Up for sale, a 1955 Fender Stratocaster in excellent condition and in perfect working order. Produced in the third quarter of '55 (and the second year of Stratocaster production), this Fender is emblematic of the company's golden age. Featuring a one-piece ash body and a full-feeling C-shaped neck profile carve as per '55 specs, this Strat delivers the goods on every level and will satisfy a broad range of Fender enthusiasts. The guitar is featherweight at 6lbs 13oz, refinished in period correct Blonde nitro lacquer courtesy of Riggio Custom Guitars, highlighting the broad, arching grain of the ash body.
Players have been conditioned for decades to expect a certain chime and quack from a Strat via the various tiers of reissues over the past nearly 40 years, not to mention the permutations the core model experienced in the course of the instrument's 60+ year run. Yet a genuine Stratocaster from early in the model's lifetime easily exceeds one's expectations for Strat tone in every capacity. The broad, ringing acoustic sound of the guitar is crisp and exquisitely clear. Each string has equal presence and clarity when strumming a chord, with a sweet midrange complexity inherent in ash as a tonewood, and a glassy note attack thanks to the maple board.
The set of genuine Pre-CBS Fender black bobbin pickups have a foundational warmth beneath the sparkle and bounce indicative of the Strat sound. The bridge pickup is sweet and singing with ideal bite; the middle position is percussive and smooth; and the neck position has a distinctive bell-like quality and harmonic complexity, offering a dry snap and a rich layered push. Each pickup position is unique, with muscle and tonal body attributable to the guitar’s age and construction. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, this Stratocaster has low action and spot-on intonation, currently strung with roundwound 11-49 strings.
The maple neck has a round, full C-shaped profile carve with generous shoulders in every register and lightly rolled fretboard edges, measuring .870" deep at the 1st fret and .935" at the 12th. The neck profile and fretboard were also refinished by Riggio, with a lightly ambered nitro gloss on the profile, worn to the smooth maple behind frets 1-9 as part of Riggio’s aging process. The guitar has been cleanly refretted with vintage-spec 6230 fretwire and the fresh frets have well-rounded crowns and show just a hint of wear beneath the plain strings on frets 1-2. The truss rod is responsive, the neck is straight, and a new bone nut has been carved, measuring 1 5/8" in width. On the headstock, the guitar has been fitted with an older set of naturally aged Kluson Deluxe single line reissue tuning machines. The headstock decal is an exacting modern replacement applied over the lacquer. The neck heel retains its faint but legible original 8-55 grease pencil date, matching the 8-55 date which has been retained with the original Sunburst lacquer in the tremolo cavity beneath the springs. There is a small surface level repaired split in the maple just beyond the skunk stripe on the profile, professionally addressed long ago and smooth to the touch.
While unoriginal to this particular Strat, the genuine vintage black bobbin Fender pickup trio is correct for the guitar, with original bright copper windings on the bridge and neck pickups and the middle pickup recently rewound to match, all metering in the 5k ohms range. The wiring harness includes properly spec'd modern CTS pots with the correct "phone book" (or chewing gum, if that's your preference) tone cap and a vintage three-way Switchcraft pickup selector switch. The body routes are original and unmodified, and the original Sunburst lacquer is retained in the neck pocket, along with the dated tremolo cavity. The hardware on the body includes the original vibrato unit with stock block and patent pending saddles, as well as the jack cup and original neck plate with four digit serial number. The vibrato arm is a modern replacement. All of the plastic is newer and carefully selected for age and appearance, with an older single-ply white reissue guard, bakelite-style knobs and pickup covers with rounded edges, and a tremolo cover plate with the small, round holes seen from 1954-55.
The gloss Blonde nitro lacquer finish executed by Riggio Custom Guitars is extremely faithful in tint and transparency, highlighting the grain of the one-piece ash body, with subtly more opaque bursting on the body edges. Simulated wear as part of Riggio's relic process includes faint horizontal lacquer checking and some tasteful small marks primarily on the body parameter and belly carve.
A modern Fender tweed hardshell case is included (not pictured).