1966 Fender Stratocaster Guitar

Description: 1966 Fender Stratocaster guitar
Available: 1954 to present.
Collectibility Rating: C-
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).

1966 brought a number of changes to the Fender Stratocaster, as the company was now under CBS control. CBS/Fender was trying to streamline production and made some changes to make guitars faster. The biggest change is the size of the peghead, which is now much larger than the pre December 1965 "small peghead" shape. Also the neck plate now a "F-series" serial number format (a large script "F" stamped into the metal neck plate).

Serial numbers on the "f" plate range from 100000 to 110000 for late 1965 and 110000 to 200000 for 1966 (on the neck plate). If you need to figure out the exact year of your 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 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 1964/1965 Fender Stratocaster guitar.
Back to the main Fender Vintage Guitar Info webpage

Late 1965 Fender Stratocaster specs:

  • Peghead design enlarged significantly about 12/65 (known as the "large peghead" Strat).
  • Maple fingerboard optional (2 piece neck, no "skunk stripe").
  • Peghead decal logo now has 5 patent numbers (2,817,261 added).
  • Often the "film" of the peghead "Fender Stratocaster" decal is much larger. This large film decal only lasted a month or two, around 12/65.
  • After serial number L99999, the serial number plate now has a large script "F" (known as a "F plate"). The serial number starts at 100000 but with no preceeding "L".

1966 Fender Stratocaster specs:

  • Peghead Fender decal has 5 patent numbers (2,573,254 & 2,960,900 & 2,741,146 & 3,143,028 & 2,817,261).
  • Cloth wires often yellow instead of white, and sometimes dark blue instead of black.
  • "Worm route" in treble pickup cavity often not as shallow and more flat in shape than seen in 1965 and earlier Strats.
  • Neck date number code for Stratocaster changes from "2" to "13". For example, Instead of "2MAY65B" as used in 1965, the neck date would be "13MAY66B" (the number before the month is *not* the day but is the code for "Stratocaster neck" used by Fender).

A late 1966 Fender Stratocaster guitar in original Candy Apple Red, original case.
Neck dated September 1966 and the pickups are dated November 1966. This guitar
was bought from the original owner and still has the original strings on it.

A 2-letter paint code ("ES" in this case) was sometimes used during the CBS era
to tell the paint booth this body was to be sprayed a custom color. Note this is
different than a 4-digit number code or 3-letter code (often reflecting a factory refin).
"ES" means "Entered Special" which was a special order for a particular store, artist,
or for Fender's use at the NAMM show. Fender did not use the "ES" stamp for all custom color
bodies during the CBS era, but just for very special orders, customers or special occasions.

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