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.
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. And this is a very special guitar because it was hand built by one of the most respected of all Master Builders, John Cruz.
John Cruz joined Fender in 1987, rising to the rank of Senior Master Builder at the Fender Custom Shop. His most well-known creations include reproductions of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s famous ‘Number One’ Stratocaster, the Jeff Beck Esquire Relic, the replica of Yngwie Malmsteen’s ‘Duck’ Stratocaster, the John Mayer Limited Edition Black 1 Stratocaster, and the Gary Moore 1961 Fiesta Red Stratocaster. He left the company in 2020.
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 wonderfully full in your hands. Period correct vintage style frets & 7.5” fingerboard radius.
Custom wound 1954 pickups with period correct Alnico 3 poles that are slightly wider than later Alnico 5's, providing the most accurate '54 tone available.
Weight is 7.7 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 John Cruz 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 Cruz 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.
We have had a number of Masterbuilt Teles & Strats here at PREMIER GUITARS in Sydney, and they have all had that something special that makes a good guitar great. But this John Cruz built 50th Anniv Strat is something extra special again. It’s possibly the lightness of this guitar at 7.7 lbs, maybe it’s the subtly unique and wonderful neck carve, or maybe the killer custom wound pickups.
But it all adds up to a fabulous and most collectable instrument. These 50th Anniversary Strats from 2004 are definitely going up in value, because they are quite exceptional in build, quite unique to each Masterbuilder’s take on the final execution, and they only made 150 of them, and they’re not making any more.
Extras and case candy is present including backplate, vintage strap & cable, cloth, swingtags, spec sheet 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/