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Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Kdyer17, Aug 9, 2017.
I think I might have identified one of the previous owners!
The walnut elite stratocaster has a much similar neck to the one in this thread. But the walnut 'THE STRAT' has a much more similar body.
Is it possible that this was a partscaster made from the 2 with the knobs switched out? Or some hybrid conjured up in the factory?
The tuners are different and the text is gold here as opposed to black in your example, but the shape is similar and this one has an E serial number like yours.
Love when these old and rare guitars pop up.
The brown and matching gold hardware really suits the overlook of the guitar!
But i'm not that of an expert to these kind of guitars. So, hope answers will pop up
I have literally just been reading about Fender in the 80s. As I understand it, for a time they all but shut down production in the US aside from reissues. So its possible there was a period of using what they had left knocking about. Maybe this was the result?
As I said in my previous post it looks like a walnut Elite Stratocaster neck on a walnut The Strat body, with the tuners from The Strat and black knobs from wherever. That or just the wrong neck got put on during production.
Whatever it is, it's gorgeous!!!
The Elite series didn't come out until 1983.
The Walnut Strat had gold control knobs and as Helter pointed out only said Strat, not Stratocaster. They also had CC serial numbers.
Here is a bit of less than helpful direct from Fender..
While Schultz basically set about completely reorganizing Fender, Smith immediately set about revising the Stratocaster’s specs, returning to the four-screw neck attachment, body-end truss rod adjustment mechanism (no more “bullet”) and a smaller headstock closer to the pre-CBS shape. This late-1981 transitional version became the new “regular” model, and was dubbed the Standard Stratocaster. As quoted in author Tom Wheeler’s The Stratocaster Chronicles, Smith said, “The idea was to make things right, to take the U.S. Stratocaster back to the way it used to be.” This first Standard Stratocaster was only around for a year; other 1981 Strats included two high-end but short-lived versions—a walnut-body model (at $1,195 the most expensive Strat up to that time) and a gold-finish model with gold-plated hardware.
As others have said looks similar to a walnut elite strat neck on a The Strat body, but could be totally factory legit. There are some weird one off combinations that left the factory during this time period and documentation is spotty. It's definitely not fake
This pre-dates the elite line by a couple of years. I saw one at the local guitar shop around 1980 (before the big-box stores hit Charlotte). I was told it was walnut, heavy, and considered top of the line at that point. The reason that I didn't get it was because of the reaction I get with gold hardware. I tend to corrode the stuff pretty quickly. If it turns out that the bridge was actually brass, that would be a different story. It sure looked like gold in person.
Me! me! me next!!
Wow thank you..all these little bits of information are helping so much. Thank you!
It looks so much like a Walnut The Strat from that era, but there are a lot of things off about it. For example Fender's bridge like that had a little script "Fender" logo engraved into the thick brass base plate (the thick part that the intonation screws go through). It would have also had brass knobs, with the lower tone control being a rotary switch, and as everyone says the headstock decal would say "STRAT" in bigger, bold letters instead of "Stratocaster" (and would have had it's own serial number series instead of the normal series).
Some photos of it taken apart might help - to see if there are any stamps on the neck heel, the neck pocket of the body, or any of the other body cavities. I'm thinking this must have been some kind of one-off, or someone put together a parts guitar and got a Fender headstock decal (including the serial number) to recreate a Walnut The STRAT.
The headstock decal is also a weird thing - usually you don't see a Stratocaster with an "E1xxxxx" or 1981 serial number - Strats went from using "S9xxxxx" numbers from late 1978 through 1981; then jump to "E2xxxxx" for the small headstock "Smith Strats" (although there are a few big headstock Strats with E2xxxxx serial numbers that appear to have been made circa October/November 1982 - making them either warranty replacement necks or somebody found a stash of 3-bolt bodies and CBS decided to do a final batch of necks to use the bodies up).
This is Fender; you just never know what's going to be there from this era. But I think you're going to have to take it apart to see more of what is going on with this one.
