Serviceman Vietnam war Strat???

Discussion in 'Non-Fender S-Type Guitar Forum' started by california2020, Apr 22, 2021.

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  1. california2020

    california2020 Strat-Talk Member

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    Hi,
    I came across a local shop that sells this:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    They call it Serviceman Vietnam WAR Strat, from 1970. In many years, I had never heard of it, possible?
    I doubt it is not a real Fender, maybe a fake? Or is it a real Fender model I've never heard of?
    Is there anyone has experience, on this or own one?
    By the way, can it somehow be collectible?
    Thanks!
     
  2. CeltRocka

    CeltRocka Senior Stratmaster

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    Doesn't look like a genuine Fender to me
     
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  3. Guy Named Sue

    Guy Named Sue Censored

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    From a Reverb ad



    Here I have a living piece of history. These were colloquially referred to as "Servicemen Strats" during the Vietnam War. Because of the close proximity of Air and Naval bases soldiers would pick these up from local luthiers so they'd have something to play in their down time. Even though the servicemen were fighting in Vietnam these guitars were made in the Philippines. There was sort of a "cottage industry" for copying American guitars back then. Many of them were crudely made and thus quality differed.
    Because these guitars were not produced by FMIC I am not supposed to use the words Fender and Strat while naming them. While this is a copy of a Fender Stratocaster it not a Fender Strat.
    I believe these guitars are rich in history and they are very hard to come by today. They were using Fender logos back then on the headstocks and even copied the "F plate" on the back of the body. The pickguards are one ply with a painted stripe typically. The neck is even striped. I have only seen these saddles on Filipino made guitars. Very interesting. The tuners are odd. This guitar does come with the standard tremolo type bridge. A lot of them had bridges from other guitars. It does play and you can plug it in an amp. The electronics have been switched out to an American switch with CTS pots. The pickups are original. The jack has been replaced with an American unit. Two of the knobs are Fender as is the switch knob. I am not sure what the last tone knob came from. It could be Filipino. The body has been refinished black at one point but appears to have been red at another. There is the number 3 stamped in the neck pickup route of the body and the roman numeral 3 written under the pickguard. I believe this to be original. The backplate is missing. From what I've seen some of these guitars had other screws holding the neck on under the neck plate. This one does not. It seems to be a better quality copy guitar.
     
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  4. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    Absolute fake. Not a real Fender in any way, shape, or form.

    Run away!
     
  5. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    So... They are fake.
     
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  6. Guy Named Sue

    Guy Named Sue Censored

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    Yeah, technically. Yet a cool guitar with a story.
     
  7. Michael919

    Michael919 Most Honored Senior Member

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    If authentic, a collectable fake? If true, I think the backstory does add value, at least it will to some or even many.
     
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  8. Electgumbo

    Electgumbo Not Of This Earth

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    I was in the Air Force from 74’ to 78’. I saw several “Strats” that guys brought back from Vietnam. They were very cheap and cheaply made. They all said Fender on the headstock but played like a bad Montomgery Ward Teicso. If you like action you can drive your car under these guitar were perfect for you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2021
  9. tery

    tery Dr. Stratster

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    They didn't have any where I was at .
     
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  10. jbylake

    jbylake Regular Dude Silver Member

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    I'd almost like to have one, if I could prove the back story, just for a curio.
     
  11. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR I appreciate, therefore I am... Silver Member

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    `
    An interesting piece of guitar (Fender?) history it seems, but I've sold off other interesting pieces of guitar history before, since they were more "interesting" than "practical".

    I guess I'm more of a player than a collector... so I'll pass...



    `
     
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  12. Chont

    Chont Most Honored Senior Member

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  13. Stratafied

    Stratafied Most Honored Senior Member

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    Just give it to Edibis..
     
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  14. Guy Named Sue

    Guy Named Sue Censored

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    Here's btw pic of the one in the ad I found. Just to show you some internal pictures and quality level.

    I doubt anyone buys these for their sound and playability.
    jtotu7dtsohftaa6p2pm.jpg l9491ammfigzwqbvscn3.jpg d5lzybb8n3krpkjaiwhe.jpg o7keadwgc3mmkbnu8mz8.jpg oiuihvp2yhiweapxzy4x.jpg z2go7t9rdsrrjl8xsks4.jpg
     
  15. Blue Beagle

    Blue Beagle Senior Stratmaster

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    I see nothing that verifies the backstory though
     
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  16. John C

    John C Most Honored Senior Member

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    I've heard of these; they are fakes from that late 60s/early 70s era.

    There aren't as many floating around now as there were in the 1970s - plus I think it was more of a USA phenomenon. I'm sure that a lot of these simply got left at the bases for the next batch of servicemen rotating through, but some were brought back home when the servicemen rotated back home.

    When I was starting out playing in the late 1970s you would occasionally find them in those local classified ad newspapers that you could pick up for free, probably because I grew up in Louisville KY and Fort Knox wasn't too terribly far away.
     
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  17. Guy Named Sue

    Guy Named Sue Censored

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    That's where a bit of detective work is needed. I wasn't aware that this was even a category of used guitars until today.

    You'd have to really look into this in pieces and verify it's as old as it claims. Could be that ever since it's conception more pieces have been changed throughout the years.

    I'm hesitant about the body since it looks better and has a gloss finished compared to all the others I've seen today online. They all usually have thick uneven can spray finish.

    The neck and bridge certainly look the part. Maybe the body was refinished at some point.
     
  18. AcrylicSuperman

    AcrylicSuperman Strat-O-Master

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    These were made for vietnam soldiers as a morale boost. The US government asked Fender if they would build guitars for our soldiers and Fender couldn't do it at the time.

    Our government had counterfeits made in a factory in the Phillipines. The guitars weren't great, and not meant to last. They are a cool piece of Fender history, despite the fact that their not really Fenders.

    I'm not really sure that Fender took issue with it, if they knew about it at all. The cause was good and music is theraputic.
     
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  19. jayaitch

    jayaitch Strat-Talker

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    A veteran friend of one of my uncles has a “Jazzmaster” that he got in Vietnam. I’ve played it before, its pretty interesting. Its only when you get up close to it, that you see its not really a Fender. Not a terrible guitar, played and sounded good enough.
     
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  20. tim gueguen

    tim gueguen Strat-Talker

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    I doubt the US government had anything to do with these guitars. it was just Filipino woodworkers taking advantage of the fact that there were large US bases at Subic Bay and on Luzon, as well as some military personnel travelling to the Philippines for R&R, or as a transit point to and from the US. I also wouldn't be surprised if they were originally intended for the local market, and the local makers got lucky when Americans started buying them.
     
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