I'm thrilled to be the next owner of this amazingly clean and original 1954 Fender Stratocaster from Georgia! It's a spectacular example of vintage Fender history and an incredibly well preserved guitar. I'm always a Fender guitar buyer, but I'm especially looking for vintage Fender Stratocasters from the 1950s and 1960s. You can contact me here to sell a Fender guitar

If you're looking for help with Fender guitar dating or how old is my Fender guitar? Check out How to date a Fender Stratocaster guitar

1954 Fender Stratocaster guitar

After the stunning success of Fender's professional grade solid body electric guitar in 1950, the Broadcaster turned Telecaster by 1952, the company began developing a new model in 1953. It debuted in 1954 as the Stratocaster who's design was intended to address the concerns of players resulting from the previous model. The Stratocaster's advances in guitar design remained features on the model throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and still today (check out this 1962 Fender Stratocaster and this 1965 Fender Stratocaster). 

The overall shape of the body of the Fender Stratocaster was intended to fit comfortably to a player's rib cage with a slightly offset waist and comfort contoured body for maximum comfort during long gigs. The trio of pickups allowed for greater tonal flexibility, although the out of phase positions popular today were neglected as a result of the three position switch. Perhaps the most revolutionary aspect of the Stratocaster's design was its synchronized tremolo (technically a vibrato, but that's not what Fender called it). 

Vintage 1954 Fender Stratocaster guitar

We can find the year of manufacture of this 1954 Fender Stratocaster by its serial number, potentiometer codes, interior masking tape signature date, and neck heel pencil date (for help with how old is my Fender Stratocaster? check out How to date a Fender Stratocaster guitar). This first year Strat bears a four digit serial number beginning with "09xx" on the back of the neck plate. Its potentiometer codes read "304435" where 304 = Stackpole (manufacturer), 4 = 1954, and 35 = the 35th week. The control cavity masking tape with signature bears the date "10-11-54". The neck heel will also have a pencil date, but since the guitar's neck has never been removed for inspection, I didn't feel the need to remove it. 

I met the previous owners of this 1954 Fender Stratocaster in the lobby of the bank so they could sell their guitar to me. The woman's father was a tour manager for American Jazz and R&B singer Arthur Prysock for much of his career. She didn't know how her father received the guitar, but we think it was likely as a gift or as payment for his services at some point. Her father passed away recently and she inherited the guitar from him. I can imagine it must have been difficult for her to sell her 1950s Fender Stratocaster. I hope that her selling experience was smooth and worry free.

If you've inherited a vintage 1950s or 1960s Fender Stratocaster and are looking for help with identification, you can read up on how to date it here: how to date a Fender Stratocaster. You can reach out to me there as well if you're interested in finding out how much is my Fender guitar worth? I may be interested in buying it or I may be able to connect you with someone who would treasure your guitar. 

 Vintage Fender Stratocaster guitar 1950s

John Shults

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