Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Guitars part three

More guitars? Really? Well, yes, just one more. For now, anyway. I wrote in part two about how I spent a while looking for the perfect Stratocaster, and ended up with a '52 Telecaster reissue instead. The Tele is a beautiful guitar that has seen a lot of playing time over the last few years, but I have still been on the lookout for the right Stratocaster. My dream guitar would have been David Gilmour's legendary Black Strat, but I was outbid by just under USD 3,975,000 when it came up for sale in 2019. The Fender Custom Shop made replicas of this guitar which even included the wear marks, but even these instruments are outside of my price bracket. Fortunately a resolution presented itself...

(14) Fender Stratocaster 1982

The solution was the 1982 Tuxedo Black Stratocaster I found online in September this year. After Leo Fender sold his company to CBS in 1965, there was a gradual decline in the quality of guitars produced. It's well documented that the upswing began with the 1981 hiring of several key staff from Yamaha, including director of marketing Dan Smith.

The revamp that followed these appointments led in late 1981 to a new model named the Standard Stratocaster. While retaining the CBS-era larger headstock logo, the guitar reverted to four neck bolts from three, introduced a new “hotter” X-1 pickup in the bridge position and returned to body end truss rod adjustment (no more bullet). In 1983 the guitar was revised again by moving the jack plug onto the pickguard and removing one of the tone controls; the CBS 70s style headstock logo was also dropped in favor of a smaller, silver design which was used until 19871.

The 1981-83 version of the Standard Stratocaster has come to be known on the interwebs as the “Dan Smith Stratocaster”, even though Smith wasn't involved in the design and his name does not appear anywhere on the guitar. Unlike the earlier Stratocasters, guitars from this era are still affordable, and can only appreciate in value.

This particular Stratocaster has a tuxedo black finish which is in excellent shape. The vintage neck is VERY comfortable to play, and the guitar sounds fantastic through my Orange amp. It also came with the original hard shell logo-embossed case, shop tags and owner’s manual. Still, as you may notice from the photo on the left, it has one minor detail which is not ideal.

Samuel Sheep and I had a plan to fix the "imperfection" which started off with pulling off the strings, disconnecting all the electronics and getting rid of the white (elephant) pickguard:

Then we reassembled the electronics with a brand new black pickguard instead, and I had Sam put on new strings and tune it up. It's actually quite tricky to get this guitar in tune.

Sounds mega!

Still wanted:

Gibson Les Paul standard (cherry sunburst)

Rickenbacker 4000 bass (blue, maybe red)

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