The 1962 Fender Stratocaster is pretty much my absolute favorite of the Pre-CBS era. I like the ones from January through June through the most. Why? Because of that fat neck with the nice thick shoulders on it and that beautiful slab Brazilian Rosewood fretboard. I’m going to have a full detailed look of my all original June 62 on here so get ready. 😉
1962 did bring quite a few changes to the Fender Stratocaster. One that I’ve already mentioned is the change of the Brazilian Rosewood fretboard. Since mid-1959 Fender had been using a slab board Brazilian Rosewood fretboard. They decided the tone was too dark. So, in July 62 they began a process that thinned out the board underneath to a 7.25″ radius matching that of the fretboard top. This created a much thinner veneer fretboard as shown below on the right.
To the left above you’ll see my June 1962 Slab board neck and on the right is a July 1962 veneer board neck. I’ve seen it mentioned in places on the internet that they started this in August 1962. However, I’ve never personally seen a July 1962 slab board neck.
Another change that took place was the hand written build date on the neck butt. It would normally show up as 1-62 or something like that indicating the month and year the neck was made. However, now Fender switched over to a rubber stamp as seen above. The 2 in the number was the model of guitar. A 3 letter month was put on there. In the case of the images above Jun for June and Jul for July followed by the year. In this case 62 for 1962. Then, the neck width. Most necks were a B width like the necks above which indicates a 1 5/8″ nut width. More rare necks include an A width which was for the 1 1/2″ nut width. There were also C width nuts which measured 1 3/4″ and a D width measured at 1 7/8″. I’ve seen several A width necks. Most of the time the C width necks I’ve seen are on Jazzmasters and Jaguars. The D width necks are commonly used on the Precision basses, though. I’m not going to say a C or D width Strat neck doesn’t exist. But, I will say that I’ve never seen one. If it’s stamped with a 4 it’s a Jazzmaster that had the headstock cut down to look like a Strat.
1962 Stratocaster Finishing
Another change that took place was to the finishing process. Previously, the guitars were put onto a sort of Lazy Susan with nail holes and sprayed that way. But, toward the fall Fender changed from that to using a piece of conduit with a flattened end screwed into the neck pocket. December 1962 is the earliest I’ve seen a guitar with the paint stick painting method. If anyone has seen an earlier one that please let me know and get me some proof of it. To the left is an April 1962 and to the right is a December 1962 factory finish. The paint still will always be on the upper bout side of the neck pocket.
The serial number range for the 62 Fender Stratocaster is generally 72000 to 93000 (on the neck plate). If you need to figure out the exact year of your pre-CBS Fender Stratocaster, use the serial number and the general features of the guitar.
1962 Fender Stratocaster guitar specs Summary:
- The headstock logo decal now has 3 patent numbers (2,960,900 added)
- March 1962 is the last month for a “penciled” neck date on the butt of the neck (only seen if neck removed). After March 1962, the neck date is now stamped with a rubber stamp, starting with the number “2” (to signify a Stratocaster neck). For example, “2APR62B” (where the “B” signifies a 1 5/8″ nut width).
- The pencil body dates are becoming less common at this point.
- The 3-way CRL switch still has angled sides, but the bakelite material that holds the switch contacts is lighter and less fibrous in color.
- Neck screws change from being partially threaded, to being fully threaded their whole length. This applies to the tremolo claw screws too.
Mid 1962 Fender Stratocaster guitar specs:
- The mid 62 Strats saw the fretboard go from the thick slab board Brazilian rosewood to a thinner veneer Brazilian rosewood. Now, the bottom of the fretboard that was previously flat is arched to match the 7 1/4″ radius of the top of the fretboard. This change took place in July 1962. I’ve heard some say that it took place in August of 62 but I haven’t seen a slab board any later than June 1962.
End of the year 1962 Fender Stratocaster guitar specs:
- Neck pocket no longer entirely painted. Instead, a “paint stick” (a piece of wire conduit hammered flat) is used to hold the body during the painting process. This leaves a bare area on the bass side of the neck pocket with no paint.
More info and pics coming.