The 1955 Fender Stratocaster continued similar to the Fall 1954 production strats. The only real difference was slight refinements in the manufacturing processes. The ’55 models tend to be much lighter and more comfortable to play than the 54’s. The headstock at this point is taking on more of a sharper edge instead of the rounded edges on the 54. During 1955 the neck shape of the guitar continued to be a pretty meaty U or D shaped profile depending on who is saying it. Needless to say, it was thick! They weren’t called baseball bats for nothing. The neck dots were still black and made from a fiberboard material.
The pickup covers, pickguard, and knobs tend to wear down and break up very easily. They were made from a material commonly known as Bakelite. (Pronounced “Bake-a-light”) It’s actually not correct though. It’s actually white urea formaldehyde. It’s a very brittle and very white material. I’ll keep using the terminology bakelite though because that’s what it’s most commonly known as.
By mid-1955 the tremolo cover string holes had changed from round to being more oblong. Also, the tremolo block has more squared off sides at this point. The bridge saddles are now slightly longer on the front side (toward the headstock).
The serial number range for 1955 Fender Stratocaster’s is stamped onto the neck plate and will cover from 6000-9000 with some minor exceptions. Anytime you are trying to figure out the year of the guitar you will need to use a combination of the serial number, neck and body dates, as well as overall features of the guitar.
The standard finish at this time was the 2 tone sunburst. The body would be dipped into a yellow dye then Fender would spray a dark brown on the edge giving a sunburst appearance. They also gave custom color options as well. There weren’t too many custom colors but one of the more common was blonde.
1955 Fender Stratocaster guitar specs:
- The headstock now features sharper edges.
- By mid-1955, the round string holes in the rear tremolo cover are changed to oblong holes.
- The sides of the tremolo block are now more squared off.
- The front edge of bridge saddles (closest to the nut) is longer.
- Bobby Lee strap pad is banana shaped.
- The tremolo bar’s bends are less pronounced.
- The white pick-guard now has a shiny backside.
- The guitar bodies are still made of Ash.
- Fender is also still using the two tone tobacco burst.
Famous 1955 Stratocaster Players:
- Buddy Holly
- Joe Bonamassa
- Dick Dale
- Ronnie Wood
- John Frusciante
How do they sound though?
Now for the gallery:
This is the most beautiful all original 1955 Fender Stratocaster I’ve personally ever seen. It’s incredibly clean, all original, and has some really nice ash figure on the body.
I remember as a kid seeing this guy here in the vintage guitar magazines. It was originally owned by Harold A Reed and is considered to be the first ever Black custom color Stratocaster. It’s now owned by Joe Bonamassa.
In fact, Joe just released a video of him playing this guitar.
[facebook url=”https://www.facebook.com/JoeBonamassa/videos/10154811685569659/” /]
If you have images of an original 1955 Stratocaster you would like included in our gallery please let us know.
Still plenty more info to come.