• The Gear Page Apparel & Merch Shop is Open!

    Based on member demand, The Gear Page is pleased to announce that our Apparel Merch Shop is now open. The shop’s link is in the blue Navigation bar (on the right side), “Shop,” with t-shirts, hats, neck buffs, and stickers to start. Here’s the direct link: www.thegearpageshop.com

    You’ll find exclusive high-quality apparel and merchandise; all items are ethical, sustainably produced, and we will be continuously sourcing and adding new choices. 

    We can ship internationally. All shipping is at cost.


Late '64, early '65 Strats

hogy

Member
Messages
13,445
Hey Old Strat Guys, just got through refretting and setting up an early '65 Strat and once again, those things are just consistently ridiculous sounding.

Yes, expensive vintage Strats can be all over the place sonically, but if I absolutely had to buy an old Strat sight unseen, it would be a late '64 or early '65 one.

'64 started out with Strats that sounded a lot like my least favorite ones, those from '63. Generally somewhat pretty at low volume, those can get hard, narrow and dirty sounding when pushing an amp. Then later in the year, all of a sudden these guitars sound incredibly deep and flutey, with that "blowing into the neck of a coke bottle" sound. The bass is deep and firm, the midrange has the woodiness of a cello, the treble is fat, round and sings. These guitars do this rare thing where the higher up the neck you go, the louder the treble strings seem to get, and the more they bloom. Very Les Paul like, but with a Fender clarity.

It is uncanny how consistently this happens within a production period of, say, 4 months, despite a number of other changes that happened in that period. My own October '64 Strat still has the clay dots, green guard and spaghetti logo. This March '65 one has pearl dots, white guard and big logo, but tonally they are very, very similar.

Other streaks of wondrously great sounding consecutive Strats happened in late '56 and '58. IMO, that is.

I get to play hundreds of guitars a year, there is still something about a great old Strat that nothing else can touch. When they're good, they're in a league of their own.

Who else here has Strats from this period, and what are your findings?

Hogy
 
Last edited:

fender753

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
980
I'm deffinantly not in the group that can afford to own these but I played a nice Nov. 64 strat at CME a while ago and was just smitten. I played the thing for probebly 2 hours I just couldnt put it down. Still my favorite guitar that I've after played and I wish I could afford it.
 

sanhozay

klon free since 2009
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,788
That's how my old '64 Strat was. And probably the reason why I have yet to find its doppleganger in a newer guitar.
 

R13D

Member
Messages
4,700
I concur with your assessment of the '64 era Strats. I have owned '55,'57,'59,'60 and '64 vintages.The '55 had great touch response with the best upper mids and very sweet top end and although not the biggest overall sound,it had a raw woody resonance unto itself. It also had the killer forearm counture that started around the bottom of bridge and continued past the strap button like a rolling wave.Another favorite of the bunch was the '59 which had the type of sound you describe.I had a big tight bottom end with less overall mid range and was the atipical surf sound. When they are good,they are amazing!
 

hodad

Member
Messages
395
Thank you for a most interesting post. I had a custom color/matching headstock '64 and it was a tonal dog. You described it perfectly: hard, narrow and dirty sounding when pushing an amp. It also had a very skinny neck. Played LPs/PRS ever since.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,917
Yup, my old '64 Strat is the yardstick by which I measure all others. Through a blackplate RCA 6L6 equipped Komet 60, that tone is so righteous I have yet to 100% duplicate it with anythin' else since. A '65 Strat I once owned also had a lot of those same tonal qualities that Hogy describes...but the '63 Strat (with black bottoms) I had sounded rounder, almost jazzy...but its chunky neck fit like a glove.
 
Last edited:

esoteric pete

Member
Messages
6,860
the only 64' i played was exactly as you described. all of that, and plus the neck was super feeling. just the right shape. that guitar sang like something else, lemme tell ya. it definately had that magic tone...
 

jazzguitar

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
638
I have an early '65 with a clay dot, small and fat headstock and agree with everything you just said. I actually think the neck is a mislabeled '64 as it's stamped Jan 2 '65 but has all the markings of a '64. Either way the guitar is a monster, I haven't played a strat since that I've liked as much.
 

jiml

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,015
Played a bunch of old strats, bought a '64 when I was into that stuff. The neck size was perfect for me, not too huge, not too skinny and flat.
 

57special

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,803
Interesting. Never stratted in that period. I do know that one of the worst pre CBS strats i played was a 65- maybe a later one? An awkward feeling neck, and unremarkable sounds in all positions. I did play a 65 tele recently that felt and sounded good.

I never had much luck with 59 strats either.
 

hogy

Member
Messages
13,445
Interesting. Never stratted in that period. I do know that one of the worst pre CBS strats i played was a 65- maybe a later one? An awkward feeling neck, and unremarkable sounds in all positions. I did play a 65 tele recently that felt and sounded good.

I never had much luck with 59 strats either.
'59 is a real hit and miss year. Some real dogs in that bunch, same with the other "famous" year, 1957.

If I had to demonstrate what a late '64 sounds like Id point to Hendrix' Are You Experienced album. I don't actually know that that was a '64, but it sure sounds like it to me. Most of the footage from that period shows him with a sunburst small headstock Strat, and that thing has THE sound I'm talking about. I'd be willing to bet that guitar was made between September and November of '64. Anybody know?

This one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hSW67ySCio

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kE3FAY-NOiU
 

hogy

Member
Messages
13,445
TwoTubMan, that's a sweet example. I love how the attack has this aspiration to it, this air. Like blowing a horn, the note breathes and swells.

I don't know if that makes sense, it's how I hear it. It's an organic, vocal thing.

Here's another Strat that does this, Ronnie Earl's (refinished?) red Strat. Again, I'm not sure exactly when it was made, but it sounds like a late '64 as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wLIOhnZkIM
 

fenderball

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,584
i have an october '64 that is great and sounds amazing....had it since '76....
when i A/B'd it against an American Strat, it was sooo much better in every way...the richness was very noticeable, much more articulate...a much wider sound spectrum...deeper...richer...alot different...also A/B'd against a Mexican Strat with Rio Grande Big Bottom Strat set...also, no comparison...think i'll keep mine
in great condition also
 
Last edited:

mertzy

Member
Messages
620
Hogy - I have a November 1964 that just sounds fantastic, the best strat I've played. It has grey bottom pickups, green guard, pearl dots, and a transition logo.

I've never heard anyone rave about 64's until I stumbled upon VaughanC's post regarding his quest for new pickups to reproduce his 64. His description of grey bottoms perfectly described the sound from my 64.
 

jrigg

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,468
I am blessed to have one of the early '65s. I have a couple of other beautiful old guitars but this is the one I always play. It does just what you described - I've actually never thought about "These guitars do this rare thing where the higher up the neck you go, the louder the treble strings seem to get, and the more they bloom" but that's exactly what mine does!

 

Mark C

Member
Messages
4,417
Played a late 64' that a guy brought to a gig one night and let me try out. Best sounding strat I've ever played. Only other guitar that ever hit me like that was a 57' PAF Goldtop. Maybe I should get some of those Mare pickups for my strat?
 




Trending Topics

Top