Up for sale, a 1959 Fender Stratocaster in excellent condition and in perfect working order. An extremely short-lived and impactful moment in the evolution of the Stratocaster, this guitar features one of the very first slab Brazilian rosewood fretboards offered on the model, a feature first introduced at the 1959 NAMM convention and documented on Strats from 5/59 onward. This example dates to 6/59, with the one-ply white pickguard which was a holdover from previous model years (the new mint green celluloid guards wouldn't be seen until the following month).
Extremely lively and resonant acoustically with a natural woody cut and sweet sustain, this Strat features an alder body, maple neck, and the aforementioned extremely dark, tight-grained Brazilian rosewood slab fingerboard. Save for an older body-only nitro lacquer Olympic White refinish, one changed pot and a professional refret, this guitar retains all of its original bits and checks every box for Fender's quintessential Pre-CBS Strat feature set.
The three original black bobbin single coil pickups all retain their original windings, metering at a healthy 5.6k ohms in the neck position, 5.5k in the middle, and 5.8k at the bridge. Via a vintage five-way pickup selector switch, each of the three pickups has a distinct voice, with a clear, percussive quality, ample sparkle and densely packed harmonics. The 2 and 4 positions on the switch have a real sweetness and the additive effect of Strat coils wound decades before the RWRP middle pickup was introduced. The neck pickup is round, muscly and full-sounding while retaining a bell-like clarity ideal for lead work. Quite simply, this 1959 Stratocaster is a prime example of the reverence afforded the "Pre-CBS" era. The guitar is nice and light at 7lbs 8oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and spot-on intonation.
The maple neck has a very slender C-shaped profile carve, fast-feeling and elegant with modest shoulder at the nut and more roundness and heft as you travel up the fingerboard. The fretboard edges have been naturally rolled for added comfort, and the profile depth measures .755" at the 1st fret and .940" at the 12th. The Brazilian rosewood slab fretboard sports original clay dots, and it's easily one of the darkest boards we've ever encountered on a Strat from any era. Professionally refretted with medium jumbo fretwire in the recent past, these frets have plenty of meat, showing just a touch of wear beneath the plains strings on frets 1-3. The guitar plays easily in every register with a straight neck and responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod which has needed sparingly little adjustment in the past 60+ years. The bone nut measures 1.650" in width. On the headstock, the original single line Kluson Deluxe tuning machines are intact, and the decal is a modern, vintage-spec replacement. While the headstock itself has been oversprayed on the face and back, the neck profile retains its original nitro lacquer gloss, with natural palm wear down to the bare maple predominately behind frets 1-6. The neck heel has no pencil date, consistent with Fender's production methods in 1959.
On the body, the trio of original black bobbin pickups retain their original windings, and the two original Stackpole pots date to the 20th week of '59. The original "phone book" tone capacitor is also intact, the five-way switch is a genuine vintage switch circa the 1970s, and the third pot is a modern CTS 250k vintage-spec replacement. The original 6/59 grease pencil date is present in the tremolo cavity, rounding out the essential date codes.
The one-ply white pickguard is original, one of the very last single-ply guards offered on the Stratocaster model and in excellent example, showing some scuffing adjacent to the Volume knob, and one tiny chip on the inside edge of the neck pickup cutout. The switch tip is original along with the pickup covers, and a trio of modern Fender knobs round out the plastics. The vibrato unit is stock and complete with pat. pending saddles and the original trem block. Currently utilizing three springs, the vibrato actuates very easily, with a notable touch-sensitive response and stability. From quick flutters to more drastic dives, this vibrato unit works just as designed and the trem block is an integral part of a Strat's sustain and tonal character. The vibrato arm is a modern replacement. The original jack cup and neck plate round out the hardware, both with original gleaming chrome plating.
The body features a professional older nitro lacquer refinish in pitch-perfect Olympic White, exhibiting very soulful playwear with a spot of buckle rash on the back of the bass-side body horn and wear through to the bare alder along much of the lower bout body edge. There is also a small non-factory hole connecting the tremolo cavity and middle pickup route.
This is truly a fantastic Strat in every sense of the word, and the black bobbin pickups resonating through an alder body and slab Brazilian rosewood board is truly something to behold. The strong acoustic character of the instrument translates perfectly through your favorite Tweed or Black Panel amp, and this Strat is very original, meticulously examined and ready to be played.
A modern Fender hardshell case is included.