What is this mysterious stratocaster???

s5tuart

Perfecting time travel since 2525
Aug 8, 2011
16,273
All over the place!
Or bring it to the UK and I'll buy it! Seriously! I'm not paying shipping and customs duty though!
I steadfastly refuse to believe it's any sort of fake. Unusual, yes. That's the way I like 'em! :D
Fender was going through all sorts of changes in 1981.....I bet not all of them got documented.
I'm thinking Dan Smith carved that body out himself!!! :eek::whistling:
 
Last edited:

busted-e-again

Strat-Talker
Jun 24, 2009
446
swnw
The lable inside the pickup rout appears to be cut from a piece pf paper.. (photocopy?) the cellophane tape over it is also a new "addition" as is the shielding.. I'd have to see the routing shot from above, but it initially looks very 90's Warmoth to me...

You might be looking at my post of other reference guitars; OP has not given us a look under the pickguard yet. If that under-pickup serial# appearance is not accurate and as expected, another unmolested example should be substituted as reference.

There are 1980-1982 black pickguards without the bling knobs and switch tip and without the special tones, but they are on the standard CBS-era 3-bolt guitars. Pictures of pickups and pickguard will be another clue to infer the completeness and originality of components, we can see if they look like gray or black plastic X-1 etc.
 

Kdyer17

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 9, 2017
33
Riverside CA
IMG_4532.JPG IMG_4533.JPG Everyone has gone above and beyond with this thing and I am super grateful. I am wanting to sell it but want to make sure that it's not a fake before I do. Under the pick guard is odd too, as there is no identifying marks or stickers underneath the pickups or other parts either...the pickguard itself has this metallic sticker on it...should I peel that off? 2 questions...

1. What is this thing worth as a nice fake?

2. What is it worth as a prototype guitar for NAMM or a catalog or something?

Thank you to EVERYONE for your extensive descriptions!


efforts
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:
003.jpg


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.

S8ZrPtf.jpg


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:
wsl745xarzzzzl8bmvxy.jpg


"The Strat" bridge:

s3iffkmhuck9cpdkdsrc.jpg





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":

smithhead.jpg


C6tBF78.jpg

jSrbeiq.jpg


Found a silver logo, still the serif serial number font:
hGgE64w.jpg


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:

VaIOw8e.jpg


A walnut "The Strat" from 1981 also as that deep reddish headstock color missing on OP's (but says "Strat"):
DdA48LV.gif



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.
I would be cautiously willing to believe that it's a prototype guitar built for NAMM or catalog photography. I'm a little less willing to believe that someone faked a guitar that didn't exist to this level of detail, but that's also a possibility. A look under the pickguard would definitely help.

One maybe-important observation: I have never ever ever seen an early '80s decal faked that well. That looks real.
 

Guitarmageddon

Dr. Stratster
Apr 19, 2014
27,388
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
View attachment 241425 View attachment 241426 View attachment 241423 View attachment 241424 Everyone has gone above and beyond with this thing and I am super grateful. I am wanting to sell it but want to make sure that it's not a fake before I do. Under the pick guard is odd too, as there is no identifying marks or stickers underneath the pickups or other parts either...2 questions...

1. What is this thing worth as a nice fake?

2. What is it worth as a prototype guitar for NAMM or a catalog or something?

Thank you to EVERYONE for your extensive descriptions!

We need to see the bottom of the pickup bobbins and bottom of the 5-way switch and pots...

You didn't have to take all those off, we were just hoping to take the whole loaded pickguard assembly off as one piece and show us the bottom as well as the shape of the pickup routes :)
 

Mr Dunlop

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 30, 2014
3,931
usa
The black shielding paint and ground wire notch is consistent for that era.

Any dates or stamps on the neck heel?

To date the pots and verify if they are orignal you will need to look at the numbers on the other side.
The first 3 numbers will give u the manufacturer next two numbers the year the last 2 numbers are the week.
 

Kdyer17

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 9, 2017
33
Riverside CA
IMG_4543.JPG IMG_4544.JPG IMG_4545.JPG IMG_4546.JPG Everyone has gone above and beyond with this thing and I am super grateful to all of you experts in the matter. I posted some photos of the innards and no defining marks or stickers or serial numbers could be found anywhere underneath the pic guard unfortunately.


Also I am wanting to sell this piece but want to make sure that it's not a fake before I do, so 2 questions...

1. What is this thing worth as a nice fake if it a copy? And...

2. What is it worth as a prototype guitar for NAMM or a catalog or something else suggested in the previous comments?

Also, not that it matters but just to establish a little bit of provenance for the piece. My father was not shady or ever had the know how or skills to create a copy. He was an avid collector of really nice Fender guitars only buying from one reputable, really informed guitar shop in Orange CA in the 1980s. Also I am positive this guitar predates the 1990s because I remember him bringing it home and showing the family in our old house that we moved out of in 1989.

Thank you to EVERYONE for your extensive descriptions.
 

Guitarmageddon

Dr. Stratster
Apr 19, 2014
27,388
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
View attachment 241435 View attachment 241436 View attachment 241437 View attachment 241438 Everyone has gone above and beyond with this thing and I am super grateful to all of you experts in the matter. I posted some photos of the innards and no defining marks or stickers or serial numbers could be found anywhere underneath the pic guard unfortunately.


Also I am wanting to sell this piece but want to make sure that it's not a fake before I do, so 2 questions...

1. What is this thing worth as a nice fake if it a copy? And...

2. What is it worth as a prototype guitar for NAMM or a catalog or something else suggested in the previous comments?

Also, not that it matters but just to establish a little bit of provenance for the piece. My father was not shady or ever had the know how or skills to create a copy. He was an avid collector of really nice Fender guitars only buying from one reputable, really informed guitar shop in Orange CA in the 1980s. Also I am positive this guitar predates the 1990s because I remember him bringing it home and showing the family in our old house that we moved out of in 1989.

