In this Fender 75th Anniversary Stratocaster review, you’ll learn what this event is all about and what Fender is doing to celebrate the occasion.
Did you know that Fender has released a series of limited-issue guitars to commemorate its anniversary?
Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to get yourself a very special guitar that plays like a dream and will have value as a collector’s item!
Why Is Fender Having An Anniversary?
Fender is celebrating its 75th anniversary in business as a premier maker of fine musical instruments, including guitars, amps, effects pedals, and accessories.
If you know anything about electric guitars, then you are undoubtedly familiar with the Fender name and its basic legacy.
Fender first opened their doors in 1946 in Fullerton, California, U.S.A., as the “Fender Electric Instrument Company.” At that time, the company was owned and operated by Leo Fender.
Leo sold Fender and all its subsidiaries to the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1965. In 1985, company employees purchased Fender, and it was renamed “Fender Musical Instruments Corporation” (FMIC).
Fender 75th Anniversary Guitars And Bass Guitars
To celebrate their 75 years in business, Fender designed a series of 8 instruments from their most popular models of guitars and bass guitars.
They include 75th Anniversary and 75th Anniversary Commemorative (upscaled with more options and appointments) versions of the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Jazz Bass, and Precision Bass.
There are also options to purchase Fender Custom Shop versions of these instruments.
In this article, I am specifically covering the Stratocaster models.
Three Fender 75th Anniversary Stratocaster Models To Choose From!
Here are the three Stratocaster guitars that Fender has released as their 75th Anniversary Limited Edition series. They are expected to become collector’s items, like their 25th and 50th Anniversary models.
In addition to the basic anniversary and commemorative Strat models, a Custom Shop (team-built) model is also available.
The three guitar models have distinctly different neck shapes, which each provide a unique playing experience.
If you are interested in purchasing a Masterbuilt 75th Anniversary Strat, then contact an authorized Fender retail dealer for more information.
See the comparison table below for more specific information about each of the three 75th Anniversary Strat models.
75th Anniversary Stratocaster
The 75th Anniversary Stratocaster is Fender’s basic model, which comes in their “Diamond Anniversary” finish with a matching painted headstock. It is striking to look at and reasonably priced at about $850.
It has an alder body and a modern “C” shape maple neck. This Mexican-made guitar is powered by 3 Vintage-Style ’60s Single-Coil Strat pickups. A deluxe gig bag is included.
75th Anniversary Commemorative Stratocaster
Compared to the basic anniversary model, the 75th Anniversary Commemorative Stratocaster has a fabulous-looking “2-Color Bourbon Burst” finish and several upgrades. However, it might be a little pricey at just under $2,000.
It has an ash body and a Deep “C” shape maple neck. The electronics are upgraded to 3 Custom Shop Fat ’60s Single-Coil Strat (RWRP Middle) pickups.
It is made in California, has locking tuners, and comes with a Deluxe Molded Hardshell case.
Custom Shop Limited Edition NOS Stratocaster
The Custom Shop Limited Edition NOS Stratocaster is the ultimate in Fender’s 75th Anniversary range. It is team-built and has the looks and quality you expect in a custom shop model.
At under $4,500, it’s a pretty good deal for a limited edition custom shop guitar and a great investment as a collector’s item. But, of course, it’s on the pricey side, as all custom shop guitars are. The guitar is made in Corona, California.
What Makes It So Special?
The guitar’s “Diamond White Pearl” finish and 1-ply gold anodized aluminum pickguard really make a stunning combination!
The body is made from 2-Piece Select Alder with a nitrocellulose lacquer finish, which helps the wood breathe as it ages and improves the sound. It has a gorgeous 60s Oval “C” shape 5A Birdseye Maple neck that just begs to be played!
The fingerboard is made from “round-lam” (round laminated to the neck, not “slab-board”) AAA Rosewood.
Unlike the 75th Anniversary basic and commemorative models, which have 22 medium-jumbo frets, this custom shop guitar has 21 narrow-tall frets and mother of pearl dots to give it a more vintage feel.
It has Custom Shop Hand-Wound Fat ’60s Single-Coil Strat (RWRP Middle) pickups as an ultimate electronics upgrade! It also has “Fat ’50s Strat wiring”, which Fender claims gives it a “powerful tone with transparent bloom.”
The custom shop vintage synchronized tremolo will make you feel like you are in “whammy bar heaven.”
