Fender used a single layer white pickguard material made from ABS or vinyl about. This relatively new material for the time was cheap, easy to work with, and somewhat flexible.
Note bakelite was never used for white Fender pickguards on any model though many people refer to white pickguards as such; but it's not bakelite. In this case the single layer thickness increased to. To some degree the effect is not only caused by age and sun, but the "felting" of the black layer below the white layer.
This material was used till January when Fender switched to vinyl or ABS for their multilayer pickguards Celluloid was dangerous and very flamable, and shrunk with time causing cracks. Sometimes these pickguards are called "nitrate 'guards" because nitric acid is one of the key ingredients used to make celluloid. The and later white pickguards do yellow a bit with age.
But even aged white 'guards look much different than the older "green" 'guards. In the late s, white Stratocaster pickguards change slightly not sure about other models. Left: the neck cavity on a custom color Strat. Notice the redish material the factory used to angle the neck. Right: the bottom side of this strat's pickguard uses "pearloid" material. This is typical of and Strats. Stratocaster pickguards: multi-layer Strat pickguards had a thin. Click here for a picture of the ink stamp on this aluminum pickguard shield used during the s.
From and later, sticky aluminum foil was attached to the bottom of the pickguard, just around the pots and switch. In the 's, this metal shield was much thicker. Note reissue Strats also use these shields. Click here for a comparison of pickguard material used from toand a reissue pickguard.
Stratocaster Plastic Parts. Left: The two pickup covers on the outside are ABS plastic. The three covers on the insides are "bakelite" actually polystyrene, but collectors refer to it incorrectly as "bakelite".
Note how the "bakelite" covers are whiter, and the edges have rounded. When new, the "bakelite" cover edges were as shape as the ABS covers. But with time, the edges round only on the polystyrene covers. They can even wear to show the black pickup itsef underneath. Right: The top row of knobs are ABS, the bottom row are "bakelite" polystyrene.
Notice again how the edges of the "bakelite" knobs wear especially on the volume knoband the ABS edges don't. Also the "bakelite" knobs are whiter.
Telecaster Switch Tips. The original Daka-Ware switch tips used on Broadcasters and Telecasters from to the s. The switch tip on the right is a "top hat" style switch with a patent number though round switch tips can also have these markings.
Other Plastic Parts pickup covers, knobs. Stratocaster: this was the first Fender model to use plastic knobs and pickup covers. From to earlythese parts were made from white urea formaldehyde, commonly and incorrectly known as "bakelite" bakelite is actually a trade name for phenol formaldehyde, and is most commonly black or molted brown; for consistency, I will refer to these white pickup covers as "bakelite", though in fact they are not.
These covers were very brittle and very white. Note early Strat knobs have a different and taller shape than late and later knobs. Since "bakelite" cracked and wore very easily, Fender switched to white ABS parts in early These ABS parts yellowed with age unlike the earlier "bakelite" parts. Click here for a comparison of vintage versus s and later Strat knobs. But the switch tip for Telecasters was bakelite plastic. These black tips are still available today, with very minor differences.
In about this changed to the "top hat" style of selector switch tip. In either case, all original Tele switch tips have some stampings on their bottom side. All tips about and later say "PAT. Reissue "top hat" tele switch tips have no marks on the bottom. Click here to see the difference. Precision Bass: this model didn't use plastic parts till mid when the pickup changed to a split coil design, and had an ABS plastic cover.
Click here for a comparison of old and new pbass plastic pickup covers, Album). Jazzbass: click here for a comparison of old and new jbass plastic pickup covers. Jazzmaster: from the start in all plastic parts were ABS on this model. Click here for a picture of the knob style used on Jazzmasters starting in Body Wood. October to mid All models used Ash as the body wood. Most ash bodies are two or even three pieces, but sometimes a one-piece body was used.
Mid to current: All models used Alder as the body wood. The ONLY exception to this is if the model had a "blond" finish. For example, since the stock finish on a Telecaster is "blond" a translucent white colorall blond Telecasters are made of Ash. If a post Stratocaster was ordered in blond, it too would be Ash. To summarize, if the Fender instrument is later than mid, and was originally not blond in color, the body wood should be Alder!
Most alder bodies are 2 to 4 pieces. Alder trees do not grow "big", so multiple pieces were used for Fender guitar bodies.
The number of pieces has little effect on sound or value. Left: a Custom Telecaster with the "target 'burst" style sunburst. Starting in mid, Fender sprayed the yellow part of the sunburst. This allowed Fender to be less picky with their choice of Alder, because the sunburst is less transparent. Right: a Custom Telecaster with the old style Fender sunburst.
