TIL: Rosewood Springy teething phase (1978-1980)

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Homer J. Simpson

Well-known member
Apr 19, 2017
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I recently stumbled upon a thread where somebody asked if his rosewood Springy shouldn't have a 3-ply, 11-hole pickguard. To be "period correct" it should, but I found out there were obviously little inaccuracies vanishing in a transition phase possibly lasting from 1979-80. The 1980 catalog Sigmania meticulously scanned, stitched together and translated in this thread is actually documenting that.

The 2 rosewood fretboard models shown have not only an 8-hole 1-ply pickguard (Fender changed to the 3-ply, 11-hole nitrate PGs in 1959, together with the change to rosewood fretboards) but also the round string retainer (which was gone by the second half of 1956).

Screenshot 2023-09-17 at 13.20.05.jpg

So far so good (or bad, well, no big deal really) - Springys with these kind of "historically incorrect" details obviously existed until 1980. There are plenty of examples in the wild. Here's a 1978 ST-80:

Screenshot 2023-09-17 at 12.12.46.jpg

Here's a 1979 ST-60:

Screenshot 2023-09-17 at 12.14.50.jpg

A 1979 ST-50:

Screenshot 2023-09-17 at 12.25.03.jpg

I hope you were expecting that it's getting weird at some point, we're talking Tokai after all. :) Here we go: Here's a 1979 that makes it look like Tokai may have corrected that in 1979:

Screenshot 2023-09-17 at 12.38.53.jpg

Whether the PG and the string tree have been changed on this one is hard to tell, but here's another example indicating that this may have gotten straightened out by 1980:

Screenshot 2023-09-17 at 13.28.58.jpgScreenshot 2023-09-17 at 13.28.39.jpg

Actually, there is quite a number of 1980 rosewood Springys to be found which have the correct 3-ply PG but still the "button" retainer. But to shuffle things up even more, here's an 1980 ST-60 with the "button" and again, a 1-ply 8-hole PG:

In summary, (I believe) today I learned that the "60s" rosewood models were often not 100% accurate in the early years and the (mind you, perceived through the internet) scarcity of guitars with the correct features in 1979 and '80 may indicate that they may or may not have been modified, so this might be something to look out for.

It seems only 1981 all the rosewood 60s replicas got the correct pickguard and string retainer. According to Fuzzfaced there actually was a very brief phase in June 1959 where 1-ply, 3-ply, 8, 10(!) and 11-hole pickguards went on Strats, so the "wrong" PG would still be accurate for this tiny time frame and if it bothers you, the wrong string tree is cheap and easy to swap for a "correct" part. :).

Also, it should be considered that most of the important books about vintage Fenders were not published until the mid-80s and later, and it was certainly much, much harder to line up things correctly in the complicated history of Stratocasters, and to reflect those in a replica. If they got that all correct by 1981, this is something to admire even more.
You are having fun!

I got into this when I got a 1981 ST75R MG with a replaced pickguard.

Since it was supposedly a 1960 Rosewood slab board copy I started looking to see what PG would be correct.

Turns out Tokai fudged it and was using one with the incorrect screw position for the 11 hole (note screw position above middle pickup) on the 1960 copy.

They used more of a 1964 screw position.


Actual 1964 Fender Strat.

Screen Shot 2023-09-17 at 8.47.45 AM.png

Fender Stratocaster 1964, Sunburst

Here is an actual 1960 Fender Strat.


1960 Fender Stratocaster - Pre CBS Stratocasters

So I got a nice mint green one on line but the holes don't match the original Tokai ones, but are more or less period correct for 1960.


And all of the ST80R and ST100R guitars with the soft V necks are "wrong" and never existed historically, but my 1981 ST80R MR is one of my favorite guitars.

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Haha, it wasn't with Tokais but the "vintage" vs. "a little less vintage" 11th hole has dumbfounded me too a few times in the past. :) I think the ST-80Rs have slab fretboards, that's why the (changed 1963 according to Fuzzfaced) hole position is wrong?

They should have (any maybe even meant to) used "60s", not "1960", that would have made all the round lam boards match the pickguards and the period. :)
None of the ST80s had slab boards. The only Springy that had a slab baord was the ST70R.

ST70 "Rare Model"

up until the mid 80s when the TST-62 got a slab board

TST-62 Gallery

and the AST-62

AST-62 Gallery

and the TST80R got them.

TST80 Goldstars

And then in the late 80s/90s slab boards were common on Tokais.
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Well, thanks! So today I learned up to 3 actually 4* things! :) That should do for one Sunday before lunch. 😋

*that there are V-necks with rosewood fretboard, too!
Endless fascination for those who of us who are paying attention.

Tip of the hat.

ST50 & 60 were U necks. ST80 was a V.

Screen Shot 2023-09-17 at 12.04.17 PM.png


I guess they were a C. Catalog doesn't say for the rosewood versions.

Screen Shot 2023-03-20 at 5.40.25 PM.png
For me they're '54 Strats just with a added veneer board.The later ones,without the walnut plug are more
vintage correct.C neck,11 screw 3 ply pickguard.
What year are you saying the ST80R was a C neck? Goldstars?
As discussed here,

ST80R V Neck Gallery

and looks like you had asked that then as well.

Since then I have read more accounts of the ST80R with '54 V necks.
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Oops,i thought 1982 the rosewoods where C necks.Lesson learned.:)
I'm not actually sure on the 1982 ST80R. I need to look it up.

My 1981 is a soft V, but things changed in 1982 and then again in 1983 when the ST80R was a slab board Goldstar and pretty rare.

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