The 1960 Fender Stratocaster is considered a wonderful year for the Stratocaster. Not much changed from 1959 to 1960 but the guitar did become slightly more refined in the changes that took place over the 1959 year models. The 1960 Stratocaster is also featured quite often in Fender Custom Shop builds.
Below is a beautiful custom color (Olympic White) example of an all original 1960 Fender Stratocaster being sold on Reverb. Click on the image to purchase the guitar.
The 1960 Strat featured a neck made of hard rock maple with a Brazilian Rosewood slab fretboard. The back of the neck continued to be a very thin C profile shape. The biggest change for 1960 was one that basically went unnoticed. At the beginning of 1960, Fender switched from North Wound Pickups to South Wound Pickups. There is no real difference in Tone. That’s why no one really noticed. North wound vs south wound pickups just relates to the position and polarity of the magnets used. Also, getting into the 60s Fender because to wind the pickups to be hotter as well.
Fender continued with the 3-tone sunburst finish as standard for the Stratocaster. However, the red they used lost pigment went exposed to UV rays or sunlight. So, many of the original finish sunburst 1960 Strats look like the classic 2-tone sunburst of the 50s. You can see below that the Stratocaster shown still has some of the red in the sunburst.
Now if you look at the image below you will see that the red dye has faded.
The serial numbers for the 1960 Stratocasters generally fall within the 40,000 – 58,000 range stamped onto the neck plate.
Features of the 1960 Strat:
- Small headstock including a gold flake decal with no patent numbers continued on from the 50s.
- 21 small frets. The frets Fender used were very slim profile frets.
- Single Line Kluson Deluxe tuning keys
- Hard Rock maple neck with a Brazilian Rosewood Slab fretboard
- Clay Dot fret markers
- In the early part of the year, Fender started writing the neck build date on the neck butt again
- The neck shape remained a thin C shape. That remained as a holdover from 1959.
- The body, still made of alder, continued to be very curvy
- 3-tone sunburst was the standard color (amber -> red -> dark brown) The red faded when exposed to UV (sunlight) causing the sunbursts from 1960 to look like the classic 2-tone.
- Options of a Brown Tolex hard case with brown leather ends and a yellow crushed velvet interior or a brown gig bag.