Fender Stratocaster 1959

1959 was a significant transitional year for the Fender Stratocaster. The updates to the Stratocaster model in 1959 yielded some of the most desirable features which are highly sought after by players looking to collect vintage guitars. The slab Rosewood fretboard and the three layer nitrate pickguard updates were part of the attempt by Fender to spruce up their range of now 3 professional solid body electric guitar models. 

As a Fender guitar collector, I'm always buying Fender Stratocaster guitars made in the 1950s and 1960s. I'm looking for clean condition Stratocaster guitars in all colors. If you've inherited a Fender Stratocaster and would like help finding the year it was made then you can get help here: Fender Serial Numbers. Or if you're interested in finding out how much I would value your Stratocaster then you can contact me here: Sell a Fender

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1959 Stratocaster Details

How much did a Stratocaster cost in 1959?

Old price lists are the best way to research the cost of a Fender Stratocaster in 1959. Fender price lists often listed a few different options for each model which varied in cost. The Fender price list from 1959 offered the Stratocaster (no tremolo) for $249.50, the Stratocaster Guitar (with tremolo) for $274.50, and the Stratocaster (with tremolo in Blonde with 14 Carat gold plated hardware) for $330.00.

Are you considering selling a 1959 Stratocaster? Get in touch here: Sell a Fender.

How much did a Stratocaster cost in 1959?

If we adjust the cost of a 1959 Fender Stratocaster in 2023 dollars, then the Sunburst with tremolo Stratocaster ($274.50 in 1959) would cost about $2,883.58 today. But the value of a 1959 Stratocaster is far more than that! You can read more about Stratocaster Values here.

How many Stratocasters did Fender make in 1959?

Unlike Gibson, the Fender Electric Instrument Company was privately owned until January 5th, 1965 when Leo Fender and his partner sold to CBS. Leo Fender did not publicize how many guitars they made and shipped each year. The best answer to how many Stratocasters were made in 1959 is - we don't know yet. The data may be out there in a private collection, but no author has put the information together in a usable way yet. 

1959 Stratocaster peghead logo and slab fretboard

Which features changed for Stratocasters in 1959?

The most important transitional features for Stratocaster guitars made in 1959 are the slab Rosewood fretboard and the three layer nitrate pickguard. Stratocasters made before about May of 1959 featured one piece Maple neck and fretboards. Fender's thin finishes on the fretboard often wore away with playing time and left dark spots from finger oils and dirt. The solution was to make necks with a Maple structure but a thick piece of Rosewood which comprises the fretboard. The thick slab Rosewood construction was used until it was updated to a thinner veneer in 1962.

The pickguard material and amount of mounting screws also changed in 1959. Earlier Stratocasters used a bright parchment white pickguard constructed of ABS plastic. Fender began installing a fancier white-black-white style pickguard made of cellulose nitrate in the Spring and Summer of 1959. 

1959 Stratocaster with three layer nitrate pickguard  1959 Stratocaster with slab Rosewood fretboard


1959 Fender Stratocaster Examples

Sunburst with Rosewood fretboard and nitrate pickguard

1959 Fender Stratocaster with Sunburst finish, rosewood fretboard, and three layer nitrate pickguard

This fine example of a 1959 Fender Stratocaster with slab Rosewood fretboard and three layer nitrate pickguard came through the shop recently. Weighing in at only 7.2 lbs, it's a very light and playable example of the model from one of the best years. This guitar is 100% original except for a rewound neck pickup, replaced nut, and a few intonation saddle springs replaced. 

Weight: 7.2 lbs / 3.3 kg

Neck profile:  0.80" deep at the first fret and 0.98" deep at the 12th fret

Pickup readings: The neck pickup reads 5.73k ohms, middle reads 6.02k ohms, and the bridge reads 5.86k ohms.

Do you have one like this? Get in touch with the collector here: Sell a Fender.

1959 Stratocaster with Blonde finish and Rosewood fretboard

1959 Stratocaster with cream white Blonde finish in original case

I received pictures of this beautiful Fender Stratocaster in Blonde finish with Rosewood fretboard from a private owner recently. The standard finish color for the Stratocaster is Sunburst, but custom colors could be special ordered in the late 1950s. I am looking to collect all nice examples of 1950s Strats, but I am particularly looking for color options examples like Blonde and Black. You can contact me here to inquire about selling a vintage Stratocaster: Sell a Fender

This Blonde 1959 Stratocaster has an interesting 10 hole thin white pickguard. While I don't have interior pictures of it, the Rosewood fretboard and 10 screw hole pickguard likely date this guitar to the Summer of 1959. It's a fine example and one that I'd love to have for myself. 

Fender Stratocaster 1959 with Blond cream white color

John Shults

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