Teach me about "Dan Smith era" Fender

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by rze99, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. rze99

    rze99 Strat-Talker

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    I see guitars advertised as "Dan Smith era" (e.g., 1983).

    Why is this a good thing?

    Was he the guy that refocused Fender USA to produce good vintage spec guitars again after Fender Japan had showed them how?
     
  2. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

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    dansmithstrat.png
    The Dan Smith Strat.
     
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  3. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Strat-Talker

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    Good and bad.

    Good - Smith started to get things on track at Fender: beginning of the vintage reissue series, better focus on quality, smaller headstock, 4 bolt necks, etc.

    Bad - tight budgets = reduced features such as top loading trems, only two knobs, 90° jack, etc. Japanese guitars started to really cut into sales. The quality was there, but the Japanese guitars were also high quality, and less expensive.

    I have an '83. It is NOT a "Smith Strat", but it is Smith era Standard Strat.... Two knobs (master volume, master tone) 12" radius neck, top loader free flyte trem. They are some of the cheapest Strats on the market, but are actually of low numbers, high quality and great necks. The more solid body of the guitar actually creates more sustain, yet for some reason they are also very loud acoustically. Definitely a Strat but different.

    Please note that when Fender reorganized they were still using up 83, 84 serial number decals up until 1987 and many guitars get misidentified.

    They are like the Pontiac Aztek of guitars, people either love them or hate them.

    Not mine in the pic - I modded mine - but mine used to look exactly like this one. That color is Olympic White, which really took on a banana cream color. IMG_20180425_083505.jpeg
     
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  4. rze99

    rze99 Strat-Talker

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  5. dogletnoir

    dogletnoir V----V Strat-Talk Supporter

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    That's pretty much what they mean when referring to the first generation AVRI models
    (ca. 1982/83), the last to be produced/assembled at the Fullerton factory... a/k/a 'Fullerton' Strats.
    The fact that they represent the end of an era in Fender history, plus unique body contours
    (the 'Fullerton Curve') and a very slim neck profile make these guitars collectable, albeit not
    as pricey as the 50s and 60s models.
    AVRI production resumed at the Corona site after a brief hiatus. The earliest Corona AVRIs
    would still be considered as 'Dan Smith era' iirc, but i make no claims at being an expert
    in such things; i'm merely a fan.

    The 'Dan Smith Stratocaster' as shown by Thrup'ny Bit above is a different beastie entirely
    and a less desirable item to most people, but as in most things, those that like them speak highly
    of them.
     
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  6. ProSonicLive

    ProSonicLive Senior Stratmaster

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    A dan smith era could mean a few things. but the one most people know to be THE dan smith strat has a four bolt neck and does not have the Fender prodigy like setup with its master tone and volume and output jack on the PG. These four-bolt types command a much larger premium than the standard 2 knob 3 bolt versions. The two knob strats have their love, but I would SERIOUSLY suggest playing one A LOT before buying. It couls easily wind up being your biggest regret, or could be your number one. Just know there is a difference and know what that difference is. Be sure you get plenty of pictures.

    dansmith.jpg
     
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  7. balston11

    balston11 Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

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  8. John C

    John C Most Honored Senior Member

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    Agreed; only the 1982 models are "Dan Smith Strats"; that is how it always was until they started going up in price. Now the 1983-84 2-knob models are being called "Dan Smith Strats" to make them more valuable - particularly considering the 2-knob models were hard to give away 20 years ago.

    Dan Smith was actually a marketing guy - a product manager brought in to Fender by Bill Schultz not long after Bill was brought in to run Fender by John McLaren, who CBS had hired away from Yamaha to run their entire music business circa 1980 (back then CBS owned not only Fender but Steinway, Rodgers Drums, and several other instrument companies). Dan Smith oversaw several projects, starting with the late 1981 "de-CBS-ing" of the basic Stratocaster - leading to the changes ProSonicLive discusses in his post which was released toward the end of 1981.

    The next project Smith oversaw was the development of the next generation "Standard" models - he was given a price point to hit, so he came up with the 2-knob Strat, the top-loader Tele, and corresponding P-bass/J-bass models.

    I don't think that Smith oversaw either the Vintage Reissues (what eventually was named the "American Vintage" series) or the Elite series; I will check through my copy of "The Stratocaster Chronicles" to see if it mentions Smith's involvement in developing those product lines.
     
  9. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Strat-Talker

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    The two knob is not a three bolt, if that is was you meant.
     
  10. artgtr

    artgtr Artgtr Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I had a 1982 Fender 3 knob Strat - it had the thinnest neck I had ever played on a Strat. I couldn’t get use to the neck, someone had put Lace Sensors in it, I didn’t buy it as a collectible, but as a player. I had paid $1250. & eventually traded it back in on another Strat & they gave me what I paid for it on trade in on a CS! IMG_1155.JPG IMG_1157.JPG
     
  11. guitarface

    guitarface Most Honored Senior Member

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    Anyone here from NYC? Dan Smith will teach you guitar.
     
