Fender Stratocaster 1965
Posted on August 22 2022
1965 was quite the transitional year for Fender and its flagship Stratocaster model electric guitar. The sale of the Fender company to CBS had long lasting effects on the guitars it produced. Yet the Stratocaster's overall form and function stayed the same for the next year or so. Some of my favorite Stratocasters ever were made during this tumultuous time period of wild growth and transition to new ownership. Still, not all 1965 Fender Stratocasters are made the same.
As a Fender guitar collector, I'm always on the hunt for the nicest examples of Stratocaster guitars made during the 1950s and 1960s: Sell a Fender. If you're looking to find out how much it's worth then check out Guitar Appraisal.
Jump to the information you're looking for:
How much did a Stratocaster cost in 1965?
Interesting features of 1965 Stratocasters
Identification including potentiometer codes and neck dates
Photo galleries of some pretty nice '65 Strats
Considering selling? Get in touch with me here. I'm looking for nice examples and custom colors.
How much did a Fender Stratocaster Cost in 1965?
The best way to find out how much did a Fender Stratocaster cost in 1965 is by checking the price list from that year. Remember that the Stratocaster was offered in a few different versions with different prices for each. A Fender Stratocaster cost between $252.50 and $339.00 in 1965. If you're more interested in current pricing for Stratocasters then check out Stratocaster Value. Here are the listings for Strats in the 1965 catalog:
STRATOCASTER Guitar: (no tremolo, three pickups) Sunburst finish -- $252.00 and 52.50 for the case
STRATOCASTER Guitar: (with tremolo, three pickups) Sunburst finish -- $281.00 and $52.50 for the case
STRATOCASTER Guitar: (with tremolo, three pickups) Blond or Custom Finish -- $295.00 and $52.50 case
STRATOCASTER Guitar: (with tremolo, three pickups) Blond or Custom Finish, Gold Hardware -- $339.00 and $52.50 case
It's easier to see now why Fender guitars with custom color finish or gold hardware are more valuable than the standard Sunburst finish. Most guitar players found that the Sunburst finish with Tremolo tailpiece was just perfect for them and didn't feel the need to pay extra for anything else. Custom colors like Olympic White and Candy Apple Red Metallic are far more rare than the standard Sunburst finish, so prices for them are usually much higher. Some colors like Foam Green are so rare that they're often double the price of a more common custom color, but a rare color with gold hardware like this one is a unicorn: 1962 Fender Stratocaster Fiesta Red Gold Hardware. For more on value check out Stratocaster Values.
1965 Stratocaster Features
Like all Fender guitars, the Stratocaster model changed slightly from year to year, but 1965 was one of the most important years. You can check out the full photo gallery of this guitar here: Candy Apple Red '65 Strat. Here are the most important Stratocaster features which changed from 1964 to 1965:
Small to large headstock: One of the most significant changes was the enlarged headstock around December of 1965. The curved treble side is now more exaggerated.
Brazilian to Indian Rosewood: Fender's Rosewood fretboard was introduced in 1958 on the Jazzmaster comprised of Brazilian Rosewood. An embargo was passed on the import of Brazilian Rosewood which made it difficult to source. Fender transitioned to using Indian Rosewood for the fretboard material. You can tell the difference between the two since Braz is much darker than Indian.
Mint Green Pickguard to White: The three layer nitrocelluloid pickguard that appears to be a mint green color was introduced in 1959, but transitioned to a bright with ABS material beginning in late 1964. Mint green guards can still be found on guitars made in the first half of 1965.
Vulcanized fiberboard (clay) dots to pearloid: the fretboard position markers from 1959 until 1965 were made of vulcanized fiberboard but transitioned to a plastic which looked like pearl (pearloid) in 1965.
Neck profiles: The standard nut width for the Stratocaster never changed from 1 5/8", but the profile of the neck (depth measure at the first and 12th fret) does vary significanlty. Here is a sample neck profile measurement: September '65 - 0.84" 1st and 0.98" 12th.
Weight: Our September 1965 Stratocaster test subject weight 7.9 lbs or 3.6 kg.
1965 Stratocaster Identification
It's important to have accurate identification in order to determine the age of a Stratocaster. Here are a few important parts to identify and help find the year it was made. Check out How to date a Stratocaster for more information.
1. Check the serial number - You can find the serial number of a Stratocaster on the back of the body on the metal plate just below the neck. 1965 Strat serial numbers begin with either an "L" with 5 following digits or six digits with a large stylized "F" beneath.
2. Body and Neck - Most Stratocasters will have either a pencil date or an ink stamp on the heel of the neck. The date is from when that part was made, not when the guitar left the factory.
3. Electronics - the term "electronics" here refers to the potentiometer codes and or pickups. The pots will have date codes from when they were made. The pickups weren't signed with a date until 1964.
4. Features - Fender continually updated small aesthetic features on each guitar model. If one feature is from a different time period then it could mean that the part has been replaced.
1965 Stratocaster Photo Galleries
These are some of my favorite guitars I've ever had. I am looking to collect every color Stratocaster made. You can contact me here to sell a Fender.
1965 Fender Stratocaster Olympic White - This Strat is a nice example of the custom color Olympic White which ages to more of a cream color. The paint is still white, but the clear coat over top yellows as it's exposed to light and oxidation.
1965 Fender Stratocaster Candy Apple Red - A very fine example of the Candy Apple Red custom color and the rare Large Fret feature.
1965 Fender Stratocaster Fiesta Red - I travelled all the way to northern Scotland to acquire this Fiesta Red Strat from 1965. It still has the mint green pickguard even with the May 1965 neck date.
Do you have a 1965 Fender Stratocaster?
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.