The world’s first Stratocasters appeared in 1954, with the first non-tremolo models – soon known as hardtails – advertised in ’55, although some were produced in that first year, as Joe Bonamassa’s private collection of ’54s confirms. Other big name hardtail players over the years have included the likes of Rory Gallagher, Robert Cray, Billy Corgan, Nile Rogers, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Hank Marvin Jerry Garcia, (a standard tremolo model Strat, with the trem removed, the entire cavity filled with epoxy, then a hardtail bridge installed), and many more. Mott The Hoople’s Overend Watts owned what was believed to have been the very first Sunburst 1954 hardtail, serial # 52. The guitar was sold at auction in 2018 for £47,500.
Building the guitar without the tremolo cavity and all of the associated metal, gives the hardtail a noticeably woodier sound all its own – not Les Paul-like, just woodier Strat. (Think of it like cutting back slightly on some of the Telecaster twang that is inherent to most Strats)
Light Swamp Ash
Many seventies Stratocasters can do your back in, with some Ash bodies coming in at 13 or 14 pound, however, as with everything else about this hardtail, it’s a real winner in the weight department, at just 7lb 3oz! It pretty much has to be some leftover light Swamp Ash – and a two-piece body, rather than the seventies more cost-saving three-piece.
The one-piece Maple neck & fingerboard* is also a particularly nice piece of timber, with a beautifully rounded vintage ‘C’ profile, very much like the 1954 originals. There is no fingerboard wear, and the medium-jumbo frets are in excellent shape, (see pic # 7).
And the pickups… We don’t know who pickup winder number 17** was at Fender’s Fullerton facility back in April 1973, but she was really on form the day she wound the trio of grey-bottom wonders that power this beauty! Roll both your tone controls right back to between 2 and 4, and there’s not much you won’t be able to cut with this one!
With its 3-tone Sunburst finish still vibrant and largely unmarked, the guitar comes complete with its original “ashtray” bridge cover and black Tolex hard case. In overall Excellent++ condition, needing no work whatsoever, she’s 100% ready to plug in and play. And with sixties hardtails now starting up around $30k, this is an absolute bargain. 1973 and 1976 (and early ’77) are often acknowledged as being the standout years for seventies Stratocasters, and this is without a doubt the nicest ’73 we have experienced. And a hardtail to boot!
Free courier delivery
Our famous FREE COURIER DELIVERY is included to any address in Australia. ($100 airfreight to New Zealand, and $175 to the US, Canada, UK and mainstream European countries)
Weight: 7lb 3½oz / 3.27kg
*Neck code: 09 = Stratocaster; 03 = Maple; 16 = week; 3 = 1973; 3 = day of the week
**Pickup code: 17 = Staff winder number; 15 = week of the year; 73 = 1973