Up for sale, a 1987 Fender Custom Shop-made American Vintage ’57 Stratocaster in excellent condition and in perfect working order, complete with a tweed Fender G&G Deluxe hardshell case. An extremely unique short run model, Fender’s Custom Shop (founded in 1987) produced 1000 “Mary Kaye” Stratocasters between 1987-89, divided into two 500 instrument runs equally split between maple and rosewood fingerboards. Ash body construction and all gold hardware set these Mary Kaye Strats apart from the standard American Vintage line, and while Custom Shop produced, the guitars have the usual factory markings found on the American Vintage instruments.
Weighing 7lbs 15oz with an ash body and one-piece maple neck, this guitar has a broad, clear natural acoustic voice befitting an instrument that’s 35 years old. Outfitted with a modern trio of Fender black bobbin 57/62 alnico magnet single coils, these pickups channel the midrange punch and sonic complexity of ash as a tonewood, with the glassy treble snap and note attack of the maple fretboard. The guitar delivers bridge pickup spank, thinned-out quack in the “in-between” settings, and sweet, bell-like neck pickup chime. We’ve had this Strat professionally setup here at Mike & Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and accurate intonation.
The maple neck has a medium C-shaped profile carve with round shoulders at the nut, gaining just a hair more heft further up the fretboard, measuring .840″ deep at the 1st fret and .905″ at the 12th. The maple fretboard has a vintage-spec 7 1/4″ radius, retaining the original slender frets which have been leveled and crowned in the guitar’s lifetime, currently showing no wear. The guitar plays cleanly up the 25 1/2″ scale with a straight neck and responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The nut measures 1.650″ in width, upgraded to a hand-carved piece of bone for optimal note clarity and sustain. The headstock retains the original Stratocaster waterslide decal and gold Kluson-style tuning machines which turn smoothly and hold pitch reliably. The neck heel is pencil dated 8/18/87.
The electronics function as intended, with the black bobbin, staggered pole pickups wired to a trio of original CTS pots that date to the 17th week of 1987. The gold plating on the hardware has plenty of shine, and the vibrato actuates very easily, setup for both significant downward and subtle upward mobility. Stock plastics comprise the pickup covers, knobs, and one-ply pickguard.
The nitro lacquer Blonde finish is subtly transparent and uniformly yellowed, highlighting the broad, dynamic grain of the ash body. Cosmetic wear includes some small dings and scuffs, largely on the back and body perimeter, with broad lacquer checking (particularly on the upper bout), and an area of light buckle rash at the edge of the belly carve. The smooth ambered nitro lacquer gloss is intact on the neck profile, with light palm wear along the bass-side profile edge.
A more recent Fender G&G Deluxe tweed hardshell case is included.