Modern Plate for the Fender® Stratocaster®
This is the pickguard most of us will be familiar with then it comes to working with the Fender® Stratocaster® and it represents the final stages of the plate’s evolution.
Essentially, it’s a slight improvement on the early 60s spec plate, with the only real difference being the mounting screw between the neck and middle pickup routes has been moved move towards the middle pickup, rather than being slap bang in between. Presumably this was done to combat that last trouble area on 60s models which where prone to warping.
Either way, this spec plate came into production around about 1983 and has lasted through until the modern on most USA and Mexican produced guitars (with the exception of a couple of re-issues and signature models which are mimicking guitars from before that period). One thing to watch out for though, and we field countless emails on this one – Squier® and Fender® Japan do not always work to this standard.
No idea why they never switched over to the standard hole pattern entirely (some do turn up, and modern models do seem to be much better for this), but they often turn up with all sorts of weird and wonderful spec plates on them - as always with this, if you’re in any doubt what so ever, check out the
Technical Specifications, we made up some detailed diagrams showing the sizes, shapes and screw placement to make matching up plates as simple as we could.
But enough about the history and the manufacturers little niggles – how about a bit about the plate?
It’s exactly how you’d expect a plate for a Strat® to be really, routed out for 3 single coils, a switch (either 3 or 5 way – remember if you’re going historic, the 5 way switch didn’t come into production until the 1970s!) and 3 holes for the pots (drilled out to 10mm to take CTS pots) and the classic 11 mounting holes around the edge.
The plate itself is made for a 3 ply laminate of PVC, purely because it’s the best material for the job. Whilst it’s true to say that various other plastics have been used, most had their draw backs sadly – fine for historical accuracy, but a bit of a pig in day to day life. PVC is heat resistant to avoid warping, its colour fast, so will never change colour as it ages (although, as with most things, it’ll still nicotine stain, it’ll still bleach in the sun if you leave it there for a few weeks!).
So all in all, if you’re looking for a modern spec plate for your Strat® and you’re rocking a cool set of single coils, then chances are this is the one you want.