1997 Fender Custom Shop Relic Stratocaster, Olympic White


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Superb, early Cunetto Fender Relic ’60 Stratocaster dating to late 1996 with an early 1997 signed certificate. Killer, aged Olympic White finish with a stunningly figured Maple neck. Known for their excellent build quality, choice tone wood selection and lower production numbers the Cunetto-era guitars are tastefully aged with a distinctive quality and this example has nicely settled over the last 20 plus years giving the guitar a character all of it’s own.

Born out of a desire to replicate the 'Golden Era' guitars from Fender's past, Fender started to explore the idea of an aged range of instruments and the possibility of putting them into production. Initially denied by the top brass, production started in mid-1995 after two prototype Relic guitars were displayed at the NAMM show to great success. These early, Relic guitars were sent by Fender to Vince Cunetto at his facility in Missouri before being aged and shipped back to Fender. Initially completed in small batches of 20 guitars a week increasing to 40 guitars a week by 1996 such was the dealers and public's appetite for the new relic instruments. The range initially featured 50’s and 60’s spec Stratocaster models and a 50s "Relic" Nocaster. By 1998 Fender looked to bring the new process in house and after a transition period the last Relic batch of the Cunetto-era were sent back to Fender.

This 1960 Relic Stratocaster features an aged Olympic White finish over a lightweight Alder body with traditional pickup routes. Relic stamps and batch numbers are visible under the pickguard. The 21 fret neck has a stunning, figured Maple back and a dark Rosewood fingerboard with 9.5” radius. Both body and neck date to late 1996 but with slightly different batch codes. It's hard to say why but the butterflying of the finish shows the neck and body have been together for a long time. The pickups are the stock Fender Custom Shop Custom ’60s Single Coil Strat pickups with a five way switch and traditional Volume and Tone controls. Hardware is Nickel plated throughout featuring period correct Kluson Deluxe style Tuners, an aged vintage type Tremolo unit, bridge and saddles.

The guitar weighs 7.7lbs and the neck profile is a traditional ’60s C carve at the nut that transitions towards a D shape with a little more shoulder as the neck fills out. The nut measures 42.29mm wide with 1st and 12th fret depth measurements of 20.7mm and 24.32mm. The frets have plenty of height, show little wear and the guitar plays well with a nice low action. Everything under the pickguard is nice and tidy. The second tone control has been moved from the middle pickup over to the bridge pickup, a popular mod and easily reversible. The electronics are mounted to the original 3-ply pickguard with the 5-way switch allowing full range of classic Stratocaster tones. The pickups measurements at the output are 6.05K, 5.76K and 6.06K in the Neck, Middle and Bridge respectively. The guitar comes with its original Brown Tolex Case, Certificate, Tremolo Arm and Bridge cover.