1984 Fender Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar

Fullerton-made Fenders were weird in the '80s, and this '84 Strat (per the November 7th neck stamp) is of the "Standard" variety, which meant at that time a jack on the pickguard instead of its own plate, only one tone knob, and a newer variation on a Strat whammy that mounts into a front rout rather than necessitating a rear one. This last bit is the most contentious and elicits snobbery around guitar forums (places I try to avoid), as it's certainly not something Leo dreamed-up.

It's called the Freeflyte tremolo and -- to be honest -- I don't quite understand the commotion, save that finding a vintage bar for it costs an egads-amount of dough. It works on the same principle as a normal Strat trem, is hinged and thus more stable, and has a tension-adjustment set-screw on the face of the unit. Hey -- and if you set it up properly -- it actually stays in tune as well! What were they thinking?

Anyhow, I got this in horse trading and, after receiving it, swapped out the original white pickguard for tortoise (I'm a fan of loud trim), leveled/dressed the frets, shielded the control cavity, and set it up for use as an open-tuning recording buddy. It sounds and plays great. It's friggin turqoise metallic. The pickguard is jarring and it even has a maple fretboard. This reminds me of lowrider shows in East LA as a kid!

As an aside, it also doesn't have the "squirrely neck" some of these have -- it's a full, fatter, round-backed, 1 11/16" nut, 12" radius job. Lovely.

The strings install from the face of the bridge. They're put into slots like on old Danelectro bridges from the 50s/60s or the Bronco bridges of the 70s. The '80s saddles are not the most elegant, however, but they do get the job done without fuss.

The color really is shockingly bright when you see it in person.

The original (white) pickguard comes with the guitar -- as does a decent Gibson-branded gigbag.