Fender Stratocaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1961), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 68232, sunburst lacquer finish, alder body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown tolex hard shell case.

This is a lovely original Pre-CBS "slab Board" Fender Stratocaster, appearing played in but generally well cared for over the last 60+ years. In 1961 the Stratocaster was still a very popular model but had been supplanted by the Jazzmaster as Fender's top of the line offering. While many of the Surf'n'Twang players over the next few years would favor those models, the Stratocaster remained distinctive with its 3-pickup layout and unique trem system. Beginning right in this period Surf Master/Originator Dick Dale exclusively favored the Stratocaster, proclaiming he could not see why others would use anything else! Of course by the late sixties the Strat roared back to prominence as the world's favorite Fender guitar.

This guitar dates to the end of 1961, just as the surf rock era was beginning. It shows typical period features, quite different in some ways from its 1950's ancestors. The rosewood fingerboard is the now-prized "slab board" used from mid-1959, inlaid with the "clay" dots that would be phased out at the end of 1964. The neck has a perfect-feeling round backed profile and carries the original Pre-CBS style headstock with the gold "Spaghetti" logo decal that was also replaced in 1964.

The finish on the body is a very lush deep 3-color sunburst that has hardly faded at all over the decades. The pickguard is a beautiful example of the lovely thick greenish-hued nitrocellulose that would also disappear in 1965, replaced by plainer white plastic. It has no cracks or splits and shows noticeably less shrinkage than most. The neck is pencil dated 10/61 on the heel, while the body is more abstractly marked 10-61 in pencil in the trem cavity. All visible pots dates are to the 34th week of 1961.

All three single coil pickups have a strong well-defined tone, and the "in between" settings offer up a "Stratty" quack without sounding as glassy as many earlier or later models. These early 1960s slab-board Stratocasters have become a player's favorite over the last few decades, often offering up a meatier tone than either the earlier maple fingerboard guitars or the later CBS period examples.

This fine example of prime Fender mojo is still housed in its original brown Tolex case, which shows some fairly minor wear but remains solid and functional. The original trem arm and trem cavity cover are still intact. This is simply a great-sounding Strat, a prime example of what Fender's reputation and success were built on well before "things started a-changin" in Fullerton with the January 1965 sell-out to CBS.

Overall length is 38 15/16 in. (98.9 cm.), 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.)., 7.43 lbs.

This guitar has some typical authentic play wear for its age, a "real relic" not an artificially induced one! There is moderate finish checking to the body with a collection of dings, dents, chipping and scrapes in many of the typical spots. The back has by far the most wear especially some fairly heavy belt buckling in the center. The upper armwear area on the face is partially worn down to the wood as well. The neck is somewhat worn down on both sides (oddly enough more heavily on the bass side) with some random dings and scrapes but nothing deeply into the wood. The headstock and original decal are quite clean. The finish remains all original except for some small discreetly touched-in spots on the dark body edges.

All hardware inside and out appears original except probably the often-replaced bridge height adjustment screws; they are the correct style but do not look as worn as the saddles themselves. There is a decent amount of corrosion to some of the original saddles. The original pickguard and pickup covers have only very minor scratching and scuffing and the knobs are cleaner than many, The beautiful green guard shows less shrinkage than many and has no broken or cracked corners; the original trem plate on the back does have two corners cracked off. The original strap buttons have some corrosion as well.

The original thin frets are original have been crowned down a decent amount; they still play well but are fairly small by modern standards. The guitar is set up with four of the original five trem screws. All three original pickups sound fantastic in any combination, this guitar is a great example of why the slab-board Stratocaster has become ever more of a favorite over many decades. The original brown case is included, not too heavily worn and fully functional. Overall Excellent - Condition.

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Listed2 months ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.Learn more
  • Stratocaster
  • sunburst lacquer
  • 1961
Fretboard Material
  • Rosewood
Color Family
  • Brown
Pickup Configuration
  • SSS
Right / Left Handed
  • Right Handed
Body Shape
  • S-Style
Number of Strings
  • 6-String
Neck Material
  • Maple
Offset Body
  • Non-Offset Body
Wood Top Style
  • Plain
Finish Pattern
  • Sunburst
Finish Style
  • Gloss
Body Type
  • Solid Body
Body Material
  • Alder
Bridge/Tailpiece Type
  • Tremolo Bridge
Model Family
Scale Length
  • 25.5"
Fretboard Radius
  • 7.25"
Neck Construction
  • Bolt-On
Number of Frets
  • 21

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Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Brooklyn, NY, United States
Joined Reverb:2015

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