Join The “Custom Shop Club”
This guitar gives you all the bragging rights, with the “Custom Shop” logo on the headstock and 4-bolt neck plate, and a certificate of authenticity.
A Deluxe Hardshell Case, strap, and all the case candy make this guitar a dream come true!
In case you don’t know, NOS (new old stock) is Fender’s “relicing designation” for “just like when they left the Fender factory,” which means the guitar looks and plays as if you bought it new.
For more information on how Fender classifies their guitars, see the “Fender Custom Shop Vintage Telecasters” section in the article Best Telecaster Players – These Tele Masters Will Shock You!
To see how great these guitars really look and sound, check out this Fender video, where Eugene Edwards plays the basic and commemorative Strat models as well as both Tele models.
If you want to learn more about Fender’s new “Tone Master” amps, like the one Eugene is using, then see Fender Tone Master Review – Check Out The New Super Reverb!
Feature Comparison For The 75th Anniversary Strats
Here are the features and specifications of the three Fender 75th Anniversary Stratocasters that are currently available.
All prices are subject to change but reflect the retail cost at the time of this article’s publication.
|Spec||Anniversary Strat||Commemorative Strat||Custom Shop Strat|
|Price||$849.99 (retail)||$1,949.99 (retail)||$4,400 (team-built retail)|
|Material||Alder||Ash||2-Piece Select Alder|
|Color||Diamond Anniversary With|
Matching Painted Headstock
|2-Color Bourbon Burst||Diamond White Pearl|
|Finish||Gloss Polyester||Gloss Urethane||Nitrocellulose Lacquer|
|Material||Maple||Maple||5A Birdseye Maple|
|Finish||Satin Urethane (back)|
Gloss Urethane (front)
|Satin Urethane (back)|
Gloss Urethane (front)
|Shape||Modern “C”||Deep “C”||60s Oval “C”|
|Scale Length||25.5″ (648 mm)||25.5″ (648 mm)||25.5″ (648 mm)|
|Maple (no cap)||Maple (no cap)||Round-Lam|
|9.5″ (241 mm)||9.5″ (241 mm)||9.5″ (241 mm)|
|Frets||22 Medium Jumbo||22 Medium Jumbo||21 Narrow Tall|
|Nut Width||1.650″ (42 mm)||1.685″ (42.8 mm)||1.650″ (42 mm)|
|Position Inlays||Black Dot||Black Dot||Mother Of Pearl Dot|
|Pickups||3 Vintage-Style ’60s|
|3 Custom Shop Fat ’60s|
(RWRP Middle Pickup)
|Custom Shop Hand-Wound|
Fat ’60s Single-Coil Strat
(RWRP Middle Pickup)
Tone 1. (Neck/Middle)
Tone 2. (Bridge Pickup)
Tone 1. (Neck Pickup)
Tone 2. (Bridge/Middle)
Tone 1. (Neck/Middle)
Tone 2. (Bridge Pickup)
|Switching||5-Position Blade With|
|5-Position Blade With|
|5-Position Blade With|
|Bridge||2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with|
Bent Steel Saddles
|2-Point Synchronized Tremolo with|
Bent Steel Saddles
Pop-In Tremolo Arm
Cold-Rolled Steel Block
Vintage Synchronized Tremolo
|Standard Cast/Sealed||Modern Locking Short-Post |
White Pearloid Buttons
White Pearl Buttons
|Pickguard||3-Ply Black/White/Black||3-Ply Mint Green||1-Ply|
Gold Anodized Aluminum
|Parchment Plastic||Aged White Plastic||Vintage White|
|Switch Tip||Parchment||Aged White||Vintage White|
|Neck Plate||4-Bolt||4-Bolt||4-Bolt With|
Custom Shop Logo
|Deluxe Gig Bag||Deluxe Molded Hardshell||Deluxe Hardshell Case|
So, Which Guitar Should You Buy?
These three guitars are all real beauties in their own right, but if you’re ready to take the plunge, then which one do you go for? One obvious answer is the amount of money you have to spend.
The basic 75th-anniversary model is realistically doable for most guitar players that have been at it for a while, with some money coming in or put away for just such a purchase. However, if you want a really sharp-looking guitar that will play and sound great, then definitely put this axe on your radar! I love the colored body and matching headstock combination.
