REDUCED: Rare OVERWATER custom built Strat - made in Cumbria by Chris May

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RevMattRevMatt Frets: 179
edited January 11 in Guitars £
This is an extremely rare guitar, made around 1980 by Chris May of Overwater Guitars. If you search Overwater now, you'll see that they specialise in basses costing £3000 upwards and they are a very highly regarded British firm. However their 6 string guitars are few and far between. 

I bought this one when I was looking for a Strat and at the time it was in a very sorry state with a horrendous set up, the pickups didn't work correctly and it was unplayable. Since then I've re-wired the pickups, replacing the 5 way switch, I've replaced the vintage style tuners with a set of locking Sperzels, and I've thoroughly cleaned the guitar, polished the frets, oiled the fretboard and set it up with Rotosound 10 gauge strings. 

There is a but... in doing all of the above, I discovered that the truss rod doesn't seem to work correctly - it just rotates. With the current set up the guitar plays well with a nice low action, but it is something you need to be aware of. In addition, the guitar has lots of scratches and marks that hints at its 38 year old vintage! 

So, onto the spec - as you'll see from the pictures, this guitar is no typical Strat. It features a maple through neck, each side of the through neck is a nice birds eye maple top. I'm not sure what the body wings are made of on the back (they may also be maple), but it's a good chunk of something fairly heavy. The fingerboard is rosewood and features 24 wide low frets.Tuners are locking Sperzal and the bridge is a standard good quality item. I can't confirm what the pickups are, but they're configured as a pair of twin rail (single coil size) pickups, and a humbucker in the bridge. The humbucker states 'made in Japan' on the back and the rail pickups are marked with an 'R' - it's been suggested to me that they may be Bill Lawrence as this is consistent with what Overwater were using. 

On the rare occasions that Overwater guitars come up for sale, you'll see them offered at over £1000. I'm asking a lot less (and less than it has cost me) to take into account the anomalies of this example, but don't be put off - it's a superb guitar that plays really well and sounds huge! 

I've communicated with Chris May about this guitar and he replied, 'I can confirm we (I) built this guitar in the very early days of Overwater - from the serial number I would say in early 1980 and will have been made in our first little Overwater workshop unit in the village in Cumbria, from which we took the name… This will have been almost certainly been custom order through one of the shops and built to a customers specific specifications.' 

If you like your custom built rarities, then this is a great one to add to the collection.

Price: £500 reduced to £425 collected from Nottingham or posted at cost

Trades: something with a slightly more traditional Strat vibe? I can add a bit of cash for the right thing











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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 1732
    RevMatt said:
    I can't confirm what the pickups are, but they're configured as a pair of twin rail (single coil size) pickups, and a humbucker in the bridge.
    Going by looks alone, the rail pickups are Kent Armstrong/SKY. Bill Lawrence L45 pickups have shiny blade polepieces and no divide in the top of the bobbin.
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • RevMattRevMatt Frets: 179
    Going by looks alone, the rail pickups are Kent Armstrong/SKY. Bill Lawrence L45 pickups have shiny blade polepieces and no divide in the top of the bobbin.
    I really can't say one way or the other. My Overwater guru suggested that the R on the bottom of the rails might refer to the Bill Lawrence 'Regular' pickups but maybe not. I'm fairly sure they're not KA Sky pickups and they don't have the usual label that Kent Armstrong use. But, then again, maybe they are...
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  • BarneyBarney Frets: 304
    I would have been tempted by this off it wasn't for the truss rod issue  ...I have 2 overwater ...Great guitars 
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  • HarrySevenHarrySeven Frets: 2358
    Barney said:
    I would have been tempted by this off it wasn't for the truss rod issue

    Tempted too, but...indeed, the truss rod issue is a wee bit of a stumbling block. :(


    HarrySeven - searching for sh*t guitars so you don't have to.
    Forum feedback thread.    |     G&B interview #1 & #2

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  • RevMattRevMatt Frets: 179
    edited January 9
    Thanks @Barney ; and @HarrySeven 

    It's difficult to put a price on this given what could be worth and given the potential cost of getting it sorted, but I will consider offers so feel free to get in touch.

