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Stratocaster, ’65


Sonic Blue, Serial # 104234.

Guitar collectors consider 1965 to be one of the most significant years in history. It was the year that the large corporation Columbia Broadcasting Systems Inc. (CBS) bought Fender Instruments and Fender Sales.  To many players and collectors this year also marks the beginning of a decline in the quality of Fender products that continued through the 1970s.


The Stratocaster had been gradually evolving, along with the rest of the Fender line, since its debut in 1954. The most obvious change occurred in 1959 when the one-piece maple neck acquired a separate rosewood fingerboard. After the CBS buyout more changes took place, with the most dramatic being the enlargement of the headstock shape (coinciding with the popularity of bell-bottoms?) in December of 1965.


This rare 1965 Sonic Blue Strat has details common to Strats made during this transitional period. The November 1965 neck date shows that this is one of the last small headstock Strats made until the 1980s.  Other traits include Gold Transition Logo (designed by Fender photographer Bob Perine), pearloid position markers, double line Kluson Deluxe tuners, and an “F” stamp neck plate. This guitar also came stock from the factory with large frets (often seen in 1965).

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