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Strat Experts needed.. ID this 1989 USA Strat

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by joeybsyc, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. joeybsyc

    joeybsyc Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 11, 2009
    PA
    Ok, now I like to think I know my stratocasters fairly well, but I saw this one at a local shop today and it's got me scratching my head... I took some pics of it because it seemed so unusual to me. The tag says its a USA strat with a Mexican body, but I honestly think the neck/body are both original to each other... To me it looks like an 80's MIJ Strat of some sort, yet the decal says made in USA and looks original. The odd things are plenty... Below are the pics and oddities I noted, feel free to add more, or to tell me what the heck this thing is.


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    1. black (plastic?) truss rod opening like a MIM
    2. Original looking headstock logo with E9 serial number and "Made in USA"
    3. Odd looking tuners that appear original to the headstock, with no additional holes anywhere to be seen.
    4. No Fender logo on neckplate, not any hole for microtilt adjustment, as would normally be seen an American Standard
    5. Odd import style rear tremolo coverwith center screws "straight across" from each other rather than staggered
    6. Import looking bridge and trem setup.




    So is this just some sort of knock off with a very accurate looking decal? It was not a waterslide decal, and looked completely legit the way an 80's era Fender headstock decal looks and feels... If the decal were chitzy looking I'd have no doubts, but it looks like a factory Fender decal and serial... So what is this thing? I remember the California Series had made in USA on the headstock but used the cheapo MIM style plastic truss rod surround, but this doesn't seem to be one of those... I'm stumped!
     

  2. joeybsyc

    joeybsyc Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 11, 2009
    PA
    Here is a clearer shot of the headstock decal... looks legit to me... but everything else looks fishy!

    [​IMG]
     

  3. ostin

    ostin Strat-Talker

    214
    Sep 2, 2011
    Texas
    Looks like a Chinese fake to me, but I have been wrong in the past.
     
    Rastus likes this.

  4. jayoldschool

    jayoldschool Mod Admin Staff Member

    989
    Sep 13, 2011
    Canada
    Admin Post
    So many things wrong. Here's a real 89.

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    diogoguitar and Rastus like this.

  5. Vintage59

    Vintage59 Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 31, 2010
    Lost Angeles
    Yep, it's fake. 89 should have two roller-style string trees, it has cheapo import block saddles, symmetrical screw pattern on truss cover, junky tuners...Chinese fake, fake, fake. The entire guitar is a fraud. I've never seen those type of tuners on anything but a fake.

    How many you want to bet have that same serial number?

    Where are you? It looks like this is in a store?!?
     
    Rastus likes this.

  6. jflintmac

    jflintmac Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    54
    May 2, 2010
    Canada
    Ya, I think that's a complete fake too.
     

  7. softwarejanitor

    softwarejanitor Most Honored Senior Member

    Apr 8, 2010
    Central Texas
    It looks like a fake to me as well. The tuners are completely wrong and the trem and back plate look like Squier or Squier Series.
     

  8. joeybsyc

    joeybsyc Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 11, 2009
    PA
    Hate to say it, but I think all of you are wrong.


    I posted the same question on TGP and a guy over there actually owns a similar guitar a couple years newer that he bought brand new. It seems they were building Squiers in the USA for a while in the late 80s and early 90s while production of Squier shifted from overseas to the new Mexico plant. I know you're thinking... well the guitar you posted doesn't say Squier, it says Fender"... well... the guy on TGP posted a photo of his guitar and it has the same Fender USA headstock decal and plastic truss rod, and was sold to his as a "Squier" when he ordered it... but when it arrived it had no Squier marking at all.

    My belief is that these were SUPPOSED to have Squier on the headstock, but some ended up being labeled as Fenders, since they were coming out of the same place as the American Standards. Check this thread out and see what I mean. Interesting stuff if you're into Strat history!

    80's USA Strat experts... What is this? - The Gear Page
     

  9. Vintage59

    Vintage59 Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 31, 2010
    Lost Angeles
    You can think whatever you like, but that doesn't make the rest of us wrong or you right. Your American Squier conspiracy theory is appreciated, however, I'm just not buying it. At the end of the day, it's entirely speculation based on heresay.

    There's too many other clues and I've seen a good number of fake-o-casters. Even your TGP pal mentions different tuners, etc...
     

