1954 Fender Stratocaster, Sunburst
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Exceptionally rare early features, a neck date of April '54 and a body date of May '54 - this is one of the earliest Fender Stratocasters ever made, and we are delighted to offer it for sale in excellent overall condition complete with original 'poodle' case.
This guitar was previously owned by the late John Entwistle, and it came to it's current owner via the late Alan Rogen (guitar tech for The Who.) It has been with its current owner since 1998, and clearly very well cared for prior to, and during this ownership.
All hardware is original to the guitar down to the screws, and being a very early pre-production Stratocaster it bears it's serial number on the tremolo cover rather than the neck plate. This serial number (0146) is documented in Werner's List as April '54.
The lightweight, contoured and beautifully grained Ash body finished in 2-tone sunburst is in very good overall condition with minimal signs of wear as the photos suggest. The Maple neck shows moderate wear to the back, and slight play wear to the fingerboard in the first position, but it retains its original frets, and with the medium-large but comfortable neck profile (with a slight 'V' at the first position tapering out to a typical 'D') the guitar plays very well. The neck is Tadeo Gomez initialled and dated TG 4-'54, and the body 5/'54.
The finish is original throughout with no touchups, and the decal is the original spaghetti logo version with no patent numbers. The tuners are original Nickel Kluson 'no-line' (PAT APPLD 2356766 stamped) and it features the earlier Nickel round string retainer (before Fender switched to the "butterfly" version in mid-'56.)
It has it's original single-ply matt-underside pickguard with small shielding plate, and the pickup covers, 'football' switch tip and both 'short skirt' tone knobs are first generation "bakelite" that have stood the test of time remarkably well. The volume knob is a later replacement as is common due to the fragility of the material and greater general use.
All electronics are original. It has its original black bottom pickups with original black tubing "springs" as is seen on early models. The pots are manufactured by Stackpole with only the 100k tone pot code legible (dating to the 41st week of '53.) 100k pots were generally seen on pre-production models before they changed to 250k from around October.
The body routs all conform to pre-production spec with no 'worm rout' or chiselling to the bridge pickup cavity (a feature seen on later models to easier accommodate wiring.) The 3 nail holes used when finishing are all present and correct as is the tooling hole to the underside of the neck.
All in all this is a stunning, rare piece of Fender history and a fine opportunity to own a documented, pre-production Stratocaster in excellent overall condition. The guitar comes with its original 'poodle' case (and key) and ash tray.