The Stratocaster was first introduced in spring 1954, it may well be the most popular and copied guitar design ever.
Asymmetrical double cutaway body, contoured body on back and on lower bass bout (where forearm rests), 3 single coil pickups with exposed poles, jack angled into top, tremolo standard (but available without special order), 3 knobs (volume, tone, tone), gold plated parts optional till 1967.
Original and mint condition will catch the highest values for your instruments.Unfortunately, correct information can be very difficult to come by.Most online guides (and quite a few print guides) are based on Jay Scott's groundbreaking book "Gretsch: the guitars of the Fred Gretsch Company," which is a fine book, but is nearly two decades old.If the guitar has been altered, it can depreciate the value of the guitar tremendously.If you are having trouble finding the date of the guitar you are researching, try emailing the manufacturer and see if they can help date the instrument.Walnut "skunk stripe" down back of neck where truss rod was installed.Single layer, white vinyl pickguard with 8 attachment screws. Each nickel plated saddle is stamped "Fender Pat Pend" (note reissue models are stamped "Fender Fender"). Spring 1957 Stratocaster : Vinyl plastic knobs and pickup covers replace "bakelite".SERIAL NUMBERS and APPROXIMATE PRODUCTION DATES 1950's to 1964 In early 1965, Fender was sold to the CBS.The old Fender serial number scheme did not change immediately as CBS to use up existing parts and use existing tooling however a large F logo was added to the neck plate shortly after the accquisition.If you'd like to learn more about Gretsch serial numbers, we highly recommend Ed Ball's "Gretsch 6120: The History of a Legendary Guitar." Ball is one of the key researchers who have determined the actual dates, years and features Gretsch serial numbers correspond to.Gretsch began date-coding serial numbers in August 1966.