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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Olympic White in the 1950s

BrentD
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Michigan

Poured Volume
Feb 20th, 2019 08:26 AM   Edit   Profile  

I am aware of the #0001 Strat that David Gilmour has and that it appears to be Olympic White, but were there any others sold that anyone is aware of? It seems black was the most popular custom color and I've seen others, but it seems that white blonde was used as "the" white instead of Olympic.

My impression is that it wasn't a popular custom color until the 1960s, but I'm curious.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 20th, 2019 08:46 AM   Edit   Profile  

No, the color was "white." Olympic white, as an official Fender color, was not available until years later.

The 0001 Strat (which is not the first Strat), was made in 1954 as a one-off guitar not part of factory production. It was either for a NAMM display or as an employee-made guitar. It allegedly was in Leo Fender's personal collection for years, and sold to Seymour Duncan before he went to the UK.

When Seymour was working in London doing guitar tech work, Gilmour's tech bought it from Seymour, and Gilmour acquired it a year or so later.

BrentD
Contributing Member
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Michigan

Poured Volume
Feb 20th, 2019 10:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

So was "white" an available custom color?

BrentD
Contributing Member
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Michigan

Poured Volume
Feb 20th, 2019 10:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

I forgot to say thanks, BTW. I am just wondering about whether an opaque white was an option instead of white blonde.

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 20th, 2019 01:57 PM   Edit   Profile  

No worries at all, BrentD!

Fender didn't advertise custom colors at that point in their history. However, if a player contacted the company through one of their distributors to request a specific color, Fender would do it as a special order. Also, Fender would do one-off guitars and basses for NAMM shows, as well as very small production runs of non-standard finishes.

A good example is metal flake finishes on 1950s guitars and basses: Fender didn't advertise them because they didn't have the specialized equipment necessary to shoot flake. Instead, they contracted with several of the custom hot-rod shops that had popped up Orange County to do the flake finishes. Dick Dale has claimed he was the guy with the idea to have a flake finish applied to a Strat. Sounds legit...however, some close to the company at the time have refuted this claim.

The translucent white (semi-opaque white shader over ash with visible grain) Strats and Teles were first produced in very limited numbers in 1956.

When these Strats hit the market, pop/rock/jazz player Mary Kaye switched from playing archtop D'Angelicos to this new trans white Strat with gold hardware. She was so popular at the time that the model became known by players and dealers as a "Mary Kaye" Stratocaster. It was never an official Fender name.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Feb 20th, 2019 03:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

Peegoo puts the "pee" in encyclo-pee-dia!!!!

Interesting stuff Geno. Thanks


Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 20th, 2019 04:29 PM   Edit   Profile  

LOL! Funny, Mick!

I'm not an encyclopedia...but I do have every book ever written on the Fender company and have been a fan since the late 70s.

BrentD
Contributing Member
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Michigan

Poured Volume
Feb 20th, 2019 10:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

Peegoo, that's great info. I'm aware of the Mary Kaye finishes. There's a background story but I've noticed several Olympic White 50s reissues from the Fender Custom Shop lately and it bugs me a bit because it doesn't seem likely that many were made in any solid white. Other than 0001, I don't think I've ever seen one. White blonde? Sure. White opaque? Nope. Seems like an odd color to choose for a reissue.

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 21st, 2019 08:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

There are plenty of so-called "reissue" guitars sold by Fender, Gibson, and others that recall features from the past--based on guitars never actually existed as a production guitar.

They're selling nostalgia--not reproductions.

Leftee
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VA

Toxic Humility
Feb 21st, 2019 09:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

^ I’ve got a ‘50s Trubute SG that fits squarely in that catagory. And it’s a great guitar in its own right.

BrentD
Contributing Member
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Michigan

Poured Volume
Feb 21st, 2019 09:34 AM   Edit   Profile  

Oh, I know! I was just wondering whether this case was an example of it or not.



Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 21st, 2019 12:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

Here's a mid-2000s guitar from the Gretsch Historic reproduction series. It's a guitar that never existed

until the Historic line was released.

BrentD
Contributing Member
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Michigan

Poured Volume
Feb 21st, 2019 01:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

Oh, it's COOL, though!


FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / Olympic White in the 1950s




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