Fender Stratocaster 1965 White Dating & Values

John Shults

Posted on September 20 2021

Fender Stratocaster 1965 electric guitar with Olympic White finish. How to date a Fender Stratocaster and how much is it worth.


This Fender Stratocaster 1965 in original Olympic White finish stands out as one of my favorite vintage guitars I've ever had. It came through my shop in 2016 and was one of the guitars that turned me into a lover of Fender Stratocasters. I've been looking to replace this guitar ever since but haven't found one quite like it. Do you have a '65 Fender Stratocaster you would like to sell? You can contact me here to sell a Fender guitar.

Finding the year of a Fender Stratocaster is more than just using a Fender serial number lookup. Fender serial numbers are typically found on the metal plate that helps stabilize the neck to body joint. This plate is affixed using Phillips head wood screws so it's easily swapped for a different plate. Not only that, but the serial number scheme and style changed multiple times throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. It's important for Fender guitar collectors to familiarize themselves with the full picture of how to date a Fender Stratocaster. 

When I walk into my music room to play a guitar, I still think of this 1965 Fender Stratocaster in Olympic White that has been gone for years now. It had the exact feel that I look for in vintage guitars: loved and played enough to look vintage but with perfect playability and tone. It was light weight, the pickups were bright but full sounding, the action and set up was dialed in, and the neck profile sat comfortably in my hand when I played it. I hope one day that I can find another Fender Stratocaster that can fill the hole in my heart left by this guitar!

Fender Stratocaster 1965 in original Olympic White custom color finish.

How to date a Fender Stratocaster

Since Fender Stratocasters are easily disassembled using only a screwdriver, it's important that all the parts match to the year that the evidence says the guitar was made. Here are four different places to look for evidence of the years it was made: serial number, neck heel ink stamps, potentiometer codes, and general features. 

The serial number on this 1965 Fender Stratocaster is on the metal neck plate on the back of the guitar. It has a large stylized "F" logo underneath and six digits beginning with 10. This Fender serial number lookup shows that the F style plate began in 1965 with a 100,000 range and finished the year under 200,000. This serial number was used on a Fender guitar in 1965. 

The neck heel ink stamp was applied to the end of the neck of Fender guitars a bit early in the manufacturing process but is still helpful for Fender guitar dating. If you've never taken the neck off of a vintage Fender then you'll want to have a professional guitar technician do this part of the inspection. This stamp reads "2SEP65B" where 2 = Stratocaster model (not the day!), SEP = September, 65 = 1965, and B = standard neck width of 1 5/8". 

How to date a Fender Stratocaster 1960s

The potentiometer codes can also be very helpful for Fender Stratocaster dating since the potentiometers were installed very late in the manufacturing process. The codes on the potentiometers indicate the manufacturer, the year, and the week of the year that the part was made. The potentiometers were then shipped to Fender and subsequently installed in guitar, so the code doesn't indicate exactly the week the guitar was made. The potentiometer code on the back of the volume potentiometer on this Stratocaster reads "304 6532 where 304 = Stackpole, 65 = 1965, and 32 = the 32nd week of the year. If you've never disassembled a vintage Fender guitar then you'll want to have a professional guitar technician do this part of the inspection.

How old is my Fender Stratocaster. How to date Fender guitars with potentiometer codes.

Fender Stratocaster Values

You can contact me here to find out what I would pay for your vintage Fender Stratocaster: Fender Guitar Collector.

Fender Stratocaster values float over time but there is a way to compare one guitar's worth to another. Fender guitar collectors like myself use the exact year it was made, the condition, the color, and the originality as the most important factors to determine how much the guitar is worth to us. The Fender Stratocaster debuted in 1954 and each year is slightly different from another year. Usually, the earlier the year the more valuable the guitar is. 

Describing the condition of a Fender Stratocaster is not an exact science, so it's more helpful to compare visually one guitar to another. I like to survey the currently available market for 1965 Fender Stratocasters and compare their condition and price. The cleaner the condition, the higher the price with all other things being equal. 

 The standard color for a Fender Stratocaster in 1965 was Sunburst, so all other colors are less common and more desirable to Fender guitar collectors. The Fender Custom Color Chart from 1965 indicates that "14 colors plus Blond available at 5% additional cost. Sunburst finishes at no extra cost." Sunburst is a great looking color so most players in 1965 didn't feel like paying extra for a different color. That's why a custom color Fender is more rare and desirable to Fender guitar collectors (like the author of this post!). 

As with most things vintage collectible, originality of a vintage Fender Stratocaster is extremely important. Any modifications or changed parts will lower a guitar collector's interest level. A Fender Stratocaster with modifications and replaced parts is still a valuable guitar, but an all original Stratocaster will usually be preferred by players and collectors alike. 

Do you have a Fender Stratocaster 1965 or similar year?

I'm always on the lookout for nice examples of Fender Stratocasters. I'm especially looking for the Strats with original custom color finishes like this guitar. You can contact me here here if you're interested in where to sell a Fender guitar near me. I travel world wide to buy the vintage guitars I'm looking for. I may be able to come to you for an in-person transaction if you have the guitar I'm looking for. 

Fender Stratocaster Values 1965

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