1979 Fender Stratocaster Anniversary

CRAVE Guitars says…

Thumbs up: Historic limited edition anniversary model, condition and sundries, future collectable, OHSC

Thumbs down: Weight, large headstock, bold ‘ANNIVERSARY’ logo, the ‘special edition’ may deter, not that scarce

Decree: A very decent late 1970s Stratocaster with that little bit of extra something that marks it out from the norm as interesting and notable in Fender heritage. Worth its weight.

Model Description:

This feature is not the place to go into the history of the legendary Fender Stratocaster so, not wasting space and time repeating the generalities, the focus here is on this specific 25th Silver Anniversary Stratocaster model from 1979. These days, anniversary editions are commonplace and pretty much any large scale manufacturer exploits the marketing opportunities presented by key dates in popular models’ past. The Fender Stratocaster Anniversary was the first model produced by Fender to commemorate the Stratocaster’s launch in 1954 and was produced in limited, certificated numbers. In hindsight, it seems amazing that it took them 25 years to catch on to the idea. Now, the Stratocaster is well into pensionable age and Fender celebrate key anniversaries on a regular basis. Up to 500 early Anniversary models were produced in pearl white but finish problems led to a recall and the Anniversary was re‑released in Porsche Silver metallic adorned with the blatant and rather ungainly ‘ANNIVERSARY’ logo on the upper bass horn. These models are not particularly rare, being limited to a 10,000 production run, and they are relatively easy to find on the vintage market. Good ones are, however, only going to accumulate in value as collectors interested only in financial return‑on‑investment begin to plunder the 1970s for potential future assets. That isn’t my motivation by the way; this model represents a particularly interesting and unique position in the Stratocaster’s enviable heritage. Some cynics suggest that the limited edition Anniversary was always intended to appeal more to collectors than players, however, the production numbers and market values suggest otherwise and Fender at that time had no idea whether such a strategy would be commercially successful or not. Personally, I reject the throwaway vitriolic criticism that 1970s CBS‑era Fender guitars tend to attract – believe me, their time will come.


Guitar Description:

This gorgeous all‑original 1979 Fender Stratocaster Anniversary in stunning Porsche Silver came to CRAVE Guitars almost mint and unmolested. This one‑owner guitar seems to have sadly spent the vast majority of its life un‑played in its case. Guitars are meant to be used to make music and they look/sound much better when they are played regularly. This fine example comes with nearly all its original bits and pieces including its ‘Certificate of Merit’ dated 20 December 1979, manual, warranty card, bridge cover, vibrato arm and spare springs, and its ‘Fender U.S.A.’ ABS OHSC. Interestingly, the locking Sperzel tuners used on this model are not fitted to this example; this one has the standard Fender tuners, apparently factory fitted. She is in glorious condition and the silver is as it should be with none of the clear coat yellowing that is very common. As with most Anniversary Stratocasters, weight can be an issue and this one comes in at just over 10Lbs, which is heavy for a Stratocaster but par for the course here. Given its weight, it is perhaps surprising that the neck is quite chunky and the body contours are subtle compared to many Strats. Looking beyond the typical 1970s large headstock and the black plastic appointments, the return of the (commemorative engraved) 4‑bolt neck plate and body end truss rod adjustment are notable. She also feels, plays and sounds like a 1970s Strat, which may be good or bad news depending on your preferences. All in all, a very snazzy instrument and an ideal companion for other members of the CRAVE Guitars’ clan. They may be unpopular now but that’s why I like them and this really is a fantastic example, hence why she has joined the family… oh, and I think she’s very pretty too.

Features:

  • Made in Fullerton, California, U.S.A. in 1979
  • Alder body finished in Porsche Silver polyester with black ‘ANNIVERSARY’ logo on the upper treble bout
  • Original chrome hardware
  • Maple bolt‑on neck with mahogany ‘skunk stripe’
  • Unbound maple fingerboard with 21 frets and black dot markers
  • Large 1970s headstock with CBS‑era black ‘Fender’ logo
  • Original Fender‑branded tuners
  • Scale length 25½” (647mm)
  • 4‑bolt commemorative ‘F’ 1954‑1979 25th Anniversary neck plate with ’25xxxx’ serial number
  • 3‑ply black/white/black scratchplate with black pickup covers, knobs, switch tip and vibrato cover
  • Original trio of single coil pickups with 5‑way pickup selector switch
  • Original 6‑point factory vibrato bridge and vibrato arm
  • Weight: 10Lb 4Oz (4.65Kg)
  • Original Fender U.S.A. hard shell case with commemorative certificate and case candy

Trivia:

Here is a short extract of what Fender said about the 25th Anniversary Stratocaster back in the day…

“When a guitar remains a standard for a quarter of a century, you know it’s special. So Fender® celebrates the instrument that gave music a whole new voice and a lot of new directions to move in. Our 25th Anniversary Stratocaster. A limited edition. The Anniversary Stratocaster was designed by players for players. It’s not simply an imitation of the early Strat, but a combination of all that made the Stratocaster revolutionary plus a technology that’s evolutionary… They went fast in ’54. They’ll go fast now.”


Artists:

None attributable to this specific limited edition Anniversary model.


Detail Gallery:


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