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1981 Fender The Strat Dan Smith Stratocaster USA-Made, Olympic White w/ Gold Hardware, Case


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Up for sale, a 1981 Fender “The Strat” in perfect working order, complete with a tweed hardshell case. A short-lived, upscale iteration of the Stratocaster platform, this Strat was essentially a premium version of the Dan Smith Stratocaster model, with features including a small Pre-CBS style headstock shape, a custom color Olympic White finish with matching peghead, and hardware plated in 22k gold. An extremely expensive guitar for Fender to produce and a real stunner both visually and tonally, this particular The Strat features two original pickups with a modern Fender Pure Vintage 57/62 pickup in the bridge position.

Traditional tonewoods include an ash body, maple neck, and rosewood fretboard, and the pickup complement delivers a bevy of classic Strat tonalities. The bridge pickup is snappy and sparkling, the neck is inherently fuller with a bell-like chime, and the “in-between” positions on the five-way pickup selector switch have hollow, spanky quack. Naturally authoritative at 10lbs 13oz, this "The Strat" has been 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 at the nut with faintly rolled fretboard edges and a fast feel, measuring .790” deep at the 1st fret and .915” at the 12th. The rosewood fretboard has been refretted with medium jumbo fretwire, exhibiting light wear beneath the plain strings on the crowns of frets 1-5. This guitar plays cleanly up the 25 1/2“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod, and the replacement carved bone nut measures 1 5/8” in width. On the Olympic White-finished headstock, there are a pair of professionally doweled holes from a string retainer, and a couple larger patched holes on the back from a previously removed locking nut assembly. The gold-plated Fender-branded and Schaller-made tuning machines turn smoothly and hold accurate pitch.

The wiring harness has been augmented to feature a standard Strat control configuration, with a five-way pickup selector switch and Volume/Tone/Tone knobs (this guitar would have left the factory with an S-1 rotary Tone knob in the second position). The two original CTS pots date to the 31st week of 1981, and the third pot is a matching CTS replacement. The bridge pickup cavity has been routed for a humbucker, and the cavities have black shielding paint to achieve the best signal to noise ratio. The vibrato has a smooth and even response, with the unique high mass brass block used on this model, embossed with the Fender name and plated in gleaming 22k gold. The trio of F-embossed gold-plated metal knobs are intact too. The three-ply white pickguard is an aftermarket replacement.

The clear coat of the Olympic White finish has light yellowing, with some finish checking on the body edges. Cosmetic wear includes various dings and finish scratches on the body as a whole, as well as some light texturing in the clear coat on the back and body perimeter. The neck profile retains its smooth gloss, with a scant few shallow marks along the profile length that have no impact on playability.

An era-correct Fender-branded tweed hardshell case with orange plush interior is included.