Spotting a Original Fender Stratocaster Plus (Part one)

The Strat Plus model was introduced in 1987 as an upgraded version of the mid-1980s American Standard Stratocaster (first introduced in 1986) featuring three Gold Lace Sensor pickups (used by Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy), Fender/Wilkinson needle-bearing roller nut (changed to the LSR nut in 1993), Sperzel staggered locking machine heads (later models came with Schaller staggered locking tuners), a TBX tone control for the middle and bridge pickups and a Hipshot Tremsetter.The Strat Plus was the highest end production model next to Fender Custom Shop guitars for the '80. Models were available with both maple and rosewood fretboards.

It has been brought to our attention, more than once, that there are a number of refinished Strat Plus guitars floating around on the market. Most of these show up on eBay and Gumtree in the UK. Because the value of the 1987 - 1990 rarer colored Strat Plus 's has gone up in the last few years.

According to Xhefries Guitars, its becoming harder to identify a original from a fake if you are not a avid collector or already a owner of one of these guitars.

If you want to know how to spot a fake, check out this 3 things to look out for:

1) Strat Plus body Cavity.

The American Standard Stratocasters and Stratocaster Plus Guitars did indeed use the same body design, dating from 1987 to 1998. All Strat Plus’ have the “swimming pool” route in the body, no exceptions. Please see below for a picture of a swimming pool route.

The Picture above is a Fender Strat Plus 1987 in feista Red. Every Strat Plus will have a black ground screw in this area connecting a wire to the pickup's ground. In my experiance the earlier Strat Plus's 1987-1990 came without the exposed Black conductive paint. whereas, the latter 1991-1998 Strat Plus's did indeed feature this. Your Probably asking yourself. if the American Standards and Strat Plus's used the same Bosy design, How can we ell the diffence? to be Honest, this Doesnt really matter as the colours offered for the American standard strats came in few colours which were not offered in the Plus series and vice versa

2) The Roller Nut.

One thing is a certainty, even though these guitars vary, all Standard Plus guitars had a roller nut either a Wilkinson Roller Nut or a LSR Roller nut, Please see the pictures below.

As you can see Picture one (Maple Fretboard) features the old style Wilkinson Nut. In picture two we have the upgarded LSR roller nut. In Mid 1993, Fender stopped using the Wilkinson nut and replaced them with the LSR Roller nuts (above). These made string changes much easier, as each string rode on top of a set of roller bearings—a great improvement over the Wilkinson nut. The idea being that the new nut would improve tuning while using the tremolo, being that the strings could move more freely. If the Fender Plus you are thinking of buying doesnt feature a Roller nut, or if the neck date doesnt correspond with the changeover dates of the Roller Nuts, the Guitar is not original.

Please Note: A Strat Plus will NOT have string trees, and putting them on the guitar greatly lowers its value!

3) The Lace Sensor Pick-ups

The Pictures above Display the Proggression on the Gold Lace sensor pick-up's from top to bottom. up until 1993, the tops of the Gold Laces were smooth with the gold lettering on the top of the pickup—thus the letterings rubbed off pretty easy. Around late 1992 to early 1993, Lace then recessed the lettering in a oval-shaped area—protecting the lettering a little bit better.These Can be driectly bough from Lace "Fender Lace Sensors" . Once again If the Fender Plus you are thinking of buying doesnt feature "fender" in writing on the pick-up, or if the neck date doesnt correspond with the changeover dates of the Pick-ups, the Guitar is not original.