Perhaps more than any other year, 1965 marks a major turning point for Fender and Stratocaster production. It was in 1965 that CBS took control of the company, and brought the first wave of changes to a more mass production based model. Key indicators for Stratocasters of this transition era are a larger headstock compared to previous years as well as a script 'F' on the neck plate. In 1965, Fender also brought back the maple fingerboard as an option on a two-piece neck. While most collectors and players consider post-CBS Strats to be of an inferior quality to older models, these instruments remain very collectable on the vintage market. A key determining factor is the serial number: CBS switched from numbers starting with an L to numbers starting with an F. Those starting with an L are from earlier in the year and are generally more sought-after.
Years of Production: 1954 - present
Unique to this Year: Switch from clay to pearloid dot inlays on fingerboard, enlarged headstock, and a somewhat less dramatic contouring shape on the body.
Body Style: Offset solidbody
Wood Composition: Alder body, Maple neck with veeneer Rosewood fingerboard
Design Elements: Bolt-on neck, dot inlays, 3 single-coil pickups, 3-way pickup selector
Finish Specifications: Olympic White was a standard finish for '60s Fenders. It was available beginning in 1960.
Notable Players: Bob Dylan, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour