2010 Fender Custom Shop 1960s Stratocaster

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In late December 1965, during rehearsals for the Beatles Christmas Shows at the Donmar Warehouse in London, UK, John Lennon is photographed playing a 1960’s black Fender Stratocaster with a rare matching painted headstock. Intriguingly, the same “mystery” Strat also shows up in a group photo of the band’s instruments taken backstage on December 4, 1965 in Sheffield, UK.
Leo Fender introduced the Stratocaster in the spring of 1954. This very successful solid bodied guitar is also one of the most often copied designs. Lennon’s early 1960’s model featured: Alder body, "slab" Brazilian rosewood fingerboard, clay dots, 1 volume pot and 2 tone pots, 3-way blade switch, Peghead decal logo with two patent numbers, fatter neck backshape with “D” profile, a 3-layer (white/black/white) celluloid pick guard, smaller-sized headstock, and of course the matching painted headstock. Fender first started painting the matching headstocks in 1962, as a special order option on some of their models, gradually moving through other (but not all) models. The first Stratocasters with the matching headstocks show up in late 1963.
Little else is known about Lennon’s mystery Strat. No photographs have ever emerged of him playing it during a live performance or studio recording. However, what can be seen in the rehearsal and backstage photo’s is that Lennon chose to use his trademark Vox Python strap on the black Strat. The Python was a “prototype” made especially for him and he used exclusively on his 1964 Rickenbacker 325 since he received the strap in the summer of 1964. 
We do know that the iconic 1964 325 had suffered a bad headstock crack a year earlier and required repair. Perhaps the repair was now giving Lennon trouble and he needed another electric guitar while a second repair was made. Within weeks, the Rickenbacker would be permanently retired in favor of a 1965 Epiphone Casino. However, photographs taken during the actual performances in December show Lennon using his 1964 325 (but with a different strap).
The 2010 Fender Custom Shop 1960’s Stratocaster in our collection has features just like Lennon’s “mystery” black Strat.64_325.html64_325.htmlshapeimage_6_link_0shapeimage_6_link_1
John Lennon playing the Black Strat during a December 1965 rehearsal.
A close up photo of Lennon with the Black Strat.
The "mystery" Black Strat amongst the Beatles December 1965 Touring gear.

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