As the Stratocaster begins its sixth decade, the Fender Custom Shop releases the 60th Anniversary ’54 Heavy Relic Stratocaster to commemorate the occasion. Honoring the Stratocaster’s very first model year, this guitar is part of the Fender Custom Shop’s Time Machine series, which takes the concept of reissue instruments one step further by utilizing many of the same techniques and tooling as the originals.
A one-piece ash body is painted 2-Color Sunburst, then Candy Apple Red, sprayed with period-correct nitrocellulose lacquer. The heavy relic treatment evokes decades of use, hard playing, and wear and tear giving it a truly vintage look. This model is also available in the original 2-Color Sunburst, as well as other custom colors. The rigid, one-piece, quartersawn maple neck has a comfortable 1954 “U”-shaped profile that makes it play as great as it sounds and looks. The rigidity that results from quartersawing the neck wood manifests itself in increased vibration to the body and therefore overall better tone. The maple fingerboard has a 9.5″radius and 21, narrow and tall 6105 frets. The heavy relic process continues with tinted, nitrocellulose lacquer and extensive wear-spots on the typically most-played parts of the neck and fretboard.
True vintage tone comes courtesy of three, 1954 single-coil Stratocaster pickups. These specially designed pickups capture all the iconic earmarks; smooth, cutting, jangly, bluesy, bell-like — whatever your particular description may be, the 60th Anniversary ’54 Heavy Relic has it in large quantity. Modern 5-way switching enables the “in-between” sounds that you had to stumble on accidentally with the original.
A vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge with six “patent pending” saddles and vintage-style tuners also get relic’d, as do the strap buttons, screws, and string retainer. A serial-number-stamped trem plate, a tweed “center pocket” case with Stratocaster 60th anniversary embroidery, and a commemorative book complete the 60th-anniversary experience.
The Stratocaster’s 60th anniversary comes only once so get your soon-to-be-collectible trip down memory lane now before 2014 is gone and so is the Fender Custom Shop 60th Anniversary ’54 Heavy Relic Stratocaster.