Fender Custom Shop 1961 Stratocaster Hardtail Dakota Red - USA 2022
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This is a classic, eye catching and unique instrument from highly skilled craftsmen at the Fender Custom Shop. This classic 1961 Journeyman has the rare feature of a stoptail bridge and through body string routing. Tele lovers will appreciate the added control over bends and spanky tone that comes from the through body construction.
1954 saw the alien spacecraft known as the Fender Stratocaster begin to appear in the saloons and dance halls of the West Coast of the USA. Leo Fender’s masterful design was like no other. The hardest challenge for Leo was the design of the tremolo system. Infamously the first iteration was a complete failure, causing Fender to scrap $5000 worth of tooling (an eye watering sum for Leo at the time) and go back to the drawing board. The second design was a success, and worked well. Despite this, some guitarists weren’t sold on the idea. The lack of tuning stability and new fangled design left some players cold, and in 1955 a hard tail version was released to the public, borrowing the string orientation from the already successful Fender Telecaster.
Visually the hardtail Strat barely differs from the tremolo version. The bridge plate and bent steel saddles at a glance look no different. It is only when you play the instrument to you start to notice the difference in feel.
First impressions are the added control one has with a hardtail bridge. Without springs to offset bending of the strings, it feels almost effortless to bend right to the notes you’re looking for. Hardtail Strats can sound ‘bigger’ due to the strings being anchored to the body. Make no mistake though, they still sound very much like a Stratocaster, primarily due to the pickup configuration being no different. The oval C profile has a nice semi chunky feel. At 41.8mm nut width, there is plenty of room to move across the fretboard. The 9.5 radius coupled with tall 6105 fret wire aid in this being a very easy instrument to play.
The Journeyman relic guitars hit a sweet spot with just enough ageing to give the guitar some mojo. The neck has been largely untouched by any ageing treatment.
With great looks, great sound and playability and some unique features, this great Custom Shop Stratocaster would take pride of place in any collection.
Scale length: 25.5”
Fretboard Radius: 9.5”
Action at 1st fret: 0.3mm
Action at 12th fret: 1.5mm
Neck depth at 1st fret: 19.7mm
Neck depth at 12th fret: 25.65mm
Nut Width: 41.8
12 fret width: 51.8mm
Neck material: Flame maple with rosewood slab board
Fretboard inlays: Micarta white
Body size at lower bout:
Front Pickup: Custom Shop 60-63 Strat
Middle Pickup: Custom Shop 60-63 Strat RWRP
Bridge Pickup: Custom Shop 60-63 Strat
Tuners: Fender single line nickel plated
Pickguard: Tortoiseshell multi ply
Electronics: Standard + 5 way switch
Hardware: Chrome and nickel
Case: OHSC with all case candy