     It owes me more than I'm asking and the seller I bought it from was misleading in his description. It is a much better guitar now than it was then so hopefully someone will see the potential...
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  • HarrySevenHarrySeven Frets: 2358
    RevMatt said:

    hopefully someone will see the potential...
    I certainly do - and I’m interested - but the last fretboard-off trussrod repair/refinish, etc I had done cost me almost £300... :(


    HarrySeven - searching for sh*t guitars so you don't have to.
    Forum feedback thread.    |     G&B interview #1 & #2

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  • DodgeDodge Frets: 263
    RevMatt said:

    hopefully someone will see the potential...
    I certainly do - and I’m interested - but the last fretboard-off trussrod repair/refinish, etc I had done cost me almost £300... :(
    I had to have a fretboard-off truss rod replacement (albeit on a through neck bass) and my bill was similar.

    Worth the investment on an Overwater though - fine guitars indeed.
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  • StrangefanStrangefan Frets: 2065
    What's the action like at the mo? 
    www.deadhappyband.com
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  • BarneyBarney Frets: 304
    RevMatt said:
    Thanks @Barney ; and @HarrySeven 

    It's difficult to put a price on this given what could be worth and given the potential cost of getting it sorted, but I will consider offers so feel free to get in touch.

     It owes me more than I'm asking and the seller I bought it from was misleading in his description. It is a much better guitar now than it was then so hopefully someone will see the potential...
    Yeah ...it's a shame cos it could be a easy fix or maybe not ...no doubt it will be a great guitar when done ...
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  • RevMattRevMatt Frets: 179
    Dodge said:
    RevMatt said:

    hopefully someone will see the potential...
    I certainly do - and I’m interested - but the last fretboard-off trussrod repair/refinish, etc I had done cost me almost £300... :(
    I had to have a fretboard-off truss rod replacement (albeit on a through neck bass) and my bill was similar.

    Worth the investment on an Overwater though - fine guitars indeed.
    Thanks @Dodge  - hopefully I've priced it in a way that makes it a good buy even after the worse case scenario, but as said,  open to discussion. 

    @Strangefan ;
    Tuned to pitch with 10s the neck is straight with a low action and a few light buzzes depends on your playing style. There is scope to raise the action a bit. 

    The way I've set it up,  and using the bottom E string, the top of the fret to the bottom of the string roughly measures:
    12th fret = 1.3mm
    7th fret = 1mm
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  • RevMattRevMatt Frets: 179
    I've had a fair bit of interest in this but understand people's hesitation so (and I may regret this) I'll drop the price to £425!

    I'm making a big loss at that price and that stings a bit but it's got to be a good deal for someone,  even with the potential cost... 
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  • Musicman20Musicman20 Frets: 225
    Good price and I bet Overwater would be willing to deal with any issues at a good price.
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  • thetomskthetomsk Frets: 58
    Have you contacted overwater? They might give some indication of a repair cost
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  • musicman100musicman100 Frets: 831
    I would have had it if it didn't have the neck issue. Such a shame
     
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  • RevMattRevMatt Frets: 179
    I would have had it if it didn't have the neck issue. Such a shame
     
    Indeed,  although the price wouldn't be £425 if that was the case.

    Good price and I bet Overwater would be willing to deal with any issues at a good price.
    Thanks. 
     
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  • RevMattRevMatt Frets: 179
    thetomsk said:
    Have you contacted overwater? They might give some indication of a repair cost
    I don't really have the budget to undertake the work myself at the moment, but certainly worth considering - I'll ping them an email.
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  • DeijavooDeijavoo Frets: 3088
    Would be well worth speaking to Haydn Williams too (he used to work there a long time ago) if Overwater don't take the job on. 

    I've known the guys there for 20 years, Haydn longer in fact and their work is stunning. 

    This guitar even with the repair work needed is a total bargain. If I ever played guitar these days I would snap this up.
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