Vintage Fender Strats, Custom Shop & Boutique S-types, Guitar Parts, Auctions & Sales!


1989 Valley Arts Standard Pro Natural

pre Samick/ pre Gibson


Happy Birthday Jason!!!

Valley Arts pre Samick Guitars
1989 Valley Arts Standard Pro
'89 Trans-Green on Swamp Ash

This week's featured Friday Strat was submitted by longtime reader Jason who just recently acquired this pre-Samick/pre-Gibson Valley Arts Standard Pro, which he considers to be the best guitar he's ever owned. And just in time for his 40th birthday this Sunday, May 2nd-- though Jason wants to make it very clear this ain't no mid-life crisis trophy procurement specimen.

Well alrighty then. We can roll with ya Jason!

Remember folks, Valley Arts was one of the first boutique super Strat builders on the block, and I'm told they actually made very few transparent finish swamp ash Standard Pro models-- and quite possibly this color here is a one-off.

Jason's current config. is mojo'd up with Tom Anderson pickups & a boost switch. The previous owner had a re-fret by John Carruthers, and Jason's getting it in to Eric Chaz very soon for a check up and additional set-up. Can ya tell we're talkin' SoCal resident here! Both owner & guitar.

Back in the day, the original Valley Arts folks built guitars for chops royalty i.e. Larry Carlton, Jay Graydon, Steve Lukather, etc. I remember seeing Carlton in about '90 when he was playing his 7/8 scale body VA Strat. Sweet!

You can discover more about the golden age of Valley Arts at, a labor of love site not affiliated in any way with any incarnation of Valley Arts. They have a registry and database dedicated to all things Valley Arts pre-'92.

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Fender Japan 1996 Ventures Stratocaster

MIJ limited edition '96 Ventures Strat

The Ventures Tribute Strat MIJtop photo:

bottom: from listing (not same guitar)
Item ID# 310209470815

In Japan, they love The Ventures-- kinda like in France they love Jerry Lewis... They love The Ventures in Finland too. But seriously, who's more American than The Ventures?

Just trying to figure out why Fender hasn't done a USA version Ventures Strat. Oh well. So here's a limited edition MIJ Ventures Strat w/OHSC from '96. I verified this model over at Strat-Central and with Fender Consumer Relations as well. Details below compiled from all sources referenced:

Two piece swamp ash body
22 Frets
Gold plated hdwr
Active battery powered mid-boost (like Clapton Strat)
Charcoal Burst finish (seller calls it "X63-Midnight Black Transparent")
Lace Sensor GOLD pickups

Strat-Central also refers to a matching Jazzmaster & Bass (P or J???). NO firm data on how many were produced. A call to Fender USA Consumer Relations indicated 159 were designated for US market, but no gross production figure was available.

The Seller: AMPRO INTERNET SALES eBay Store is 100% rated, and based in Hawaii. They have a few other interesting Fender guitars, but mainly sell Golf & Tennis gear. Go figure. They list a Korean Fender TC-90, which is an interesting double cutaway Thinline Tele/Strat hybrid with two P-90's.

Hi-End MIJ Strat Results

More Strat Categories

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Wood Face Strat Pickups by Warman

Woodies wood trim guitar pickups

click image for e-x-p-a-n-d-e-d view.

How 'bout some pickups to match the walnut burl dash trim in your Jag! UK based Warman Guitars has a line wood body and wood faced pickups called "Warman Woodies" that will look good at any respectable pub gig.

Go check their full line which includes humbuckers too. I believe they're also fire retardant & termite proof.

The Strat pickups are rated as follows:

Neck - 5.7k, poles magnetic north
Middle - 6.2k, " magnetic south/reverse wound
Bridge - 6.8k, magnetic north

The site also provides details on pole spacing.

"And all the woodland creatures & wood nymphs rejoiced in glee at wonderous Warman Woodies they'd found!"

Loaded Pickguard Suppliers

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Guitar Blogger DIY Strat Project Complete!

