Fender / Stratocaster / 1961 / Fiesta Red / Guitar
_March 22, 2007
This note is to confirm that I owned this 1961 Fiesta Red Fender Stratocaster with rosewood neck; serial #61249 This was my main guitar for the last two years. It was extensively used on my touring schedule during that time. It was the main Strat I used on making the CD ‘Bloom’ This guitar was one of my two favourite rosewood neck Strats I’ve ever owned.
The text above is transcribed from the note that accompanies this very guitar along with a host of photos of the man himself holding and playing the guitar in concert.
Even though this guitar, as stated above, was a big part of Eric Johnson’s sound in the mid noughties both in the studio and on the road, there are no signs of it being an overt road warrior. The front bears a few minor scars and the lacquer has a worn feel. The back shows a few more dings and wear marks but again this isn’t as extensive as you might expect from a stage guitar. The wear marks on the back reveal a little of the guitars factory paint history which is factory fiesta red sprayed over dakota red, sprayed over desert sand which for a fiesta red from this period is entirely correct.
This along with other factors such as the writing in the pickup cavities and the writing on the tape under the pickguard confirm without any doubt that this is a genuine, desirable, factory fiesta red finish and not any kind of re make by any importer in any of the European countries!
The back of the neck is comfortably worn in a few places as you might expect. The grain of the maple is interesting both on the neck and headstock adding some attractive figuring to both. The frets and fret board are in great shape with surprisingly lots of life left in the original frets.
The pick guard shows a little shrinkage but no signs of cracking and is a perfect match with the hue the plastics have all aged to.
Electronically, it is all correct with the exception of two small items, obviously done to suit Eric’s playing preference. The tone control for the middle pickup has been moved so that it works on the bridge pickup. This is one solder joint on the switch and would be a simple fix to return this to original spec. All other solder joints seem undisturbed. The other thing is the original 3 way switch has been very cleverly and masterfully notched to enable the in between positions to be easily selected, just like a 5 way but using the original vintage 3 way. We have never seen this before and whoever did it must have been a bit of a genius..
The guitar comes with its correct Fender Brown Tolex case which is in fine condition.
As with most of these early 60’s Strats, this guitar plays and sounds totally fantastic - this one really does! Pickups are wonderfully balanced and has all the range of tones you’d expect with the added easy access to those fated ‘in-between’ sounds. You can understand Mr Johnsons. preference for this guitar and why it was his main guitar for so long.
This is a stunning original custom colour guitar with a nice connection to some of its recent past. If you’re a Eric Johnson fan, a Hank fan (his fiesta red was a 1961) or just looking for a good Strat you can’t go wrong here!
ATB Guitars, UK
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