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Earliest known Fender Stratocaster For Sale


Searcy

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http://www.tennessean.com/article/20140311/BUSINESS06/303110111/Earliest-known-Fender-Stratocaster-on-sale-in-Nashville

 

 

Earliest known Fender Stratocaster on sale in Nashville

 

 

 

 

 

It wasn’t played by a rock 'n' roll hero like Bob Dylan or Elvis Presley, but a historic guitar is on sale for $250,000 at a Nashville instrument shop.

 

The guitar is the earliest known Fender Stratocaster, the electric guitar that has built a cult following all its own.

 

The guitar, which has a serial number 0100, is being sold via consignment at Gruhn Guitars by Fender historian Richard Smith.

 

Gruhn Guitars owner George Gruhn said the recordkeeping on the guitar is superb because Smith has owned the instrument for 30 years and is considered a foremost expert on Stratocasters. Smith published the book “Fender: The Sound Heard 'Round the World” and curated a museum exhibit on Fender guitars at the Fullerton Museum in California.

 

“It’s a guitar in a fine playing condition. It was acquired from the original owner by Richard over 30 years ago,” Gruhn said. “And it is extremely well-documented.”

 

Gruhn said he has already had some interest in the guitar, which he put on sale a week ago. He said the likely buyer would be a collector who appreciates the history behind the Fender Stratocaster, which Gruhn said is the most popular electric guitar in the world.

 

Gruhn said his shop, which specializes in new, used and collectible instruments, has sold more expensive guitars in the past, such as Maybelle Carter’s guitar to the Country Music Hall of Fame for $585,000. But Gruhn said he was more interested in this guitar because of the model’s place in music history.

 

“It’s the most popular electric guitar model in the world, and this is the first one,” Gruhn said. “It wasn’t owned by a celebrity performer, but it was made by a celebrity maker. It’s like if you had a Picasso painting or a Van Gogh. Who’s the celebrity – the previous owner or the (piece of art)?”

 

While there are some Stratocasters in circulation with lower serial numbers, those guitars have the serial stamped on the neck fastening plate, which Fender didn’t begin doing until later. When the guitar first hit the market, the serial was stamped on the tremolo cavity plate, and the company began numbering them at 100, Gruhn said. The guitar is dated to 1954.

 

Late last year, the Fender Stratocaster played by Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival sold for nearly $1 million. Gruhn said the price of that guitar was inflated because of Dylan’s celebrity status.

 

“To me this guitar is more important,” Gruhn said. “It’s the first Stratocaster.”

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While there are some Stratocasters in circulation with lower serial numbers, those guitars have the serial stamped on the neck fastening plate, which Fender didn't begin doing until later. When the guitar first hit the market, the serial was stamped on the tremolo cavity plate, and the company began numbering them at 100, Gruhn said. The guitar is dated to 1954.

 

"It's the first Stratocaster."

THAT is quite something.

 

Yup. I'd pay well over-the-odds for that if I were filthy rich.

 

P.

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I wonder how much Gibson Les Paul 001 would be worth?...

Oddly enough we were discussing these a few months back.

 

Here's the final (and one of the very few surviving) prototype LPs with a tasteful 'burst flame maple top;

 

4a26ca27-749c-4b4f-9d15-989137be411b_zpsda279469.jpg

 

P.

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Oddly enough we were discussing these a few months back.

 

Here's the final (and one of the very few surviving) prototype LPs with a tasteful 'burst flame maple top;

 

P.

Oh yeah I seem to remember that now... hows about the ones in this pic? must be the next ones after?

 

les_3_zps2ac40ce2.jpg

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Oh yeah I seem to remember that now... hows about the ones in this pic? must be the next ones after?

Hmmm......might be........

 

The thing which leads me to suspect that these are early - but not 'the first' - GT's is the bound necks.

The first batch of LPs had unbound necks - no nibs - so these might be a selection of run #1 and run #2 which Les had Gibson leave only partially finished so he could mod them himself?.

