Here’s some info from The Fender Stratocaster Book by A. Duchossoir (1989) –
Fender started work on the designs for the ELITE series in late 1981 with a research and design team that included Dan Smith, Chip Todd. John Page, Charlie Gressett and Freddie Tavares. The Elite series was meant to combine modern technologies with the classic Stratocaster design. The electronics, vibrato and neck adjustment mechanisms were all to be improved. To this end the Elite Stratocasters included active electronics, refined Freeflyte tremolo bridges and Biflex trussrods. When the Elite Stratocaster was finally released in 1983 it included numerous new features:
- Biflex truss rod adjustment (installed from the rear – with skunk stripe on neck) with a neck angle adjuster located in the neck plate
- Slightly wider nut width and flatter 12 inch fretboard radius
- Ezy-Glyder point contact string retainers and high ratio, low backlash machine heads with specially lubricated tuning gears
- Security lock strap buttons
- Heavy duty cast bridge assembly with ‘drop-in’ string loading, Freeflyte tremolo system with tension adjustable from the top and snap-in Torq-Master tremolo arm. There was no backplate or recess in the back of the body for tremolo springs.
- Alnico II single coil pickups without protruding poles, noise-cancelling pickup system with a dummy coil between the lead and the middle pickups and active electronics with a special preamp circuit including MDX (mid-range) and TBX (high-range) controls. There was a small backplate near the edge covering the 9-volt battery for the active circuitry.
- Three separate pickup push-on-off selector switches, an edge-mounted jack output and control knobs with a serrated rubber insert
The Elite Series contained three models –
- the ELITE STRATOCASTER, heavy chrome-plated hardware,rosewood fretboard or a one-piece Maple Neck in 6 standard and 9 custom finishes. Retail price in 1983 was US$995 (compared with $650 for a standard Stratocaster).
- the GOLD ELITE STRATOCASTER, same as the Elite Stratocaster except with gold-plated hardware and pearloid tuner buttons. Retail price in 1983 was US$1155.
- the WALNUT ELITE STRATOCASTER, same as the Gold Elite Stratocaster with American Black Walnut body and neck and ebony fingerboard. Retail price in 1983 was US$1295.
When it was introduced in 1983 the Elite Series replaced “The Strat” series. The Strat, the Walnut Strat and the Gold Stratocaster were all dropped from the Fender price list of July 1, 1983.
Some of the innovative features of the Elite found their way onto the regular Stratocaster, which was again revamped in mid-1983. The Fender Elite Stratocaster also formed the basis for the design of the 1988 Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster.
This Gold Elite Strat from 1983 appears to be all original with no changes or modifications.
It is in excellent condition. There are very light marks here and there, but this guitar is in amazing condition especially for an instrument over 33 years old. The neck is straight & true, frets are in fine shape, the gold tuners with pearloid buttons are a delight, and there is almost no tarnishing of the beautiful gold hardware.
The pickups sound rich & full, and still very authentically like a Stratocaster, but LOUD. And hum free.
Weight is 7.8 lbs
And just to be clear, the original Fender Elite Stratocaster was manufactured by Fender in 1983 and 1984 only. The name was revived in 2016 as the Fender American Elite Stratocaster Series, which have few similarities to the original 1980s instruments.
And what good guitars the 80s Elites actually were. They introduced many advances in guitar technology and playability, many of which have survived as features of more modern instruments.
We believe these Elite Strats will become more collectable and valuable as time marches on, especially those in excellent original condition such as this.
Comes in its original Fender molded hard case in good condition.