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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Aged Strat Look


Columbus, Ohio USA

Feb 7th, 2012 08:35 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi all. Looking for some guidance.

I've got an '08 American Standard 3TSB with maple neck. I love the guitar. I've owner her for nearly 4 yrs. and have kept her in great shape (of course it helps that I'm only a bedroom player with no outside gigging to potentially do some cosmetic damage). The only thing I'm considering changing on her is to do some aging. You see, my dream guitar is a CS AVRI '57 Strat, and I simply drool over the aged look of the pickup covers, volume/tone knobs, selector switch/whammy bar tips. Not the "relic" look necessarily, but rather the off white, more natural aging look. I just can't justify the expense of buying a CS Strat at this point in my playing "career".

I would assume that replacing the knobs with the off white or aged look would be simple, but I'm wondering how difficult it is to replace PU covers and the plastic tips of the whammy bar and selector switch. Is it something that can be done by an amateur? Have any of you done this type of cosmetic mod? Were you happy with the result? Anyone with any pics to share?


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USA/Taos, NM

Feb 7th, 2012 08:44 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

It is as simple as removing the pickguard and placing the new pickup covers onto your pickups and re-installing. If you can use a screwdriver, you can do this.

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Cincinnati, OH

NOTHING is easy.
Feb 7th, 2012 08:45 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Seems I've heard putting the guitar in direct sunlight will speed the aging process. Much like it will fade your furniture. Never tried it though.

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In transit

Texas Funk & Blues
Feb 7th, 2012 01:30 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

When I wanted aged plastic parts, I soaked mine in coffee.

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RonHalen Jokingly He Says
Feb 7th, 2012 02:19 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Coffee or tea. Soak away



Feb 8th, 2012 08:02 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Coffee works on some. Varies batch to batch. But the pickguards rarely work. They used to, but in the 90's the plastic got less porous and won't take the stain.

The BEST look, is UV. It's most natural and real, since that what really happens. That and nicotine. But most clubs are no smoking.

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US / Florida

Below Me
Feb 9th, 2012 06:32 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Important note> Let the coffee cool. Otherwise the plastic parts can warp and the coffee will have a chemical taste. ;^)

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Greater Boston

Where suspense is never in short supply.
Feb 9th, 2012 07:40 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

You can get the aged parts from Guitar Parts Resource for pretty cheap, if that's what floats yer boat...

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Tennessee, USA

Go forth and make a joyful noise.
Feb 10th, 2012 04:25 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Or - you could just start playing beyond the bedroom and let it age naturally.


Hawaii, USA

Perfect is the enemy of good enough
Feb 10th, 2012 04:21 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I at one time thought the sunlight thing was snake oil. Then I bought an Arctic White strat in 2007.

SO I thought I would try aging not the pickguard plastic, but the entire guitar.

The back of the necks and the headstock come almost pine white on MiM instruments that are standard, so, about twice a month for about 20 minutes a side in the Hawaiian sun did what I thought was nothing to it.

Then I decided to buy and amp and took my own guitar to play through it, a brand new arctic white guitar was there and the difference was dramatic. Mine had gone from that slightly off white that is Arctic, to lightly yellowish. It does work, at least for the body. It's not the white that is darkening, but the clearcoat on top.

The plastic, I don't know about. On my MiM it's still pristine white, all parts of it, but on my 95 AMSTD which is black, there is a noticable yellowing and parchment look to all the parts, especially the knobs..and that was just natural from being 18 yrs. old.



Feb 10th, 2012 06:34 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A new parchment pickguard and some strong coffee for the plastic parts is the answer. The darkness of the stain is controlled by the time in the coffee. Dip several times(15 second intervals) until the desired color is achieved. Then wash thoroughly.
If you want a VERY light yellowing, use tea.



Feb 10th, 2012 09:54 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Another option for the PQ is buying one from a Roadworn Strat . I have seen them for sale on fleabay



Feb 10th, 2012 10:45 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Buy the aged parts and install them or try the coffee thing. I'm not reallly a fan of the relic thing - mine relic just fine on their own after 20 or 30 years. Personally I would rather buy the aged parts and then I could switch them back if I didn't like them after a while.

Aged parts do look pretty cool. Howevrr, I'd pay more attention to how the sound gets "reliced" over time. With a good guitar, the aging process should improve the tone. Not sure why this happens, but some say the wood dries out and/or the pickup windings loosen up, and that's what does it. Anyway, all of my "keepers" just got better over time.



"Upon us all, a little rain must fall.."
Feb 12th, 2012 01:42 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Burn incense in a small room with it. A lot. Will do the same thing as cigs without the bad habit. Coffee works as does letting it sunbathe. Poly is a lot more resitant than nitro to effects of the sun, so it probably wont amber like nitro will.


Planet Earth

No signal, please try again later...
Feb 12th, 2012 07:16 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

My '99 standard w/rosewood board when new had an unusually dark and flamed birdseye maple used for the neck & headstock.

Guitar has been played quite a bit in smokey club environments, and has also been subjected to hours and hours of hot unrelenting sunlight. All plastic parts are considerably yellowed and maple has only gotten darker....


Columbus, Ohio USA

Feb 13th, 2012 09:23 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks for all the replies. I haven't decided yet what to do (if anything). Maybe now would be a good time to just start saving up for that AVRI '57 relic!

Contributing Member


and giant snakes
Feb 13th, 2012 01:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Spend the money on the aged parts. I went through this a few years back.

I did the coffee thing, and frankly didn't like the look. I ended up buying the "aged" plastics and they look great.

As for the actual install, it is incredibly simple and the first step to a wide world of customization (pickup swaps, electronics upgrades, etc.).

My JV with "Aged" Plastics

FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Aged Strat Look

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