  10. SurfStrat

    SurfStrat Strat-O-Master

    760
    Oct 30, 2011
    On the Beach
    Am not a guitar specialist but if something isn't stated as ORIGINAL and backed up with salesman responsibility for this, than those stickers mean nothing... Fake made in China, they are really good at it though ;)
     

  11. joeybsyc

    joeybsyc Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 11, 2009
    PA
    It's not fake, nor is the other similar (although not identical) one the guy on TGP has... he bought it new...(I don't know him and have never spoken with him prior to that thread) his is 2 years apart from the one I looked at today at the music store which helps explain the hardware differences.

    I did not buy the guitar I posted pics of nor do I intend to, so I'm not trying to "pump up" my own stuff...I saw it today in a local shop and took a few cell pics because it intrigued me. I am just genuinely interested in learning Strat history, and believe this is a legit Fender built piece, not a partcaster, or fake. Folks need to keep an open mind and be willing to look into unusual guitars and consider the possibilities before hollering "fake" every time a guitar comes up that doesn't fit the accepted "norm". I do believe this is a legit piece and while it might not be worth much anyhow, it isn't fake.

    The fact these 2 guitars both have identical Fender USA headstock logos that coincide with American Standard decals and serial numbers of the same era pretty much proves these are NOT "fake o casters" as you say.

    And I'll take your bet... I do not believe there is another guitar out there with this serial number, it's a legit Fender neck, logo, and serial.
     

  12. SurfStrat

    SurfStrat Strat-O-Master

    760
    Oct 30, 2011
    On the Beach
    In todays world it's safe to assume that if you feel something is fake it's probably 99,9% fake. But if you feel lucky maybe you should buy that thing, it may be the real deal and be worth a lot of money ?
     

  13. crawdaddy

    crawdaddy Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 11, 2010
    Valley o Sun
     

  14. Vintage59

    Vintage59 Senior Stratmaster

    Mar 31, 2010
    Lost Angeles
    I'll offer my humble apologies that I wasn't more receptive to your speculation, substantiated only by one stranger from another forum. When you can get your hands on some better documentation, I'd love to look at it. In the meantime, I would never consider buying, nor would I advise anyone to buy that guitar or any other that looked like it.
     

  15. AncientAx

    AncientAx Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Age:
    58
    Nov 24, 2010
    Maryland
    What was the price ?
     

  16. joeybsyc

    joeybsyc Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 11, 2009
    PA

    Apology accepted...and thanks for your advice. So you think the red one that guy bought new in 1991 is fake too?
     

  17. unionjack515

    unionjack515 Senior Stratmaster

    Apr 3, 2011
    Batavia, Illinois
    Send the serial number in to Fender and see what they get back to you with...
     

  18. joeybsyc

    joeybsyc Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 11, 2009
    PA
    Here is a USA Squier neck for sale currently on ebay.. . also from 1989. It's a rosewood version, and has the truss rod adjustment on the heel. As you can see it has the exact same tuners as the guitar in the OP, as well as the same single string tree, with the same placement. I believe the headstock decal on the ebay neck is what these guitars were "supposed" to get, and once in awhile they got American Standard decals instead of Squier USA ones. Again just a theory, but more evidence to add to the case.

    1989 MADE IN USA FENDER SQUIER STRATOCASTER STRAT NECK "62" ROSEWOOD ADJ AT HEEL | eBay

    Compare the guitar I looked at today that was labeled "Fender Stratocaster Made in USA"

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    [​IMG]

    This one is labeled "Squier Stratocaster Made in USA" ... note they both have the same tuners... are they both "fake"? Of course not. I believe the Fender decal was a factory mistake.

    [​IMG]

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    Above it was mentioned by someone that those tuners always indicate a Chinese "fake" or fraud.. This is obviously not true, and they are actually the factory tuners used by Fender in 1989 on USA made Squiers. Everything here points to the guitar above being a USA Squier from 1989 mistakenly labeled as a Fender, complete with 1989 USA serial number.
     

  19. Nogbad

    Nogbad Strat-Talker

    168
    Nov 20, 2008
    Washington UK
    To me it looks like a Fender USA neck with Squier hardware added to a Squier body.
    The Tuners look the same as the ones on my '86 Squier Japan Strat and I have never seen pressed steel string trees on a USA Strat from that period.
    The idea of mistakenly placing Fender on the headstock I feel is a bit odd. Even in the Eighties. The market was well aware of fake guitars even then in the golden age of lawsuit guitars. Just my 2c worth...
     

  20. Nogbad

    Nogbad Strat-Talker

    168
    Nov 20, 2008
    Washington UK