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Brown tortoiseshell pickguards on Strats

Discussion in 'Pre-CBS Strats (before 1966)' started by sonny wolf, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. sonny wolf

    sonny wolf Senior Stratmaster

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    I was thinking about the occasional Strats in the 1960s that were issued with brown tortoiseshell pickguards.We all know the 1959-64 Strats were mainly issued with the light gray/mint green pickguard and the 1965 ones onwards were white but some were issued with the brown one.Were these a specific custom order from a client who requested it from the factory?Or were they sold by Fender individually as an after market item that the player could install themselves?Or did Fender just randomly put a brown pickguard on a guitar occaisionally and shipped it out without anyone's request?
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
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  2. Bazz Jass

    Bazz Jass Chairman of the Fingerboard Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I don't know the answer, but great question :)

    I don't imagine they were an aftermarket item. Well, not in the 60s at least.
     
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  3. Mipstoo

    Mipstoo Senior Stratmaster

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    I think they started using the "faux" tortoiseshell pickguards (they're not the real deal as seen on earlier acoustics) in '59, originally on the Jazzmaster and I think the electric mandolin. They were shipped standard from the factory with it. 4-ply pickguards with 4 layers of celluloid, white-black-white-faux tortoise.
    Since I wasn't around in the 60's I can't be sure, but my bet is that they sent out several Strats with these guards, maybe after the first was a custom request from someone who saw these on the Jazzmasters. Of course they would have been available for custom orders as well.
     
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  4. T Guitar Floyd

    T Guitar Floyd Senior Stratmaster

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    Yes, I've had a few of these. The old ones were quite attractive (to my eye) as they were often much lighter in color (Light to medium and dark brown) with somewhat of a red-ish tone and some almost transparent areas. They started getting darker and with more tight swirls and patterns in the later 60s. (CBS)?
     
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  5. Michelotti

    Michelotti Strat-Talker

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    I have the impression brown tortoiseshell guards appear disproportionately often on certain colours of Stratocaster (Sunburst, Olympic White and, to a lesser extent, Surf Green and Foam Green?).
    If that is true, it might suggest these guards were ‘factory-fitted’, rather than being selected by individual customers?
    Otherwise, we might expect to see them distributed more frequently across the other custom colours?
     
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  6. Uncle Fiesta

    Uncle Fiesta Senior Stratmaster

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    I seem to remember reading somewhere that on Precision basses, standard colors sometimes got a torty guard whereas custom colors only ever got white/mint. I've no idea whether this also applied to Strats, or if it was even true in the first place.
     
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  7. Tone Guru

    Tone Guru Senior Stratmaster

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    According to Duchossoir, 'tortoiseshell' pickguards were only used on sunburst, white and black Stratocasters during the pre-CBS and early CBS years.
     
  8. Mipstoo

    Mipstoo Senior Stratmaster

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    If I've learned anything the last years it's to not make any general assumptions with regards to Fender.
    Although I respect Duchossoir and his works, there are some errors to be found in his books.
    The problem is that as time moves on it will be harder and harder to get information out of first hand and all we're left with are assumptions and hearsay.
    I have seen other colours with tortoise as well and not just one, but impossible to proof it left the factory that way.
     
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  9. dueducs

    dueducs Senior Stratmaster

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    That is surprising (to me), as I seem to see more blonde with torty guards. Maybe they all got moved to the blondes because the combo is so nice.
     
  10. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Strat-Talker

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    They all had tortoise guards at first and then white ones on custom colours from that point on. It must have been late 62 or early 63 I guess. This is just for basses by the way
     
  11. T Guitar Floyd

    T Guitar Floyd Senior Stratmaster

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    My experiences with guitars, too. I had a 62 Jazzmaster in 1962 that came new in the case in Fiesta Red with a white/mint guard. In the 70s, working in vintage guitar shops and going on hunting trips for pre-CBS Strats, Teles and basses, I found an original finish white Strat with light colored tortoise guard and 2 sunburst Strats with tortoise guards. One of the sunbursts was a hardtail. I have a list somewhere with serial numbers, but I recall that the white one was a 62 and the other two were 62-63. I kept and played the white one for a couple years and sold or traded the other two. The Jazzmaster was stolen in Germany in 63 (a tragedy that I never quite got over). :(

    Ah but I was just a baby then; I'm older than that now. :whistling:
     
  12. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Strat-Talker

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    I don't see the connection. My comment was only about basses. Custom colour basses only. All custom colour basses had tortoise guards at first and they all had white guards. The switch was in the pre cbs era. This doesn't apply to strats at all. I guess it could apply to jazz masters but I've never paid much attention to that model
     
  13. LHstrat

    LHstrat Strat-Talk Member

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    George Gruhn says they were a special/custom order. Here at 4.46

     
  14. T Guitar Floyd

    T Guitar Floyd Senior Stratmaster

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    Ok . . . didn't mean to horn in on a subject that doesn't apply.o_O
     
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