Be still our collective hearts! This 1959 Fender Stratocaster is unicorn level in terms of its rarity and condition. A tremendous one-owner guitar that is unquestionably the coolest Stratocaster to ever grace our space.
Why We Love This
Sometimes vintage guitars come through our shop that leave us speechless. We've certainly seen our share of great instruments, but you can bet dollars to doughnuts that this guitar has really shaken all of us to our core.
This 1959 Fender Stratocaster hit "unicorn" status the second we cracked open the case for the first time. Built in mid-1959, it is a perfect storm of custom finish and transitional features that make it one of the rarer Stratocaster variants you're likely to ever see. This was acquired from the son of the original owner and presents in fabulous original condition from head to toe.
Starting with the finish - Fender offered Blonde as a custom order finish, and it was in fact the only finish that spurred the use of Ash for the body wood. Ash was used singularly for the first two years of Stratocaster production in 1954-1955, and Fender then transitioned to Alder in 1956 almost exclusively into the mid/late 1970s. Finding a factory Ash-bodied Stratocaster in the late 50s only meant one thing - you had a Blonde Strat. This particular guitar has seen such little use that the finish was not nearly subject to UV and physical wear, and therefore has remained in a stunning rich Blonde color that has not faded or paled out at all. Removing the pickguard revealed virtually no difference in finish coloration, which is nearly unheard of.
Set atop this lovely Blonde finish is an entirely original and undisturbed set of pickups with the accompanying wiring harness, all in excellent operating condition. The black bobbin pickups have their original clean covers as well. In keeping with the rarity factor, the pickups and wiring harness are all supported by the original single-ply 10-hole pickguard. "Did you say single-ply 10-hole pickguard?!" Why yes, yes we did.
Another marker for transitional features in 1959 happened with the pickguard. Moving from single-ply to the newly adapted 3-ply celluloid nitrate guard happened sometime around the same time this guitar was completed, and even then there was a change in pickguard thickness for single-ply guards. The pickguard change is arguably the most difficult to place, as there are examples of 8-,9-,10-, and ultimately 11-hole variations happening throughout the calendar year. This particular pickguard, however, features not only the earlier .060" thickness attributed to pre-1959 Stratocasters, but the 10-hole layout that is arguably the least common. A cool snapshot in Fender history that we can celebrate is the signing of the pickguard on the underside. Signed 'Mell' in clear cursive, Mell was a Fender employee from the late 50s through the 60s, often involved in final build stages like wiring up pickguards. A small but fun detail that provides more provenance and authentication to the instrument.
The 'Slab' Rosewood fingerboard, introduced approximately three months prior, is truly something. It's a wonderful and clean piece of Brazilian Rosewood with gorgeous grain and coloration throughout. The original frets show very little wear, with most of that wear showing in the cowboy chord area. The Maple neck has some great speckling of Birdseye figuring throughout as well. In true 1959 fashion, the neck sports a Slim C profile with a chunky taper. The neck has never been off of the guitar as well - it's worth mentioning that in disassembling the instrument for authentication, the neck screws came out (likely for the first time since it left the factory) and the neck plate barely came with it. Our most pragmatic and safest efforts would not allow the neck to budge from the pocket, and so we left it intact as to preserve that original lacquer bond.
Weight and feel almost doesn't get any better for an old Strat. It feels like it's just about 7lbs because it's so well-balanced, but it tips our scales at 7lb 9oz - almost 7.5lbs on the money. It's incredibly resonant and lively sounding unplugged, with some great upper register harmonic content and loads of sustain. You can bet that it shines through brightly when plugged in as well. Each pickup position offers up quintessential late 50s Strat tones - woody and clear with great attack. The middle pickup is the star of the show for us, with a near-perfect balance of warmth and fullness combined with airiness and clarity. Using the Tone control in this position almost gets you what you'd normally reach for from either the neck or bridge pickups. The bridge pickup brings with it some tele-like response, too. It's harmonically active with some amazing chime.
Now that we've served up a novella for you about this guitar, we encourage you to check out the amazing demo done by our friend Kevin Barry. He showcases the capabilities of this guitar in such great context, from clean to mean and everywhere in between.
Includes its original tweed hardshell case and tremolo arm.
**Please Note: Payment must be made via Wire/Bank Transfer.**