The Fender Stratocaster guitar changed the course of modern rock ‘n’ roll history. Leo Fender of Fullerton, California is credited with having popularized the electric solid body. He reasoned, correctly, that he could bolt a slim, easily playable maple neck with a maple fingerboard to a solid body made of alder or ash, add six-strings and the sound that would be created, when amplified through a tube amplifier (also of his manufacture) would actually turn out to do nothing less than change the course of Western music. His first instruments were flat-sided – first there was the Esquire with its one pickup, then the first two-pickup version was called the Broadcaster, and then for a short time, due, it is said, to the threat of a lawsuit from Gretsch which owned the name “Broadkaster,” Fender removed the name from the flat-sided model entirely and so it became nicknamed “Nocaster”, and, then almost immediately the name changed to Telecaster, inspired by the early commercialization of television. In around March of 1954 he debuted a new model having an asymmetrical body with a double-cutaway, three white pickups, each of them single-coil, having a standard tremolo arm and a jack that was mounted on an angle into the top. He called it “Stratocaster” after the excitement people were feeling about the coming of space exploration and the Stratosphere. Leo Fender was a visionary entrepreneur whose impact on the world of Western music is without peer. There is an excellent review of the Fender Stratocaster and its history at the following website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fender_Stratocaster
This guitar, typical of its time, has the large headstock shape bearing the “Fender” black bordered gold script decal, slightly chipped below the cross on the stylized “F”, and then “STRATOCASTER” in black block letters and below that appears “With Synchronized Tremolo” and five patent numbers. On the bulbous end of the headstock is another decal that reads “Original Contour Body, Pat. Pend.” The unbound fingerboard is rosewood with 10 pearloid dotmarkers inlaid; the body is an unusually blended (shaded) three-tone sunburst – quickly changing from brown to reddish to dark yellow; the pickguard is white with a white-black edge laminate. This instrument shows hand wear on the back of the neck, belt buckle wear on the back, does not appear to have its spring cavity cover, but it has its four bolt neck plate with the number #160788 etched thereupon.
This instrument has been fully and completely “vetted” by our head of repair, Rocco Monterosso, and here are his findings: The tuners are original; however one string tree is a replacement and the one that contacts the D and G strings has been added. The nut is a replacement; the neck has in the past been refretted. The headstock logo is original; the neck date (underlying the neck) reads “13 Jun 66 B.” The body neck pocket is penciled “8/14.” The body also has an “ES” legend pressure stamped between the middle and neck pickups. We wish to refer you to a statement from “provide.net” that explains the “ES” stamp that was used in 1966. They state that “ES” meant “Enter Special” to denote a special order – in 1966. The sheet is worth reading; find it at http://home.provide.net/~cfh/fenderc.html Since postulating this theory I have been told that 1966 sunburst Strats tend to have this unusual shading. Oh well, the supposition seemed so reasonable. Nevertheless, the color is different than what we are used to seeing.
The tone pots (potentiometers) read “304-6610” which mean that they were made by Stackpole Company in the 10th week of 1966. The volume pot was replaced with a DiMarzio 250K pot. The original 3-way switch broke, and is located in a bag in the case pocket. It was replaced with a 5-way switch and at present it has no toggle tip. The original neck pickup has been rewound by Lindy Fralin, the best winder in North America in our opinion, and it resides in its rightful place (near the neck). This guitar is now set-up and refreshed and ready to rock ‘n’ roll. The bridge and middle pickups are original and bear a date of 10/30/66. The pickguard is original; the volume and tone knobs are original. The input switch is original; the bridge and saddles are original, but there is no tremolo bar present. The neck plate bears the original stylized large “F” and serial number 160788. The finish on body and neck is original; however the hard shell case is not.
As you may know, Leo sold the company to CBS on January 4th, 1965 but it is generally felt (or at least romantically hoped) that the earliest instruments that have the large “F” on the neck plate, in the initial period following the sale, although made under new ownership are thought by some to have been started before Leo went to the bathroom for the very last time and left the factory. There is, however, no truth whatsoever to the myth that Leo left a small amount of his DNA in the neck pickup cavity of every guitar made during his reign. Or, if he did, it is not showing up under black light.
The fact that this vintage vision of virtue is stamped “ES” inside, for “Enter Special,” and was made with an unusual looking three-tone sunburst – shaded in a manner one normally never sees – is a plus; that it’s a bona fide ’66 is a plus (with just a few minor revisions), and that it plays extraordinarily well and sounds like Layla, herself, on a bed of lightly sweetened lingonberries, is indeed the reward that awaits us all at the end of a life well served. To order, just remember this number: 718 981 8585. Thanks.