Prior toFender stained the yellow of the sunburst into the wood, instead of spraying it. This saved a spray step when shooting a sunburst finish. There is a lot more info on Fender finishes here. Film thickness was very thin, especially in the 's. From the beginning, Fender would hammer nails into the face of the guitar body before painting, under the pickguard areas. Then the body was painted on a "lazy susan". First the face of the guitar was painted. Then the body was flipped over onto the nails which suspended the freshed painted body faceand the back and sides of the body were painted.
The nails were then used to suspend the body while the paint fully dried. After all the paint was sprayed, the nails were removed. Hence all original pre-CBS Fender bodies will have "nail holes" with no paint in them! There should be three or four nail holes under the pickguard, control plate or bridge plate on every original finish solidbody pre Fender instrument.
Interestingly, Tele nail holes were moved in the early s, but are still present. Again, see here for more details. One nail hole near the neck pocket on a May Fender Stratocaster. Note the "shadow" lack of red created by the nail, as the red was originally sprayed on the body! Mid Fender started using Alder instead of Ash as the main body wood for all models that were not finished in Blond which means the Telecaster stayed Ash. They did this because it was easier to paint Alder it required less paint steps.
All Alder bodies were dipped in a yellow stain, Album), which was the first step in the sunbursting paint process sunburst was Fender's primary color on Alder bodies, hence all Alder bodies were prepped this way, regardless of what color they were actually painted.
This Strat has a neck date of Decemberand still has the "nail holes" under the pickguard. The nails holes were pretty much gone by fall of Then were now inside the cavity routes, like in the truss rod rod or neck pocket route, inside the control cavity route, and inside the bridge pickup route. The stick allowed the body to be easily held by the painter while spraying paint and drying.
This left a visible paint stick shadow inside the neck pocket. Fender used this technique into the s. The nails were still used, but now only for the drying process and were no longer needed during painting. Still, the "nail holes" will be present with no paint in them! Mid Fender changed how they sprayed a sunburst finish. In early and before, the yellow part of the sunburst was stained into the wood. This meant Fender only had to spray two colors red and brown instead of three. But in mid, Fender changed to spraying the yellow portion of the sunburst finish.
This made the finish less transparent, and allowed Fender to use Alder body wood with minor defects such as mineral stains. The and later sunburst finish colors didn't blend together as nice and don't show much wood grain, and hence are sometimes called a "target 'burst".
Also by the fall ofFender no longer hammered nails into the body prior to painting. They instead used the paint stick to suspend the body while drying. Later "thick skin" finishes got really thick in the 's, resembling a bowling ball.
But all polyester finishes are very thick and glossy compared to the early lacquer finishes. A Jaquar in the rare, top-of-the line molded form-fit case. Fender Cases Note that the following case descriptions concerns mostly U. Fenders distributed in other countries were often shipped without cases.
The reason: the foreign distributor felt they could get cases locally and less expensively. Canada and Europe are perfect examples of this. Until the mid 's, most Canadian imported Fenders were sold with a Canadian case. Note: the following info does not apply to student model Fenders such as the MusicMaster and DuoSonic. The interior material of these cases generally will match the descriptions below, but the exteriors will not. The exterior of these cases in the 's didn't Album) any material on them they were just a brown formicaand didn't have any interior pocket system.
The s Fender gig bag, an alternative to the more expensive rectangle hard shell tweed case. Right Pic: Left to right: Tweed, brown tolex, white tolex. From to Fender used a guitar-shaped hard case for the Tele and Pbass nicknamed the "thermometer" case, due to it's unique thermometer shape. This case had a brown covering with a brown plush lining. The case had a bulb shape at the peghead. Also available from to the early 's, was a Fender gig bag case.
These cases are soft, foldable bags, and are brown in color. If you couldn't afford a hard case, this was the alternative. From mid to mid, this case changed to the "poodle" case. Still shaped like a guitar, the poodle case had one flat side that did not follow the contours of the guitar this was the side of the case that rested on the ground when the case was set down by the handle.
Though this case looks similar for both the Telecaster and Stratocaster, it was not a Strat won't fit into a Tele poodle case. The interior was a bright red plush shag.
Click here for a picture of the early "thermometer" and "poodle" style Telecaster cases. In mid, Fender dropped the guitar shaped case in favor of a rectangle shaped case. The first generation rectangle case used in was called the "center pocket tweed" case. The interior center pocket not only allowed cord and pick storage, but also supported the neck of the guitar.
These cases were covered in lacquer-coated tweed and had a bright red plush shag lining. From to earlythe next generation of rectangle case was the "side pocket tweed" case. The same lacquer-coated tweed outside and bright red shag plush lining was used, but the interior pick pocket was moved to the side next to the neck. They also had an interior tag proclaiming the case as a "Koylon" brand case. These cases also had exterior brown leather ends.
