Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

First Fender Strat sold for $250,000

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NASHVILLE -- The first production model Fender Stratocaster has been sold for $250,000.

George Gruhn of Nashville sold the 1954 guitar on consignment for owner and guitar historian Richard Smith. Gruhn said Thursday that the guitar was shipped and the purchase finalized this week.

Gruhn, who owns a Nashville guitar shop, says the buyer wanted to remain anonymous, but he said the private collector lives in the United States and is not a professional musician. Gruhn also says he encouraged the buyer to contact the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix about displaying it.

"I think it would be great if periodically he would loan it out," Gruhn said. "I would hate to think that it would spend the next 40 or 50 years completely out of sight and not seen or heard."

The sunburst-finish Strat bears the serial number 0100. Although some Strats have lower numbers that begin with 0001, Gruhn says they actually were manufactured later in that first year of production. He says the No. 1 Strat was originally sold to an amateur who evidently took good care of it.

Smith purchased the guitar from the original owner, and Gruhn said Smith was very pleased with the sale.

The Fender Stratocaster, first produced in 1954, has been described as a guitar that changed the world. Buddy Holly played one. So did Jimi Hendrix, a decade later, when he transformed the psychedelic experience into sound. Bob Dylan chose a Stratocaster for his revolutionary electric set, when he fired a defiant shot at tradition during the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 28, 2014 D2

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