This remarkably collectible electric guitar, whose neck dates to November 1955, body to October of the same year, shows normal signs of use and wear overall (nicks, dings, scratches, scrapes, etc.) plus normal wearing through the finish on the maple neck from finger contact, and belt buckle wear on much of the back. There is a tiny crack on the upper bass screw position on the plastic back plate, it shows normal signs of hand and finger wear on back of neck, wear above the neck plate in the sunburst finish, a name, “Frank Bower,” is etched into the back plate near the bottom, with something scratched out under Mr. Bower’s name, possibly the New York State Power Ball Lotto numbers.
There are cracks and areas of off-white material missing on the neck pickup cover and also small hairline cracks through the middle and bridge pickup covers as well. The bottom side strap pin is loose in its cavity. There is a small chip where the neck joins the body on the bass side; there is a Phillips screw on the headstock (from a missing string tree) below and to the left of the remaining round string tree and a cigarette burn on the lower bass corner of the headstock. A tremolo arm resides inside the case but its originality is not known. For those who write these things down and then stuff the note paper in their wallet – the guitar weighs 7 pounds, 10 ounces, but the case, man that’s the beast. The case, with a leather strap, the trem arm and the box with the original tuners weighs in at 15 pounds. Mamma mia!
Per our head of repair, Rocco Monterosso, this guitar bears a neck date of “11-55” and a body date of “10-55.” The original tuners and original nut are in a box in the case pocket and instead a set of 6 replacement tuners that could be Sperzel brand have a star on the back of each gearbox and brushed chrome medium sized metal buttons are presently provided. The original holes were filled and the back of the headstock was lightly oversprayed and sanded. The front of the headstock has the customary decals including “Fender” in black bordered silver spaghetti style letters followed by “STRATOCASTER” in block and “with synchronized tremolo” thereunder, plus the “Original Contour Body” decal on the bulbous end of the headstock. The headstock retains the treble side round string tree (no longer in use since the newer tuners capstans have a much higher connection point) but the second original string tree is missing and a small Phillips screw inserted instead. The nut is, of course, replaced with what appears to be a wooden one, like George Washington’s teeth. The frets appear to be original though we cannot be 100% sure, but they smell original. The tone pots are 304543 which tells us that they were made in the 43rd week of 1955 by Stackpole, but the volume pot was replaced after July 1974 since it bears the code 137-7429 which means Central Lab was the maker and it was built in the 29th week of 1974. The capacitor is, however, original.
The input jack is original; the pickups are original – though there is a spliced wire leading to the bridge pickup. The three-way toggle switch is original and bears the code CRL1452, and the toggle tip is replaced. The volume and tone knobs are both replaced. The pickup covers are the original Polystyrene “Bakelite.” The neck finish is original; the bridge and its saddles are original; the white pickguard is original; the body finish is original and the paint holes that underlie the pickguard are clean as they should be. The hard shell case is, of course, Fender but not original.
We have performed a full forensic analysis of the entire guitar – it is largely original and absolutely beautiful in its venerable, elderly way, but, to recapitulate all over again, just so we’re clear: The headstock was routed for larger tuners and the original holes were filled – however some enterprising owner can dowel the holes and restore the original (albeit somewhat oxidized) original tuners to the guitar; there’s a missing headstock string tree (string trees like this don’t grow on trees); the original nut has taken up residence in the case pocket along with those tuners --- hopefully the new owner can restore the nut to the guitar. There’s the light overspray on back of the headstock from the ritual covering of the holes; it has a replaced volume pot; the pickup lead wire was spliced; the replaced toggle tip (cap, really, but we just enjoy saying “toggle tip” – over and over); the replaced volume and tone knobs; the newer Fender case, and, finally, the etched prior owner’s name and scratch-out below.
The buyer of this fine instrument should, without a doubt, delve into whether it is possible to obtain an original 1955 period string tree, volume pot, volume and tone knobs and toggle cap. If you restore the tuners and nut you will be well on their way to owning something that just about any Fender collector worth his or her asparagus would kill to own, so lock your doors. This guitar is nothing but a thing of great desirability, like Cleopatra when she was on her meds. About this year guitar a website called www.skidoo.com says: “Would you spend $250,000 or more for a guitar. If you're in the market for a 1955 Fender Stratocaster guitar, then that's what you might be expected to pay. Simply put, these are among the rarest and most sought-after guitars on earth. They are like the '53 Corvettes of the guitar world.” (c. 2011, Skiddoo LLC). As they say down at the pizzeria: You’ve tried the rest, now try the best. Its nominal and excitingly reachable price is:
NOW ON SALE! WAS $41,235 BUT NOW, GREATLY REDUCED: NOW ON SALE! WAS $41,235 BUT NOW: