Fender Stratocaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1965)

Fender  Stratocaster Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1965)
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Item # 11834
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Fender Stratocaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1965), made in Fullerton, California, serial # L92073, sunburst lacquer finish, alder body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, black hard shell case.

This is a fine player's example of a "transition" early-CBS era Stratocaster, with an all original finish and completely era-correct parts but having had some internal restoration. This Strat was built in the far-off fall of 1965; The neck code is 2 AUG 65B; the and two of the three grey-bobbin pickups hand-dated to 65. The guitar was originally assembled less than a year after Leo's company was sold to the giant CBS corporation and shows typical features seen at this time, mixing old and new in a combination of features only seen this year, by second quarter of 1966 the new big peghead would appear.

The small Pre-CBS style headstock sports the newer gold "transition" logo that appeared in mid-1964. The sunburst lacquer finish on the body follows the trend towards the more quickly sprayed "bull's-eye" bursts that became the norm as 1965 rolled into '66, but is not as sharply demarcated as some with a nice mixing of the shades.

The thin-lam rosewood fingerboard has the pearloid dot inlay that came in at the end of 1964, replacing the older "clay" dots. This neck is a bit chunkier than some '65 and '65's with a nice solid feel. The newer style white plastic pickguard is mounted over the scrap aluminum shielding plate used since 1959. Other hardware is consistent with Pre-CBS instruments; steel stamped bridge saddles and trem block, and the Kluson tuners CBS would replace the next year with their own in-house "F" plate machines. The serial number stamped on the neckplate is a very late L-series number

This is a great-sounding, medium weight and resonant Strat built just before things really started "a-changin" in Fullerton as a consequence of the January 1965 sell-out to CBS. All three pickups (2 from 1965 and one '66) have the typical mid-60s sheen, powerful and crisp without being excessively bright.

While PRE-CBS has been a watchword for Fender afficionados for decades, this early-CBS Stratocaster is still simply a great-feeling and sounding guitar, a far cry from what the instrument would evolve into a few years down the line. This one has a super 1965 vibe; while Pete Townshend and Jimi Hendrix were sacrificing '60s Strats for immortality, this one survived with some light modification that has now been corrected bringing it back to its mid-60s glory.
Overall length is 39 3/4 in. (101 cm.), 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) deep. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This Strat is a decently preserved, fine playing example from this period, as noted with some correct restored components after long-ago modifications. The lacquer finish remains 100% original showing some play wear including dings, dents and scratches overall with a large swath of buckle wear along the upper curve of the back. The thin lacquer on the back of the neck has some wear to the wood along the center and edges and feels great. The vibrant sunburst finish has only some minor fading; the headstock and original "transition" decal are comparatively clean.

Internally the electronics have been restored to the original configuration after some older modifications. Two of the pickups are original to the guitar, dated to September 1965. The lead pickup is a slightly later original Fender grey bobbin dated just over a year later: 11-3-66. There was something else in the lead position at some point, that cavity was deepened just a bit and thin black shielding paint added, much of which was later removed. Some dark residue of this is visible in the neck pocket as well.

The white plastic pickguard is an original correct Fender piece from the period but there was another guard on at some point, as there is one errant screwhole in the body along the lower rim. The shielding plate has this hole as well, so it has been on the guitar through its adventures. The pots are a beautiful correct and perfectly matched set coded 137 6508 (8th week of 1965) sourced by us at no small expense! The tone cap and 3-way switch are also correct period components; the guitar has been perfectly rewired with period style cloth wire to the correct original spec., with one splice visible on the "hot" output to the jack.

Nearly all other hardware is original and complete including the pickup covers, knobs, bridge, saddles, trem block, jack cup, strap buttons and tuners. The original trem backplate is also intact and uncracked. The tuners and bridge show some minor corrosion, notably to the steel saddles, the screws and springs are relatively clean. The term arm is a repro.

The neck has an older (probably 1980s) refret with wire noticeably larger than the original, but not full-bore flat-crown massive hair metal wire. The job is well done and the guitar is very playable, albeit with a more modern than feel than an all-original '65. For many players these small-headstock '65s are the last of the great ones before the CBS changes started piling up. This guitar has been neatly returned to its original look and configuration and sounds great; it plays a bit more "modern" due to the larger frets but some players will prefer this feel anyway. It still resides in a later (early 1970s) Fender-logo black Tolex hard case, a period survivor that made it through the '70s and '80s with some minor scars but now restored to full dignity! Overall Very Good + Condition.