Up for sale, a 1955 Fender Stratocaster in excellent condition and in perfect working order. Produced in in the third quarter of '55, this Stratocaster embodies everything that makes Fender's golden era a truly magical time for electric guitars, and specifically for a pioneering, space-age instrument like the Strat. Featuring a one-piece ash body and a neck profile carve that is round and thick as per '55 specs, this Strat delivers the goods on every level and will satisfy discerning collectors and performers alike. The guitar is featherweight at 6lbs 13oz and features a nitro lacquer refinish in period correct Blonde nitro lacquer courtesy of Riggio Custom Guitars, highlighting the broad, arching grain of the ash body.
Players have been conditioned for decades to expect a certain chime, quack, and twang from a Strat via the various tiers of reissues over the past nearly 40 years, not to mention the permutations that the core model experienced in the course of the instrument's 60+ year run. Yet a genuine Stratocaster from early in the model's lifetime easily exceeds one's expectations for Strat tone in every capacity. When you strum a chord on this guitar, the entire body vibrates with a liveliness, warmth, and authority that has to be felt to be believed, and this provides the foundation for a very special instrument. The broad, ringing acoustic tone of the guitar is crisp and exquisitely clear. Each string has equal presence and clarity when you strum a chord, with a sweet midrange complexity inherent in ash and a glassy note attack thanks to the maple board.
The set of genuine Pre-CBS Fender black bobbin pickups has a warmth and chewy midrange that exists alongside the tonal qualities one expects from a Strat, without detracting from the sparkle and twang that is essential to a Strat sound. The bridge pickup is sweet and singing with ideal bite, while the middle position is smooth and bouncy, and each position has a distinctive muscle and body attributable to the guitar’s age and construction. The neck position has a distinctive bell-like warmth and harmonic complexity, offering a dry snap and a rich layered push. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, this Stratocaster has low action and spot-on intonation, currently strung with roundwound 11-49 strings.
The maple neck has a round, full C profile carve with generous shoulder in every register and lightly rolled fretboard edges, measuring .870" deep at the 1st fret and .935" at the 12th. The neck profile and fretboard were also refinished by Riggio, with gracefully ambered nitro gloss on the profile, worn to the smooth maple behind frets 1-9 as part of Riggio’s relic process. There is minimal wood checking extending from end of the walnut skunk stripe towards the headstock which likely occurred shortly after manufacture, as the neck exhibits no other signs of stress and is structurally sound with a viable truss rod. The guitar has been cleanly refretted with vintage-spec 6230 fretwire and the fresh frets have well-rounded crowns and show just a hint of wear beneath the plain strings on frets 1-2. The truss rod is responsive, the neck is straight, and a new bone nut has been carved, measuring 1 5/8" in width. On the headstock, the guitar has been fitted with an older set of naturally aged Kluson Deluxe single line reissue tuning machines. The headstock decal is an exacting modern replacement applied over the lacquer. The neck heel retains its faint but legible original 8-55 grease pencil date, matching the 8-55 date which has been retained with the original Sunburst lacquer in the tremolo cavity beneath the springs.
The electronics consist of three properly spec'd modern CTS pots with the correct "phone book" (or chewing gum, if that's your preference) tone cap and a vintage three-way Switchcraft switch. The pickup trio is a genuine set of early Fender black bobbins, undated yet extremely correct for this instrument, with original bright copper windings on all three coils and original cloth-covered leads, all metering in the low 5k ohms range. The body routes are stock and untouched. The hardware on the body includes the original vibrato unit with stock block and patent pending saddles, as well as the jack cup and original neck plate with four digit serial number. The vibrato arm is a modern replacement. All of the plastic is newer and carefully selected for age and appearance, with an older single-ply white reissue guard, bakelite-style knobs and pickup covers with rounded edges, and a tremolo cover plate with the small, round holes seen from 1954-55.
Cosmetically, this instrument is quite stunning, and the nitro lacquer Blonde finish executed by Riggio Custom Guitars is extremely faithful in tint with subtly more opaque bursting at the edges of the body. The grain of the one-piece body is highlighted by the transparent nitro gloss, with faint horizontal lacquer checking and some tasteful small marks of simulated wear primarily on the body parameter and belly carve as part of Riggio's relic process.
A modern Fender tweed hardshell case is included.