Help with Exact Burst Finish with Swamp Ash Body

vp101

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Hey Folks,

I’m planning a hardtail strat build.

I will use an existing roasted maple boatneck from Warmoth. My question lies on what burst finish from Warmoth would get me the closest to the 1956 bursts.

I plan on getting a one-piece swamp ash body (Non roasted) and the pickguard will be a 1-ply parchment. My confusion lies in the depiction of the bursts on the website builder and then looking at the various examples of actual builds (Google images, for reference).

The discrepancy lies in either there being too much red between the black and yellow in the burst, or there being too much yellow apart from the black burst on the edges. I understand of course that every piece of wood is different and will hence take on finishes in a different way, but I’m looking for advice on choosing the appropriate finish that will give me the 50s strat look.

Can someone please tell me which burst to go for in terms of what Warmoth offers?

Thanks
 
  • First 1954 models - Brown-to-clear burst on Ash
  • 1954 to mid-1956 - Brown-to-yellow burst on Ash
  • Mid-1956 through 1957- Brown-to-yellow burst on Alder
  • 1958 - Three-color brown/red/yellow burst introduced
Warmoth doesn't offer a brown-to-yellow burst, they offer a black-to-yellow burst, probably because the brown on vitnage guitars looks so dark, that people assumed it was black. I think the closest finish you'll get to '56 is Warmoth's Black/Brown/Yellow burst.
 
To my mind the classic is the brown - red - yellow burst, though admittedly it didn't come out until the Jazzmaster came out in 1958. I guess the closest warmoth burst would be black red yellow. I have a tele with that, and it looks great.

Do you have any pics of what you're looking for?
If you're interested in this kind of history I can recommend two books:
1) Fender the Golden Age 1946-1970 Kelly
2) 1001 To Dream of Playing Before You Die Burrows

Plenty of pictures to drool over, with dates. Sometimes you can find great deals on used books at Abe books.
 
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50s Strats were finished by Fender in a 2 colour burst, so the Black/Yellow is the most appropriate IMO. The only issue is the Warmoth yellow is quite bright when painted on Swamp ash, where the vintage guitars have a more brown hue. I think it might be partly the Fender factory colour, but also the aged patina of the wood and nitro lacquer. You can send the body to someone who will do a vintage style finish in Nitro lacquer if that is what you want.

Otherwise if you choose Alder, it will be be naturally darker and more orange just because of the wood. Though I realise you asked about Swamp Ash.
 
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  • First 1954 models - Brown-to-clear burst on Ash
  • 1954 to mid-1956 - Brown-to-yellow burst on Ash
  • Mid-1956 through 1957- Brown-to-yellow burst on Alder
  • 1958 - Three-color brown/red/yellow burst introduced
Warmoth doesn't offer a brown-to-yellow burst, they offer a black-to-yellow burst, probably because the brown on vitnage guitars looks so dark, that people assumed it was black. I think the closest finish you'll get to '56 is Warmoth's Black/Brown/Yellow burst.
Tobacco Burst is a brown to yellow burst we offer 👍
 

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  • First 1954 models - Brown-to-clear burst on Ash
  • 1954 to mid-1956 - Brown-to-yellow burst on Ash
  • Mid-1956 through 1957- Brown-to-yellow burst on Alder
  • 1958 - Three-color brown/red/yellow burst introduced
Warmoth doesn't offer a brown-to-yellow burst, they offer a black-to-yellow burst, probably because the brown on vitnage guitars looks so dark, that people assumed it was black. I think the closest finish you'll get to '56 is Warmoth's Black/Brown/Yellow burst.
Thanks for the detailed explanation. I think I'm inclined to go with tobacco burst since that seems to be a brown to yellow (or at least something similar) kind of a look.
 
50s Strats were finished by Fender in a 2 colour burst, so the Black/Yellow is the most appropriate IMO. The only issue is the Warmoth yellow is quite bright when painted on Swamp ash, where the vintage guitars have a more brown hue. I think it might be partly the Fender factory colour, but also the aged patina of the wood and nitro lacquer. You can send the body to someone who will do a vintage style finish in Nitro lacquer if that is what you want.

Otherwise if you choose Alder, it will be be naturally darker and more orange just because of the wood. Though I realise you asked about Swamp Ash.
Your point about the yellow being too bright is absolutely spot in. It is in fact of this that I thought of posting on the group and asking this question. The yellow in the black to yellow burst almost looks like a transparent fluorescent yellow which isn't something I'm a fan of.
 
In case you haven't already come across it, there's a nice video that discusses and shows the various traditional burst finishes Warmoth offers:

Yes, I saw this. Big fan of Aaron's videos; he puts out great content. Thanks for sharing this. Unfortunately, the video didn't really answer my question.
 
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