Stratocaster Guitars

1956 Fender Stratocaster

Color: Two-tone Sunburst, Rating: 8.00, Sold (ID# 00065)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113

One-piece ash solid body, contoured on back and lower bass bout, and finished in two-tone Sunburst (yellow to black). This "dream" guitar weighs just 8.50 lbs., and has a one-piece maple neck with a scale length of 25 1/2 inches and a nut width of 1 5/8 inches, 21 frets, and black dot inlays. Three white Bakelite-covered staggered-height pole pickups with balanced outputs of 5.67k, 5.64k, and 5.56k. Three controls (one volume and two tone) plus three-way selector switch. Single-layer white Bakelite pickguard with eight screws and three white Bakelite knobs. Small peghead with Kluson Deluxe tuners and round string tree. Six-pivot bridge/vibrato unit with through-body stringing. The neck has a pencil mark of "XA-3-56" and the body has a pencil mark of "3-56." This remarkable guitar has a few chips on the body, and there has been some early "over spray" to the body only. Apart from that, this is a totally original, first generation Stratocaster, which has been well played and shows some moderate fretboard wear. Housed in its original, but quite worn, Fender "Tweed" case (7.00).

The Stratocaster was launched in 1954 -- samples around May and June were followed by the first production run in October --and it was priced at $249.50 (or $229.50) without vibrato. This new Fender guitar was the first solid body electric with three pickups (Gibson's electric acoustic ES-5, introduced five years earlier, had been the first overall). The Stratocaster also featured a newly designed built-in vibrato unit (erroneously called a "tremolo" by Fender and many others since), to provide pitch-bending and shimmering chordal effects for the player. This was the first self-contained vibrato unit: an adjustable bridge, tailpiece, and vibrato system all in one. Not a simple mechanism for the time, but a reasonably effective one. Fender's new Stratocaster vibrato also had six bridge-pieces, one for each string, adjustable for height and length. The Stratocaster came with a radically sleek, solid body, based on the shape of the earlier Fender Precision Bass, contoured for the player's comfort, and with a yellow-to-black Sunburst finish. Even the jack socket mounting was new, recessed in a stylish plate on the body face. The Fender Stratocaster looked like no other guitar around -- and in some ways seemed to owe more to the contemporary automobile design than traditional guitar forms, especially in the flowing, sensual curves of that beautifully proportioned, timeless body.

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