Description: 1959 & 1960 Fender Stratocaster guitar
A lot changed with the 1959 Fender Stratocaster. By mid-1959 the maple fingerboard was changed to a Brazilian rosewood fingerboard and "clay" dot fingerboard markers. Personally I liked this change, as the sound of the Strat got deeper because of the rosewood. Unfortunately the backshape of the neck also got even thinner. But I guess you can't have everything! Another change was the pickguard. Instead of a single layer thin white ABS 'guard, it was now a laminated 3-layer celluloid pickguard, which turns a mint green color. I like this look, though the celluloid material does have a problem with shrinkage, causing the pickguard to crack. Lastly the red dye used in the 3-tone sunburst was not very robust, causing the red to often fade. Yea, the 2-tone sunburst is back (by accident)! The 1960 Stratocasters were pretty much the same as the 1959 model. Even the three color sunburst on 1960 models tended to fade just like the 1959 Fender Strats.
Serial number range for the 59 Fender Stratocaster are generally 30000 to 40000 (on the neck plate). Serial number range for the 60 Fender Stratocaster are generally 40000 to 58000 (on the neck plate). If you need to figure out the exact year of your pre-CBS Fender Stratocaster, use the serial number and the general features of the guitar. The serial number is located on the back metal neck plate. See the Fender Serial Number Info web page for help determining the year.
If you have a vintage pre-CBS Fender Stratocaster guitar for sale, please let me know. I am a private vintage guitar collector (not a store), and you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mid 1959 Fender Statocaster guitar specs:
The backside of the neck plate shows body finish which matches the
missing finish on the body under the neck plate. Clearly this neck plate
is original to this guitar. Also the neck attachmentscrews are not threaded
the full length of the screw.
This is a close-up of the "clay dots" top and side fingerboard position markers used on Fender
rosewood 'boards before 1965. These dots are made from celluoloid. Note the frets and how the
"tang" does not break into the maple wood of the neck. Pre-1970 Fender fret wire had fairly short
tangs (by today's standards), so refretted vintage Fenders are pretty easy to spot because new
fret tangs are longer than these originals. Also original Fender frets were installed by sliding them
in from the side of the fingerboard (not hammering them down from the face of the fretboard).
These are the "case goodies" that originally came with every 1959 Fender Stratocaster.