Our good pal over at blog finished his nifty home build just yesterday! FRESH! Click the above image for his detailed final wrap-up post; Part 6 of the well documented first build with lots of expandable pics. Wonder how long till he gets the itch to build another!

If you're considering building your own Strat, take a look at all parts of this project. No horror stories or anything like that, just good tips on sequencing, stuff you could run into-- as well as suggestions on components to use.

Ain't a good dog don't wag his own tail, so I'll wag mine for a second to let you know this builder found some of his tech & component tips right here at Stratoblogster! Not that I know anything, but I've managed to assemble some pretty good resources in our Pimp Your Strat Directory

I'd love to hear about your DIY Strat project too! Maybe we can feature yours here. Even if it's a relic job with chainsaws, napalm & point blank sawed off 12 gauge blasts we'll give it a go, but be prepared for some ribbin' if that's the case.

Lemme know at bigfrets at google dot com!

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Two-Rock Amp ...or Not Two-Rock? That is the Question

Bill Krinard Fender Combo Mod?

Hey! Whaddaya got under the hood there?!

Two-Rock Speaker by Eminence
Fender Concert or...

Hey! Wait a minute!

Item ID# 160427381843

More Amp Finds


Interesting week for amp guru modded gear. Besides those Alessandro Princeton's we featured earlier, here we have Ashland, Oregon based seller: mandadhyan listing a Fender Concert cab & chassis he claims was gutted and rebuilt by Bill Krinard of Two-Rock/K&M.

In response to my query about about rebuild documentation by Krinard, the seller replied:

"No, sorry. Bill does not really do that with these one-of-a-kind things he makes in his garage. They usually go to friends or guitar players he knows. "Two-Rock" does not have anything to do with this amp. There was never any "work order" for it."

I still contacted Two-Rock customer support, resulting in this response:

"I've seen this amp on ebay... it looks like a Bill modification." (Mac Skinner, Two-Rock Ops Mgr)

So all I can add is that the seller is somewhat close geographically, and he does have a 100% positive eBay history. Two-Rock is near Santa Rosa, CA-- and Ashland, OR is way South.

Although this IS NOT a Two-Rock amp, the possible Bill Krinard mojo factor could make this a major sleeper piece of gear at a fraction of a Two-Rock sticker price.

As far as I can take ya here kids. Do your own due diligence-- and grill the seller with any questions till you feel confident this is either a good find or it isn't.

More Amp Finds

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FRESH Guitar Strings and YOU!

Lowest price on guitar strings.

Does Coachella Valley Climate Produce Freshest Guitar Strings? You Decide!

The best retail deals on strings are at the big box music gear sites, especially in bulk! Popular brands like Ernie Ball, D'Addario & GHS can be procured online for a fraction of what you pay anywhere else, unless your bro-in-law manages a Guitar Center or something.

I normally prefer promoting smaller boutique merchants, but when it comes to strings ya just can't beat the big guys. And when it comes to FRESHNESS, you don't wanna take chances on a dust covered $12 pack of D'Addario XL's from some hole-in-the-wall skateboard & bong store selling used Squiers & Squier parts in the back-- run by a guy named Kyle.

An offer you can't refuse from 3 big families who are united with the best string deals:

Musician's Friend


25 sets for $89.99!!!

D'Addario EXL110 Guitar Strings Bulk Pack Regular Light 25 Sets
(.10 -.46 gauge set- Musician's Friend 4/28/10)

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MIJ Fender Japan Richie Kotzen Stratocaster

Fender Japan Guitars - Kotzen STR-RK Strat

Richie Kotzen Strat Headstock

eBay Listings (mostly Japan based)

Do you even know about the Fender Richie Kotzen Artist Series Strats & *Teles?

They're made by Fender Japan, and marketed there & probably to Europe too. Not in the USA though, unless you have Ed Roman build you a "fabulous fake"-- or whatever they're called...

Watch for maple tops like this RK flame!

Approx shipping cost to USA is $120.
*Note: Fender's Kotzen Telecasters are now USA distribution as of Winter NAMM 2013, so also check out Kotzen Artist Tele's

CLICK HERE for more Fender Japan item listings!