  12. 83Strat

    83Strat Strat-Talk Member

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    John

    I am an original owner of a 1983-84 2-knob model

    I always thought the neck had a much flatter feel than other Strats...I don't know if that means anything.

    However when I replaced the pick guard, pickups, etc. I took off the neck to clean it up and it had Dan Smith's markings on it.

    ...But it's not a Dan Smith?

    Just Curious
     
  13. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Strat-Talker

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    The 83-84 two knob is during the Dan Smith era, but it's not the Dan Smith Strat.

    The guitar that collectors refer to as the "Dan Smith Strat" (not an official Fender name by any stretch of the imagination) was his first attempt to get Fender back toward its roots: smaller headstock, 4 bolt neck. It still had 3 knobs and an angled jack.

    Sent from my LG-H932 using Tapatalk
     
  14. John C

    John C Most Honored Senior Member

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    Dan Smith was a "product manager" and he was involved in the design/production of all of these guitars of that era; he wasn't a builder or a QC person so it's interesting that there are Dan Smith markings inside your guitar. I wonder if he inspected some of the early ones and marked them as such.

    As @jfgesquire says calling any of these a "Dan Smith Strat" is just player/collector/internet lingo (although the names started up pre-internet). Technically Fender called the 1982 model (what is typically referred to as the "Dan Smith Strat") as the "Standard Stratocaster" in catalogs and on price lists to differentiate it from the other Stratocaster models available in 1982: The "STRAT" which had the heavy brass hardware and fancy wiring, the "Walnut STRAT" which was the STRAT with a walnut body and neck, the '57 Vintage Reissue, the '62 Vintage Reissue, and also the Gold Stratocaster that had a gold finish and gold plated hardware.

    The 2-knob Strat came out in April 1983, and it was also called the "Standard Stratocaster" in the catalog and on the price lists; in 1983-84 the other models were the Elite Strat (which had a "regular" version, a "Gold" version with gold hardware, and a "Walnut Gold" version), the '57 Vintage Reissue, and the '62 Vintage Reissue.

    Also @83Strat you are correct that these have a wider/flatter neck - they have a 12" radius and a roughly 1.700" width at the nut. The Elites had the same neck. The 1982 "Dan Smith Strat" had the vintage 1 5/8" width/7.25" radius neck.
     
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  15. 79olympicwhite

    79olympicwhite Strat-O-Master

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    I had a two knob, great strat just couldn’t get along with the radius ( it’s 7 1/4 or nothing for me) but the pickups were incredible
     
  16. Fender Phil

    Fender Phil Strat-Talker

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    I have an ‘82 Standard (Smith), Beck, Clapton, Johnson, American Deluxe, etc. They are all great guitars, that offer something unique if you are an avid Stratocaster fanatic.

    However, my all time favourite is my 1983 Standard Stratocaster (two knobber). This guitar is impressive in more ways than it lacks.

    A good guitar is one that you play. Every time I come back to my ‘83, it’s value to me is reaffirmed. When you have a good one, that responds as if it is part of you, it’s a keeper on many fronts.

    Obviously you have to be a Strat player, take the time to set up the guitar, have an open mind, and spend copious time with that guitar. You will know in time if it is for you.

    Picking up a forgotten, poorly setup, guitar and expecting great things, may happen, but likely not. Having an open mind and developing setup skills will net you many great guitars.

    The majority of people who dislike the two knobber, are hard core traditionalists, or never really took enough time to do a deep enough dive, to fully experience a properly set up one.

    I get the same feeling when I play my 1968 Fender Bronco. Two knobs, bridge pickup, slinky setup on a very thin, small neck; but just an overwhelming experience every time it gets played. It doesn’t make sense when you visually look at it, but the proof is in the playing of it. This guitar appears to lack in many ways, until you play it.
     
  17. Deafsoundguy

    Deafsoundguy Strat-Talker

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    I’m confused here... was there 2 Freeflyte trem systems? The one you pictured doesn’t look like my 83 Elites? Unless it’s some optical delusion 748203DF-9E40-4C64-BAE4-5733D0B0E08A.jpeg
     
  18. jtoomuch

    jtoomuch Strat-O-Master

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    That's a beautiful Strat.
     
  19. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Strat-Talker

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  20. John C

    John C Most Honored Senior Member

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    Just to follow up on @jfgesquire's post - yes, Fender called both versions the FreeFlyte tremolo, so they had a basic version on the "Standard" (i.e. 2-knob) Strat of 1983-84 (as shown in the 3rd post in this thread) and the deluxe version used on the Elites; it was the Elite version of the FreeFlyte that was renamed the "System II" tremolo when used on a couple of the MIJ Contemporary series models.
     
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