(Inside) Fender 1961 American Vintage II Stratocaster (Pros & Cons)

Mr Holly

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 12, 2022
41
Portland
Well said.
Yes I agree. If you look all across the internet it is a deal breaker for lots of people though. Since the dawn of the reissues it was always a questionable thing. What is under that nitro finish? Lots of guessing and arguing over it. There was never a definite answer.

Now since fender introduced the flash coat lacquer in 2012 on the reissues the answer finally came out. Still lots of confusion and I’ve even started a few threads on the “misleading fender finishes”. That flash coat lacquer ended in 2018 when the AO’s came out. It seems a lot more people do care about the finish so isn’t it good know? People get upset about it because they bought into the nitro sales pitch when it’s kind of pointless to be added on top of polyurethane.

For those who don’t care, don’t care. The people that get upset are the ones that did care and that’s why they spent lots of money on a reissue, the finish is a large part of the appeal of the reissues. Oh it’s a strange plastic like nitro, that turns a lot of people of
 

Mr Holly

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 12, 2022
41
Portland
I love my AV ‘59, but it was a 62 AVRI or a new ‘61 AVII that played and sounded great, I’d love it too.

IMO, some people are making a bit too much over the finish. How does it play, how does it sound? That’s what matters.
I get it, and I do appreciate your opinion. But if you discontinue one guitar the (American Original 60's) because people did not like the thick undercoat and the plastic parts (knobs etc.) and then you bring (back) a line that people loved because of the it's thin finish and cool plastic parts, and call it the American Vintage II, that is wrong. You are selling people the idea of what they loved, but giving them a rehashed product that was just discontinued because people didn't like it. If you go under completed listings on feebay, only 6 of these guitars have sold. Fender has put quantity of profit before quality of product, and with this new uncertain world we live in, Fender might end up going bankrupt over their bad decisions. I do appreciate your comment and opinion. Thank you.
 

Tratocaster

Strat-O-Master
Mar 22, 2013
541
U.S.
I love my AV ‘59, but it was a 62 AVRI or a new ‘61 AVII that played and sounded great, I’d love it too.

IMO, some people are making a bit too much over the finish. How does it play, how does it sound? That’s what matters.
Pure rubbish, and bite your tongue! You know it's all about things like neck screw length and hash marks on knobs. Feel and sound are waaaaaaaaaaay down on that list.
 

Mr Holly

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 12, 2022
41
Portland
So I see above the nut area where the original definitely has a nice arch toward the tuners.
I’m a little confused about the RW slab differences your mentions. Your not talking about slab vs. veneer right?
Are you talking about how the 60’ original board almost dips down into the maple in the middle while looking at the but end ?
These all have slab boards it appears. Can you help me out and re explain…sorry
WARNING!!! Once you see this you cannot un-see this.. There are slab board necks and veneer necks which started in mid 1962. All three of the necks in the ariginal post above are slab boards necks, but if you look just above the nut on the original 1960 neck, you will see that fender curved the rosewood instead of leaving it flat. I am guessing that when they were shaping the neck with the 1.5" radius spindle sander in the 1960's they probably moved the neck back and fourth in order to give the slab board a curved look. Today, it looks as if Fender just keeps the neck stationary until the rosewood is sanded close to the nut which leaves the rosewood looking flat. The original 60's guitars is actually a veneered neck, but again fender did not go back and forth which would have rounded of f the ends so you get the opposite and the ends point toward the tuners. As far as the slab boards, I attached a photo of a real 1961 compared to a modern Fender 1961. As you can see, both are slab board necks. I am actually in the process of reshaping a custom shop neck to make it look more accurate. Thanks!
 

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Mr Holly

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 12, 2022
41
Portland
Pure rubbish, and bite your tongue! You know it's all about things like neck screw length and hash marks on knobs. Feel and sound are waaaaaaaaaaay down on that list.
There are plenty of guitars that you can buy that play and sound great without spending over $2000.00 Honestly, there are allot of Japanese strats that play as good or even better then most American strats. The point is, if you are buying something that is specific to a certain year and paying over $2000.00, is it wrong to ask for something close to what they advertised? If you only care about "feel and sound", buy a Mexican strat and have it professionally set up. Will it feel and sound as good? Yes! Will it feel, sound, look and wear like a 1961 strat? No. In the end, I agree 100% that feel and sound is most important. There are $50,000 pre cbs strats that feel and sound bad. Thanks and take care.
 

