Guitars That Got Away

2003 Fender Stratocaster

A John English built Masterpiece!

The legend of John English is real!

There was a time where John English Masterbuilt guitars were held in the highest esteem, and if ever there was a guitar that encapsulated his skill better than any other, then it is surely this one. John English sadly passed away of lung cancer on 28th June 2007, after having been with Fender for 30 years. In that time he became a master builder for their Custom Shop.

I saw this guitar, a ’61 Relic for sale in a Sydney Vintage Guitar Store for AUD$16,000, and yes even then it was way over priced. I expressed interest in the guitar, primarily because it reminded my of my very first vintage Strat, the 1960 Fender Stratocaster also in Candy Apple Red.

A month or two later, I got the call that I could have the guitar for AUD$8,000 as the store was desperate for funds. I did not hesitate as this was one of the finest vintage Strat replicas I had ever seen. If I am honest I think the cracking in the body was a tad over the top, but other than that, this was a truly exceptional guitar.

Serial Number: R12785

Neck Date: Unknown

Body Date: Unknown

The neck shape and feel of this guitar was absolutely spot on to the 1960 Strat I owned. It was a slab board and had light flame all up the neck which was really nice, it didn’t scream “look at me”, but was tastefully there on the right angle. But more than anything it was an absolute joy to play. When you look closely at the headstock, you would swear it was a vintage guitar.

As I said earlier, if anything the cracking of the finish on the body was in my view a bit overdone, but that is truly the only flaw I could ever cast upon this guitar. The way it was put together, was simply second to none. You could easily tell an artisan put this guitar together. So why did I sell it? I was in the process of off loading all my guitars at the time and the guy who bought it had already bought a couple of other guitars off me, so it went to a good home.