Late 1960's Stratocasters (66-69) ...Risky?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by shawntp, May 28, 2008.

  1. shawntp

    shawntp Member

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    Hey folks - I had been thinking of getting an old fender strat for a while. I have a dream like so many of getting a pre-CBS stratocaster and have even played a couple that I was kinda interested in - but the price has always been north of what I have felt comfortable spending on a vintage guitar.

    I also have been slowly learning more about how to properly date/identify vintage but I am a still in vintage strat's 101 at best.

    I really am just looking for an nice worn in old strat that I can have as a player throughout my lifetime. So ive tried a couple late 60's strats that are real nice and have considered searching out more.

    I understand that there were some changes made in 65 after the L series ended and then more down the road. It seems the late 60's / still nitro guitars sit in-between Leo's and CBS's version of a strat and would make for a much more affordable vintage player.

    It seems that late L series are upwards of around 15-20G, where you can find a 66-69 4 bolt in nitro sometimes for under 10G. Then when you jump to a poly 3 bolt strat the values drops in half again.

    Anyways - One thing that had me wondering - are late 60's strats any more or less risky as far as having to be careful of fakes - less dangerous water than pre-CBS?

    Anyone have any good resources for this era - I guess it comes down to knowing stamps/placements/pots/etc like the back of your hand.

    How about value - seems like these are darn good guitars that just fell off the high end of the collect-ability wagon - though I saw a candy apple red listed for 30G once because it was a "custom color".

    Anyways - any opinions/insight/ or resources of this period would be great.
     
  2. guitarjunky

    guitarjunky Member

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    You could also consider a 4 bolt 70 to mid 71 strat. Some are great. I have a 68 withich is amazing and a 71 also that is quite a strat.
     
  3. skhan007

    skhan007 Supporting Member

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    +1.

    I have an early 1970 (pots date to 4th week of Feb 1970, pearolid under the guard is a '69 feature) and it's an amazing guitar. These are not getting any cheaper, so as far as investments go, it was at a price point I could live with versus L series or Pre-CBS. The differences between 67-70 are very sublte (logo etc.). Once you get to the 3-bolts, it's a different ball game all together.
     
  4. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Member

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    Don't go near the vintage market unless you can identify every part blindfold ,particularly Fenders, so easy to fake well.
     
  5. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

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    To me, the later 60's and early 70's 4-bolts have a bit of a different vibe than the early 60's Strats. Not necessarily a bad thing, but just not identical.

    re fakes, I'm sure it does happen, but since there's a lot more money in faking a pre-CBS, I think you're correct in thinking that it's somewhat "safer". I've personally seen fake pre's, but I haven't (knowingly) ever seen a post.

    /rick
     
  6. electricfactory

    electricfactory Supporting Member

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    This is REALLY good advice. Wait.

    THIS-IS-REALLY-GOOD-ADVICE.

    I can just about guarantee that, unless you are an expert at Id-ing every single Fender vintage part [ body, neck, bridge, tuners, bridge saddles, string tree, frets, pickups, pickup covers, knobs, etc, etc, etc] you WILL get burned.

    Unless of course you found a guitar at such an unbelievably good price that it literally doesn't matter what part is or isn't original.
     
  7. dougk

    dougk Silver Supporting Member

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    Great advice. Also, make sure you play whatever your looking at. I have a 74 I inherited (grew up playing it) and its my absolute bench mark of what good strats should sound and play like. I know its a "bad" year but this one really is a gem. I'd consider another early 70's one ONLY if I could play it first.
     
  8. Mayflower

    Mayflower Supporting Member

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    +1000
    Don't buy from any dealer period(unless a you are close friend or they have a great return policy)......Even reputable dealers have some bogus guitars floating in the inventory somewhere.(Gibsons are a little different story.....much tougher to fake and easier to spot in general)
    Buy a Custom Shop and save some dough and maybe heartache later.
    I have been in the biz since 84 and I am scared today about the vintage Fender stuff.
    (no names)
    Good story....I just saw a 68 Jazz come back from a known repair guy for a refin (the bass was in a flooded basement) The neck/pocket fit didn't look right, even though the finish looked fresh.
    Come to find out, it was a Japenese body refin stuck on his 68 Jazz neck......Ha....He kept the original 68 body and didn't mention a thing.
    BTW, this was inspected by several guys including myself(called in).
    Told him, not much you can do pal.
    Buyers beware.
    Now, there certain guys here on TGP that I trust 100% if they say what it is, it is.
    If not, I know they would make it right.
     
  9. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    These are the instruments that helped form the vintage market. Still some good ones to be had, but not in the same league as pre-CBS. And lots of crappy ones.
     
  10. treeofpain

    treeofpain Member

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    I have 2 66's that are very nice (a sunburst and a LPB with factory gold hardware).

    There are dealers who are very reputable and who have been in business for 20-30-40 years. I think you'll be fine with them, though you may pay a bit more for the service and peace of mind.
     
  11. Sean

    Sean Supporting Member

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    I could kick myself for not buying the 71 Strat I wanted (its the year I was born) in 96-97. They were a hair under a grand then ($850? I don't remember). I thought, "Well, nobody wants them, I can always get one later". Who would bother to fake a guitar that went for so cheap at the time?
    Little did I realize that once the preCBS stuff was all untouchable, prices would move up on later period stuff, even if they were considered "dogs" by most people for many years.

    FWIW- I was at Mandolin Brothers about 10 years ago playing a 59 Strat that was hanging on the wall. One of the guys (owner?) mentioned that he could never tell if something small wasn't changed out along the line some where and that he personally would never invest in a Strat of that expense. In his mind, there was no way to 100% verify authentisity.
    I guess he could tell that I wasn't buying that day? :)
     
  12. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    Hendrix thought they were cool,when he was alive...
     
