1996 Fender USA American Standard Stratocaster Sonic Blue/Daphne Blue.

The Blue Book Says:

Stratocaster: American/American Standard Series (1986-Present Mfg.)

Fender has continuously produced a standard American Stratocaster since the mid-1980s, but there are three distinct models within the series. The first series was called the “American Standard Stratocaster” and produced between 1988 and 2000. At the Summer 2000 NAMM show, Fender introduced the new “American Series” that was announced as an evolution of the American Series. Changes included American Deluxe body specs with a historically correct upper horn and non-veneered body, HSH pickup rout instead of the old “swimming pool,” American Deluxe neck shape with rolled edges, Deluxe Staggered tuners, original headstock shape, custom staggered pickup magnets, three-ply parchment/black/parchment pickguard, and parchment pickup covers, knobs, and tips. At the Winter 2008 NAMM show, Fender introduced the third round of the American Stratocaster, and the name reverted back to the old one as the “American Standard Stratocaster.” Changes include a new bridge with bent steel saddles, a new tinted neck treatment, thinner finish undercoat, and all guitars come with an SKB molded case. In spring, 2012, Fender introduced the fourth version of the American Standard Stratocaster with the major change being the introduction of Custom Shop pickups.

AMERICAN STANDARD STRATOCASTER (1986-2000, U.S. MFG. NO. 010-7400/7402)

– alder body, four-bolt neck plate, 22-fret maple or rosewood fingerboard with black dot inlay, chrome-plated die-cast tuners, standard vibrato with two pivot point design, three-ply white pickguard, three single coil exposed polepiece pickups, three knobs (v, two tone), five-position switch, chrome hardware, available in 3-Color Sunburst (1998-2000), Arctic White (disc. 1997), Black, Brown Sunburst, Burgundy Mist (limited edition, 1995 only), Candy Apple Red (1997-2000), Caribbean Mist (disc. 1997), Frost Red (late 1980s-early 1990s), Gun Metal Blue (late 1980s-early 1990s), Inca Silver (1997-2000), Lake Placid Blue (1998-2000), Lipstick Red (disc. 1997), Midnight Blue (disc. 1997), Midnight Wine (disc. 1997), Natural (1998-2000), Olympic White (1998-2000), Pewter (late 1980s-early 1990s), Sonic Blue (1997-98), Surf Green (limited edition, 1995 only), or Vintage White (1997-98) polyurethane finishes, mfg. late 1986-2000.

I say:

It’s a strat.

Never been my favourite guitars – simply due to the position of the volume knob, BUT it does have some redeeming qualities.  Basically positions 2&4 on the 5 position switch just cannot be replicated on any other guitar – if you want that sound  – you buy the guitar.

This is a pretty clean example from 1996 – the neck is great – really easy to play, set up with Ernie Ball 10’s, is sounds magnificent.

The neck is in great condition with only a few areas of lacquer chipping along the edge of the neck, and the headstock has the 50th anniversary sticker from that year.

All the electronics are standard, fully functional and crackle free.  It does have a TBX tone pot (I love these  – centre is “flat” turn up cuts the bass, and turn down cuts the treble – a great idea to try and compete with “active” electronics without faffing around with batteries).

The bodywork is in good condition – no significant scrapes or dings, but it does have a rather weird case of acne.  I’m not sure of what’s caused this – but suspect that at some time this has spent itself wrapped in some rubber padding and the lacquer and the padding have reacted.  I’ve tried to show the marks as best I can in the pictures.  I’m not sure whaich colour it actually is as the two names seem to indicate almost the same shade of blue! – I’m hedging my bets on Daphne Blue….

I have a replacement trem arm for it, currently for sale “as is” – oh and I’ve a great looking new case for it – not a fender one – but it’ll turn heads :)….