Two tone tone machine from early 1956, Fender Stratocaster anyone?
Two years into production, Leo Fender’s latest brainchild was surely on its way to world domination. In the hands of players such as Buddy Holly, the Strat became the guitar of choice for any aspiring guitarist looking to emulate their heroes.
This guitar is in good shape. It is an early ‘56 with a nice chunky soft V neck. The finish is still strong with a nice two tone sunburst. Its got a few battle scars, in particular the crescent mark from the trem arm on the front, which add to the character of the guitar. The grain of the ash body is well showcased here.
The neck (dated February 1956 and finished by Tadeo Gomez) is comfortably worn with the expected wear patches on the fretboard. These don’t seem to be very deep and haven’t gone into the wood too much. The frets have a bit of wear but still have good life left on them.
The plastics are in great shape considering they are all original Bakelite. The bakelite pickup covers have started to round but haven’t yet worn through as is common. The same can be said for the knobs where although they are a little worn, this isn’t too extensive.
All hardware is totally correct although the trem arm looks like it could be a replacement from the early 60’s
Electrically the guitar is excellent, all the solder joints being untouched and all three pickups are nice, evenly balanced and working really well. The guitar comes with its correct tweed hardshell case which is in pretty good shape.
The magic of these guitars from this period is most certainly the black bottom pickups that, combined with the maple neck and the ash body, have such a delicious sound. It is no wonder that Strats from this period are so sought after. The neck is wonderfully smooth, the middle pickup introduces a little more bite with the bridge delivering plenty of twang without ever being too shrill.
Regardless of the associations, these guitars really are a revelation especially if you’ve got a stock ‘Stratocaster’ sound imprinted in your head. Grab this one before it gets away.