In onlythese cases also had an exterior "Fender" logo thick foil sticker which fell off From to mid, the case stayed the same except now the interior was a much shorter burnt orange plush.
Also the "Koylon" interior tag is gone. The exterior thick foil sticker is now no longer used. From mid to the exterior of the Fender case changed. A new material called "Tolex" was now used, in a coffee-with-cream type brown color. Tolex is a rough rubber-like compound that was much more durable than tweed. Brown leather ends stayed the same. The interior burnt-orange plush used from stayed until about when the interior of the cases changed to a dark orange plush. Also around the center manual latch changed positions from under the case handle, to just outside of the case handle the latch's postion could hurt your knuckles when carrying the case.
Click here for a picture of the early square style Fender cases from mid to This picture includes the "center pocket" tweed case, the "side pocket Koylon" tweed case, the "side pocket burnt orange" tweed case, and the style "brown" case with the dark orange interior. The only case missing from this photo is the to style "brown" case with the lighter colored burnt orange interior. In to earlythe exterior again changed on Fender cases. Now white tolex with black leather ends was the standard.
The interior stayed the same dark orange plush. In earlyFender moved to a black tolex case with the same dark orange interior. This type of case was basically used till the end of the 's, with some minor changes mostly the exterior logo. Early to cases have no exterior "Fender" logo. This logo had two black plastic rivets holding the logo to the case exterior. There was no "tail" under the "Fender" logo.
About Still used the black tolex case, but now the case exterior has a plastic Fender logo with a "tail" under Album) "Fender". Also the white piping around the leather case ends becomes more pronouced. Mid to late s: The logo on the black tolex case changed yet again.
Also the interior of the case got more padding. When Fender started making reissues inthey also reissued the tweed case. But now the exterior tweed was considerably "hairer", and was not lacquered. Also the interior was not a short dark orange plush, but was now a long, light colored orange shag. Also available starting around to about was a brown molded form-fit case. This case was basically rectangle, but with very rounded corners. This case looks similar to the black molded Fender cases of the 's, except this case is brown, thicker, a little shorter in length, and the interior is not blue.
This case was primarily available for the Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars. The case included with these Fender guitars was a Jennings case, which was similar in dimensions to a California rectangle Fender case, but not as stylish. For example, the Jennings case had no leather ends, and were covered in thin brown vinyl tweed with dark pressed metal corners. The interior was a plush deep wine color, with no lid to the interior "glove compartment". The handle was a smooth plastic-leather over metal.
BySelmer also became a Fender importer. And later, Arbiter also became a Fender distributor in the U. The exterior case logos used through the years. The top logo was used on rectangle Fender tweed cases from about to early No case logos were used from to The next four plastic case logos were used from to the s: Fender logo with no tail. Thrid logo from top used in to "tail".
Fourth logo from the top with no tail and small "R" above the big "r" was used from The bottom most plastic logo with "Made in U. Serial numbers compiled from several sources including myself, Gruhn, and Duchossoir. That is, there's lots of overlap between years.
Basically there was a big bin of serial number plates, and the installers grabbed one, and screwed it to the guitar. They weren't managing the numbers in any way. The point is, don't read too much into Fender serial numbers. Pre Fender guitars have a serial number on the bridgeplate or neckplate. Serial numbers are basically chronological, but there is some overlap amoung years.
Assembler reached in and grabbed one or many. Put them on the instrument s. The Stratocaster's double cutaways allowed players easier access to higher positions on the neck. The first model offered for sale was the Fender Stratocaster. The color was originally a two-color, dark brown-to-golden yellow sunburst pattern, although custom color guitars were produced most famously [ according to whom?
The first models had a serial number imprinted on the Bakelite back plate. After mid, the four-digit serial number was stamped into the steel heel plate. InFender began using alder for sunburst and most custom-color Stratocaster bodies.
Ash needed grain filler and sanding blocks for contour sanding, though it was still used on translucent blonde instruments. Inthe neck shape took a more "V-shaped" feel with deeper body carves on the guitar a noted feature.
InFender introduced a thick Brazilian rosewood fretboard to the Stratocaster, now colloquially referred to as a "slab-board". This thicker board lasted untilwhen the fretboard was made with a thinner 'veneer' of Brazilan Rosewood.
Nearly all of the 's models of the Stratocaster had a rosewood fretboard, and maple fretboards would not be re-introduced in large numbers until Inter-departmental Dupont support research provided a flexible basecoat for their wood applications. A single-ply, eight-screw hole white pickguard changed to an hole three-ply in late held all electronic components except the recessed jack plate, facilitating assembly.