If you didn’t read this at Guitar Blog, it’s been bootlegged! © 2006 - 2016 JP Holesworth. All rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted, distributed or duplicated without author’s written permission.

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Original 80's Chandler Tube Driver Auction

Vintage B.K Butler Guitar Pedal

Vintage Chandler Tube Driver Pedal
Item ID# 360255434709

Just searching "vintage guitar pedal" at eBay, between all the various & sundry Tube Screamer incarnations, I discovered this old Chandler Tube Driver-- one of the first OD pedals to incorporate a 12AX7. Of course, they don't wanna give it away BUT you oughta see what some of those old Tube Screamers are goin' for, not to mention vintage DA Fuzzfaces.

I also found listings for B.K. Butler Tube Drivers in a more forgiving $$ zone.

Pedal Dealer Directory Links - Boutique dealers for dozens of builders.

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Eric Gales- April 25, 2010, BB's in Memphis

Star Spangled Banner

A couple days ago, when I said to keep an eye on, I meant it!

Here's something from last night uploaded today. Gales plays this one on a borrowed Strat, as he had just broken a string. Check out how he keeps the bass line in. Very cool!!!

Earlier Post

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Jeff Beck Gear Tech Reveals Mysteries

Discover Jeff Beck Techniques!


Right now there's so much Jeff Beck buzz online, it's just ridiculous! I post a lot about Jeff Beck right here at Stratoblogster. But THIS is too friggin' cool!!! And don't gimme a hard time because these clips go back to October '08. I'll catch up!;))

The fine Peterson Tuner folks have some great techie interview clips at their Youtube Channel.

The clip above is Part 2 of three clips featuring JB's tech Steve Prior, recorded since the Ronnie Scott's DVD shows.

This British tech for the British guitar god seems almost like the stereotypical butler or valet in terms of his keen observations and familiarity of the boss. An amazing 2nd person view! I feel I've just learned more about Jeff Beck from these clips than from most everything else out there.

The shorter balding chap chiming in is the legendary Alan Rogan, guitar tech for Pete Townshend. Wouldn't ya just love to share a few pints with these boys, and get some education!

After listening to the last part of Clip 2 above, check out the links below, then go back through #2 from the very beginning. Then, sit and stare at your right hand for awhile...

CLIP - Amplifiers

Jeff Beck Strats - Plus top end merch, collectibles and TICKETS @ebay. If he's sold out near you, check here!

Pimp Your Strat - Mods, Tips, Resources and Suppliers.

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New '65 RI Fender Princeton Alessandro Mods!

Princeton Reverb upgrades by George Alessandro

Modded Fender 65 Princeton RI

April 26, 2010
I just found a sweet deal for all you vintage Princeton freaks out there who don't wanna shell out the big dinero for a real vintage one that you're gonna end up going through anyway, on top of what you spent.

Stick with me on this one!

D Town Guitars in Eastern PA is listing George Alessandro modded 65 RI's on eBay. These are brand new 65 RI's which Alessandro upgrades by removing the new stock circuit board and replacing with a custom hand wired board like a real vintage blackface Princeton. These folks are neighbors.

D Town Guitars
eBay Top Rated seller 4k+ positive feedback

$1400.00, plus shipping (45lbs)
(pricing subject to change)

Here's the full breakdown comparison numbers (as of 4/28/13)-- feel free to check my research:

New Fender '65 Princeton RI - list: $1299.99
Musician's Friend price: $949.99

Current eBay BIN listings on vintage Princetons range $1248 to just under $2400.

For an extra $100, D Town will upgrade from stock speaker to an Alessandro designed 10". And even if you decide to add a Mercury Mag tranny later, you'll still be way ahead of a top condition vintage acquisition in terms of functionality.

Obviously, collectible value isn't the same-- and if you're even thinking "But what about my Fender factory warranty?", you're being a weenie, & this isn't for you! But if you're looking for a hot Blackface Princeton to PLAY, this is a good way to go!

Check it all out!

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22Frets DIY Strat Project Update

"Frets" over at the blog is making great progress on his Mary Kaye project. Although the tortoise pickguard departs from the standard MK theme, it grows on ya. Hardware on the way!

