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Stratocaster Guitars

1966 Fender Stratocaster

Color: Sunburst Three-tone, Rating: 9.00, $12,500.00 (ID# 02190)
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A First Generation, Large-Headstock 'Hendrix' Stratocaster

 

1966 Fender Stratocaster

This first generation, large headstock Stratocaster weighs just 7.10 lbs. Solid alder body, contoured on back and lower bass bout. One-piece maple neck with a nut width of just over 1 5/8 inches, a scale length of 25 1/2 inches and a quite wonderful thick neck profile around 0.90 inches from the nut to the 12th fret. Veneer rosewood fretboard with twenty-one medium frets and pearloid dot position markers. Single "butterfly" string tree with nylon spacer. Large headstock with 'Transition' logo with "Fender" in gold with black outline, "STRATOCASTER" in black beside it, "WITH SYNCHRONIZED TREMOLO" in black below it, and two patent numbers "2,741,146", "3,143,028" and "DES 169,062" below that. Individual 'double-line' Kluson Deluxe tuners with oval metal buttons and "D-169400 / Patent No." stamped on the underside. Four-bolt neck plate with serial number "171813" between the top two screws. Three single-coil light gray bottom pickups with staggered polepieces and nicely matched outputs of 6.44k, 5.79k, and 5.74k. The undersides of the pickups have "12-9-66", "12-9-66  11" and "11.28-66  1" written in ink. Three-layer plastic pickguard (white/black/white) with eleven screws and full-size aluminium 'shield' on the underside. Three controls (one volume, two tone) plus three-way selector switch, all on pickguard. White plastic Stratocaster knobs with greenish gold lettering. Fender "Synchronized Tremolo" combined bridge/tailpiece. The neck is stamped in purple "13 MAR 66 B"; the potentiometers are all stamped "304 6610" (Stackpole, March 1966). The top two corners of the white plastic tremolo cavity cover have broken off. There are a few small surface marks, mainly on the edges of the body. There is a surface chip measuring one inch by half of an inch on the edge near the jack input. There is some slight varnish wear/loss on the back of the neck, mainly behind the first seven frets. When we purchased the guitar from the previous owner (who had owned it for over forty years) we noticed that the bridge pickup was not reading correctly, the three-way switch was not working correctly and the frets were quite worn. We sent the guitar to our master luthier - Scott Lentz who has successfully recovered the bridge pickup coil and the original three-way pickup selector switch. Scott has also expertly refretted the guitar with 6105 medium-jumbo frets and replaced the nut. The guitar looks, plays and sounds like a dream… In summary this wonderful first generation, large-headstock á la Jimi Hendrix Strat, is in exceptionally fine (9.00) condition. Complete with the original tremolo arm and bridge cover. Housed in its original Fender black hardshell case with black leather ends and dark orange plush lining (8.75).

"The Stratocaster was launched during 1954 [and was priced at $249.50, or $229.50 without vibrato]...The new Fender guitar was the first solidbody electric with three pickups [Gibson's electric-acoustic ES-5, introduced five years earlier, had been the overall first], meaning a range of fresh tones, and featured a new-design vibrato unit that provided pitch-bending and shimmering chordal effects. The new vibrato -- erroneously called a 'tremolo' by Fender and many others since -- was troublesome in development. But the result was the first self-contained vibrato unit: an adjustable bridge, a tailpiece, and a vibrato system, all in one. It wasn't a simple mechanism for the time, but a reasonably effective one...Fender's new vibrato had six bridge-pieces, one for each string, adjustable for height and length, which meant that the feel of the strings could be personalized and the guitar made more in tune with itself... The Strat came with a radically sleek, solid body, based on the outline of the 1951 Fender Precision Bass. Some musicians had complained to Fender that the sharp edge of the Telecaster's body was uncomfortable... so the Strat's body was contoured for the player's comfort… 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 especially the flowing, sensual curves of that beautifully proportioned, timeless body. The Stratocaster's new-style pickguard complemented the lines perfectly, and the overall impression was of a guitar where all the components ideally suited one another. The Fender Stratocaster has since become the most popular, the most copied, the most desired, and very probably the most played solid electric guitar ever" (Tony Bacon, 50 Years of Fender, p. 18).

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