Fender discovers Mike McCready’s fabled ’59 Strat is actually a 1960 model during the creation of new Custom Shop replica

Mike McCready of Temple Of The Dog performs at The Forum on November 14, 2016 in Inglewood, California.
(Image credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

NAMM 2021 isn't taking place in the physical realm this year, but you'll find all the hottest January gear launches in our guide to the biggest guitar, amp and pedal releases of 2021 so far.

Alongside new 2021 signature models for Jason Isbell, Chrissie Hynde and Ben Gibbard, Fender has announced a Custom Shop replica of one of the most sought-after ’59 Strats, the heavily road-worn model owned by Mike McCready of alt-rock stalwarts Pearl Jam.

…Except it isn’t actually a ’59 at all. During the process of recreating the guitar, Fender Custom Shop’s Vincent Van Trigt discovered that the Strat had actually been constructed in 1960, not 1959 as had long been believed.

Fender Mike McCready 1960 Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster

(Image credit: Fender)

Regardless, this 60-piece run of instruments sets out to replicate the look and sound of McCready’s legendary guitar, as heard on the likes of Pearl Jam’s Yellow Ledbetter and Temple of the Dog’s Hunger Strike, right up to Dance of the Clairvoyants from last year’s Gigaton album.

The recreation uses a Relic lacquer finish on two-piece select alder body, teamed with a flat-sawn flame maple neck with 1960 ‘oval C’ profile, and flat-lam rosewood fingerboard with 21 vintage frets.

Custom Josefina hand-wound pickups have been matched to the originals, and feature vintage wiring, along with a treble bleed tone capacitor.

Fender Mike McCready 1960 Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster

(Image credit: Fender)

The Custom Shop’s attention to detail is also visible in the three-ply vinyl pickguard, vintage-style synchronized tremolo with Callaham bridge block, vintage-style tuning machines, bone nut, and wing string tree with metal spacer.

As per other Custom Shop replicas, there’s a high asking price – in this case, $15,000, including a deluxe hardshell case, strap, polishing cloth, McCready case candy kit and certificate of authenticity.

The Limited Edition Mike McCready 1960 Stratocaster is available from February 2021. Head over to our round-up of all of 2021’s big Fender releases so far for more news.

McCready isn't the only Seattle rock icon honored with a new guitar this year – Gretsch has paid tribute to Chris Cornell's Black Hole Sun Duo Jet with its 2021 lineup.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.