Mystery Strat: the Fender Stratocaster ST65B-80

This guitar was somewhat of a mystery when I first laid eyes on it. First impression was of a high quality reissue, but a strat with a bound neck? fullsizerender-5The waterslide decal indicates a mid sixties reissue (way too clean to be an old one), so I’m guessing Japanese, but turning it over revealed that there is no serial number on the neck heel where it should be, or any indication that it might be a Custom shop instrument.

Now I was considering that it as a nice mid-sixties reissue that someone had put a really well finished bound neck on, and that turned out to be the case. Upon opening it up, the neck turns out to be an AllParts licensed by Fender neck. The neck pocket showed ST65B-80 among a bunch of other markings.

It appears to be a Japanese domestic market reissue of a bound neck 1965 Stratocaster, which it turns out, Fender did produce for two years in the States. The OLB I believe indicates Old Lake Placid Blue which it looks like was done in Japan on some models. I’ve read that Lake Placid Blue can darken with age and this is a dark Lake Placid Blue, so there it is.

The pots and switch look to be upgraded to American parts. The wiring is not as tidy as I would expect from stock, but it’s seems solid enough.

The  body contours, while not quite as sleek and sexy as the deeply contoured shapes from the Fifties, is consistent with mid Sixties Strats and still much prettier to my eye than the shallow squared off cuts that became standard in later years.

fullsizerender-4All in all, a REALLY nice guitar that has the solid feel and tone not often associated with non-Custom Shop instruments. The collector value is of course compromised by the AllParts neck and upgraded electronics, but I would challenge anyone to find a more desirable player on the showroom of your local guitar store. This thing just exuded solidity and substantial quality that can be rare in Stratocasters at times. So mystery solved (unless someone out there can educate me further). Thanks for looking

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