1961 Fender Stratocaster

In 1961 Fender started using a more robust red dye for their three color sunburst. Also the dark brown part of the sunburst around the edge of the body is slightly more black. Hence the sunburst finish on a 1961 Fender Strat is much bolder looking. Fender also felt the need to add patent numbers to the peghead during 1961. Still has the “slab” rosewood fingerboard, but the back neck shape is larger (and more comfortable in my opinion).

Serial number range for the 61 Fender Stratocaster are generally 55000 to 72000 (on the neck plate).

See the previous year’s 1960 Fender Stratocaster
See the next year’s 1962 Fender Stratocaster

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1961 Fender Stratocaster guitar specs:

  • Peghead decal logo now has 2 patent numbers (2,573,254 & 2,741,146)
  • Neck backshape is a fatter “D” shape, but still not nearly as fat as 1958 and prior Stratocaster necks.
  • Fender now using a more robust red in their sunburst finish. Hence 1961 and later Strats don’t have sunburst finished with a faded out red.
  • The dark “Amber brown” part of the sunburst finish is now changed to “black”. Hence the dark part of the sunburst is more striking and does not blend as well as prior sunburst finishes. It is a subtle change.
  • White “chicklet” paper tone capacitor changes to a red round disc capacitor with yellow insulting tubing on one leg of the cap.
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