The Warmoth trans-blonde finish, ash body is killer!

Click Here for his full report!

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The Next Eric Johnson??

Here's 15 year old Jeff Howard just yesterday 4/25/10 at the Keene State College Solarfest in Keene, NH. Jeff plays for the power trio jam band The McLovins who we've blogged about recently. This young cat goes into some serious solo improv zones! We can also see that the weather in New Hampshire was very nice over this past weekend-- nice sunny day for a Spring guitar solo.

Previous post w/links

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The Quest for Good Guitar Tone Blog

We first featured Berklee Guitar Prof. Thaddeus Hogarth a little over a year ago, and added him to our Strat-o-Brothers' Directory.

Since then, he's been a busy man developing his own online guitar course program, as well as a great blog for tone, gear & GAS geeks aptly named:

The Quest for Good Guitar Tone which is also part of the Berklee Music Blogs network.

I just caught up with Hogarth in the new Premier Guitar Mag Podcast of The Amp Room series - Episode 7 - The Dumble Phenomenon. CLICK HERE for the mp3 of that podcast, in which Thaddeus is interviewed by PG's Adam Moore. The subject of that expensive Robben Ford/Dumble tone is addressed. And if like most folks, you don't have a Dumble Amp budget, Hogarth offers some useful tips and *alternative ways to get into that zone just the same.

It's all good. So check it out!

Previous Hogarth Post

*Alessandro Amps @ eBay

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Wall Display Guitar Cases

Wall mount shadow box style guitar display cabinets

 Tweed covered! Click for close-up.

A large variety of guitar display cases exist, in many styles and price ranges. Above are a few results from search term "Guitar Display Case" at eBay. Besides these, you'll also see larger floor standing cabinet-styles and the more trim & inexpensive clear acrylic wall displays. Plenty to choose from!

Some of the pricier ones are nicer than those utilized in some countries to display their dead leaders. Options can include locks, lighting, etc.

Just remember when mounting these, to find those wall studs! Because gravity can suck!

On a similar note, CLICK HERE for custom security vaults & guitar storage safes.

If you didn’t read this at Guitar Blog, it’s been bootlegged! © 2012 JP Holesworth. All rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted, distributed or duplicated without author’s written permission.

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Music Man Stingray #001 - Friday Strat #167

Rare collector guitar Forrest White MM Stingray.

A Strat for Friday #167

Click image for expanded views!

Forrest White Music Man Stingray Ser#001

Here's an early descendant of the Fender family gene pool for your inspection!

Currently listed at eBay by California based Seal Beach Music this pre- Ernie Ball era Music Man Stingray is- according to the seller- the very first production model Stingray. Built in 1976, Stingray #001 bears the initials "FW" and was obtained by the seller from Forrest White himself.

Check out the familiar early-mid 70's Fender style bullet truss & 3 bolt config.

If everything checks out, this would make a nice milestone piece for any guitar collection. Due diligence kids!

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Deals on Pre-Owned Boutique Guitar Amps

Carr Mercury For Sale. Clean used amp. Hi-end Gear.

Fender '59 Bassman Tweed RI ReissuePre-owned '59 Bassman RI - Fat Tone Guitars $795.00!!!
code# PRE152

Used Carr Mercury AmpPre-owned Carr Mercury - Fat Tone Guitars $1325.00!
code# PRE154

Fat Tone Guitars currently features two sweet amp deals from their used/pre-owned inventory.

People will argue till the cows circle Jupiter why a vintage '59 Bassman is better than a Reissue version. But even a nice vintage '59 can't have it's original electrolytics, and if the speakers, handle & power cord are original, they gotta be pretty tired. Still, it's gonna sell for thousands $$$!

So here's a used, but clean RI for $795, and it's got a tube rectifier too. Phil at Fat Tone wouldn't post it if it were in poor condition or had issues. The real question is ,"How much worse than an original can it be?" Don't be a snob! $795!

