Bill Alston


ST 54


This is an ST54-80AM


These guitars are made to similar specs to the original 1954 Stratocasters, as always they are not styled as reissues and with the exception of the Extrad range are not meant to be exact replicas. They first appeared in the 1986 catalogue as The ST 54-115. More models were added over the years in total around 20 of them although some are the same guitar with different designations. This is due to designations sometimes reflecting prices so the 54-85LS became the 54-95LS when the price increased. This way of designating models a practice largely now discontinued by Fender Japan
The models vary in quality the most basic being basswood with ceramic pickups others are quite high spec. You cannot easily tell some of the models apart without taking them apart.

Specs and models

Specifications common to all ST 54s
Neck: Maple usually 1 piece skunk stripe soft V profile
Fret board: Maple 21 frets 7.25" radius
Headstock: Small Pre CBS style Gold Spaghetti Logo 1 round string tree
Tuners: Vintage Style see pictures
Pickguard: White 8 hole single ply
6 pivot vibrato unit.
Manufacturing through the years at different factories may have produced variancies especially in the neck profile they certainly don't all feel exactly the same.

All ST 54s will have tuners and headstocks like this and all will have bodies like this except the pickups and the bridges will vary.

The Models

ST 54-115
This is the first ST 54 to appear in the catalogues in 1986, quite a high spec model some features are:
Body Alder or White Ash
Pickups Vintage USA Made
Bridge Steel Block Vintage
Colours Tobacco Sunburst at Launch later Vintage White, Black and Candy Apple Red
Comments Produced until around 1989
ST 54-55
A lower end model appearing in the 1987 catalogue.
Body Basswood
Pickups Described as ST Vintage probably Ceramics
Bridge Diecast Block Vintage
Colours Tobacco Sunburst or Black
Comments Produced for 2 years or so.


1989 Catalogue scan showing the first two models

From 1990 more models started to appear several just different designations for the same guitar, the next three models were launched in 1990 and the fourth one in 1991
ST 54-770LS
The first ST 54 with Lace sensors and a mid boost.
Body Alder
Pickups Lace Sensor Gold USA
Bridge Diecast Block Vintage
Colours Black Pewter or Red but see later
Comments Continued as the 65LS, the 95LS , the 100LS and then simply ST 54-LS until around 2008


A 95 LS in Pewter


ST 54-900
Body Alder
Pickups ST Vintage Alnico USA
Bridge Steel Block Vintage
Colours Tobacco Sunburst, Black, Vintage White or Candy Apple Red
Comments Launched 1990 continued as the 95, and the 110
ST 54-650
Body Alder
Pickups ST Vintage Alnico USA
Bridge Diecast Block Vintage
Colours Tobacco Sunburst, Black, Vintage White or Candy Apple Red
Comment Launched 1990 continued as the 70
ST 54-500
Body Basswood
Pickups Described as ST Vintage probably Ceramics
Bridge Diecast Block Vintage
Colours Tobacco Sunburst, Candy Apple Red, Vintage White or Black
Comments Launched 1991 replaced in 1992 by the ST 54-53
ST 54-53
1992 Model all as the ST 54-500 except only available in Tobacco Sunburst or Black.
ST 54-70
1992 model all as the ST 54-650 except only available in Tobacco Sunburst and Black
ST 54-95
1992 Model all as the ST ST 54-900 Colours 2 Tone Sunburst, Vintage Natural or Black
54-85LS
Launced 1992 all as the 54-770LS
ST 54-110
1993 Model all as the ST 54-95
ST 54-95LS
As the previous LS models except at launch in 1993 it came in black only, but in 2005 added Vintage White, a Red designated TRD and a Blue designated UGB. This model continues to appear up to and including the first 2006 catalogue but in the second 2006 catalogue it has been redesignated as the ST54-100LS.
ST 54-85RV
This model was launched in 1994 doesn't appear to be an exact replacement for anything. Not sure what the RV means but is said to be real vintage?
Body Lightweight Ash
Pickups ST Vintage Alnico USA
Bridge Diecast Block Vintage
Colours 2 Tone Sunburst or Vintage Natural
Comments Gone by the 1996 catalogue
ST 54-80AM
Again not sure what the letters stand for maybe Ash Maple? With some similarity to the ST 54-85RV this guitar first appears in the 1992 catalogue and is described as a Vintage Premium model. At this stage it is the only 54 available except for the 95LS model
Body Ash
Pickups USA made American 50s
Bridge Steel Block Vintage
Colours 2 Tone Sunburst or Black
Comments Appears in catalogues up to and including 2004.


This Fotoflame is from 1995/96 so is likely to be a ST 54-80AM but it's by no means certain to be.

ST 54-100LS
Just a redesignation of the 54-95LS see above. It is the only 54 in the 2006/7 catalogue
ST 54-DMC
This appears in the 2008 catalogue and as might be obvious it has DiMarzio pickups.
Body Ash
Pickups DiMarzio Classical Vintage DCS-1
Bridge Diecast Block Vintage
Colours 2 Tone Sunburst, Vintage Natural or Black
Comments gone by 2010
ST 54-LS
A redesignation of the ST 54-100LS in the 2008 catalogue. Colours unchanged gone by 2010.
ST 54/VSP
Launched 2010 and at that stage the only 54 available. Part of the new Vintage Special Range.
Body 2 piece Ash
Pickups Alnico Custom MIJs
Bridge Steel Block Vintage
Colours 2 Tone Sunburst or Black.
Comments It doesn't appear to be a current offering in 2018.
ST 54-150AS
A special edition Mary Kaye style 54 realeased in 1994, made by the Custom Edition team at Fujigen Gakki only 40 guitars made.
Body 2 piece Ash with a very thin matt white finish
Neck 1 piece flame maple
Pickups DiMarzio Blue Velvets
Pickguard White Aluminium
Bridge Steel


The 54-150AS


The Extrad

The Extrad range tries to faithfully replicate the original vintage guitars. The Extrad 54 guitars were launched in 1986 as the ST 54-140 which in 1990 became just the ST 54. Intended for the Japanese market few of these made it to the west and as such are regarded as collectors items and when offered for sale are offered at pretty high prices. If it is an Extrad it should have Extrad written on the back of the headstock or by the serial number. However TCGakki whilst not clear suggest that some early models don't have Extrad written on. I would be inclined to the view that if it doesn't say Extrad it isn't one.

Features
Body Alder or Lightweight Ash
Finish Thin Nitro lacquer
Pickups Vintage USA made
Colours 2 Tone Sunburst or Vintage White
Launch Price 140,000 yen in 1986 which at current exchange rates is £990 a lot of money in 1986 Available from 1986 to around 1995
They appear up to the 1992 catalogue and are mentioned in the 1993 and 1994 catalogue without any details.


If it hasn't got this on the reverse of the headstock or by the serial number it probably isn't an Extrad.

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