John Frusciante’s 1955 Fender Stratocaster

From the time he came back to the band up until the release of Californication in 1999, John acquired a good amount of new guitars. Among them was a 1955 Fender Stratocaster – the only maple neck Strat that John would ever use.

Specs

The guitar is finished in two-tone sunburst, and features a one-piece maple neck. When John bought it sometime in 1998/1999 apparently the pickups were already replaced with the Seymour Duncan SSL-1s – same ones John would later install in his main 1962 Stratocaster (or so he though).

I had my ’62, which has the original pickups, and then I had the [’55] with the Duncans, and the sound was very similar. The differences had more to do with the guitars than the pickups. Eventually, I had to get Duncans in the ’62, as well.

VintageGuitar magazine – John Frusciante Red Hot On The Empyrean

Usage

It’s been reported a few times that this is John’s second favorite guitar, and he used it extensively on Californication – possibly more than his ’62 Strat. Since then it’s usually been used on slower and more mellow songs – a good example is Zephyr Song from By the Way album released in 2002.

(talking about recording the Californication album:) I used a ’56 Stratocaster for most of the basic tracks, and a ’62 Stratocaster- the sunburst one- on some stuff.

Guitar One (USA), September 1999
John playing his 1955 Stratocaster during the Slane Castle concert.

I only used my ’57 and ’62 Strat, because those two are my favorite guitars and I don’t think I used any other guitars. Those two make most of the sounds I’m looking for or hear in my head. I’ve been playing these Stratocasters for a long time, so they are like a part of my body. If I play other guitars, I feel like I’m playing with a toy.

John Frusciante talks about his new solo album, The Empyrean, 2009

The guitar was also used on Stadium Arcadium, most notably on Dani California. It features his 1955 Strat.

To avoid any misunderstandings, John sometimes refers to the guitar as a ’57 (like in the video above), sometime as a ’56, but most source seem to agree on 1955. He might also be referring to his Shure SM57 microphones when talking about the equipment used on Dani California.
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George
George
4 months ago

It could be 54′ as well. If you take the serial number from this site http://www.jfeffects.com.br/2019/07/o-ano-de-fabricacao-das-principais.html and run it thru this site https://www.guitarinsite.nl/serienummers-fender_eng.php you will get the year 1954