Up for sale, a 1988 Fender Custom Shop 1957 Stratocaster in excellent condition and in perfect working order, complete with a hardshell case. Fender’s Custom Shop began handcrafting top-tier special order guitars in 1987, making this ’88 Stratocaster a particularly early example.
Representative of both early Corona, CA Fender vintage reissue production and also the exacting standards of a Custom Shop producing only a very small number of instruments at this early stage, this ’57 Strat is a singing, soulful instrument worthy of the legacy of the golden age Fender instrument it faithfully replicates. The pickups are a more recent set of Fender Custom Shop Fat 50s single coils featuring black fiber flatwork, push-back cloth-covered leads, and staggered alnico magnets. These single coils have plenty of sparkling cut, midrange quack and thick, neck pickup cut with bell-like chime via the five-way pickup selector switch. Weighing 8lbs 2oz, this early Custom Shop ’57 Strat has been professionally setup here at Mike and Mike’s Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, spot on intonation, and easy-playing action.
The one-piece maple neck has a soft V-shaped profile carve with rolled fretboard edges, measuring .840” deep at the 1st fret and .945” at the 12th. The fretboard retains its vintage-spec 7 1/4″ radius, refretted with flawless medium jumbo fretwire. The fretboard was also refinished when the guitar was refretted, a standard part of the refret process on gloss-finished maple boards. The guitar plays cleanly up the 25 1/2″ scale with a straight neck and responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The nut measures a full 1 11/16″ in width, upgraded to a carved piece of bone for improved note clarity and sustain. On the headstock, the original Kluson-style tuners function as intended, and all factory decals are intact including the Fender Stratocaster waterslide on the face and early Custom Shop oval decal on the back. The neck pocket and heel have matching Custom Shop stamps, and the neck heel retains its 4/13/88 pencil date. This corresponds with the early V prefix Corona neck plate, as the plates on the early Custom Shop offerings used the same serial sequence as the American Vintage instruments of the era.
On the body, the electronics include the recent set of Fender Fat 50s Custom Shop pickups and a trio of original CTS pots (solder obscures the dates on the pots). The original hardware has gleaming chrome plating, and stock plastics include the one-ply pickguard and notably yellowed knobs. The vibrato has a fluid, deliberate response, jumping back to the target pitch reliably.
The gloss Black nitro lacquer finish is extremely well-kept, with cosmetic wear limited to some small finish scuffs and dings on the body as a whole, mostly relegated to the back and lower bout body edge. The original silky smooth nitro lacquer finish is present on the neck profile, offering an almost satin feel.
An era correct molded black Fender USA hardshell case is included.