Up for sale, a 1997 Fender Custom Shop 1969 "NOS" Stratocaster in excellent, 100% original condition, complete with the original hardshell case and boasting a set of Abigail Ybarra's famed 1969 hand-wound Fender gray bobbin pickups. Part of Fender's "Time Machine" series, this Strat faithfully replicates the feel, appearance, and tone of Fender's Hendrix-era Stratocaster, boasting a maple cap fretboard and large headstock shape. An "NOS" model as it relates to Fender's early Relic models, this Strat is meant to replicate the pristine appearance of an instrument sold new in 1969 with no factory aging, and in the past 20+ years, this guitar has been very well-kept.
With John Page at the helm, Fender's Custom Shop in the '90s was in its renaissance, offering far more limited production than today's Custom Shop and encompassing a dream team of luthiers who would rise to prominence in the industry at Fender and beyond. A full palette of classic Strat tones are available with this model, and the guitar offers a bright acoustic tone with chiming cut, harmonic-rich sparkle, and a lively, dynamic sound in every pickup position. A Fender luminary who began winding pickups at Fender in 1958, Abigail Ybarra's pickups are highly coveted for their expert winding and connection to Fender's golden age. Ybarra (now retired) was known for winding the 1969 Strat sets in particular, and this set was made when she was still hand-winding the coils, not just supervising the work. These Custom Shop single coils are nuanced, clear, and bell-like with a slightly scooped sound and distinctive note attack accentuated by the maple fingerboard. The guitar weighs 8lbs and balances well on a strap. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, this Custom Shop Stratocaster is dialed in with 9-42 strings, slinky action, and spot-on intonation.
The quartersawn maple neck has an inviting modestly chunky C-shaped profile carve with generous shoulder and lightly rolled edges, measuring .865" deep at the 1st fret and 1.010" at the 12th. The gloss nitro lacquer is flawless on the profile, and the maple cap fretboard replicates proper '60s production techniques wherein the truss rod is inserted from the top of the neck and capped with the fretboard, eschewing the walnut skunk stripe otherwise seen on the profile for inserting the rod. The fretboard has a vintage-spec 7 1/4" radius, and the original slender frets retain their full factory height, showing just a touch of wear on the crowns beneath the plain strings on frets 1-4. The guitar shows virtually no wear further up the fretboard and plays cleanly in all registers with a responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod and arrow straight neck. The nut measures 1 5/8" in width. On the headstock, the Fender F tuners turn smoothly and hold pitch well, and the Custom Shop chevron is present too. Faithful to vintage spec, the neck heel replicates the same stamp pattern seen in a late '60s Strat, dating to December of '97.
All of the electronics work as they should, with three Custom Shop gray bobbin Abigail Ybarra pickups, untouched solder joints, and CTS pots which date to the 38th week of '96. Currently setup with three springs, the vibrato is very responsive and jumps back to the original pitch with ease, even when performing deeper dives, and the original bridge cover is included (not pictured). The chrome hardware is near mint, and all original plastic parts are intact and quite clean save for light pick scuffing on the pickguard. The Olympic White gloss finish is bright and clean with no yellowing, exhibiting very light buckle rash between the neck plate and tremolo cavity cover, a couple small dings and finish chips on the contoured body edges, and just a few additional minor finish scratches and marks on the body as a whole. The gloss finish on the neck profile is flawless.
The original black tolex Fender hardshell case is included.