1984 Strat - a rare gem from Fender's darkest days?

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1,138
I recently acquired a 1984 MIA Strat. Now those who know their Fender history know this was the last year CBS owned Fender. For whatever reason, they really destroyed the Strat this particular year, radically changing its appearance and appointments. I'm getting most of my info here from strat-central.com, so bear with me... They had 2 knobs, and the input jack was on the pick-guard. Some in 83 and 84 even had buttons, instead of a pickup selector switch. They also had some pretty wacky colors. During this transitional period of 84-85, it seems most Strats were made in Japan. Well, mine is American made, string through bridge, has all of the normal appointments and knobs (1 volume, 2 tone), isn't a crazy color (mine is white), and has the input jack on the body (where it should be). Here's where mine gets fun: It has the Freeflyte Bridge (Typical for the day), and has a DBX tone control. Can anybody tell me if I've got a rare Gem from the last days of CBS? S/N:E427158
 

Baxtercat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,697
Does it have the 10- or 12-inch radius flat/wide neck? That was one of the good features in the mid-80s. I've had the push-button [Strat Elite] and a few of the two-knobbers. All were pretty good: on-the-whole better than what had come before during the '70s.

[green/gold ones were cool]
 
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Messages
23,954
You need to explore lifting out that bridge, and replacing it for now with a decent one.

You can make that guitar into a player; if you get tired of it someday, you can give the purchaser his choice as to which bridge he'd like to use.

I could be mistaken but I think there's some that require no modifications.
 

John C

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,477
I recently acquired a 1984 MIA Strat. Now those who know their Fender history know this was the last year CBS owned Fender. For whatever reason, they really destroyed the Strat this particular year, radically changing its appearance and appointments. I'm getting most of my info here from strat-central.com, so bear with me... They had 2 knobs, and the input jack was on the pick-guard. Some in 83 and 84 even had buttons, instead of a pickup selector switch. They also had some pretty wacky colors. During this transitional period of 84-85, it seems most Strats were made in Japan. Well, mine is American made, string through bridge, has all of the normal appointments and knobs (1 volume, 2 tone), isn't a crazy color (mine is white), and has the input jack on the body (where it should be). Here's where mine gets fun: It has the Freeflyte Bridge (Typical for the day), and has a DBX tone control. Can anybody tell me if I've got a rare Gem from the last days of CBS? S/N:E427158
Pictures?

Also FreeFlyte briges weren't string through they were top loading (unless that's what you mean by "string through bridge"). Is it 21 or 22 frets?

Here's the Fender timeline for Strats from back in that era:

1982 - year of the "Smith Strats" where they went back to the 4-bolt neck and started really paying attention to the body contours again. Also the year of the introduction of the '57 and '62 reissue models.

1983 - "Smith Strat" and "The Strat" discontinued. 2-knob "Standard Strat" and the "Elite Strat" (the model with pushbuttons as shown in Baxtercat's photo) introduced. '57 and '62 reissues continue.

1984 - No changes; "Standard Strat" adds swirled finishes (actually done by the guy who would do the Ibanez Jem swirls later in the 1980s).

1985 - USA production stops; company sold by CBS to current ownership (FMIC) circa April. By June the Japanese contemporary and reissue models were introduced. Only intellectual property sold to FMIC; CBS closes and sells of factory piecemeal. FMIC intends to only import guitars sourced from Japan and other parts of the world.

1986 - FMIC has a change of heart and builds factory in Corona CA. Reissue production starts circa May/June. New models called American Standards begin to be produced circa October.

1987 - American Stanadards introduced at January NAMM show. Strat Plus model introduced circa June.

Now the reason why I spell out the timeline is this - among the stuff FMIC obtained from CBS was a stack of unused headstock decals with "E4XXXXX" serial numbers. Most of the 1983-84 CBS/Fener guitars had "E3XXXXX" serial numbers. FMIC used up those "E4XXXXX" decals on the first of the American Standards - these decals were used from October 1986 on into early 1988 (January, maybe as late as February or March) when the E4 decals were used up and FMIC started using the "E8XXXXX" decals.

Again, we need photos to see what you've got. Some people converted their 1983/84 2-knob Strats to "regular spec" by routing the body for the traditional jack plate and installing the second tone control. CBS/Fender didn't use the TBX tone control on the 2-knob models but they did use them on the Elite models. However, FMIC used the TBX on the American Standards from their introduction in 1986 through about 1997 or so.
 

treeofpain

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,204
The 2 knobber strats are worth around $800 in excellent original condition. They are actually excellent guitars stock. The Freeflyte trem is fine if you know how to set one up (which nobody does).
 

joeybsyc

Member
Messages
1,899
Pictures?

Also FreeFlyte briges weren't string through they were top loading (unless that's what you mean by "string through bridge"). Is it 21 or 22 frets?

This was my first question too... Never saw a freeflyte that allowed strings to go through the body, although I've never seen one with a freeflyte and the standard 3 knob/ 5 way switch either... some pics would help... maybe someone modified an old 2 knobber? I have an 83, in basic black with single ply white, freeflyte bridge (no tremolo cover on the back) and the 2 knob controls... While its a bit heavy, it's always been a great sounding and playing strat... My dad bought it for me in 1983 for Christmas and it was my very first electric. I still have it today, and its still in great shape... Probably never be worth a fortune, but it's priceless to me!
 

sleepingtiger

Member
Messages
4,329
sorry mate, you've got shite.

it will probably appreciate with the rate of inflation--if you're lucky.

not a desirable Strat by any measure.
That's what they said about 70's Strats...until I sold mine, then they skyrocketed! You never truly know what will become "desirable" in the vintage market.

Tony
 
Messages
1,138
thanks u guys. good info on the serial number issue. looks like mine might be one of the first American Standards out of Corona. did they put American Standard on the headstock? mine only says made in the usa.the bridge is string-through, not top loading. sorry for the confusion. it's the meatier looking 80's bridge. guess it's not a Freeflyte after all.I'll post a pic tonight after work. Based on what Big White Tele said, mine might be an 87 or 88.
 
Messages
1,138
OK, based on the info provided by you guys in this thread, as well as the image googling I've done this morning, I think I've got it figured out.

I'm seeing a lot of E3XXXXX and E4XXXXX serial numbers on 1987 Strats, but on the 1988 models, the serial numbers change to E8XXXXX.
So it's a safe bet that my Strat is a 1987 American Standard. I'll check for the swimming pool at lunchtime.

Thanks, guys.
D2R
 




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