Custom Colour Fender Stratocasters have long been considered some of the most sought after vintage guitars on the market, and this pre-CBS 1963 Fender Stratocaster finished in Olympic White is without doubt one of the best we've had in the store.
Like many other examples pre 1964, this original Olympic White finish was applied without a clear coat to the top, meaning a distinct lack of yellowing to the finish over time. The Olympic White acrylic lacquer was originally sprayed over a Desert Sand undercoat, and the lack of clear coat leaves the guitar looking white and vibrant to this day. Fender would spray more colour coats during the finishing process when not using a clear nitro coat, simply to build up enough paint layers to buff the guitar to a gloss. This leaves a slightly thicker look to the finish inside the body cavities when compared to guitars that are clear coated.
Interestingly, this guitar started its finish job before Fender implemented changes to how bodies were finished, showing both Fender finishing methods on one body. Since production began at Fender, the finishing process would involve hammering nails into the front of the body, where it would then be placed on its back on a turntable and front would be sprayed, then flipped onto the nails which would act as legs suspending the body. The back and sides would then be sprayed and left to dry.
On this particular Strat this is how they would have sprayed the Desert Sand cellulose undercoat which you can see in the neck pocket.
At the end of 1962 they changed to using the “neck stick” method. A pipe with a flattened end was attached to the neck pocket using the two bass side screw holes for the neck. The body could then be suspended from a rack and turned over by the sprayer without having to touch the body. This method always leaves a “shadow" in the neck pocket where the stick would have been. On this guitar we can see the shadow left after the acrylic Olympic White top coat was applied revealing the undercoat sprayed in the previous fashion. Fender continue to use the nail method for drying purposes until 1964 when this ceased, and the guitars were hung from a drying “tree” using the neck stick instead. This 1963 Stratocaster shows all the key indicators of the undercoat being applied in 1962 and the top coat being applied late 1962 or early 1963, after the transition to neck stick but while the drying method of using nails was still in use.
This guitar is internally completely original. The neck dates to Feb '63, while the pot codes are 304 6306. The pickups, pickguard and tuners are all original and in excellent condition, with the pickguard showing very little wear and tear compared to other mint guards on guitars of a similar period. The guitar also includes its original tremolo arm, hire purchase booklet and Jennings case, marking the guitar as imported by the Jennings distributor at the time.
A fantastic collectors grade custom colour Fender Stratocaster from 1963, in excellent condition.