Half way throughthe serial numbers on the neck plate including all Fender guitars and basses were prefixed by the letter L. This occurred until November These were termed L-series Fender instruments. The Fender Stratocaster  shows an advancement in design from the 's models including a 'veneer' Brazilian rosewood board with Clay Dot inlays, a 3 tone sunburst finish on an Alder body and Kluson tuners.
To summarise, the specific features in the evolution of the Fender Stratocaster between and included: . Despite being credited with inventing the most popular electric guitar in history, Leo Fender made very few alterations to the basic design of the Fender Stratocaster and the Telecaster for that matter up until when the Album) was sold to CBS Instruments.
For example, the bridge cover on the Fender Stratocaster was often taken off by players and either disposed or kept in the case. Despite full knowledge of this, Leo Fender always provided the new Fender guitars with a bridge cover to prevent corrosion on the bridge parts.
The Fender Jaguar had been promoted as the flagship guitar in the Fender line. As such, the resurgence of the Fender Stratocaster is credited to the arrival of Jimi Hendrix in the late 's most famously playing the instrument upside down. His remarkable playing style and musical prowess lead to a dramatic increase in sales and thrust the Stratocaster into musical history as the premier electric guitar.
As they followed Jimi Hendrix' popularity on TV, CBS asked for the word Stratocaster on the headstock be made larger so that people could read the model name easily.
During the years andnearly a quarter of those Fender Stratocasters manufactured were made in in a single year. These increased 's production levels saw a gradual departure from the high quality instruments of the 's and the introduction of Japanese manufacturers into the market.
Original Stratocasters were manufactured with five vibrato springs three in late prototypes attached to a milled inertia block and anchored to the back of the body. The novel mechanism pivots on a fulcrum design with a six screw bridge plate, allowing the whole set-up to "float" while transferring the strings energy directly into the body.
Though advertised as "Tremolo" a change in volume amplitudevibrato is the correct term for pitch variation. In the floating position, players can move the bridge-mounted vibrato tremolo arm up or down to modulate the pitch of the notes being played. Hank Marvin Jeff Beck  and Ike Turner  have used the Stratocaster's floating vibrato extensively in their playing. As string gauges have changed, players have experimented with the number of springs often four though Hendrix used five.
As the average gauge has decreased over the years, modern Stratocasters are equipped with three springs as a stock option in order to counteract the reduced string tension. While the floating bridge has unique advantages for wavering pitch upwards like Jeff Beckthe functionality of the "floating" has been widely accepted, yet disputed by some musicians.
As the bridge floats, the instrument has a tendency to go out of tune during double-stop string bends. Many Stratocaster players opt to tighten the springs or even increase the number of springs used so that the bridge is firmly anchored against the guitar body: in this configuration, the vibrato arm can still be used to slacken the strings and therefore lower the pitch, but it cannot be used to raise the pitch a configuration sometimes referred to as "dive-only".
Some players, such as Eric Clapton and Ronnie Woodfeel that the floating bridge has an excessive propensity to detune guitars and so inhibit the bridge's movement with a chunk of wood wedged between the bridge block and the inside cutout of the tremolo cavity, and by increasing the tension on the tremolo springs; these procedures lock the bridge in a fixed position.
Some Stratocasters have a fixed bridge in place of the vibrato assembly; these are colloquially called "hard-tails". There is considerable debate about the effects on tone and sustain of the material used in the vibrato system's 'inertia bar' and many aftermarket versions are available.
The Stratocaster features three single coil pickupswith the output originally selected by a 3-way switch. Guitarists soon discovered that by positioning the switch in between the first and second position, both the bridge and middle pickups could be selected, and similarly, the middle and neck pickups could be selected between the 2nd and 3rd position.
Fender introduced a five-way selector inmaking such pickup combinations more stable. This setting's characteristic tone is not caused by any electronic phenomenon—early Stratocasters used identical pickups for all positions. This "in between" tone is caused by phase cancellation due to the physical position of the pickups along the vibrating Fender Stratocaster - Zwakkelmann - Stubenrocker (CD.
The neck and middle pickups are each wired to a tone control that incorporates a single, shared tone capacitor, whereas the bridge pickup, which is slanted towards the high strings for a more trebly sound, has no tone control for maximum brightness.
Dick Dale was a prominent Stratocaster player who also collaborated with Leo Fender in developing the Fender Showman amplifier. Andertons Loyalty Points Scheme Earn loyalty points whenever you shop at Andertons Redeem points for discounts on your next purchase Online, in store or over the phone, earn and use points however you choose to shop No need to sign up - points are added automatically when you make a purchase! How Loyalty Points Work What are points worth?
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