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Strat top loader


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Amongst a box of guitar parts, I came across is a Fender Stratocaster Body. Not sure of the age, I’d say at least 10 years old.

It’s different to a standard strat as the strings are installed from the top, that is they are not though the body and there is no back plate.

Is this a common Fender feature? Any ideas on when it may have been made?

There was a neck amongst the bits and pieces, May 1990, although I have been told that the neck was not from this body

Also the saddles are missing, I’m not sure that a standard strat bridge saddles would be the right ones. Again any ideas?

thanks for any help



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Fender mutilated their trem in the 70's, going from one bad "improvement" to the next. I can't remember if they made a top loading bridge in the 70's though. There may have been some funky Kahler type top loading trems on 80's strats.


Just looked at A.R. Duchossoir's the Fender Stratocaster, and it sounds like the body at least was from an early 80's Elite Stratocaster or an 83 to 85 Standard Stratocaster. Here are some Elite Strat features:

* bi-flex truss-rod adjuster

* neck angle adjuster located in the neck plate

* a slightly wider nut width

* a flatter fretboard radius

* EZY-Glider point contact string retainers

* high-ratio, lash free, specially lubricated tuning gears

* security lock strap buttons

* heavy duty cast bridge assembly with 'drop-in' string loading

* Freeflyte tremolo system with tension adjustable from the top

* snap-on Torq-Master tremolo arm

* Alnico II single coil pickups without protruding poles

* noise-cancelling pickup system with a dummy coil between the lead and middle pickups

* etc. etc

The 83 - 85 standard strat also adopted the Freelyte trem system with 'drop in' string loading.

Hope that helps, because it was a lot of typing. :D

Maybe you can find a replacement trem or saddles on ebay.

Edited by javacody
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Thanks for the info, Javacody

Seems it is an early '80s - although not an Elite.

From what I've found out the Elite was an early attempt by Fender at active pickups. One weird feature on the Elite was the 3 push buttons that replaced the conventional 5 position pick up switch.

Seems mine is a standard stat from a similar time in Fenders dubious product development.

I’ve sent an email to Graph Tech to try and identify the saddles.

Again thanks for your help



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