Find of the Week: A '64 Korina Stratocaster in Fiesta Red

All by itself, a vintage Korina Stratocaster is a very rare guitar. This one even more so, thanks to an original Fiesta Red finish.

In the '50s and '60s, Fender pretty much stuck to woods like ash and alder for its production model guitar and bass bodies. Meanwhile, Gibson commonly used mahogany for its solidbody guitars, with some major exceptions—like the 1957 Explorer, Flying V, and Moderne, which were built with Korina.

Another name for limba and a close relative of mahogany, Korina was then and still is rarely seen in guitars, as working with it presents some practical challenges. But the results can be phenomenal: slightly lighter weight, unique grain patterns, and, at least to some ears, some additional mid-range heft versus a comparable guitar built with ash or alder.

Following Gibson's lead, Fender created a small batch of Korina Stratocasters in the early '60s, from late '63 through mid-'64. While you will find reports that the company only made three total Korina Strats, and all in sunburst finishes, there have been a few more confirmed to exist.

Korina Stratocaster front
Korina Stratocaster back
Cesco's Corner's 1964 Korina Stratocaster in Fiesta Red

Some of these other Korina Strats were finished in other colors, presumably because the grain pattern was not as eye-catching as those that got the sunburst treatment. This practice was especially popular for guitars exported to countries outside the US.

Cesco's Corner Guitars, an Italy-based vintage guitar shop and Reverb seller, run by Francesco Balossino, is selling a 1964 Korina Stratocaster with an original Fiesta Red finish.

Francesco tells us, "It sounds incredible. It sustains longer than any regular alder body Strats, and the tone itself is richer." The '64 Korina Strat is in excellent vintage condition, with a healthy amount of play wear but no major issues or modifications

The guitar was originally sent from Fender's Fullerton factory to Italian distributor Casale Bauer, Francesco says. For many years, the guitar resided with its original owner in Italy. A few years back, a couple deals were made and guitarist Neal Schon (Journey, Bad English) ended up purchasing it for his own collection. This summer, Schon sold the guitar in a large auction run by Heritage Auctions, and it made its way back to Italy and, ultimately, Cesco's Corner.

Check out the full listing here.

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