Fender Stratocaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1961)

Fender  Stratocaster Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1961)
This item has been sold.
Item # 9784
Prices subject to change without notice.
Fender Stratocaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1961), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 58902, sunburst lacquer finish, alder body with Brazilian rosewood fingerboard on maple neck, original brown tolex hard shell case.

This is a lovely all-original slab-board Pre-CBS Fender Stratocaster, definitely played but apparently nicely cared for and worn in with a beautiful patina with vibe to spare. In early 1961 the Stratocaster was still a popular model but had been supplanted by the Jazzmaster as Fender's top of the line offering. While many of the Surf'n'Twang players over the next few years would favor the Jazzmaster and its flashier sister the Jaguar, the Stratocaster remained distinctive with its 3-pickup layout and unique trem system. Surf Master/Originator Dick Dale always exclusively favored the Stratocaster, proclaiming he could not see why others would use anything else!

This guitar dates to early 1961, just around the dawn of the surf rock era. It shows typical period features, quite different in some ways from its 1950's ancestors. The rosewood fingerboard is the original thick version used from mid-1959, now referred to as the "slab board" to distinguish it from the much thinner laminates Fender began using after mid-1962. It is inlaid with the "clay" dots that would also 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 phased out in 1964. While these are subtle changes, they make a difference to Strat afficionados, giving each period's instruments their own distinctive character.

The finish on the body is a 3-color sunburst that has faded to an almost 2-tone look over the decades. 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 hand dated in pencil 1-61, in very small figures on the heel. The body is more boldly marked 10-60 in the trem cavity. The pots date to late 1960 as well. One slightly unusual feature of this particular guitar is a lot of burl figure to the maple neck, something that 1960's Fender do not often feature.

All three single coil 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 slab board 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 the later CBS period examples. It is fairly rare nowadays to turn up one like this that despite some serious use was never repaired or modified in any way.

This fine example of prime Fender mojo is still housed in its original brown Tolex case, which shows some wear but remains solid and functional. The original trem arm, bridge cover, and trem cavity cover are all included and intact. This is simply a great-sounding slab-board 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 completely 100% original guitar, showing some typical wear but still in excellent playing condition. The finish on the body has dings, dents, scrapes and chips overall. There is some heavier belt buckle wear to the back, and some typical armwear on the upper body. There are a couple of tiny touched-in spots but no overspray or other finish tampering. As noted the original 3-tone sunburst has faded to an almost two-tone look on the face; the back has a more subtle fade but the red hue is not as prominent as later '60s finishes.

The back of the neck is down to the wood over much of it's length with that glorious "worn-in Fender" feel that the sandpaper treatment accorded modern "relics" never really captures. The original small frets and fingerboard have some wear, mostly in the lower positions but are still quite playable. The clay dots have darkened somewhat over time as well. There is a small chip missing from the "F" in the logo decal on the beautiful burled maple headstock.

This guitar is *completely* original and unaltered internally with untouched solder joints and all original components. The "green" pickguard is one of the best preserved we have seen in a while with no popped-out ends or cracks and only slight pulling at the outer screws. The black-bobbin pickups are all very strong and sound great in any combination. The original owner seems to have played a lot with the bridge cover on, as the saddles and screws have less corrosion than many.

While this guitar shows obvious signs of years of play, it remains far better preserved than many period Stratocasters, which were often heavily worn and then stripped, routed or otherwise modified through the 1960s, '70s and 80s. Someone played this guitar a lot, but left it as God and Leo intended down through the last 60 years without changing anything but the strings. As a "played but straight" Slab-board Strat this has been one of our more requested instruments, and we are thrilled to offer this super vibey example still residing in its original brown Tolex case. Overall Excellent - Condition.