1961 Fender Stratocaster Guitar

Description: 1961 Fender Stratocaster guitar
Available: 1954 to present.
Collectibility Rating: B
Production: no official (or unofficial) production numbers available.
General Comments:
The Fender Stratocaster guitar is probably the most popular solidbody electric guitar ever made. Early models (1954 to 1965, known as "pre-CBS" models, since CBS Broadcaster Company bought Fender in January 1965) are the most collectible. Originality and condition are the two most important features of a vintage Fender Stratocaster guitar, and Fender Strats do seem to have been easily modified (due to their "bolt together" nature).

In 1961 Fender started using a more robust red dye for their three color sunburst. Also the dark brown part of the sunburst around the edge of the body is slightly more black. Hence the sunburst finish on a 1961 Fender Strat is much bolder looking. Fender also felt the need to add patent numbers to the peghead during 1961. Still has the "slab" rosewood fingerboard, but the back neck shape is larger (and more comfortable in my opinion).

Serial number range for the 61 Fender Stratocaster are generally 55000 to 72000 (on the neck plate). If you need to figure out the exact year of your pre-CBS Fender Stratocaster, use the serial number and the general features of the guitar. The serial number is located on the back metal neck plate. See the Fender Serial Number Info web page for help determining the year.

If you have a vintage pre-CBS Fender Stratocaster guitar for sale, please let me know. I am a private vintage guitar collector (not a store), and you can contact me at cfh@provide.net

See the previous year's 1959 & 1960 Fender Stratocaster guitar.
See the next year's 1962 Fender Stratocaster guitar.

Back to the main Fender Vintage Guitar Info webpage

1961 Fender Stratocaster guitar specs:

  • Peghead decal logo now has 2 patent numbers (2,573,254 & 2,741,146)
  • Neck backshape is a fatter "D" shape, but still not nearly as fat as 1958 and prior Stratocaster necks.
  • Fender now using a more robust red in their sunburst finish. Hence 1961 and later Strats don't have sunburst finished with a faded out red.
  • The dark "Amber brown" part of the sunburst finish is now changed to "black". Hence the dark part of the sunburst is more striking and does not blend as well as prior sunburst finishes. It is a subtle change.
  • White "chicklet" paper tone capacitor changes to a red round disc capacitor with yellow insulting tubing on one leg of the cap.

A 1961 Fender Stratocaster guitar with original brown tolex case.
Nneck date 7-61 and body date 8-61.

Note the change in the tone cap to the red disc variety.

This picture shows a couple things. Notice the neck plate impression left in the body finish.
And also how some of the missing body finish chips are stuck to the neck plate.
Clearly this neck plate is original to this guitar. Neck screws are still the older
partially threaded style.

* Email the collector cfh@provide.net
* Go to main Vintage Guitar Info webpage
* Go to main Fender Vintage Guitar Info webpage