Thank you to EVERYONE for your extensive descriptions.

Very interesting....your pickups seem to be from a Classic Series 50s/60s/ Strat (middle and neck), made in Mexico since the late 90s...any chance your dad made mods to this after owning it?

I don't know about values or pot codes, I'll wait for others to chime in...
 

Mr Dunlop

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 30, 2014
3,931
usa
The body pickup cavities and routing marks are from that time period. Its a fender body.
The pickups look the same that were in my 82 strat.
What are the numbers on the side of the pots?
 

Kdyer17

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 9, 2017
33
Riverside CA
Very interesting....your pickups seem to be from a Classic Series 50s/60s/ Strat (middle and neck), made in Mexico since the late 90s...any chance your dad made mods to this after owning it?

I don't know about values or pot codes, I'll wait for others to chime in...

No chance he made mods. Haha He was super limited as far as guitars are concerned. He was almost afraid to take them out of their cases and touch them. He would just buy them as is, because he didn't know any better and pack them away in his closet. He wouldn't have known the reasoning behind modifying things like that. Perhaps the previous owner? But again, he for sure bought this before 1989, so...yeah complete mystery.
 

Mr Dunlop

Senior Stratmaster
Nov 30, 2014
3,931
usa
Did you look at the bottom of the neck for a stamp?
Fender didn't put serial stickers on all their guitar bodies from that time period and switched to a label.
Those 2 extra holes in the neck pocket look factory to me and do not indicate a refinish


 

Kdyer17

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 9, 2017
33
Riverside CA
Here's some more pictures around the neck joint and what looks like a "T" at the base???

I'm wondering if the following scenario might be possible for the history of this guitar based on everyone's input...

What if the guitar had an original owner before my dad that owned an early "the STRAT" guitar that a few years down the line for whatever reason needs a new neck...I'm guessing damage which would also explain the evidence of refinishing it again in a non-fender style due to an accident of some kind (or trashing it onstage)
The guy takes it to whomever for repairs, refinishing, gets a new neck, replaces the possibly damaged knobs and pickups. With the neck he was possibly told that this new neck was the closest thing they could get or had at that time(this was the 80s, no internet). Now whether the neck is a knock off or not it's hard to say, but it somehow gets put on. After all the repairs, the guitar at this point looks brand new. He then for whatever reason sells it to the guitar shop that my dad later purchases it from sometime before 1989. My dad, not knowing how odd this piece was went on believeing he had a walnut stratocaster. Not sure if this is possible based on the evidence, but I think we are all getting much closer to the truth! IMG_4554.JPG IMG_4551.JPG IMG_4548.JPG IMG_4552.JPG IMG_4548.JPG
 

Attachments

  • IMG_4550.JPG
    IMG_4550.JPG
    112.8 KB · Views: 49
Last edited:

Kdyer17

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 9, 2017
33
Riverside CA
Here's some more pictures around the neck joint and what looks like a "T" at the base???

I'm wondering if the following scenario might be possible for the history of this guitar based on everyone's input...

What if the guitar had an original owner before my dad that owned an early "the STRAT" guitar that a few years down the line for whatever reason needs a new neck...I'm guessing damage which would also explain the evidence of refinishing it again in a non-fender style due to an accident of some kind (or trashing it onstage)
The guy takes it to whomever for repairs, refinishing, gets a new neck, replaces the possibly damaged knobs and pickups. With the neck he possibly told this new neck was the closest thing they could get or had at that time(this was the 80s, no internet). Now whether the neck is a knock off or not it's hard to say, but it somehow gets put on. After all the repairs, the guitar at this point looks brand new. He then for whatever reason sells it to the guitar shop that my dad later purchases it from sometime before 1989. My dad, not knowing how odd this piece was went on believeing he had a walnut stratocaster. Not sure if this is possible based on the evidence, but I think we are all getting much closer to the truth! View attachment 241444 View attachment 241442 View attachment 241440 View attachment 241443 View attachment 241440

In simpler terms, Could it just be a modified "the STRAT" with a different neck??
 

Kdyer17

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 9, 2017
33
Riverside CA
Did you look at the bottom of the neck for a stamp?
Fender didn't put serial stickers on all their guitar bodies from that time period and switched to a label.
Those 2 extra holes in the neck pocket look factory to me and do not indicate a refinish


Yes I took some pics and put them below, thank you for all your help!
 

Kdyer17

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 9, 2017
33
Riverside CA
Here's some more pictures around the neck joint and what looks like a "T" at the base???

I'm wondering if the following scenario might be possible for the history of this guitar based on everyone's input...

What if the guitar had an original owner before my dad that owned an early "the STRAT" guitar that a few years down the line for whatever reason needs a new neck...I'm guessing damage which would also explain the evidence of refinishing it again in a non-fender style due to an accident of some kind (or trashing it onstage)
The guy takes it to whomever for repairs, refinishing, gets a new neck, replaces the possibly damaged knobs and pickups. With the neck he possibly told this new neck was the closest thing they could get or had at that time(this was the 80s, no internet). Now whether the neck is a knock off or not it's hard to say, but it somehow gets put on. After all the repairs, the guitar at this point looks brand new. He then for whatever reason sells it to the guitar shop that my dad later purchases it from sometime before 1989. My dad, not knowing how odd this piece was went on believeing he had a walnut stratocaster. Not sure if this is possible based on the evidence, but I think we are all getting much closer to the truth! View attachment 241444 View attachment 241442 View attachment 241440 View attachment 241443 View attachment 241440
OR it's a rare prototype perhaps like others have suggested
 


Top