Featuring a lightweight Ash body with the deep contours that are such a feature of the early Stratocaster. The body has had no repairs or modifications and dated to 4/56. The Nitro-Cellulose two tone Sunburst finish is in good overall condition and proudly displays years of well earned knocks and marks throughout. The finish has been polished to a high shine and the guitar looks fantastic. The Maple neck has production markings and construction techniques exactly as expected for this period. The neck is signed XA for Xavier Armandez, a highly regarded Fender employee well known for his signature being on Clapton’s Brownie neck. Itself a ’56 with a June pencil date. Like the body the finish shows signs of use with the fingerboard and neck back wear consistent with that of a well loved '50s Fender. The neck profile is the soft V/boat neck that Fender itself used to pattern the profile of the ’56 Reissue Strat with a 10/56 date. The decal is the original, delicate Spaghetti Logo version with no patent numbers. Under the guard the electronics are neat and tidy - solder joints look great as do the black bottom pickups. There are 3 Stackpole pots with a 304605 source code, rectangular Phonebook capacitor and CRL 1452 3-way switch. The tuners are original Nickel Kluson ’Single-line' (PAT APPLD 2356766 stamped) and it features the earlier style Nickel round string retainer. It has it's original 8-hole, single-ply pickguard with small shielding plate, there is a small, barely noticeable repair by the screw just above the tremolo. Pickup covers, switch tip and volume and tone knobs are the fragile pre-57 Bakelite, they show wear but and have stood the test of time remarkably well.
Weighing in at 7.3lbs, incredibly lightweight for an Ash tremolo Stratocaster. The guitar plays remarkably well. Its original frets are low but the guitar is well balanced and plays freely with notes ringing clear across the board. 50’s Stratocasters are quite special sounding guitars, sonically brighter and a little less polite than their early sixties counterparts they are the perfect pairing with the Tweed amps of the time. This guitar has a particularly strong voice, each pickup has all the attributes you would hope for in a '50s Strat. The bridge pickup in particular has the right balance of bite and cut without sounding at all thin or spiky. The pickups measure 5.86K 5.76K and 5.88K neck to bridge. Measuring 42.16mm the nut width is what would become known as the traditional Fender B width. The neck depth measures 23.71 mm at the 1st fret gently filling out to 25.02mm at the 12th.
All 1956 Stratocasters are special instruments but early examples, like this, before the switch to alder can be thought of as the final refinement of Leo’s original vision for the Stratocaster. This guitar sits just before that change. It is a stunning, rare piece of Fender history and a fine opportunity to own an excellent, vibey example from an important era of Fender history.