But if you're still a snob, can't help it but may not hold max amp snob cash, then check out their CARR Mercury! It's a lot less than a new Mercury, but it's a clean and sweet handmade amp.
Some of my favorites of Billy Penn's Austin Amp Show demos were the CARR demos. Click Here for Billy's Carr Mercury demo. Check it out, and don't ever doubt me!

Y'know, I'm crazy 'bout a Mercury!

For details on this gear, click the Fat Tone link and paste one of the above red code#'s into their search block.

AMP SHOP aka Bass Xchange has a nice selection of new CARR models, where you can also compare pricing on a new Mercury.

More Amp Search Links

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Scott Lentz "Pre-Lawsuit" Strat at eBay

Lake Placid Blue 2001 Lentz boutique Stratocas-type.

Lentz Guitar
Lentz Lake Placid Blue Strat
Yup. Looks like a Strat to me. Not just that it's mostly what we talk about around here...

Whilst surfing about on keyword "Lawsuit Guitar", and mucking thru all the late 70's -early 80's Japan stuff, I ran into this Lentz S-type listed by SoCal based Super Sound Music. They indicate a 2001 build, prior to Lentz running into a little ruckus from that rough bunch over at the Lazy F Ranch. When they rides into town, it's best to just finish yer sarsparilla and duck out the back way.

I reckon.

Item ID# 360254034546 does crazy stuff in my Firefox browser, & opens funny in Explorer too. But try to check them out. Buzz around the web is that Lentz guitars are awesome instruments.

ed note: Billy Penn from just let me know he owns a Lentz Strat. What doesn't he own! ;))) CLICK HERE to see Billy demo his Lentz thru a '66 Blackface Deluxe.

eBay Search "Lawsuit Guitar"

Click Here for more vintage, boutique & other hi-end Strat listings.

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Name That Guitar Player DOUBLE HEADER - April 21, 2010

Gee! It's been awhile! So, we're back with a DOUBLE HEADER; meaning you gotta guess two guitar players today.

Mr. Friendly's Clue: It's NOT The Dominoes...;))))

Click the player below and let us know who's playing the guitar.

Leave a comment if you know!

Leave your answer, or check guessing status via the comments/comment link below.

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Eric Gales Out of Jail and in the Studio NOW!!!

One of my favorite guitar players is unchained, and he's hit the ground runnin'!

Due to serving a chunk of jail time within the last couple years, Eric Gales was sorely missed in the recent Experience Hendrix 2010 tour, but he's been out since early March or late Feb and back to the business of recording and gigging. The clip above is from April 2010 FRESH, and there are other recent clips at Youtube channel EricGalesMusic, where you especially must check out the 3/21/10 at BB's videos.

Not that he really needed to woodshed, at least as far as I could tell, Gales is in top chops form as you'll see in the recent "Little Wing" performance from the BB's gig. Don't worry, cuz Eric Gales is incapable of tired Hendrix covers. So don't avoid this one as "Not another Little Wing!".

Gales is a righty who plays lefty, upside-down. Try not to think about it, just roll-- especially if you struggle with vibrato physics issues. And stay tuned in to his Youtube channel for updates about the recording and upcoming tours. He's based in Memphis right now, so anyone in that area may be able to catch him jamming in the mean time.

Also check out and listen to "Retribution" & "Talking in Your Sleep" -- That's right, the old Romantics MTV one!

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1967 Blackface Super Reverb

Vintage Fender combo amp

Item ID# 200372988466 sold

Seller: JVGuitarsEbaaa 100% rated
aka Joe's Vintage Guitars - Northern CA based

Here's an interesting '67 Super Reverb worth checking out. Last year of the Blackfaces. Looks like original ftsw with new cord. Seller says one speaker not orig. No data on maintenance, cap replacements, etc. Seller provides plenty of contact info. & is top rated.

I actually see a few Super Reverbs listed right now.

Vintage AMP Resources:

Refer to the EBAY VINTAGE GUITAR AMPLIFIER GUIDE for more valuable tips.

FENDER (vintage & hi-end)

MUSIC MAN (1974-1984)

MARSHALL (vintage & hi-end)


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