The 1954 Stratocaster
I didn’t have any money but no one else wanted to buy it, so I got it by trading a couple of nice guitars. The guitar had undergone a lot of changes over the years but it is what it is and it had enough of the original parts to make it tempting. For example the 3-way switch, the wiring, the pick guard, most of the screws, the strap buttons, the jack plate, some of the bridge parts, the neck plate and its screws, the front and rear pickups. (The middle pickup was a later ‘50’s model made for a left-handed guitar, quite a rare and interesting thing.) And the guitar body itself.
It came with a 1960's rosewood board neck. The day after I bought it a ’54 neck turned up on e-bay. Unbelievable. The neck had lost some wood where someone had removed a previous dark refinish. And it had the marks left over from a locking nut device. But it was reasonably priced and I was advised to get it, even if just to put in in the case. When I got it I had repairer Piers Crocker check its authenticity and once that was confirmed he installed it on the guitar. The difference it made to the sound and playability of the guitar was instantly apparent.
For example, the saddles had to be wound up quite high to accommodate the ’60's neck. With them down to the right level, the guitar just felt a lot better. And the maple neck made it sound like it was meant to sound. The dealer I bought it from told me that I had doubled the value of the guitar. I don’t know if that is true but everyone who plays it is mightily impressed. I have since had the neck restored and re-fretted. That made a big difference too.