by Jef | Approximate reading time: 1 Minute
The '54 - Buddy Holly Stratocaster found?

The '54 - Buddy Holly Stratocaster found?  ·  Source: YouTube


The famous Fender Stratocaster played and owned by Buddy Holly that disappeared after his death in 1959 has been found, according to a new video documentary called The ’54.


The ’54 – The Story Of A Rock’N’Roll Treasure

Buddy Holly played possibly one of the most famous guitars in Rock’n’Roll history, a Sunburst Fender Stratocaster. The guitar was thought to have been lost on the night of 3 February 1959 in the plane crash that took the lives of Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP Richardson, aka The Big Bopper.

But now – hold on to your hats – it looks as though the guitar may have survived and turned up in Australia!

Is this Buddy Holly's '54 Stratocaster

Is this Buddy Holly’s ’54 Stratocaster?

Gil Matthews

Gill Matthews is an Australian drummer, producer and collector of old Fender guitars. According to the documentary, he may have stumbled upon Buddy Holly’s legendary guitar.

The film, linked below, is called The ’54 and tells the history of one particular 1954 Fender Stratocaster Gil Matthews purchased two decades after the plane crash that claimed Buddy’s life. Experts cited in the film say there is a good chance that the guitar in Matthews’ possession is indeed Buddy Holly’s actual original ’54 Fender Stratocaster.

If this is true, then it is possibly one of the biggest finds in guitar history. You can watch the video below and see all the evidence presented during the film. I’m astonished! If this is real, then it is pretty insane that nobody picked up on this years ago. Wow!



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25 responses to “Has Buddy Holly’s 1954 Fender Stratocaster been found in Australia?”

  1. Barry Tooley says:

    Complete bullshit. The Fender Buddy played on the Winter Dance Party tour is displayed in Lubbock

    • Jef says:

      I think that one is his 1958 and not the ’54 of this article. As Fender worked on that one

      “Buddy Holly played this ’58 on the last night of his life. It was meticulously restored by John Page, who called the project one of the most meaningful experiences of his career. He discovered a white pick wedged underneath the pickguard, likely untouched since that fateful night in February 1959. The guitar is now on display at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock. Details include a penciled neck date of 4/58; serial no. 028228.”

    • Doc Spic says:

      This is NOT his Stratocaster

  2. Michael says:

    If it’s not Buddy Holly’s guitar who’s guitar was it? It’s been bought in Lubbock, it obviously has been played (before it’s twenty years under a bed), it’s a Strat. Odd!

  3. Carlos FIni says:

    hi folks

    It’s not Buddy Strat.
    There is alot of diferences, but the most simple is the position o “Round String Guide “. This Strat have it on 2 Kluson ( most normal ). If you see Buddy Strat, it’s between 1st and 2th Kluson.

    Over de “F “Logo, not over “e “

    • John R says:

      You are exactly right there! The best quality pic of Buddy playing his Strat I could find shows that if you line up where the ‘f’ of Fender is and put a line upwards through the string guide, then the line goes between the 5th and 6th string, whereas you do the same with Gil’s Strat and it’s more like between the 4th and 5th string. So it is not Buddy’s Strat, but just an old ‘54 Strat with a different position string guide 👍

      Also the wear on the pickup covers are a little different 🤟

    • Stewart says:

      I have a 57 Japanese RI Strat and that does NOT have the red in the sunburst. The early Strats were all two colour sunburst. The tri-colour sunburst didn’t appear until probably later, IFAIK. The string tree is an issue for me too.

  4. Dave says:

    If Buddy’s Strat was only 5 years old and the frets had little wear, why is the fingerboard so worn down?

    • ken says:

      because NC Laquer back in the day was really bad , I heard musician that brought them new back in the day and after 2 month they start to show wear , modern NC lacquer is more durable it’s the exactly the same formula

  5. Frank says:

    I’m pretty sure Buddy’s first Stratocaster that he traded for his ’52-53 Les Paul goldtop and LP Amp, was a 1955 Strat, not 1954. In addition, as photos will show, one of Buddy’s early Strat pickup covers was worn on the bass string side (as well as on the treble string side, as the other 2 covers were), but this ’54 only shows cover wear on the treble sides….. Juss sayin’…..

