Guitars That Got Away

1963 Fender Stratocaster

Stunning Flamed Maple NEck

My main guitar for live gigging

My first ever visit to San Francisco was in December of 1981 and I was, as ever, keen to visit the guitar shops in town to see what they had in the way of vintage Fender guitars. I saw this clearly refinished 1963 Fender Stratocaster which looked great as the white paint was more of a vintage ‘off’ white and the tortoise shell pickguard was a great combination. The price tag was US$950 which was within the budget I had with me and so I asked to have a play.

It was then I saw the guitars greatest feature, the neck. Not only was it a nice fat shape, and really comfortable to play, it also had the most amazing flame I had ever seen on a vintage Fender guitar. I did not care that it had been refinished on the body and the neck, it was just too good looking to ignore. I also recall it had one of the pickups either replaced or rewound, but there was something about the sound of this guitar that made it a real player.

At the time I bought this, I had the 1956 Fender Stratocaster that I had uncovered in a garage in Ashfield, but this 1963 Strat replaced it as my main guitar while I was working in bands around the Sydney club circuit. I was using a 1964 Fender Bandmaster in white Tolex that sounded amazing flat out on 10 and with this guitar, it was a very fat sound. I used the 1956 Strat as my backup for when I broke a string on this guitar, which I did every night.

At some point once again, I offloaded it through Alan Rigg at Rock Repairs in Neutral Bay on the lower north shore of Sydney. If memory serves me correctly, I got around AUD$1,100-1,200 for it. Last I heard the guy that bought still has it and I do not blame him one bit, I should have kept it.

Serial Number: 84445

Neck Date: Unknown

Body Date: Unknown

Pickup Date: UNKNOWN

Pot Date: UNKNOWN

After buying this guitar, I was staying at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, and photographed it on the Chaise Lounge. Oddly, the volume and tone controls show up very white under flash light where as they were the old off white knobs.

A stunning looking and playing neck!

This is the Guitar Center in San Fransisco where I bought this Fender Stratocaster in December 1981.

The wall of guitars inside the Guitar Center in San Fransisco.