  13. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    That era is my favorite strats of all time. In 66-67 they still did nitro, Klusons, steel bridge/block and had the cool big headstock and some of the sweetest, chimey pickups Fender every produced. I think those features lasted until '68 when they started using the poly and CBS started changing things up, if I'm not mistaken. My buddy finally agreed to sell me my 66 strat back in 92 or so. This is the best sounding strat I've ever heard.

    It would be tough to buy one today, but a place like Daves or something would be safe.
     
  14. brain21

    brain21 Member

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    Unless you can get a real deal on one and can verify that it is not only not fake, but hasn't been refinished (cuts the value in half), etc. I wouldn't even bother. The vintage strat craze peaked. While those that are worth a lot will continue to hold their value because of scarcity, getting one today means that it's value will go up only very very slowly.

    I have an all original '65 Candy Apple red strat. If it were destroyed somehow, I wouldn't go out and buy another. Rather I would call up Fender, explain what happened, and talk to them about getting at least one Master Built strat from them to my specs. As far as appreciation goes a brand new Master Built strat (these are beyond the custom shop strats, BTW) will probably increase in value better than any vintage strat will today. IF you can get one with old wood, all the better. THen get some really nice pickups. Hell, I'd even search out ebay and other classifieds for the Master Built ones. There are a few of their Master builders that have quite a reputation, and once in a blue moon you can get one for a good deal from someone that has to sell it for one reason or another.

    Then I'd take the rest of the insurance $$$ and buy some archtops that will go up in value like a D'Aquisto Fender Ultra, or maybe get Bob Benedetto to build me something for $10k or less (I think his Vignola Gypsy archtop is right at $10k new, IIRC). Whenever Benedetto passes, which hopefully won't be for a long time, those are all gonna skyrocket just like the D'Aquistos and (real) D'Angelicos did.

    Just my $0.02

    Brain21
     
  15. michael30

    michael30 Gold Supporting Member

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    The best strat I ever played was a '68. The guy who owned it still regrets selling it to pay for a '64 strat.
     
  16. shawntp

    shawntp Member

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    Yeah - good advice by all. I am sure someone would be able to fake me out pretty good - I would be able to look at valid pictures and compare but thats not an experienced approach.

    I really wanted to look into one listed here more (was $7000ish)
    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=398513

    But without being able to play it and have it looked at I would not pursue.

    I know everyone says you need to become an expert/know every part/piece/etc ...but at a certain point I really wonder if tomorrow I decided to become a vintage expert - am I ever going to be able to have the same confidence as say experts like those at Gruhn (I live in Midwest).

    I almost feel that its safer and worth the cost of an in-depth in-person work-up by gruhn - at this point I dont think I could ever catch up to their experience.

    Find regionally > do initial "check out" > play in person > take to Gruhn for a full in depth appraisal > make decision

    ...I would have to think the above is about as safe as one could get (understanding that you still might not know 100% for sure as the best fake on the planet could probably fake out some of the more experienced)
     
  17. clothwiring

    clothwiring Supporting Member

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    I own a 1966 and it's as good as (and better than most of) the 64s, 65s I've played. Great tone. Really they hadn't changed much to affect the tone at that point. As the years passed more things changed, but as long as the individual guitar speaks to you I wouldn't worry about paying a fair market value for one, they only go up in value still, just aren't worth quite as much as a pre-CBS but who cares.

    I've played a few great 71-74 Strats still...but it's more rare..then even more rare from 75 thorough the end of CBS era.
     
  18. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

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    hate to say this, but even Gruhn is on record as saying that fakes have become so good even he doesn't trust is own expertise anymore. I think the only way he'll deal with vintage Fenders these days is in cases where there is a clearly documented history of the instrument. Otherwise, it's a gamble.

    So what do you do; forget about it? I'm going to go a bit against conventional wisdom here. If you *really* have a jones for a vintage Strat, nothing else is going to cure it. Sometimes you have to just say wtf. Some thoughts:

    - always buy in person or on approval, so that you know what you're getting, and have an out if you don't like it

    - do your best dilligence to authenticate it.

    - buy to keep and because you love the instrument, don't buy for investment. In the same vein, don't spend more than you can afford to lose. In other words, allow for the fact that you still might get burned. If it's a great guitar, and you don't plan on re-selling, it doesn't matter.

    - there are no doubt good fakes that are being sold right now in the vintage market, from reputable dealers and to knowledgeable buyers. if Gruhn can be fooled, anyone can. Once one of these fakes has passed hands a few times, it becomes de facto "real", whether it really is or not.

    - yeah, you can always play it safe, and just stay out of the vintage Strat market altogether. That is certainly the safest, smartest thing to do. It's also not much fun. No risk no reward, you can't take it with you, etc.

    /rick
     
  19. shawntp

    shawntp Member

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    yeah - I't a tough dilemma (and one that pops up all the time on this board) - I always have this GAS for old guitars and I am at the point in my life where I can afford some of the moderate stuff fine.

    Every time I start searching for info though - it gets scary and I think I have no business in that area. It would be the same thing with say old cars - I might want/be able to buy an old Corvette or something but I am not a mechanic and don't know anything about them short of changing oil so its obvious I dont have business in that area.

    I suppose the same holds true for vintage Fenders - reason sets in and tells you to just get a master-built.

    Buying for the purpose of playing/keeping while fulfilling vintage lust is what steered me towards looking later-60's.
    (I have a 74 Tele custom with the full range humbucker that I just love to death which doesn't help my vintage strat GAS)
     

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