Tratocaster

Strat-O-Master
Mar 22, 2013
541
U.S.
There are plenty of guitars that you can buy that play and sound great without spending over $2000.00 Honestly, there are allot of Japanese strats that play as good or even better then most American strats. The point is, if you are buying something that is specific to a certain year and paying over $2000.00, is it wrong to ask for something close to what they advertised? If you only care about "feel and sound", buy a Mexican strat and have it professionally set up. Will it feel and sound as good? Yes! Will it feel, sound, look and wear like a 1961 strat? No. In the end, I agree 100% that feel and sound is most important. There are $50,000 pre cbs strats that feel and sound bad. Thanks and take care.
Gotcha! So just so I understand what you're saying here...I shouldn't buy a AVII because I don't as hung up as others do on the micro details of screw length and hash marks on knobs, even if I may like how they look and feel?
 

JDug

Strat-O-Master
Sep 18, 2020
928
New Jersey USA
The sunburst on the 2012 AV guitars was indeed horrible. They spray a thin transluscent white undercoat below the colors. This was never done in the pre CBS years and was probably only done to prevent people from aging these models and selling them. Fender does not like competition for their custom shop line. Also the black guitars have a translucent black undercoat which is also wrong. It would have been Desert Sand or White. Take care, and thank you.
Yes, my 2016 AV ‘59 just had no hint of grain that you’re supposed to see underneath. Just a solid, mustard like yellow, with the black outer spray, just couldn’t get used to it. I’ve seen pics of real ‘59’s, they looked nothing like the AV IMHO!
 

Mr Holly

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 12, 2022
41
Portland
Gotcha! So just so I understand what you're saying here...I shouldn't buy a AVII because I don't as hung up as others do on the micro details of screw length and hash marks on knobs, even if I may like how they look and feel?
Maybe you should or shouldn't I don't know sometimes I'm indecisive and sometimes I am not.
Possibly that's what I am saying?
I guess I don't care, do what you want, if you want to.
Thanks.🛷
 

daveplays

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 18, 2022
62
UK
Exactly.
I was about to get to the finish.
It is indeed a somewhat thick poly undercoat underneath.
It does not seem to check either.
You can see in the chip that the wood is quite far down.
This is a massive disappointment to me and because of this I will not be buying one of these.
This in my opinion is what made the previous original 60's model bad.
Hi, just curious as to where on the body you made that chip?
 

daveplays

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 18, 2022
62
UK
I came across this on Reverb, seems as though someone has attempted to relic an AVII body already...
 
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kelia

Strat-Talker
Nov 27, 2020
177
Canada
I came across this on Reverb, seems as though some has attempted to relic an AVII body already...
Sad !
 

Intune

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 14, 2021
6,757
Edmonton, Alberta
I came across this on Reverb, seems as though some has attempted to relic an AVII body already...

Yes and you can see what happens to nitro over a polyurethane base coat when it’s “frozen” with compressed air. The nitro top coat flakes off!

16E8923D-5592-4EB8-B22E-DABE1F1119B7.jpeg
 

Mr Holly

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 12, 2022
41
Portland
I came across this on Reverb, seems as though someone has attempted to relic an AVII body already...
Dave, that is the same body. The owner I borrowed it from aged it.
Good homework!
 

daveplays

Strat-Talk Member
Oct 18, 2022
62
UK
Dave, that is the same body. The owner I borrowed it from aged it.
Good homework!
Call me Sherlock... I suppose you aged it to find the truth and that is appreciated!
I'm really on the fence about keeping my AVII now after being on my second one with neck QC issues (scar from fret saw slip and a neck/truss that won't give any more .007" relief - even with a set of 11-50's!)...
So I have been looking elsewhere towards either a 60's Fender Custom Shop or second hand built, there's a guy over here called Bravewood who makes masterbuilt equivalents but no longer makes to order, though I've spotted a couple of beauties in my budget range. The trade off is having a proper spec pre-CBS replica and not having the value of appreciation like an original Fender does. Though it has massively disappointed me that I've had to look elsewhere for what I consider the real deal or pay a whole chunk more to get close...
 


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