Here is a vintage 1964 Fender Strat electric guitar. This particular example, serial number L32463, is in excellent 100% all original condition and features an incredibly exotic Firemist Gold Metallic custom color finish. This green-guard, clay dot, spaghetti-logo variety is of the same elk as all other legendary pre-CBS Strats, and not surprisingly, is an extremely excellent sounding guitar. There’s rare, and then there is something beyond that, and this Strat is definitely the latter, with a seemingly mythical color combo, so check out the collection of photos, because it is unlikely another has been documented in such detail.
Purchased from the original owner’s son, along with several other interesting pieces from the same era, it was purported to be a special order custom instrument. Supposedly, the original owner purchased a Strat in early ’64, and it developed an issue with the finish on the body almost directly from the factory. He custom ordered the guitar in silver, and Fender claimed they would replace it with the first Stratocaster to showcase their new gold color, free of charge. I’m assuming this tidbit was about Fender replacing Shoreline Gold with Firemist Gold shortly thereafter, in very early ’65. While it doesn’t exhibit the Fender stamps indicating having been serviced or refinished, it does have a singularly unique “SS” stamp under the pickguard. The “ES” stamp has been heavily documented on guitars from 1965, but never has any expert nor collector mentioned an “SS” stamp. Perhaps used at a trade show as purely a demo to display the new gold color, the previous owner’s son explained that his father believed the stamps to mean “(S)pecial(S)ample.”
Serial Number: L32463
Neck Date Stamp: 2 AUG 64 B
Potentiometer Codes: 137-6422 (CTS)
Pickup Resistance: 5.75Ω (bridge), 6.04Ω (middle), 6.81Ω (neck)
Weight: 7 lbs 11 oz
In addition to sporting an entirely intact set of original solder joints, an interesting transitional original matching set of (2) gray and (1) black bobbin pickups all with identical “SEP 3 64” date stamps, the original half-painted neck cavity with paint stick shadow, and all other original components, it is rather clear that this crude Firemist Gold Metallic finish was appropriately painted over a white undercoat. Importantly, in several areas where both of those coats (Firemist Gold and White undercoat) have worn through, it is evident the body was sealed in a yellow Fullerplast, which would also be standard procedure. Admittedly, to my eye, the contours aren’t as pronounced as one would expect, (this also translates to the nut width, and fingerboard profile at the nut, take a look at the rather radical sanding near the nut) and the finish is somewhat unrefined, however, as a sample instrument, being used for a variety of purposes, it has been suggested that instruments deemed not for resale did not always conform to general production specs. Additionally, even with such a bright gold color, UV/Blacklight exposure clearly illustrates the finish is old and original.
There is some mild wear on the body, with more concentrated playing wear under where the player’s arm would rest on the lower bass-side bout contour. In these areas, the gold is less striking, less orange, and slightly subdued with a silver hue. Certainly not heavily relic’d, this heavier finish has an orange-peel quality that has probably kept it fairly well-preserved. The back of the body has similar style gold-to-silver wear that the arm rest contour similarly presents.
The neck is in very nice condition with some light finish wear and moderate fret/fingerboard wear. There is not weather checking on the neck, and both the headstock and decal are extremely clean. The nut is original, and the action is quite fantastic. The guitar plays exceedingly easily, and is a true pleasure to play. It has been setup to incorporate musical tremolo action, and the original trem arm is in comparably fine condition.
Above and beyond this Strat being a specatcularly rare specimen and a particularly great sounding example, this is a very significant and historically important instrument.