For those guitar players that are up for spending an extra thousand dollars and can’t do without the 2-Color Bourbon Burst paint job, then the 75th-anniversary commemorative model might be the way to go. However, I’d personally rather use the money to buy both the basic 75th-anniversary Strat and Tele and still save about $250.
Collectors or those that really appreciate all the little things that make a guitar look, play, and sound great should consider investing in the 75th-Anniversary Custom Shop Strat. Unfortunately, you would probably have to keep a guitar like this for at least 5 to 10 years before you see a decent resale profit on your investment, even though it’s a limited edition piece.
If you’re like me, then you play all your guitars. Of course, this would make all these guitars less valuable in the long run, but that wouldn’t stop me from buying any of them. When I started writing this review, I actually considered buying all three (unbelievable, right?)!
What I like About These Guitars
I think Fender did an excellent job designing these guitars to celebrate their diamond anniversary. Each guitar is special in its own right. Here are some of the things that really stand out among them.
- Each guitar has a unique limited edition finish, regardless of its cost. Just one look, and you want to buy all three guitars. I can dream, can’t I?
- Even the basic guitar model includes a deluxe gig bag to keep it safe. It would be hard to imagine putting this guitar in a cheap gig bag or case.
- They are all destined to be collectible instruments, even if you play them regularly.
What I Don’t Like About These Guitars
There’s not much to dislike about the 75th-anniversary series guitars, no matter how you look at it. However, there are a few things I would like to mention here.
- A student (entry-level) anniversary Strat would have been a nice idea so that everyone could afford to get in on the fun of owning one.
- The fender 75th-anniversary commemorative Stratocaster is over twice the cost of the basic model. I’m not really sure you get more than twice the guitar for your money. However, the guitar looks so awesome that I would buy it if I had room for one more.
- The team-built Custom Shop model is at the high-end of what you might expect to pay for a guitar like this. Unfortunately, you can buy some masterbuilt models for about $1,000 more at the time of this writing. Still, that doesn’t really mean that this guitar is not worth the investment, and it’s an outrageously nice-looking axe!
To be clear, if money is not a big issue, then there’s not really much to talk about in the minus department. Fender has come through in spades with some really outstanding instruments!
What Is The Fender 75th Anniversary Book?
To add to the fun of the celebration, Motorbooks will be releasing their historical retrospective, “Fender 75 Years.”
It is a Fender officially licensed book that will be available in hardcover for $50 on September 21, 2021. In addition, a $175 deluxe limited (500 copy) collectible edition has a tentative release date of October 19, 2021.
Fender 75 years is 224 pages of guitar, amp, and ad splendor! It was written by Dave Hunter, a musician and journalist who has authored several books and contributed to “Guitar Player” and “Vintage Guitar” magazines.
Through the course of the book, it chronicles the birth and evolution of the guitar company that would become almost synonymous with the electric guitar. In addition, it is loaded with high-quality black and white and color photos that really bring the book to life.
I highly recommend you get your copy as soon as it becomes available. I have already ordered mine!
Fender has designed three exceptional guitars to celebrate their 75 years of making some of the industry’s most iconic musical instruments and amplifiers. Each guitar pays homage to Fender’s ongoing commitment to giving players the tools they need to take their music to the next level with style.
Like the 25th and 50th anniversary Strats, these diamond anniversary limited editions are destined to become more valuable over time. As a result, collectors will want to purchase the custom shop model as an investment piece.
With three price ranges to choose from, you can get the guitar that’s right for you before they disappear. Remember, diamonds are a Strat’s best friend!
Tell Me What You Think
Would you mind leaving a comment below if you enjoyed this Fender 75th Anniversary Stratocaster review, have any questions about these guitars, or want to leave your own personal review? I will be happy to help you.
- What do you think about these 75th anniversary guitars?
- Which fender anniversary Stratocaster do you think is the best buy for the money?
- After reading this review, are you thinking of checking out these guitars?
- Will you be buying the “Fender 75 Years” book?
Fender 75th Anniversary Stratocasters
- Each Guitar Looks Fabulous!
- Deluxe Gig Bag Or Case Included On All 3 Models
- All 3 Guitars Are Destined To Become Collectable
- No Entry-Level "Student" Model Available
- Commemorative Model Is More Than Twice The Cost Of The Basic Model
- Custom Shop Model Might Be Priced A Little High