Stratocasters had a “slab board” from 1959 to 1963. It means that the rosewood fretboard was thicker than what it would later become, when the Californian brand chose to launch the “veneer board” in order to save some rosewood, which was already an expensive wood at the time. For the true lovers of Leo Fender’s masterpieces, these guitars are genuine gems among vintage Strats and they remain fascinating.
Among these guitars, a specimen that has not been heavily modified is a Holy Grail, an indispensable treasure for any collector who wants a guitar collection worthy of its name. As such, this beautiful 1961 Strat checks all the boxes: it is a slab board on which everything is authentic, except for the nut and frets which have been redone by Matt’s Guitar Shop’s own luthier. The Sunburst has aged very gracefully and the scratches prove that it sounds good enough to have been played time and again.
But this Strat also has a little something extra: a thicker neck with sharper shoulders than most 61 guitars, and the maple neck is also beautifully flamed and spalted. This visual aspect, which is now a very expensive deluxe option of the Custom Shop, was seen as a visual flaw at the time. Those pieces of maple wood were usually not used on commercialized guitars so it is highly possible that this 61 belonged to an employee, although nothing can prove this fascinating hypothesis.