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1961 Fender Stratocaster Tahitian Coral

A cool custom-color Strat with great natural wear

Nothing conjures up images of a ‘60s Rock ‘n’ Roll beach party like a cool custom-colored Fender Strat. Custom colors don’t get much hipper than this month’s example.

This Strat has a penciled neck date of 3-61, and has all the features typical to Strats of that year. These include: a slab Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with clay dots; a small headstock with spaghetti decal, including two patent numbers; and a greenish Nitrate 3-ply pickguard with a metal shielding plate underneath. The neck profile is very flat and comfortable, like most of the early slab board necks.

Besides having all the classic characteristics that make early ‘60s Strats appealing to players and collectors, this one has an ultra-rare color. According to an old piece of masking tape attached under the pickguard, the color is Tahitian Coral (a color of the same name was used by Chrysler in the late ‘50s). This non-standard color was not mentioned in any Fender catalogs (the closest official Fender color at the time was Shell Pink, listed from 1960–1963). An undercoat of Desert Sand can be seen where the top color has worn off. Proof that this color is factory original can be seen after unscrewing the neck. An area of paint from the body has stuck to the neck leaving a bare spot in the neck pocket that is an exact match to the glob stuck to the neck.

The Fender Stratocaster by A.R. Duchossoir is still one the best books for details on Fender Strats. The website has some great information on Fender custom colors, and for those wanting to dig deep into vintage automobile colors, check out

Dave's Guitar Shop
Daves Rogers’ Collection is tended to by Laun Braithwaite & Tim Mullally
Photos by Tim Mullally
Dave’s Collection is on display at:
Dave's Guitar Shop
1227 Third Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601