Fender dives into the vaults to release five near-mint Strats through Reverb

Fender has announced the release of five archival Stratocaster electric guitars from its vault through Reverb.com.

The models – the original guitars that served as the templates for some of Fender’s vintage-inspired lines – are available through the Fender Certified Vintage Reverb Shop.

The five guitars in the Reverb Shop have been 'Certified Vintage,' meaning each instrument was inspected and prepared by a Fender Custom Shop Master Builder to determine which parts are original, which parts may have been repaired or replaced and more.

Said Mike Lewis, VP of product development at the Fender Custom Shop, “Aside from being in near-museum-quality condition, these Stratocaster guitars are special because they aren’t reproductions. These are the actual vintage instruments that were used to spec out not only our American Original and Vintera offerings, but also hundreds of Fender Custom Shop guitars.

“The DNA of these guitars can be seen across nearly every guitar we’ve crafted, and we’re proud to open up our vaults to give musicians and collectors the chance to own a piece of Fender history.” 

(Image credit: courtesy of Reverb)

The five guitars, with descriptions from Reverb, are:

• A rare 1954 Fender Stratocaster assembled by Gloria in June 1954 (as evidenced by a masking tape label in the control cavity.) According to Lewis, the original nut was replaced, but nearly everything else - the wiring, the pots, the deluxe Kluson tuning machines, the white pickguard and knobs - is original. “This guitar is a peerless example of vintage Fender craftsmanship,” said Lewis.

• A practically untouched Fender Stratocaster that shipped from the Fullerton factory in March 1957. The electronics are all-original - even the solder connections are untouched, showing that the pots and switch were never replaced. The deluxe Kluson tuning machines have the single-line logo on the back. “This is further evidence that this guitar is a veritable time-traveler from the original era of Fender,” said Lewis.

• A 1965 Lake Placid Blue Fender Stratocaster that “could have been found in a time capsule,” according to Lewis. The only change from 'stock' is that the original gray-bottom bobbin single-coil neck pickup has been rewound. “You simply will not find a cleaner example of Fender craftsmanship from the 1960s,” Lewis said.

• A 1965 3-Color Sunburst Fender Stratocaster that has “miraculously survived unscathed through the decades,” according to Lewis. Every component on the instrument is original. The dates on the pots, gray-bobbin bridge, and middle and neck pickups indicate that the guitar comes from the legendary period when Abigail Ybarra was winding pickups (and possibly were wound by the famous winder herself.) Lewis added, “we’ve even managed to preserve the original white Tolex-covered hardshell case that accompanied it when it was first sold in ‘65.”

• An original 1965 Candy Apple Red Fender Stratocaster that is one of the earliest examples of the classic finish sprayed over a gold undercoat as opposed to the silver undercoats used in 1963 and 1964. The legend 'C A Red' was carved on the body under the pickguard before the guitar was finished. 

Each guitar includes an initial inspection and setup from a Fender Custom Shop Master Builder, as well as a Fender Certified Vintage certificate of authenticity and factory case candy in the original cases. 

Buyers can also request that the guitar be hand-delivered to any location within the continental U.S.

These guitars aren’t cheap – the most affordable model is the ’65 Candy Apple Red Strat at $33,000 – but they’re all pretty spectacular. To check them out in full, head to the official Reverb shop

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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.