This Stratocaster is probably from 1961 or 1962, the serial
number is 80470. The guitar is refinished in red.
It has a laminated maple fingerboard (no one-piece maple
neck like the Fender Strats from the 50ies). For this reason
there is no 'skunk stripe' at the back of the neck
and no dark spot at the headstock.
Normally Fenders had a rosewood
fingerboard in the early 60ies. I have seen one or two with a laminated
maple board like this one, but I prefer to think that what we have
here is a later modification.
Note that the strap button is at the back of the guitar,
near the number plate!
had a white plastic pickguard (original would be a greenish-white
celluloid guard), and the volume poti was moved towards the bridge (possibly
to have more space for resting those two fingers). There is no
information available about the pick-ups installed.
friend Steve Philips (of the Notting Hillbillies) once told me he
remembers that Mark gave this guitar to a luthier called Sam Lee (or
Sam Li?) in Soho for these modifications.
put the complete pickguard - including electronics and pick-ups
- of his other Fender Stratocaster on this guitar, so he swapped
the pickguards to have the greenish-white board (the one with the
black volume knob) on that Strat which he prefered for a particular
tour (see my blog article Early
Dire Straits: Which of the two red Fenders was used in which concert? for more
information on this matter)
You can hear this guitar on album one and on Communique,
and you can see it in the videos of Sultans
of Swing, Wild West End, Lady Writer or on many other
videos (e.g. Rockpalast) or pictures from 1977-1979. It can be
considered as Mark's main
live axe in the early days. According to all pictures I
have seen from this period, he played this guitar on
about 60-70% of the concerts, and maybe on 30-40% his other red Strat (Note
that he did not change the guitar between songs as he does today,
instead he favoured one for a particular leg of a tour and had the
other as backup!)
In 1982 the neck was replaced with a Schecter
one-piece maple neck. It is confirmed that Mark does not have this
guitar anymore, it seems it was auctioned for a charity
an original Fender or a Japanese fake?
Mark considered this guitar as an original Fender from the early
sixties. It was Sohn Suhr, builder of the Pensa-Suhr, now owner of
Suhr guitars, and who worked a lot on Mark's guitars in the 80ies, who
claimed that this guitar was a Japanese fake, and that Mark was not
aware of this.
if you compare this guitar to Japanese copies from the 70ies, you will
note that many details are "right" (like Kluson style tuners,
staggerd pole pieces of pick-ups, the serial number of course, bridge
construction, body shaping etc.) All in all it is difficult to tell a
Fender that has not only been refinished but also modified a lot from
a copy. Since John Suhr normally knows his stuff, it is
nevertheless likely that parts are Japanese (my guess would be
from my blog about this guitar:
Dire Straits: Which of the two red Fenders was used in which concert?
of Dire Straits, Live at the Zirkus Krone, Munchen, May 29, 1979
and Gear on the Dire Straits Bootleg Leeds 1978