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1963 Fender Stratocaster Pre-CBS Vintage Guitar Sunburst w/ Case, Lightweight


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Up for sale, a 1963 Fender Stratocaster in excellent condition and in perfect working order, complete with a hardshell case. A featherweight Pre-CBS Stratocaster at only 7lbs 2oz, this Fender retains all of its original electronics and the majority of the plastics and hardware, with a very faithful body-only refinish in era-correct three-tone Sunburst nitro lacquer.

Produced in the first quarter of 1963, this Stratocaster's neck date and pot codes are from late '62, with only the body date crossing over into the subsequent year. Via the three-way pickup selector switch, each pickup has a distinct voice, and this Strat covers a ton of tonal ground. There's a bold shimmer and gutsy cut in the bridge position, particularly snappy for a Strat coil of this era, while the middle pickup is dry and percussive-sounding, with a smoothness that’s complimentary to chording. The neck pickup is raw, bell-like and round, with a fatness that's in-line with Fender's typical black bobbin pickup wind. This Stratocaster benefits from a professional setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and accurate intonation.

The maple neck has a slender C-shaped profile with modest shoulders and a fast feel, measuring .830" deep at the 1st fret and .975" at the 12th. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard is dark and tight-grained with rolled edges, retaining the original slender frets which still have decent meat given their size, exhibiting moderate wear favoring the plain strings on frets 1-3, with wear growing lighter and extending to fret 10 (also beneath the plain strings). The guitar plays cleanly up the 25 1/2" scale with a straight neck and responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The original nut measures 1.650" in width. On the headstock, the original Stratocaster waterslide decal is notably clean, and the original Kluson Deluxe single line tuning machines function smoothly. The heel of the neck has a clean November, 1962 date stamp.

On the body, all of the electronics work as they should, with the trio of original black bobbin pickups mated to a three-way Switchcraft toggle. All three pickups retain their factory windings, and the pickups meter at 5.85k ohms in the bridge position, 5.45k in the middle, and 5.7k at the neck. The majority of the solder joints are original, and the Stackpole pots date to the 52nd week of '62. The routes on the body are original, save for the bridge pickup route which was at one time enlarged for a humbucker and extremely cleanly restored to its stock shape. A 2/63 (February, 1963) grease pencil date is present in the tremolo cavity, and this date is on top of the original date (ostensibly to retain this important date when the body was refinished).

The pickup covers and knobs are original, while the wide bevel mint green pickguard is a properly spec'd high quality replacement, complete with a modern aluminum shielding plate.
The vibrato unit is complete with all but one of its original heavily patinated saddles (the High E is a well-matched replacement), the original trem block, and the arm. Utilizing three springs, the vibrato has a smooth, quick response.

The body-only nitro lacquer Sunburst refinish is extremely well-executed, with the correct burst gradient for this era of Fender production. The instrument exhibits a combination of very tasteful relic’ing and genuine playwear, including forearm wear on the lower bout edge, wear to the bare alder on the treble-side body horn (pick wear on the inside edge, case rub on the outer edge), concentrated buckle rash on the back and various finish chips, largely around the perimeter. There is gentle palm wear through the original nitro lacquer gloss on the neck profile, particularly favoring the treble-side shoulder, with a few additional shallow marks worn smooth from subsequent play.

A circa 1980s Fender molded hardshell case is included.