Stratocaster Guitars

1956 Fender Stratocaster

Color: Two-tone Sunburst, Rating: 9.25, Sold (ID# 01538)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113

Near Mint 1956 Fender Stratocaster.


1956 Fender Stratocaster.


One-piece ash body, contoured on back and lower bass bout, and finished in two-tone Sunburst (yellow to black). This "dream" guitar weighs just 7.60 lbs., and has a one-piece maple neck with a scale length of 25 1/2 inches, 21 frets, black dot inlays, and a nut width of just over 1 5/8 inches. Small headstock with Fender 'Spaghetti' logo with "Fender" in gold with black trim and circular string tree. individual 'single-line' Kluson Deluxe tuners with oval metal buttons, stamped on the underside "2356766 / PAT APPLD." Four-bolt neck plate with serial number "09552" stamped between the top two screws. Three white Bakelite-covered staggered-height pole pickups with balanced outputs of 5.84k, 5.53k, and 5.98k. Single-layer white Bakelite pickguard with eight screws. Three white Bakelite knobs (one volume and two tone) plus three-way selector switch. The potentiometers are stamped "304 605" (Stackpole, February 1956). Six-pivot bridge/vibrato unit with through-body stringing. The neck has a pencil mark of "XA-9-56" and the body has a pencil mark of "4-11-56." This near mint guitar has only a minimal amount of belt buckle wear on the back, the usual lacquer checking, and a few tiny marks. Otherwise it's near mint -- certainly one of the best we've ever seen. Housed in its original Fender three-latch rectangular "Tweed" case with tan leather ends and red plush lining (9.00).

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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