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2004 Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt John English 1954 Stratocaster 50th Anniversary w/ Case & COA


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Up for sale, a 2004 Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt John English 1954 Stratocaster in showroom clean condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original brown form-fit "poodle" case, COA, manual, and 1954 catalog replica. A stunningly well-kept example of arguably the most faithful and exacting 1954 Strat iteration ever offered by the Custom Shop (offered in small quantities for the Stratocaster's 50th Anniversary), this guitar was crafted by John English, a founding member of Fender's Custom Shop and one of its most heralded members.

With a 30 year tenure in the Custom Shop before his untimely passing in 2007, John English's body of work was stunning in its exquisite quality and adherence to vintage spec. This Stratocaster ranks among his best, with all the smallest 1954 features represented including the two-piece offset seam ash body, deep U neck profile carve, short skirt knobs, rounded "bakelite" pickup covers, serialized tremolo cover with round holes and Alnico III magnet pickups with larger diameter poles than later Strat coils.

Sonically, the acoustic sound is detailed and smooth, with a very resonant ash body that enriches the guitar’s sustain and enhances both the note attack and midrange character. Outfitted with the five-way switch included with this model from the factory, the overarching sound has plenty of sparkle and ‘50s Strat bounce, with a snappy, vocal-like quality in the 2 and 4 positions, a percussive, woody middle pickup, and a bell-like, sweet neck position single coil. The guitar weighs 7lbs 8oz, professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and accurate intonation.

The maple neck has a substantial U-shaped profile carve with lightly rolled fretboard edges, measuring .905" deep at the 1st fret and .985" at the 12th. The neck profile has simulated palm wear down to the bare maple for a silky smooth playing experience, and the slender fretwire on the 7 1/4" radius board shows zero wear. The guitar plays cleanly in every register with a straight neck and responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The bone nut measures 1.650" in width, and the headstock features Kluson-style tuners and a very small John English oval decal on the back.

The electronics function flawlessly, with a traditional Strat control array, factory-included five-way switch, and Tone knobs currently wired to govern the neck pickup with the 1st knob, and the middle and bridge pickups for the 2nd knob. Hardware includes the Pat. Pending bent steel bridge saddles which are painstaking reproductions of the originals, and the vibrato actuates smoothly and deliberately, complete with the original arm. Plastics include the one-ply pickguard, rounded pickup covers, short skirt knobs, and the tremolo cavity cover stamped with a serial just like the first Strats from 1954. In fact, Fender even used the same die that stamped the original 1954 serials to stamp these plates. The two-piece ash body has incredible grain, with a vintage-spec offset seam and a flawlessly executed two-tone nitro lacquer gloss Sunburst finish. John English's relic work is extremely tasteful and restrained, including light lacquer checking extending in all directions, a few simulated minor marks, and simulated palm wear down to the bare maple along the neck profile.

This Masterbuilt Stratocaster is a no-excuses build, flawless in its presentation and complete with the original replica brown poodle case, COA, manual, and 1954 replica catalog.