Fender Stratocaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1963)

Fender  Stratocaster Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1963)
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Item # 11722
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Fender Stratocaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1963), made in Fullerton, California, serial # L20428, sunburst lacquer finish, alder body; maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, blonde tolex hard shell case.

This is a lovely original Pre-CBS Fender Stratocaster, appearing played but nicely cared for over the last just about 60 years. In 1963-4 the Stratocaster was still a very popular model but had been supplanted by the Jazzmaster and Jaguar as Fender's top of the line offering. While many period players preferred those models, the Stratocaster remained distinctive with its 3-pickup layout and unique trem system and had many fans. Surf Master/Originator Dick Dale exclusively favored the Stratocaster, proclaiming he could not see why others would use anything else! Of course by the late sixties the Strat roared back to prominence as the world's favorite Fender guitar.

This guitar dates to the end of 1963, just around the height of the surf'n'twang era before the Beatles showed up in early '64 and changed everything. It shows typical period features, different in many ways from its ancestors. The rosewood fingerboard laminate is thinner than the "slab board" used from mid-1959, inlaid with the "clay" dots that would be phased out at the end of 1964. The neck carries the original smaller Pre-CBS style headstock with the older gold "Spaghetti" logo decal that was also replaced in mid-1964.

The finish on the body is very lush a 3-color sunburst that has faded somewhat over the decades but still retains strong color. It has a bit of a "grainy" appearance in the red/yellow blend typical of these 63-4 'bursts, especially when the red tint starts to fade. The pickguard is a beautiful example of the lovely thick greenish-hued nitrocellulose that would also disappear in 1965, replaced by plainer white plastic. It has no cracks or splits and shows noticeably less shrinkage than most. The neck is date stamped November 63 on the heel, less legible than some but intact; the pots date to the 46th week of that year.

All three black-bobbin pickups have a strong well-defined tone, and the "in between" settings offer up a "Stratty" quack without sounding as glassy as many earlier or later models. These early 1960s Stratocasters have become a player's favorite over the last few decades, often offering up a meatier tone than either the earlier maple fingerboard guitars OR later CBS period examples. This one has a somewhat chunkier round-backed neck than some and feels great.

This fine slice of prime Fender mojo is simply a great feeling and sounding Strat, an example of what Fender's reputation and success were built on well before "things started a-changin" in Fullerton with the January 1965 sell-out to CBS.
Overall length is 38 15/16 in. (98.9 cm.), 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This is a nicely original guitar, showing some light typical wear but in excellent playing condition. The finish on the body has some light lengthwise checking and shows some fade to the red pigment but retains a great patina. There are some dings, dents, scrapes and chips overall, some of which have been discreetly touched up. The mostly noticeable are a few dings and a longer scrape along the top edge of the body. The most noticeable scrapes and chips are on the back around the neck plate area, but there is no heavy belt buckle wear.

Internally the guitar appears untouched with all original components and no disturbed solder joints. All the hardware is original and generally quite clean. The beautiful "green" nitrocellulose pickguard has some light surface scuffing but is one of the best preserved we have seen with no popped-out ends or cracks. There are some small marks below the truss rod from adjustment and some slight pulling at the outer screws. The black-bobbin pickups are all very strong and sound great in any combination, the original masking tape is intact on the wires. The bridge saddles and screws are quite clean showing less corrosion than many. The trem arm is also original; the snap-on bridge cover is gone.

The back of the neck has very little wear at all, and the original small frets and fingerboard are also quite clean. The trem is set up with three springs; the other two are not present but the trem cavity cover is original and fully intact. This is a great playing and sounding Strat with the more muscular, less brittle sound typical of this period but plenty of snap remaining on the top end. It lives in a modern repro white Tolex Fender case. Overall Excellent - Condition.