This one is rare
Hi there, thank you so much, I'll take a look at all the things you suggested and post the findings. I am selling it actually, and just took it off of eBay (for now) until I find more info. Too many people named like "guitarGuy500" sending me messages on there claiming that it's probably a fake from China and that I should sell it to them for a few hundred bucks. Haha! I just wanted to get the info from all you awesome pros and fender enthusiasts that love this stuff just as much as I do. I really appreciate all the help!
Wow, thank you so much for all of the information. I can't tell you how much this helps...I'm going to look for clues and post the findings today. Thanks again!
Haven't a clue what it is, but it sure is a looker!
When you get it figured out, and decide on fair pricing, send me a PM if you're going to sell it.
Are you not a guitar player? If you are, it seems a shame to let such a nice "inherited" piece go. On the other side, if not a player, maybe this could be an inspiration to become one? If not rude to ask, who was it inherited from?
I do play guitar, and it was one of many "inherited" from my dad who passed away. This one was one of his least favorites and there's other more special ones that I am holding onto.
@Tone Guru @Ronkirn @John C
Ok so, this guitar may get even more mysterious here. Can anyone distinguish these markings on the neck joint? Maybe you guys recognize it? It's kind of difficult to make out what it is. Also I just noticed the number "81" on the neck plate. Not sure if this is significant or not. I Thanks again for all your insight.
The "81" on the neckplate is very unusual.
Maybe a show guitar for the 1981 NAMM show, or a prototype ?
In the neck pocket (or inside the body routings) is normally a sticker that should have the SN# that matches the headstock.
It looks like there was a sticker or two that were removed from the pocket.
The same sticker is also usually found on the back of the pickguard.
I can't give any deciphering of the pocket stamps but they appear to be typical of the era.
I'd like to see the back of the pickguard and a closeup of the back of the bridge pickup.
The Walnut STRATs I sold were typical of the normal The STRAT/Gold STRAT with gold hardware and knobs and S1 switching with X1.
The neck plate is where serial numbers traditionally went on 50s-60s strats. Perhaps Fender or another party decided to be clever and put "81" for 1981 there, which could agree with the E1xxxxxx serial number as "Eighties, 1981". You could even make up a story that it was a prototype guitar for a 1981 run.
Here's an 79-80 real fender:
We see the same square area unfinished as in OPs neck pocket, a similar circle QC stamp. Under the 3-screw plate we see the edge of perhaps the same threaded hole from a paint stick. Serial number sticker.
This era also had serial number stickers inside the body routing, to match the neck pocket sticker (missing on OP's guitar), to match the neck.
If I had to really guess what's going on there, I'd say it's a "The Strat" conversion - stealing its tuners and gold hardware, sanding the logo out of the brass of the bridge. Through 1982, E2 3-screw strats still used the Fender F logo like the OP's gold one; "The Strat" had different plate text however, "Fender USA" at the top of the plate. The plate is unusual besides just it's "81".
"The Strat" tuners:
"The Strat" bridge:
The impression starts to fall apart at the neck. The logo is way too weird. It screams Chinese fake sticker, and the inconsistency in color of the headstock is off, it looks like a bad dye job rather than era walnut headstocks.
The gold-fill logo that's unlike anything else from the era. The serial number that looks like 83+ font. 80-82 era guitars have a serif font serial number and a space after "E":
Found a silver logo, still the serif serial number font:
An elite strat that this guitar wants to be like has similar serial number font and stratocaster logo in 1983, but all the printing is gold. It is also lined up correctly:
A walnut "The Strat" from 1981 also as that deep reddish headstock color missing on OP's (but says "Strat"):
Above all, even though they are in the Fender database, I have not found any E1 USA serial numbers on the web as an agreeable reference, period. There should be 9000+ made if OPs serial number sequence is true. Very had to call "very unusual real", "frankencaster", or fake on this thing.