Thursday, 2 May 2013

The strange story of the Vietnam Serviceman Stratocaster
Hmmmm... There's something a little fishy about this Stratocaster listed on eBay recently. Note how it has a trem but the lack of a spring cavity on the rear makes it look like a hardtail from the behind.
That trem looks to be a very crude version of the Jazzmaster-style tremolo. And speaking of "crude", just look at that bridge!

The neck bolts are actually beneath the neck plate which is held in place by screws where you'd expect the bolts themselves to be.

The Fender headstock looks a little wonky in shape and - appropriately - has wonky decals applied.

Apparently it's a Philippine-made forgery, as sold to Vietnam servicemen in the late 1960s/early 1970s. Jazzmaster and Jaguar forgeries were more commonplace as these were the top of the line Fenders of the day, and this Strat version is supposedly much more unusual. It could also explain why the choice of tremolo used too. The seller tells us that the middle pickup is a dummy stuffed with paper, and that the pickup selector switch was originally only two-way but has since been replaced by a three-way.

For more information on these Philippine-made forgeries, check this website.

Recently listed on eBay but unsold with a starting price of $399.

G L Wilson

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1 comment:

  1. I bought one exactly the same, with the screw thred bridge, chromed tailpiece and Fender decals. Although, mine was a slightly metallic lightish blue and I noticed that the machine heads had been upgraded. Because it was a cheapie I thought I'd sand down the neck and in so doing revealed embedded steel which runs along the length of it & explains the lack of truss rod. When I checked out the pickups, to my delight, they turned out to be Dimarzio USA so they had obviously been upgraded. So now after setting up the new bridge & getting electrics checked out it actually plays respectably and the 5-way switch works (may have been replaced as well). Whatever brand the machine heads are, they keep her in tune excellent and the Dimarzios, especially at the neck, sound really nice. Just a shame about the cheaper wood and larger cavities but as an old reliable it is ok for me at the moment. Cheers



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