In celebration of the 50th birthday of its famous Stratocaster model, in 2004 Fender took the reissue concept to new heights.
“We knew we could do it,” said Head of Fender Custom Shop, Mike Eldred. “But the problem with a Fender from 1954 is that if you laid out four of them in front of you, no two would be alike. There would be small variations. So we took one apart and based the 50th Anniversary model on it.” That one was #0100, belonging to Richard Smith, renowned Fender expert and author of Fender: The Sound Heard ’Round the World.
Because the guitar is a Master Built model, each carries subtle differences determined by the individual builder. This lends each a unique element that in a way harkens back to the variations in the originals – perhaps a slightly different body contour or different blend on the neck etc. But other parts are just like they were in ’54.
The Limited Edition 1954 Strat® guitars were built from January 15th to December 31st of 2004, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stratocaster guitar. They are faithful replications made with the same exacting detail as the original instruments, using many of the same machines and manufacturing methods used 50 years beforehand.
Every deep body contour, pickup magnet and screw is a replica of a 1954 Strat. Fender even went as far as to have pre-CBS Fender employee, Roger Centeno, stamp each tremolo cover plate with the original die.
And this is a very special one because it was hand built by one of the most respected of all Master Builders, Chris Fleming. There have been some legendary Master Builders at Fender CS over the years including John Page, Alan Hamel, Michael Stevens, John English John Cruz, Jason Smith and others.
At Fender, Chris Fleming became a Senior Master Builder, Head of Custom Shop and Director of Fender Guitar R&D before he left the brand in 2015.
We have had a number of Chris Fleming Masterbuilt Teles & Strats here at PREMIER GUITARS in Sydney, and they have all had that something special that makes a good guitar great. Or in Chris’s case maybe it’s “makes a great guitar exceptional."
That is certainly the case with this one.
While most of these Limited Edition 1954 Strat® guitars were built with a two-piece ash body with an offset glue seam, we believe that this body is one piece of wood. We cannot see a seam line anywhere.
This guitar features a nitro-cellulose lacquer finish which has been given a very light relic treatment, with some beautiful light finish checking on the top and back.
It has lovely, full feeling one-piece “U”-shape maple neck, which feels wonderful in your hands. Period correct vintage style frets & 7.5” fingerboard radius.
Weight is 7.2 lbs
This limited release guitar also includes three Custom Shop Vintage 1954 Stratocaster pickups - custom reproductions of the original 1954 pickups. And the covers have the rounded edging of the originals in 1954.
The finish and body contours also match the original exactly. There are also features and details that at the time, had yet to be seen on a reproduction, using the exact formulas and materials that were used on the original parts. The Custom Shop produced chemically accurate and lab-tested plastics for the short skirt knobs and rounded-edge pickup covers. The bent-steel Fender-stamped bridge saddles (at that time "Patent Pending") are painstaking reproductions of the originals from 1954. The stunning grain of the ash body shines through under the accurately mixed and applied Two-Tone Sunburst finish.
The guitar is fitted with an original synchronized tremolo with “Ash Tray” bridge cover, bone nut, and special documentation. We have seen and listed other Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt 50th Anniversary Stratocasters from this very limited run, but this Chris Fleming model is something quite special.
It radiates that certain aura only his guitars seem to have. From the body cut to the otherworldly smooth edges of the neck & headstock, every small detail has been accounted for. There's not much more that can be said about the attention to detail Mr Fleming put into every Fender guitar he made. Its beauty has to be seen, felt and heard to truly be appreciated.
This guitar presents as it did on the day it was born – in mint condition with a very light relic treatment. So this is a seventeen year old, amazingly detailed replica of a 67 year old iconic guitar – a guitar that changed the music world. No modifications, no visible fret wear.
Extras and case candy is present including backplate, vintage cable, cloth, swingtags and Certificate of Authenticity.
Comes in its Fender moulded case along with its second case – a replica of the original “poodle” case in brown vinyl. Both in as new condition.
Even more detail in this review - http://www.vintageguitar.com/18244/fenders-50th-anniversary-strat/