Guitar Safari Champion: Fender Stratocaster 1957

John Shults

Posted on January 02 2022

Fender guitar collector buys Fender Stratocaster 1957

 

For this Fender guitar collector, 2021 was the year that my passion for vintage guitars went from strong to out of control. I was (and am) always on the hunt for nice examples of Fender guitars but especially 1950s and 1960s Fender Stratocasters. The hunt escalated to the point that it prompted Reverb.com to post an interview feature by Tony Bacon about me titled The Guitar Safari Champion. There are many guitars from this past year that contributed to the title, but one of them that sticks out to me is this Fender Stratocaster made in 1957. 

I am always on the hunt for nice examples of 1950s and 1960s Fender guitars including the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazzmaster, and Jaguar. If you've inherited a vintage Fender and are looking for help with identification and values then you can check the year of manufacture here: How to date a Stratocaster. If you're curious about how much I would value your Stratocaster then you can contact me here: Sell a Fender guitar.

Sell a 1957 Fender Stratocaster Near Me?

After personally owning this 1957 Fender Stratocaster since the early 1970s, this Columbus, Ohio gentleman decided it was time to sell. His grandfather was the '57 Stratocaster's original owner; many of his family were musically inclined, but he received the Strat as a gift from his grandad in 1973. He played it sparingly throughout the years but had no intentions of becoming a professional guitarist. The Stratocaster didn't see much playing time in the past few decades after more important things in life got in the way. We connected over the fact that I travel worldwide to be the buyer for the vintage Fender guitars I've always dreamed of. We set a date for the next week to meet in person so I could play and enjoy the Strat. The map said that it was about a 10 hour drive so I lined up a few other guitars to look at along the way: this Fender Telecaster 1957 and this Gibson Les Paul 1960.

One thing that has become apparent with guitar safaris is that they don't always go as planned. The seller called the morning I was set to leave on the 10 hour drive to say that he was tending to a family member in the hospital and wouldn't be able to meet that day to sell the Stratocaster! I understood, but was still sad that I had to wait to buy it. I decided to do my trip backwards and set off to Virginia to meet the seller of this 1960 Gibson Les Paul then head onto West Virginia for the 1957 Fender Telecaster. Both are fabulous guitar that I'm thrilled to have, but my heart was set on the 1957 Fender Stratocaster. I hadn't heard from the seller in a few days, but I drove to Columbus, Ohio anyway in hopes that he would be available. 

As luck would have it, my timing was perfect. I met the seller at his bank and we inspected the Stratocaster at length. The tremolo cavity on the back of the body was dated after it was routed but before finishing in June of 1957. All of the solder was original under the pickguard, all three pickups were in good working condition, and the potentiometer codes indicated the 38th week of 1957. Not only that, but I could tell it was a nice resonant sounding example when I played it. The '57 Stratocaster was everything I hoped it would be!

Fender Stratocaster 1957 tremolo cavity dated 6/57 June of 1957

This 1957 Fender Stratocaster had everything I look for when buying a 1950s Fender guitar: original finish throughout, a straight neck with good frets, original pickups, potentiometers, and solder throughout. But it also had the added benefit of the rarely seen figured maple neck and headstock. Tony Bacon's book on the Stratocaster indicates that Leo Fender preferred unfigured Maple for his guitars, so finding the figure is like a needle in a haystack. In my opinion, the figured Maple on a 1950s Fender Stratocaster doesn't make for a "better" guitar, but it sure is fun to look at. 

1957 Fender Stratocaster in red plush Koylon case with figured Maple neck and headstock.

Fender Stratocaster 1957 Values

If you've inherited a 1950s Fender Stratocaster and are curious about how much I would value your guitar then you can contact me here: Sell a Fender. Take some general pictures of your guitar and text or email them to the contact information at the bottom of this page. If you think your Stratocaster is from the 1950s or 1960s then I'd be happy to take a look at it for verification. The value of a 1950s Fender Stratocaster is highly dependent on its condition and originality, but there are other significant factors that Fender guitar collectors look for including bridge style, color, case, etc. I would be happy to take a look at your Stratocaster and may also be the local buyer you're looking for.

You can check out the other guitars in the Guitar Safari Champion series here:
Gibson Les Paul Standard 1958 Burst
Fender Jazzmaster 1960 Black with Gold Hardware
Gibson EDS-1275 Double Neck 1959

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