Overend Watts/Mott The Hoople: A 1954 'Hardtail' Fender Stratocaster, believed the earliest of its type to be shipped,

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Lot 147
Overend Watts/Mott The Hoople: A 1954 'Hardtail' Fender Stratocaster, believed the earliest of its type to be shipped,

Sold for £ 47,500 (US$ 60,166) inc. premium
ROCK & POP
Overend Watts/Mott The Hoople: A 1954 'Hardtail' Fender Stratocaster, believed the earliest of its type to be shipped,
serial no. 0052 stamped on neckplate, double-cutaway, contoured ash body with two-tone sunburst finish, single-ply white eight-screw scratchplate, three single coil pickups, non-tremolo bridge with six adjustable string saddles, the maple neck with dark walnut centre back strip, headstock with Kluson machineheads, one round string tree, Fender 'spaghetti-logo' decal without 'Synchronized Tremolo' lettering, nickel-plated metal hardware, with original centre pocket, hard rectangular red plush-lined tweed case with Fender yellow ticket and inspection booklet

Footnotes

  • In 2017 Gruhn Guitars in Nashville compiled a report on this guitar after examining a series of detailed photographs. It was pointed out that although the serial number dates to 1954, the plates were stamped in advance in large quantities and then fixed to instruments in a random order, so the serial on its own does not confirm final assembly dates. However, the neck date T.G. 9-54, and original potentiometer production codes 304 43? (the last digit is obscured by solder, but indicates a date no earlier than the last week of July) are consistent with this guitar being originally assembled sometime after mid-1954. There is also a piece of masking tape in the control cavity rout inscribed Beck 10-4-54. Gruhn's also stated that the appearance of the bout routs is atypical for later production units, but consistent with other early Stratocasters. In their opinion, this guitar is the earliest 'hardtail' example so far seen.

    Overend Watts bought the guitar in 1971 when on tour in the US with Mott The Hoople. It was used for the recording of their 1974 album 'The Hoople'. It is also featured prominently on the 1980 single 'Is Vic There?' by Department S, produced by Overend and former Mott The Hoople drummer, Buffin. According to Overend, the guitar was played at various times by Brian May, David Gilmour, Gary Moore, Mick Ralphs, Ariel Bender, Mick Ronson, Jack Bruce and Ted Nugent.

    Peter 'Pete' Overend Watts (b.1947 - d.2017) took up bass guitar in the mid-60s and was a founding member of Mott The Hoople, releasing their debut album in 1969. Although a popular live act, a further three albums failed to bring them commercial success and, on the point of breaking up, were given the now-famous lifeline of 'All The Young Dudes' by fan David Bowie. Despite further hit singles and albums, and following various line-up and name changes, the band finally called it a day. Pete later became a record producer.

Saleroom notices

  • Further research indicates that the neck date initials are for maker Taddeo Gomez, who was also responsible for making the neck on Eric Clapton's 'Layla' Stratocaster.
Contacts
Overend Watts/Mott The Hoople: A 1954 'Hardtail' Fender Stratocaster, believed the earliest of its type to be shipped,
Overend Watts/Mott The Hoople: A 1954 'Hardtail' Fender Stratocaster, believed the earliest of its type to be shipped,
Overend Watts/Mott The Hoople: A 1954 'Hardtail' Fender Stratocaster, believed the earliest of its type to be shipped,
Overend Watts/Mott The Hoople: A 1954 'Hardtail' Fender Stratocaster, believed the earliest of its type to be shipped,
Overend Watts/Mott The Hoople: A 1954 'Hardtail' Fender Stratocaster, believed the earliest of its type to be shipped,
Overend Watts/Mott The Hoople: A 1954 'Hardtail' Fender Stratocaster, believed the earliest of its type to be shipped,
Overend Watts/Mott The Hoople: A 1954 'Hardtail' Fender Stratocaster, believed the earliest of its type to be shipped,
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