Mary Kaye Hardtail Stratocaster ex John English Guitars

1957 Fender Mary Kaye Hardtail Stratocaster ex John English

Color: See-thru Blond, Rating: 9.00, Sold (ID# 02205)
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John English's Personal Favorite Guitar…


1957 Fender Mary Kaye Hardtail Stratocaster



This lovely Mary Kaye Hard-Tail Stratocaster was the very favorite personal guitar of the great Fender Master Builder, John English. It weighs just 7.50 lbs. and has a comfortable nut width of between 1 5/8 and 1 11/16 inches and a scale length of 25 1/2 inches. Original late 1958 / early 1959 one-piece ash body, contoured on back and lower bass bout and finished blond. Original (June 1957) one-piece fretted maple neck with a wonderfully huge "'57 soft "V" profile. Maple fretboard with 21 (later) medium frets and black dot position markers. Small headstock with decal with Fender "spaghetti" logo in gold with black trim and "STRATOCASTER" in black beside it and with "ORIGINAL Contour Body" decal at the ball end of the headstock. Original individual single-line Kluson Deluxe tuners with oval metal buttons (stamped inside: "D-169400 / Patent No."). Original single gold-plated "butterfly" string tree. Original gold-plated four-bolt neck plate with the serial number "-20805" between the top two screws. Three original white 'ABS plastic-covered black-bottom single-coil pickups with staggered polepieces and nicely balanced outputs of 6.05k, 5.66k and 5.67k. Original single-layer white plastic pickguard (.060 inches thick) with eight screws. Three controls (one volume, two tone) plus three-way pickup selector switch, all on the lower treble side of the pickguard. Original white ABS plastic Stratocaster knobs with 'greenish' lettering. Original Fender combined 'six-saddle' bridge/tailpiece with through-body stringing. The neck has a pencil mark of "6-57," and the neck pickup cavity has "Blonde" written in blue pencil under the finish. The potentiometers are stamped "304 720" and "304 732" (Stackpole, April and May 1957). All hardware gold-plated.

The body of this guitar was re-finished by John English sometime in the eighties. The lovely 'blueish' grain of the ash body shows beautifully through the 'creamier' than usual blond finish. The finish is of course quite fantastic and there is some very nice finish checking. The fretboard has a light amount of wear to the maple and John had replaced the frets with slightly larger gauge wire. When we purchased this guitar it was missing the 'G' saddle which we have now replaced with an original late '50's saddle which we have had gold-plated (and then aged) to match the others. The neck is dated June 1957 which corresponds with the serial number "-020805" on the neckplate. The pickups are from 1957 and the potentiometers are all dated 1957. We do however believe that the body was made sometime in late '58 thru early '59. We say this because of the 'contour' on the bass edge which is a little narrower than on a typical '57 body. It is quite possible that John assembled this guitar from parts - that was his profession - and of course he would have assembled this one for his own personal use. All of the parts are original 1957-59 including all the gold screws. Whatever the story (we shall never know exactly what John did) this guitar plays, feels and sounds like a dream… Housed in a nineties [Fender] brown form-fit "poodle" case with three latches and red plush lining (9.25).

I have never seen another 'Hard-Tail' Mary Kaye - this is an exceptionally rare guitar. If it were not for the expert re-finish this guitar would be worth well over $100k…

This guitar came to us directly from the estate of John English together with a letter of authenticity (written by his daughter Jamye English) which states: "1957 Fender Stratocaster - Blonde non-trem with Gold hardware / Serial Number: -20805 / was built and owned and played by my father, John T. English" (signed and dated 8-23-10).

Senior Master Builder John English who passed away June 2007 at the early age of 57 was raised on ‘50s and ‘60s rock ’n’ roll. He joined Fender in 1970, working alongside company pioneers such as Freddie Tavares and Bill Carson, and was a driving force in the early days of the Fender Custom Shop, helping to define the creative environment that continues in the shop to this day. One of the original Custom Shop builders, he was internationally renowned for his custom, concept and art guitars. He was a guitarist, drummer and artist who worked in the United States and Europe, and was a true original whose creations used exotic woods, metals, plastics, stones and bone, and were inspired by music, art, architecture and nature. He built custom guitars for countless musicians and collectors, ranging from Eric Clapton to President George W. Bush. His collaboration with surf guitar king Dick Dale resulted in one of the first Fender Custom Shop signature model guitars; he created Fender’s first Japanese signature guitar with Michiya Haruhata, and his trio of concept guitars created with art phenomenon Shag caused quite a sensation at the 2003 NAMM show.

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