Now in its seventh decade, the highly versatile, sleek and supremely good-looking Fender Stratocaster defies its age in the most convincing and elegant manner.

In this post we take a look back at some of the earliest models of this iconic instrument and show you what they currently sell for.

1954

1954 Fender Stratocaster

The Fender Stratocaster as we know it was conceived in 1954. From March to September of that year Leo Fender, George Fullerton and Freddie Tavares experimented with a number of hand-made designs until the final first production version was released in October.

Mint condition (typical features): $77,000

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1955

1955 Fender Stratocaster

1955 saw some minor production improvements, most notably a reduction in weight making it better to play.

Mint condition (Sunburst): $40,000

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1956

1956 Fender Stratocaster

In 1956 Fender changed the wood used in the body of sunburst models from ash to alder. Guitars were also dyed instead of sprayed to apply the yellow tint to the sunburst models. The shape of the body was also modified with the U-shaped neck replaced by a soft-V shaped neck.

Mint condition (Sunburst, alder): $34,000

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1957

1957 Fender Stratocaster

More minor changes were introduced in 1957 models including the use of ABS plastic instead of polystyrene, which was much more durable.

Mint condition (Sunburst): $34,000

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1958

1958 Fender Stratocaster

1958 saw the V-shaped completely disappear replaced by a thin U-shaped neck. The sunburst finish also changed from two tone to three tone.

Mint condition (Sunburst): $33,000

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1959

1959 Fender Stratocaster

More changes were introduced in 1959, most notably the replacement of the maple fingerboard for a Brazilian rosewood one (a wood that is now illegal to import to the US).

Mint condition (Sunburst): $30,000

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1960’s

1962 Fender Stratocaster

Few major changes were made to the Stratocaster in the early 60’s. Then in 1965, Leo Fender sold Fender to the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) for $13 million. Following the sale, changes to materials and manufacturing processes started to noticeably reduce the quality of Stratocaster’s as CBS sought to increase profit margins.

Mint condition (1960, Sunburst): $26,500

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1960’s - present

Hundreds of other variations of the Stratocaster have been produced since the CBS takeover, and continue to roll off the factory line to this day.

Browse all Stratocaster variations and prices all in our guitar database. Which one is your favourite?