Fender Stratocaster (hardtail, 1975)

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By happy accident or intentional design, we have found that hardtail Strats combine the effervescence we expect in a Stratocaster with the ballsy snarl we typically encounter in a Tele. This recently acquired example has jumbo frets that certainly look original to us, but could possibly be evidence of an old refret. Either way, the large frets, U-shaped neck profile and comfortable middle weight (about 8.5 pounds, by our estimation), lend this guitar some serious gravitas. Routed through an overdrive pedal, it demonstrates attitude a-plenty, making like a native Los Angeleno stuck in a July traffic jam, with plenty of fist-pumping snarl at your command.

On the other hand, the guitar’s clean tone is also very useful, with expressive lows, juicy mids, and cutting highs. It reminds us a lot of some of Albert Lee’s classic late ‘70s tones circa “Sweet Little Lisa,” that melded Strat- and Tele-like qualities in ideal proportions. One day in the shop, we plugged this guitar into one of our test amps, an early white-knob blackface Princeton, and watched as a small crowd gathered to, in the words of one spectator, “listen to that Telecaster.”

So there you have it—an all-original black 1975 Stratocaster that ships in a classic black plastic Fender case that suffers from the usual broken clasp syndrome but is otherwise solid. Original tuners were off when we bought the guitar but the seller thoughtfully provided them to us, and they are now back on the guitar. SOLD!

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By happy accident or intentional design, we have found that hardtail Strats combine the effervescence we expect in a Stratocaster with the ballsy snarl we typically encounter in a Tele. This recently acquired example has jumbo frets that certainly look original to us, but could possibly be evidence of an old refret. Either way, the large frets, U-shaped neck profile and comfortable middle weight (about 8.5 pounds, by our estimation), lend this guitar some serious gravitas. Routed through an overdrive pedal, it demonstrates attitude a-plenty, making like a native Los Angeleno stuck in a July traffic jam, with plenty of fist-pumping snarl at your command.

On the other hand, the guitar’s clean tone is also very useful, with expressive lows, juicy mids, and cutting highs. It reminds us a lot of some of Albert Lee’s classic late ‘70s tones circa “Sweet Little Lisa,” that melded Strat- and Tele-like qualities in ideal proportions. One day in the shop, we plugged this guitar into one of our test amps, an early white-knob blackface Princeton, and watched as a small crowd gathered to, in the words of one spectator, “listen to that Telecaster.”

So there you have it—an all-original black 1975 Stratocaster that ships in a classic black plastic Fender case that suffers from the usual broken clasp syndrome but is otherwise solid. Original tuners were off when we bought the guitar but the seller thoughtfully provided them to us, and they are now back on the guitar. SOLD!