Here's a very nice, all original 1972 Fender Stratocaster in natural finish. At this point, the Micro-Tilt neck adjustment had just been introduced. Aside from visual changes like the larger headstock and the availability of a rosewood fingerboard, the Micro-Tilt was the first major change to the Stratocaster since its introduction, and Leo Fender's last major contribution to the design.
The Fender Micro-Tilt addressed a problem ovelooked in the original Fender bolt-on neck design. For a host of reasons, it's frequently necessary to change the neck angle (or pitch, or tilt) on a guitar. On the original Fender design, doing this required loosening the strings, removing the four neck bolts, inserting or removing shims, reassembling the guitar and repeating till the adjustment was correct.
With the Fender Micro-Tilt, there were only three bolts on a triangular plate with one hole for a set screw. Inside the neck cavity there is a small metal plate, tapped for the set screw while the neck itself got a small metal plate for the set screw to push against. All that's needed to adjust the neck angle is to loosen the third bolt, turn the set scre with an allen key, and retighten the bolt. It's not even necessary to loosen the strings, so it's much faster and easier to quickly adjust the guitar's action. Final adjustments are done with the saddles on the bridge itself. The Fender Micro-Tilt was a dramatic improvement in the ability to service these instruments, and is still in use though many current implementations use four bolts again, for neck stability.
This example of a natural finish Fender Stratocaster with maple fingerboard was built during 1972 in the Fender Fullerton, Califonia plant. It is in all original condition, though I suspect that the spring for the original 3-position switch has been removed - this was a common tweak that made the two 'extra' switch positions available. (The only difference between 3 and 5 way switches is the punching of two detents in the swtich housing). There is some finish damage along the bottom edge near the strap pin, and wear at the treble edge of the fingerboard around frets 3 - 6. The original hardshell case is included.
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