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rehabbing a hybrid Fender

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I've owned a lot of guitars since I picked up my first one at age 13, but I got myself the first fender and the first bolt-on neck guitar.

New here and in need of some advice. Earlier this year acquired an early 70's strat body with a full scale late 70's Musicmaster neck. Perfect intonation down to the last fret. On either side of the body where the neck joins there is a crack in the finish, each about 1.5 -1.75 inches. I have been playing it almost every day since I got it and the action is great and it doesn't lose any tuning whatsoever. The neck is pristine, but the body has several gashes in it that do down to the wood. Here are my issues.

If the cracks are from the neck placement, do I leave well enough alone? The only reason I have for removing the neck is the refinishing job on the body. I am fine with just carefully masking the neck for refinishing.

Recommendations for correct substance to fill in the gashes.

What to use to bring the finished paint/laquer surfaces of the body to conform with surface repairs before painting to get a uniform coat.

I have no need for the tremolo bridge. Should I replace it with a non tremolo set up?

Thanks. I am sure I'll be back.

If you like, you can email me direct at


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First off, if your gonna fill in a bunch of places and also having to fix the sides next to the neck... Your probably gonna want to take the neck.. carefully off the body so you can really repaint... It's too much trouble to keep it off the neck and pickguard etc.. unless they are completely taken off.. leaving just the body to work on... I'm not the best at this kinda stuff yet.. but that's what I'd do... It's gonna be hard to match up the colors if you don't know where or how to match them... This might be the time you want to sand the paint down or strip it and start over since you'll want to used grain filler etc. sandable sealer and such to get all the gashes you have in the wood out.. That's what I'd do.. but you better get some better advice.. someone like Brian, LGM(Jeremy), they can help ya out alot.. But guess what.. from what I've seen It's totally normal for the bodies wood to be cracked where it meets the neck... Even my newer guitar was like this.. I didn't even notice it till months later... and it's never gave me a problem.. but It just depends how bad it is.. I'm just talking a slight crack... Show us some pictures so we can get a better idea of what your dealing with...


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