Fender Stratocaster 1954

Fender Stratocaster 1954


This Fender Stratocaster 1954, from the first year of the model's production, has just emerged after being hidden away for decades by its previous owner. He was the tour manager for Arthur Prysock before his retirement and eventual passing earlier this year. He was not a guitar player, but he knew the historical importance of this Stratocaster. He didn't have kids of his own so his house and possessions passed to his niece at the time of his death. She remembered him mentioning the guitar long ago but had trouble finding it since he stashed it away to keep it safe. The Stratocaster was one of the last things they found in the house before putting it up for sale.

Make and Model: Fender Stratocaster

Year: 1954. Tremolo cavity pencil date "8/54" in red pencil, control cavity masking tape date "10-11-54" signed by Virginia. Serial number 09xx on the neck plate. The potentiometer code reads "304435" (304 = Stackpole, 4 = 1954, 35 = 35th week).  Check out How to date a Fender Stratocaster.

Measurements: 7lbs 13oz total weight, the neck width at the nut measures exactly 1 41/64, the neck depth at the first fret measures 0.90" deep, and the depth at the 12th fret measures 0.98". Pickup resistance measured out the jack: neck = 5.65k ohms, middle = 5.78k ohms, bridge = 5.80k ohms.

Originality: 100% original finish and parts except for rewound neck and bridge pickup coils. I sent the entire guitar to Tom Brantley Rewinds where he attempted to repair the original coils but was unable to find the break. He rewound both to vintage correct spec and reconnected the leads to the bobbins. The middle pickup is undisturbed and in great working condition. 

Playability: 100% perfect with no excuses. The neck is straight, the original frets show virtually no wear, and the electronics work like new. I've left the saddle intonation adjustments exactly as found because I believe they were never adjusted after leaving the factory. The original potentiometers still have their factory lubricant and required nothing but a gentle work out to wipe away any scratchy sounds. 

Needs: Nothing. 

Plastics and Case: All plastics and the case and strap are original to the guitar. The switch tip is missing. The exterior of the center pocket case has darkened significantly and has some paint on it. The latch springs are still working but the latches are bent slightly since the niece did not know how to open them. She thought they were locked before learning she needed to slide them to the slide to pop them open. 

Notes: I'm thrilled to have found this very clean and uncirculated 1954 Fender Stratocaster. I believe that the guitar was likely gifted to the tour manager since its original neck and bridge pickups didn't sound good. They still made sound out the jack but lacked the full range and bass response of a proper working pickup. Only the neck pickup sounded like a good Stratocaster can. The original pickups now sound spectacular. It's so rare to find any pre-CBS Fender Stratocasters without any fret wear at all so I think it's a fair trade off. I'm confident you'll love this clean 1954 Fender Stratocaster.