50% price drop

For sale is one of Don Wilson's personal guitars, a 1996 Fender Ventures model 50th anniversary stratocaster.

The short back story is I was Don's neighbor when he moved up north from the Tacoma area and I got to know him and his family. He and his son Tim offered to sell me this guitar and I jumped at the opportunity, who wouldnt? This was part of a non-matched set among several other sets Don acquired from Fender when they produced this special run in 96. As such, it was used in the studio by Don and Nokie during a session and was modified by the latter (more on this in the LOA section). It is important to note that this is/was a player's guitar and was played and worked on by members of the band. It is NOT a case queen.

The guitar:

All original with a few minor exceptions (see below) in VG+ condition. Only minor and small scratches in the finish and some minor pitting in the gold hardware. The original switch, original jack, and TBX circuit were in the case when acquired and come with the guitar. It is currently wired with Fender TXMX coils controlled by one volume and one tone for all pickups. There is one small chip on the lower treble side bout of the headstock that has been filled and is impossible to see/photograph.

The following alterations had been made to the guitar,  but have not been changed as a matter of provenance. All are pictured.

A small wooden shim in the neck pocket.

A larger pickguard screw by the neck, treble side.

The guitar came without the intonation screw/spring for the high E. These were added.

The pickup mounting screws are not all gold, thus not all OE.

The potentiometers are not OE.

The small gold foil Ventures stickers that accompanied these are missing. I suspect my daughters :)


The letter of authenticity was provided  by Don and Tim Wilson and states,

"This letter is to certify that this 1996 50th Anniversary of Fender, Limited Edition the Ventures Model Guitar, Serial Number 10021 is the 21st Stratocaster made in the series.

This Fender Stratocaster was owned by Don Wilson founding member of the Musical Group the Ventures.

The Stratocaster is Autographed by Don Wilson and Nokie Edwards

The Ventures are the Biggest Selling Instrumental Rock Group in Music History and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008

This Fender Stratocaster was played by Don Wilson and Nokie Edwards  in Los Angeles at the Front Page Recording Studios during a recording session in 1997"

This is signed by Don Wilson.

In conversations with Don and Tim, they believed Nokie modified the guitar during the session for Wild Again 2, putting a humbucker in the bridge position which required expanding the route. This would be similar to his tone preference in his  later Hitchhiker model.


Included with the sale is the top shell layer of the pickguard, which has been signed by both Don and Nokie. I had their signatures professionally preserved with a thin coat of clear lacquer, but did not have this done to my name, which you may choose to remove.

The rest of the pickguard is still installed on the guitar, with glue residue showing on the upper layer from where the top shell layer was formerly attached. This can either be removed, left as-is, or reassembled at buyer's discretion.

All OEM hang tags, manuals, registration card (and there were a lot) are included.

A glossy sheet with all active member's signatures is included. To note, Gerry McGhee was on the roster when these were originally completed but Nokie rejoined shortly thereafter. They had a history of flip-flopping over the course of their tenure. You may be pleased that Mel Taylor was still alive when they signed this sheet, so his signature is present!

Original sales receipt from Wilson Guitar Ventures, Don and Tim's LLC that also sold Wilson Brother guitars in a licensing agreement with Aria of Japan.

The original UPS label from the shipping container, showing the shipper as Fender and recipient as Don Wilson. He doesn't live at that address any more :)

Rock and roll hall of fame plectrum/pick.

A signed Flights of Fantasy album. To note, it is signed by Don, Bob Bogle and Nokie, but in ballpoint pen. As such, it has faded over the years. The story was, I saw them at Salmon Days in Issaquah before Don moved into the area, and their Sharpie died before I got to the autograph table.

Guitar will ship in OEM hard shell black case which is also in VG+ condition.  All latches work, some minor dings in the tolex,  and some sticker residue by the handle.

This would be a historically interesting piece to add to your collection! Please reach out should you have any questions or need any information I have not provided. I still keep in touch with the Wilson family and can ask them any questions I cannot answer, but also ask that you curate these with some reason as I consider them my friends.

Many thanks for your consideration and LONG LIVE THE VENTURES!

Product Specs

Very Good (Used)
Very Good items may show a few slight marks or scratches but are fully functional and in overall great shape.learn more
Brand Fender
Model 50th Anniversary Ventures Model Stratocaster
Finish Blackburst, Owned By Don Wilson!
Categories Solid Body
Year 1996
Made In Japan
Fretboard Material Rosewood
Number of Strings 6 String
Right / Left Handed Right Handed
Body Shape S-Style
Neck Material Maple
Finish Style Gloss
Body Type Solid Body
Body Material Ash

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Available for local pickup from Lawrence, KS, United States

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Items must be returned in original, as-shipped condition with all original packaging and no signs of use. Buyer assumes responsibility for all return shipping costs unless the item was not received as described.


Buyer receives a full refund in their original payment method less any shipping costs.

Fishbone's Chumbucket

Lawrence, KS, United States
Joined: Mar 2014

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Fender 50th Anniversary Ventures Model Stratocaster 1996 Blackburst, Owned by Don Wilson!
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