(SOLD) Fender American Vintage '57 Stratocaster Sunburst 1982
Fender American Vintage '57 Strat, two colour sunburst, made in USA 1982. Here we have a superb example of the highly collectable Fullerton-era American Vintage series. To understand this guitar, a little history helps. Leo Fender sold his company to broadcasting giants CBS in 1964. Under their new corporate owners, Fender's Fullerton factory was pushed to make more and more guitars in less time, which over a period of ten to fifteen years saw the quality and consistency of their famous models suffer. Design changes left players offside too, with elements like the larger headstock, three bolt neck, underwound pickups etc all receiving a mixed reception at best. Enter Dan Smith, the former Yamaha exec, who showed up at Fender in August 1981 and was tasked with rescuing the company's reputation for producing quality instruments. Changes were made to the mainline Stratocaster model, but another idea was brewing: what if they could reissue those famous guitars from the 1950s and 60s that everyone loved so much? Dan and longtime Fender building royalty John Page went shopping at Ax in Hand Chicago in January 1981, measuring and documenting the tiniest details of several original vintage examples and spending a small fortune vintage Fenders to bring back to California and dissect. The American Vintage series launched in mid 1982 to great acclaim: finally, a Strat that looked, felt and sounded how they did in their golden age, made in the same factory with the same tools and methods. There's a couple of details that deviate from the originals: the necks were slimmer and the 12th fret dots were closer together, but as a whole. these guitars were very accurate. This particular example has a low serial and dates to July 1982, so it's a very early example. Being forty years old, it has plenty of natural aging: bald spots on the high contact areas, finger wear on the fretboard, checking all over the place, that dreamy golden brown well played neck. Overall, it's in great shape and looks fantastic: that sunburst finish is just glowing. This one arrived without the original case or pickups and sporting a set of Noiseless (gasp!) single coils, so our tech installed a set of Custom Shop Fat 50s single coils to better nail the brief. Obviously it'd be nice to have the original parts, case and docs, but that would push the price up at least another couple of thousand in the current market. It's sounding excellent now: rich and full through the lows, chiming and complex on the top end. It cleans up beautifully, with a shimmering sparkle and a golden-syrup sweetness. Add a dose of dirt, and you can enjoy the rounded punch of the strong fundamental note and a percussive, musical immediacy. It's a lightweight example a 3.3kg, and the slim V shape neck becomes and old friend very quickly; it's very agreeable in the hands. These are obviously increasingly tricky to find, especially in Australia, and for less than you'd pay for a new Custom Shop model, it represents a terrific collectable piece for a keen player. Long live the Strat!
Model: Fender American Vintage '57 Stratocaster
Made: Fullerton, USA, neck date 30 July 1982 (serial V001053)
Finish: two colour sunburst, gloss nitro, 1-ply white guard
Neck: maple with maple board, 25.5" scale, 7.25" radius, slim soft V shape, 43mm nut
Mods: pickups replaced, 5-way switch installed, extra trem springs installed, back cover removed
Pickups: Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s single coil x3
Case: non-original Fender ABS deluxe hard case
Includes: trem arm
Does not include: original pickups and 3-way switch, documents, back cover
Cosmetic condition notes: minor finish wear. The headstock has significant checking all over, as well as some scuffs and dimples on the end and bottom edge, some discolouration from a stand or hanger on the sides near the nut, a nick in the 'F' in the Fender decal. Also note the small 'original contour body' decal has come off. The neck is clean and smooth in the hands, with some finger wear on the first three frets of the board and some rub wear and discolouration on the back, especially on the bass side around the 5th and 7th frets and the nut end on the treble side; no major dents or marks. The back has patches where it has rubbed to a bald look on the top horn, elbow area and bottom edge, a dent on the top horn, as well as minor scuffs and checking all over the body. The sides have a bald patch on the top horn, minor dents and dimples in the elbow area and near the jack and scuffs around the whole body. The front has a dent on the top hortn, scuffs and rub wear in the elbow area, dimples near the jack and play wear on the guard and horn. Note the guard has around half a millimeter of lifting on the bass side. Overall: very good condition (7.5/10).
Playing condition notes: Action is low, neck is straight, intonation is good, truss rod works. All electrics tested and working properly. The frets have some normal wear inc minor pitting, but they're pretty even with no major buzz issues, 6/10 for fret life left. Wearing fresh 10/46 Moonshiners strings.