Fender Stratocaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1956), ser. #12192, original tweed hard shell case.

$ 26500.00

Fender Stratocaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1956), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 12192, sunburst lacquer finish, alder body, maple neck, original tweed hard shell case. This is a very played in, veteran example of an early Fender Stratocaster, probably the single most influential electric guitar ever designed. Dated on the neck heel “XA-6-56” and the body in the trem cavity “6-56”, this guitar was assembled less than two years after the beginning of full production of the model in October 1954. At a time when other electric guitars were fairly conservative-looking, this instrument must have looked like it just arrived from the Stratosphere indeed! This one has had some adventures since then and is no longer completely original but remains an excellent player’s instrument with the sound of the ages played in. This mid-1956 Stratocaster still carries many first-generation features of the model, notably the one-piece maple neck and two-tone lacquer finish on the ash body. Within weeks of this guitar being made the body wood was shifted to alder for all sunburst Fenders, making this one of the last ash-body two-tone Stratocasters of the 1950s. It is not particularly strongly grained visually by the standards of the day but has a couple of nice figured spots on the back. The one-piece maple neck has a slim profile no longer as rounded as earlier examples with more dressed-away shoulders than 1955, starting to move towards the harder “V” shape common in 1957. The initials “XA” before the date on the heel have not been positively identified but belong to someone who seems to have succeeded Taddeo Gomez as the “Signer” at the Fender factory. It is thought he was likely named “Xavier” and a lot of necks from this period bear his initials, including famously Clapton’s “Brownie”. The headstock mounts Kluson Deluxe tuners with the old style “Spaghetti” logo decal and the then-newer “butterfly” string tree. Internally much of the wiring is later but all three pickups remain the 1956 originals and sound spectacular, with some truly transcendent sounds. While ’50s Stratocasters have been re-issued and “relic-ed” endlessly over the last decades, none have really reproduced an intangible magic found in these early Fenders. While not a perfect example, this is a wonderful instrument nonetheless, a reminder of why and where “vintage” guitar culture emerged in the first place.Overall length is 38 1/4 in. (97.2 cm.), 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) deep. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.). This guitar is quite well-worn well worn overall; it retains its original appearance but has had some alterations and restoration over the last 65 years. Early Stratocasters are particularly prone to refinishing, parts substitutions or modifications, and many survive in far less original condition than this one. So, from the top down: the neck has been refretted with appropriate wire, slightly larger than the thin original style. When that was done the fingerboard was planed, most noticeably at the body end of the neck. The fingerboard was obviously refinished in lacquer and the rest of the neck oversprayed. This likely happened long ago and now most finish is gone from the back of the neck. There is a thin clear overspray on headstock and a filled second string tree hole; the original decal is intact underneath it. Original period Kluson tuners have been restored but repaired chips in the headstock are visible around a couple of grommets from an earlier substitution. The body finish is heavily worn in many areas but appears largely original with some very old touchups here and there. Internally the components are a mixed bag, but crucially all three pickups appear to be unaltered original. They are wired to a later 5-way switch and early 1960’s pots coded 304-6347 (these appear to be a matched set, though one code is soldered over) and later tone cap. There is an ancient extra shielding plate under pickguard made of thin copper foil that could be removed if desired, with glue residue on the pickguard underneath. It appears someone has already removed shielding paint that had been added to the pickup and control cavities in the distant past. Externally the guitar retains much of its original hardware including a lovely unbroken single-layer white pickguard (with a has a small “dig” at the neck end from truss rod adjustments) and matching pickup covers, knobs and switch tip. The lower tone knob has part of the skirt cracked off. The bridge plate and trem block are original but there has bee a matched set of later saddles fitted, and a later trem arm. The trem cavity cover is missing from the back.The neck and fingerboard have a great feel, very slightly slimmer than original due to the long-ago planing of the board. The correct-style fretwork was well executed and this is a very good playing guitar. Despite the wear and modi