I was doing some research on how to get more sustain out of a guitar when I read something interesting. I found out that it is bad to paint the neck cavity because it will kill a guitar's sustain. I had painted my guitar years ago and couldn't remember if I had painted the cavity. Last week out of curriosity I pulled the neck off to find that I did paint the cavity. I took some 200 grit sand paper and removed the paint. Turns out the factory painted the cavity as well because under my paint was blue paint "the original color". I put it back together and wow! What a difference! It is very resonant and punchy now. It was great before but I highly reccomend anyone with an hm strat to take their neck off and remove any factory paint. The guitar has more sparkle to its sound kind of similar to Van Halen's early guitar. I have a vid of the guitar on youtube from my first post before I got rid of the paint. I will make another one after so everyone can hear the difference.