The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

⚌Reduced‼ Fender Pre-CBS Stratocaster Sunburst, 1964

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Here’s something we see fewer of – a Fender Pre-CBS Stratocaster in Sunburst, with a body date of 9/63 and neck date of March 1964. This type of ‘date mismatch’ has been common in some periods of Fender production. The factory would build and finish a larger number of bodies and store them, with the necks built closer to the sale and delivery date. The potentiometers date to 1963.

Introduced in 1954, the Fender Stratocaster was Leo Fender’s third major instrument after the Broadcaster / NoCaster / Telecaster / Esquire and the revolutionary Precision Bass. It was produced with only minor changes until mid-1959, after Fender introduced the Jazzmaster and Jaguar with Rosewood fingerboards – sourced from Brazil – to appeal to the Jazz guitar demographic. At first, these were flat-bottomed ‘Slab’ style fingerboards, but in mid-1962 Fender had worked out a method for appling a thinner, even-width section of Rosewood (still Brazilian) to a crowned Maple neck. Since that time, most Fender rosewood fingerboards have been of this type. Fender ended its use of Brazilian Rosewood around the end of 1965 and into 1966 until their on-hand supplies ran out.

This Fender Pre-CBS Stratocaster dates to the year before the sale of Fender to CBS. Its serial number starts with an “L”, which was used from 1963 to 1965. The “L” was apparently intended to be a “1”, but was stamped “L” in error. Fender being cost-conscious used the plates anyway.

This guitar has been used as intended, and is in largely original condition. The tuners are of the original Kluson style, but they have been replaced at least twice. Following a previous tuner installation, the head developed a crack running from the A tuner to the edge of the head. This was repaired long ago and is not a structural issue. The body finish has been over sprayed with clear lacquer, and it looks like the pickguard, bridge and jack plate were masked off rather than removed. The original 3-way switch is in the case and has been replaced with a 5-way, a very common and practical upgrade; the major difference in these two switches is the addition of two detents for the ‘in-between’ positions.

The neck is Maple with a Brazilian Rosewood, curved fingerboard, and has been refretted.  At some point, it looks like a second string tree was added, and removed.     Given the state of the finish, this guitar has been played a lot, and the original frets would have been completely worn out. These necks are my favourite profile and are very comfortable.

A black Fender hard shell case is included with this Fender Pre-CBS Stratocaster.


Price: $16,500.00 CAD $18,500.00 CAD
  • Model: Stratocaster
  • Year: 1964
  • Finish Sunburst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: L14100, Body date 9/63 Neck Mar 64 built in Fullerton CA
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 04/05/2022

  • Consignment Item

  • Including Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 7.744lbs 3.52kg
  • Scale Length: 647.7mm 25.5in
  • Nut Width: 41.76mm 1.644in
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