The last to have a one piece maple neck and single-ply guard, the 1959 Fender Stratocaster
The end of the decade brought about some more dramatic changes to the aesthetic of the Stratocaster as Leo continued to tinker with his second 6 string child. 1958 had brought about the three-tone sunburst finish but 1959 brought about far more changes. These included the now infamous Nitrate Cellulose pickguard, rosewood 'slab-board' and a few more minor behind the scenes things, enough changes in fact that this could be the true second incarnation of the Strat.
This guitars body has been refinished in a two tone nitro sunburst which we have to admit is a very good job. As you can see from the pictures, they managed to retain the body date of December 1958.
The neck date reads February 1959 which makes this one of the last few Stratocasters to leave the factory with a one piece maple neck. It retains its original finish and frets.
The pickguard, as with the neck, was soon to be changed to nitrate three ply so this guitar is one of the last to have a single-ply plastic guard. Its in excellent shape which is not always the case. This can also be said for the other plastic parts.
The hardware shows signs of corrosion and wear though everything works well.
Electrically, the volume pot is correct though the tone controls have been replaced at some stage as has the selector switch for a modern 5 way. The pickups are correct black bottom single coils but have been rewound.
The guitar comes with a hardshell case.
This guitar is a real pleasure to play. The neck is comfortable and not as thin as they got later in the same year. The black bottom pickups have such a clear and three dimensional tone without any of the harshness that later incarnation of these pickups produced. It is a nice lightweight one too at just 3.33Kg.
You've got to love this guitar for the looks alone, and when you get your hands on it you won't want to put it down. Don't hang around though....