Since 1954, the Fender Stratocaster has set the bar for the electric guitar. Versatile and expressive—but originally conceived as an affordable, workingman's instrument—the Stratocaster has become ubiquitous across all genres of music as a Swiss-army-knife guitar.
By the early '80s, the Stratocaster hadn't changed much. Prior to that, Fender had explored some variations on the Telecaster with different pickups and control options (Deluxe and Custom), but the few attempts to add new Stratocaster models didn't diverge much from the classic template.
But in 1983, Fender envisioned a new take on the Stratocaster that was packed with what were cutting-edge, modern features at the time. The Elite Stratocaster boasted active electronics and newly-designed single coil pickups with no visible poles on the top. It sported a fresh-looking tremolo design that required no back cavity for tremolo springs. The intention was to give the guitar more sustain by not routing out additional Alder from the back. The new tremolo design also had a piece covering adjustment screw-heads and a snap-back tremolo arm, so it was sleek and easy to use.
Unlike Strats that came before it, the Elite Stratocaster has push-button selectors for the pickups instead of a slider switch. This unique design allows two additional combinations that you don't get with a five-way switch: neck and bridge together, and all three at once. For the first time, active electronics introduced the TBX and MDX boosting circuits, which have remained lasting upgrades on special edition Strats. All-in-all, these new ideas gave guitarists sounds and flexibility that wasn't available on previous Stratocasters.
This 1983 Elite Stratocaster showcases Fender's Sienna Sunburst, which was a new custom color at the time. It has been beautifully preserved over the years and is in gorgeous cosmetic condition. The most noticeable wear is some flaked finish up high on the fingerboard (around the 15th-17th fret area, see photos). There is a cosmetic finish repair for a finish chip right by the input jack (also photo-ed).
This 1983 Fender Elite Stratocaster was brought to us by the original owner, and it includes its original case and original polish cloth (how cool is that!). It is a great example of a rare variation on the Stratocaster.