Rare '61 Fender Stratocaster with blonde ash and slab board! From the middle of '59, rosewood fingerboard, which was first used on the "Jazzmaster" released in the previous year ('58), became the standard specification, and "slab board", in which the bonding surfaces of the neck and fingerboard are bonded flat, was a characteristic of this period. Alder was used for the body in the middle of '56, but ash was still used for the blonde finish, which allows the grain to show through. Blonde finish is rare and only a few were produced in the '60s.

Basic control cavity from the '60s.' From the middle of '59, the pickguard is changed from a white 1-ply with an 8-point stop to a 3-ply with an 11-point stop. With this pickguard change, the screw holes in the control cavity protrude, making it slightly narrower.

The groove for the wiring cord of the rear pickup is rounded at the bottom and cut at a certain depth from around 1957, although there are individual differences.

SwitchCraft" jacks are used. The edges of the cavity are shaved after painting, but there seems to be a difference in the finish depending on the individual. The pin hole for jig fastening can be clearly seen.

The date on the spring cavity on the back of the body is September '61.

The contoured area became narrower and more inclined toward '65, so the shape of the spring cavity may vary from year to year.

Neck pocket painted entirely. The lacquer peeling at the neck joint and the datings on the neck and body are consistent with "9/61," so we can confirm that this is an original set. From around 1962, the neck pocket was painted with a hanger attached, so only half of the paint is on the neck pocket.

The top and bottom of the bobbin is made of black fiber paper, commonly known as "black bobbin. In 1964, the black fiber paper was replaced with gray fiber paper, commonly called "gray bobbin. The original pickups are still in the original condition, with no modification to the masking tape that holds the wires together. The magnet of the pickup is a cylindrical Alnico Type V and the coil is "AWG (American Wire Gauge) #42". The pole piece is a "staggered" type with different height for each string to balance the volume, which was used until the mid '70s.
Alnico Type V: An alloy of approximately 50% iron with aluminum (Al), nickel (Ni), and cobalt (Co).
◎For your reference
(F)6.03kΩ (M)5.98kΩ (R)5.82kΩ

The serial number is one of the most important factors to identify the date of production. However, the serial number does not always match the date of production, since there are some units whose serial numbers are extremely far from the date of production for some reason, not to mention errors caused by system changes including the production process, etc. The serial number is not always the same. Since some parts can be easily replaced, it is necessary to make a comprehensive judgment including each part in order to determine the actual year.

The pot is a round-groove type made by "Stackpole," which was adopted around 1957. The pot date is "304-6134," which identifies it as the 34th week of '61. The capacitor is an orange ceramic capacitor from this year. It features a yellow tube for insulation. Unfortunately, the selector switch has been replaced with a 5-point type made by CRL, but it can be said that this is a minimal change that prioritizes usability such as halftone.

From the middle of '59, the one-ply vinyl chloride was replaced with a three-ply white/black/white celluloid. The celluloid turned yellow with age and mixed with the dark blue (actually dark blue, though it looks black) in the center, giving it a greenish color, hence the nickname "green guard. The new 3-ply design also changes the aluminum shield plate on the back side, which used to cover only the control area, into a shape that covers the entire plate.

The September '61 datings can be seen on the body as well. Rosewood fingerboard adopted from mid '59. In the early years, the fingerboard was a "slab board" with a flat surface, and from the middle of '62, it became a "round board" with a curved surface. The slab board is thicker than the round board, so the thickness and rise of the sound are different, and there is a difference in taste.

The V-neck (triangular neck) was used until '57, and from '58, a thinner, flatter grip was used. The thin neck shape was also a characteristic until the early '60s, after which it gradually became thicker. In '59, rosewood fingerboard became standard, and the walnut skunk stripe on the one-piece maple neck was eliminated.
◎For your information
<Neck size
Nut width: 43mm, 12th fret: 52mm
Neck thickness: 22mm (at 1st fret), 26mm (at 12th fret)

Kluson covered type pegs. Single-line Kluson pegs with "KLUSON DELUXE" engraved on them were used until around '63.

Gold color with black borders, commonly known as the "spaghetti logo. The headstock looks angular with almost no chamfering. No patent number until 1960, and only "WITH SYNCHRONIZED TREMOLO" on the bottom.

Spacers were added under the string guides in late '59. This reduces the load on the strings, resulting in softer string tension, so it is a small but surprisingly important part. From around '64, the spacer is replaced by a nylon spacer.

The "clay dot" position mark was used from '59 to '64. Until '63, the dot marker on the 12th fret was located in the middle of the 5th and 2nd strings, which is the key to distinguish the year. From '63, the distance between the two was narrowed, and in '65, the material was changed to pearlized celluloid.

Separate type tremolo block, which integrates the "bridge" and the "inertia block" that functions as a tailpiece.
The name "synchronized tremolo" is derived from the fact that the integrated bridge plate and inertia block move in synchronization with each other when arming. The saddle's threaded screws have already been replaced, probably due to rust or deterioration.

The serial number stamped on the top of the joint plate is a basic element of age identification.' From around 1962, the neck joint and tremolo spring hanger screws were changed from wood screws to tapping screws, but since tapping screws were already used on this instrument, it is assumed that this was a transitional period for the change.