  6. Frank says:

    On more quick thing: I’m pretty sure that the guitars and amps, of the 3 rock stars that died in that plane crash, were not on board the plane. Im sure that small plane was cramped with 4 people in it, and the extra weight may have been a concern. I thought that the instruments were all on the bus with Waylon Jennings, cause when he arrived at the hotel the next day and got the news, he went right back into the bus, where he was surrounded with the late rockers’ gear…….

    Still, you have a nice Fender electric guitar.

    • Jerry B says:

      Yep, a V35 Bonanza with that early engine was probably over gross weight with three adult guys inside plus fuel.

    • Howard Heinz says:

      One of the articles I have read recently here in Clear Lake, Iowa had quoted Buddy as telling Waylon to “keep track of my guitar for me” while on the road. I believe the only things of importance found at the scene with them was the Boppers brief case, which is on display at the Surf Ballroom , Buddys clothes he was going to wash, and a gun. I’m pretty sure there were no instruments found with them.

  7. Buddy Mack says:

    i agree total provable bullshit. if you call Fender historical department you will find that 3 tone sunburst came out for NAMM June 1958. the very first 3 tone’s productions with rosewood was NAMM June 1959. the guitar you are showing is clearly a very tight 3 tone burst in the upper horn and it has a T G maple neck. this is with out any doubt a 1958. granted the Bakelite pickup covers are broken and were only known in use 1953-proto- 1956. Fender even claims that the guitars that were supplies to Buddy were in fact early 1957’s. so the is a total fake or a true parts caster. 2 tone production actually stopped in early 1958 about March. the prototypes were made of sassafras for the body and were handmade by George Fullerton and the few that were made his name is on all parts of the guitars and the very few made were completed November 1953. George and Leo spent Nov 53 till Feb 1954 tooling the shop for production, which engaged in March 1954. also the Bakelite part wear out of production in late 1956, to be replace by a melted buterate plastic, then ABS in 1960.

    Sorry just calling a spade a spade

    • Jerry B says:

      If the Strats supplied to Buddy were early ’57’s, the story that came behind mine has more validity. Who knows??

  8. Buddy Mack says:

    this page was made by a very high level expert. this guitar is named Gloria and was owned by Joe Bonamossa and he got it from Norm Harris at norms Rare Guitars. Notice T G on the end of the neck.

  9. Hi everbody I was reading about this 55 Strat find and like many thought great the missing guitar but in the interview he shows the serial number on the plate holding the neck on as 1061 and said all the plates were in a box and not in any order but according to the Fender Stratocaster book the first 100 or so were numbered from 0100 to 0200 plus so that part doesn’t add up ,He then mentioned another Buddy nut who photographed the two guitars and superimposed one over the other and the wear on the pick up covers was the same but i don’t think it’looks the same looking at old photo’s of Buddy playing the guitar
    I believe the month and date were penciled on the end of the fingerboard where it joins the body this will give the proper month and year when it was made,

  10. Can you gents clarify for me which is more powerful 100k pots or 250k pots because the aussie chap with the supposed 54 Strat says when he took the plastic plate off where the pickup are the pots were 100k which makes it very loud what would 250k pots sound like

  11. Jerry B says:

    Did ’54 sunburst strats have red tint in the bursts? I thought that color was added after the ’50’s..

  12. Dan DeMello says:

    The Stratocaster that was later ended up in another country.Was it really Buddy Holly guitar?

  13. Steve says:

    After Holly’s death, Waylon Jennings, who was part of Holly’s band at the time, apparently put his guitar in a locker in Grand Central Terminal in NYC and mailed the keys to Holly’s then widow, Maria Elena Holly, who is actually still alive. Has she ever been contacted to possibly verify authenticity?

  14. A says: 47:28 I`m sitting with Buddy Hollys guitar…

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