s I’ve come across.

Mark had sent the body to MJT in the USA, one of the best body finishers out there, and had it turned into a 50’s era two colour sunburst relic. And then he fitted a 60’s Fender Coronado II neck. That drove the cool factor into outer space. I was stoked.

I asked Mark to spill the details on the birth of this beauty, so here we go…

An early 80’s GOTOH left hand Bridge with rare gunmetal block , It’s actually heavier than the body .

Mick Brierley low power vintage style pickups to my specs, the bridge pickup has a plate underneath to make it a little fatter and less ice picky. I think I wired it with a master volume, then a master tone with a bypass pot in the middle. This means that if the tone pot is up full you’ll feel a click , that’s it disengaging from the circuit and giving you raw pickup, no tone.

The bottom tone pot is a blender pot , it blends the neck pickup in any position, so if you are on the bridge pickup you can dial the neck pickup in to add some fullness to the bridge, also if you are on the in between position of the bridge/middle pickup , you can wind in the neck pickup and have all 3 on, with this pot , 10 is no neck pickup and 1 is the neck pickup fully blended into the circuit. There’s also a treble bleed mod on the volume pot, This keeps the tone of the pickups when turning the volume down, it won’t go all muddy and dead.

The neck is a 1966 Fender Coronado II neck so that’s a Brazillian Rosewood fretboard.

To say I’m happy is an understatement. The attention to detail on this guitar blows me away. The trem block is pure gun-brass… which makes this guitar ring. The tremolo itself is left handed… a nod to Stevie Ray Vaughan.

And that awesome sunburst finish. Wow. MJT know’s his relics. Here’s some pics of the man’s work.

Thanks Mark for the Strat. I’m going to put her to good use.

••• update: here’s some of Mark’s handy work. I saw that he’d dropped this off to Tym’s, so I thought I’d snap a photo and get Mark to explain what it is:

The amp is a prototype of my 49 splitty that I’m about to release , It’s an exact clone of my 1949 Super amp , it has Mercury Magnetic transformers , They reverse engineered the original trannies on my vintage one, It has Jupiter Vintage style wax rolled caps that are clones of the original red Astrons that came in a 49, It also has 2 watt Carbon Film resistors in exact values of the original, Some vintage values are no longer used today, I’ve managed to find the exact 40’s value resistors from a resistor manufacturer , I have enough to make a few thousand amps so I won’t run out. A lot of modern amps copy the originals with modern value resistors that are close but not correct, I’m using the exact same values which no one else is doing. The speakers are Weber 10A100T’s which are their replacement for the original Jensens that were in the Super. The cabinet is the exact same size as the original , I’ve seen Victoria and Weber versions of these early cabs and they are the wrong size, not by a little but a lot.

The preamp valves are original 1950’s NOS 6SC7’s and the output Valves are 6l6GC’s with an NOS 5U4 rectifier, I’ll be releasing 2 versions of this amp, Version one is this one , a pure clone, Version 2 will have Tungsol 6SL7 preamps and some circuit upgrades to bring in line with modern players, It will have a little more headroom and handle pedals and high output pickups better. I’m working on that one at the moment, I thought I’d display this prototype as a pre release until my new website is ready to be launched, It will be in a few weeks along with the 2 Amps , the woody will come later .