Two at least have only one Vol / one Tone knobs and a few have what appear to be ES-175-style tailpieces. Some odd p'ups, and empty cavities, too.

 

Nice snap, Rabs! I've never seen that one previously! Thanks!!!

 

[thumbup]

 

P.

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Oh NOOOO!!!

 

I was thinking I needed a 1954 60th annie Strat to celebrate my 60th Bday this year. Weeehellll. Here it is and it's only 100x more than the one I was a look'n at. And the REAL DEAL.

 

Look out Henry, I may beat ya to it cuz it's got my name all over it!! NOTTT!!! [biggrin]

 

I was getting the heebe-jeebes @$2,500.00

 

Aster

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Yes, that's second run with bound neck.

 

Our old mate from here, Thermionik, has one nowadays.

Great, GREAT guitar by all accounts.

 

There is now an aftermarket Trapeze bridge which is low enough to allow for good action without a neck re-set ! ! !

 

P.

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AAAAGGGGHHHHHH ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

 

[scared]

 

Sorry for going off-topic, Searcy! I was forgetting I wasn't in the LP section.....

 

I BLAME RABS ! ! ! !

 

Back to Strats ! ! ! ! ! !

 

P.

Well its also about original run guitars so I think we can just about get away with that :)

 

Plus Searcy was the first one to post Les and his Log :P ;)

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Well its also about original run guitars so I think we can just about get away with that :)

 

Plus Searcy was the first one to post Les and his Log :P ;)

OK, but after you posted your off-topic question, so obviously you started leading Pippy off the track... [biggrin]

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Topics go where they go , Bros. [thumbup] I'm not a Strat guy but this is a cool story. I may bop down the Gruhn just to say I touched it.

 

Be nice if you could get that Mrs of yers selfied with it. Mr. Smith has a great book, everyone should have it and read it. It's a bit dry, but a great Leo reference. I hope you get to see it, maybe plonk at it. It was at Dangerous Curves up in Boston long time ago, my Mrs took me up there to see that show, it was awesome. The very first pine tele and that strat were there, behind glass.

 

rct

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David's. 0001 Strat is numbered on the neck plate. That makes this one older as it is numbered on the term spring cover. Also the numbers on the neck plates were not used sequentially . They were just tossed in a box and chosen at random. The term cover numbers were sequental.

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...as far as I can remember (I read about it around 30 years ago!) it was #0001 of a special Limited Edition run...

I remembered wrongly...I've just checked. Apologies for any confusion!

It was (probably) a special build - not #1 of a special run.

 

Read about David Gilmour's #0001 here;

 

http://www.gilmourish.com/?page_id=259

 

The 'Phil' that David Gilmour says he bought the guitar from is Phil Taylor, Gilmour's guitar tech since 1974(!).

 

Something about that DG Strat tripped a memory...

Then there was the one-time Seymour Duncan ownership which tripped a similar memory...

 

Anyone familiar with Ken Achard's 1977 book 'The Fender Guitar' will have seen that instrument on page 21. The cigarette burns on the p'head are like a fingerprint.

I bought my copy 34 years ago (I noted it in the book) so I really should have spotted the similarities before now!

The photo caption reads '1955 Stratocaster. Photo: Seymour Duncan.'.

Interesting that, at that time, SD dated the guitar to '55 and not either '54 or '57.

In the article (in the link above) SD maintains the body and neck were from two different guitars although both were dated '57.

 

P.

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Strat #289 was about 11 miles away from where I'm sitting right now, in a trailer with chickens and junk cars in the yard. It was sold with a tweed amp in 1987 for $300. It belonged to the guy's late wife and he had to sell it to pay bills. Didn't know what he had under the couch. A buddy of mine bought it and flipped it to Brian Fischer. It's in the Fender Stratocaster book, the one with the chip taken out of the front pickup cover. That's as close as I'll ever get to something of the magnitude of s/n 0100.....

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