After staying out of the vintage market for several years, I've come across a couple vintage Fenders lately that I could not walk away from. Offered here is an original L-series 1964 Stratocaster built in the final model year before the infamous takeover by CBS. Many consider these early to mid-1964 guitars to be particularly special because they represent both the peak and the end of Fender's initial production and development run.
The neck on this incredible Strat is dated April, 1964. The Alder body is free of any non-original routing and is pencil-dated (what looks like) 3/64. The black bottom pickups are all dated within a few days of each other in April, 1964. The codes on the Stackpole Electric pot date to September, 1963. It has a figured Brazilian Rosewood fretboard which has the clay dot inlays which pre-date the switch to pearloid dots in late 1964. This early 1964 guitar also has the thinner "Spagetti" headstock logo, which was changed to a bolder transition period logo later in the model year.
As for specs, this guitar has a mid-60's Maple C neck which measures .80" at the first fret and .95" at the twelfth. The fretboard radius is 7.25" and the nut width measures 1.625". The guitar weighs 7.4 pounds on my digital scale.
Most everything on this guitar is original. The finish and all the hardware is original to it's manufacture. The mint green pickguard is original, but is cracked in one spot. The backplate is decades old, but may be a replacement as well and the mounting screws look of newer vintage. All of the pickups are original, but I am told that the neck pickup was rewound many years ago. A very old five-way switch is installed, but the original three way is included in the blonde tolex case, which is period-correct and believed to be original as well. Amazingly, even the frets on this guitar appear to be original. They are well worn, but still play nicely.
To play this guitar is a dream-come-true for most any guitar lover, including me. While playing it, you can't help but think that this guitar is from the same era as the white '64 Strat that Jimi got at Manny's in NYC, the '64 Strat that George Harrison nicknamed "Rocky" and SRV's "Lenny" which many believe was a '64. The vintage vibe just drips from this guitar.
This guitar is much more than it's great history, however, as this is a guitar that has great tone and is a great player too. The more I play it, the more difficult it is for me to add to our inventory. Not many investments give as much pleasure as a guitar like this one.....
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