Here is a vintage 1957 Fender Stratocaster electric guitar. This particularly clean example, serial number -19946, is in very fine 100% all original condition, and includes: the original Koylon-labeled tweed case, original tremolo arm, original “ash tray” bridge cover, original leather strap, and original gray instrument cable. Recently purchased from the second owner, and clearly meticulously maintained since new, this uncirculated specimen is a solid 9/10 and exhibits extremely minimal actual playing wear. This classic early-’57 (February 1957) Strat features an incredibly well-preserved, remarkably sheen and unfaded, two-tone Sunburst finish over an attractive Alder body, is one of the last to sport Bakelite pickup covers and corresponding switch tip, and exhibits an amazing soft-V neck profile shape. Amongst the most iconic guitars ever made, alongside the ’59 Burst and ’52 Tele, the ’57 Strat is not just an incredible piece of Rock’n’Roll history, it also happens to be a symbolic icon of American culture in the 20th century.
Serial Number: -19946
Neck Date: 2-57
Body Date: 2-57
Pot Codes: 304 704 (Jan. 20-26 ’57, Stackpole)
Neck Pickup Resistance: 5.83Ω
Middle Pickup Resistance: 5.66Ω
Bridge Pickup Resistance: 5.81Ω
Weight: 7 lbs. 10 oz. (3.458 kg)
While this guitar obviously displays some rather superficial storage wear in the form of random dings caused by free-floating accessories within the case, it is in very beautiful cosmetic condition. In fact, when the previous owner had it assessed for insurance purposes, it was recorded as being in “mint condition,” and though I wouldn’t be as generous in my critique, I can definitely understand that even with the subtle imperfections, the overall presentation is rather pristine. Save for an area of small blemishes on the back side of the bass cutaway horn, the guitar easily suprasses the closet classic condition of brand new Fender reissues. The finish retains an original luster and brilliance, and the maple neck is still bright. There is barely any fingerboard wear, nor is there evidence of visible fret wear. The headstock is crisp and near perfect, as is the back of the peghead and the original single-line Kluson tuning machines. Even the original Bakelite pickup covers are intact! Please thoroughly inspect the collection of photos, as I’m sure you’ll find it equally gorgeous.
For many Fender fanatics, the soft-V neck profile is considered the best, and this Strat features one of the most comfortable soft-V neck shapes I’ve ever experienced. The intuitive neck contour enables enhanced playability and propagates easier string-bending. For the majority of players, the natural shape of the palm leverages better from the slightly angular neck shape. This neck feels fantastic, and since the finish is entirely intact, every inch is smooth to the touch.
This guitar sounds incredible. I much prefer the tonality and output of this era Strat pickup to those produced later during the slabboard stint, however, this Strat absolutely trumps anything which came later. It’s transparent, yet warm. It has pronounced twang without being thin or harsh. It resonates with rich harmonic overtones, and sings when played through an amp with natural overdrive. Truly inspirational to play, with the ability to form an instant bond, this is everything you’d desire in a guitar.
Judging by the nature of the inspection, it seemed as if it had never been disassembled. So, I was careful to remove all parts, and reinstall all screws in the corresponding original holes from which they were removed.
Once again, all parts are original. Nothing has been changed, altered, repaired, etc., It remains in 100% unmolested original condition.