1983 Fender USA Stratocaster



’83 Strats are frequently maligned, mainly due to the surface-mounted Freeflyte tremolo system that was, admittedly, ill-conceived, plus other cost-saving measures of the era including pickguard-mounted output jack and only one tone knob. While it took a long time for ‘83s catch on in the vintage market, a dozen years ago they started to take off and now they command prices higher than a new Strat, which indicates folks are appreciating the vintage value. The bottom line though, is many of these are excellent utility guitars. Fit and finish on these are actually better than the 70’s 3-bolt Strats where “the gap” was commonplace, with a neck that didn’t properly fit the body. Regarding the tremolo, the good news is the Freeflyte trems can be rather easily replaced with a Kahler Pro, as was done on this guitar. The Kahler Pro is an excellent system and along with the Floyd Rose, is the choice of top American guitars like Jackson. The feel isn’t as stiff and it stays in tune very well. Kahler also offered two styles of locking nuts, both used in conjunction with a standard nut. One requires an Allen wrench to loosen while they also offered this style which loosens with a flick of the thumb. Overall this one is very clean for 26 years with no major scratches on the body and it’s obviously been well cared for. Frets have been recently dressed and there is plenty of life left in the frets. One major upgrade is a set of Custom Shop Texas Specials have been installed and they sound great. It also sports a new pickguard, installed when the pickups were swapped. At 9 lbs. on the nose, this guitar is medium weight for an ’83 – I’ve had many of them over 10 lbs. If you’re looking for a quality utility Strat that is pretty much impervious to going out of tune, with quality Texas Specials installed, here’s a nice buy at $950. Includes a nice tweed case.


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