Browse Dave’s Collection
“Welcome to the guitar collection. On the second floor of our store we have on display over 300 guitars and more than 50 amps that I’ve accumulated over the years. The friends and customers that have visited us seem to really appreciate being able to view this, so we thought we would share it with our online friends and fellow guitar enthusiasts as well. Enjoy!”
- Dave Rogers
The items in Dave’s Collection are not available for purchase.
Royal Tan, Serial # 30059.
Burgundy Mist Metallic with a matching headstock, Serial # L89205.
Black, Serial # E317132.
Since Fender’s purchase by CBS in 1965, there were complaints from dealers and customers about the declining quality of the instruments. New management was hired in 1981, including Dan Smith as director of marketing. Smith came up with a five year plan to improve sales with new products of better quality. After coming up with the Vintage Reissue line of guitars and basses, which recreated the classic designs of Fender’s glory years, Smith developed the Elite series. These instruments had state of the art, technologically advanced features for modern (‘80s) playing styles. The Elite series included a Stratocaster, a Telecaster and a Precision Bass. Each Elite had a Walnut, a Gold (hardware) and a regular version. They were available with maple or rosewood board necks, and came in a wide variety of standard and custom colors. The Elites were introduced in June of 1983 and were dropped by the end of 1984 when CBS put Fender Musical Instruments up for sale.
The Elite Telecaster shown showcases all the radical (for the time) changes made to the traditional Tele. These include: a heavy cast six saddle top-loading bridge, noise-cancelling pickups using Alnico II magnets, TBX and MDX active tone controls allowing fat humbucking to sharp single-coil sounds (similar controls continue to be used on the current Eric Clapton Strats), knobs with a serrated rubber insert for easy gripping, a 3-way toggle switch (Gibson style), and a Bi-flex truss rod in a neck equipped with jumbo frets on a 12” radius fingerboard. This guitar also sports a classy bound top and an optional stick-on pickguard. The 1983 Fender catalog proudly boasts of the guitar’s many advances: “Elite Series instruments incorporate no fewer than 14 new patent pending inventions by Fender. This alone lends substance to our belief that the rest of the industry will be years in catching up with Elite technology.”
Action shots of an Elite Tele played by Dave Davies in full clown makeup can be seen in the 1984 video for the Kinks “Do It Again” single from the “Word of Mouth” album. Davies used Elite Teles for recordings and live shows through the rest of the ‘80s.
Copper Burst, No serial #, The Longhorn body with the 31 fret neck.
Blonde, Serial # 7589.
“The tone of the Stratocaster is as new and different as tomorrow and is the big professional tone so long sought after by critical players.” These words from the 1954 Fender catalog announced the arrival of what was to be one of the most popular electric guitars ever. The Stratocaster was developed with input from players dissatisfied with Leo Fender’s first electric guitar, the Telecaster. Ideas including a more comfortable body shape, an adjustable bridge allowing intonation for each individual string, and a vibrato system were incorporated. The guitar not only attracted early rock ‘n rollers like Buddy Holly, Johnny Meeks, and Richie Valens, but it also appealed to artists in genres as varied as western swing (Eldon Shamblin of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys) and champagne music (Buddy Merrill of the Lawrence Welk Orchestra). The 1955 Strat featured this month was used for years in a Wisconsin polka band called The Merri Tones.
This month’s Strat is very much like any other made in ’55. It has a one-piece maple neck with spaghetti logo on the headstock, a comfort contoured ash body, brittle “bakelite” pickup covers and knobs (replaced by a more durable plastic during ’56), and a “synchronized tremolo”. While the standard finish for a Stratocaster was a deep sunburst, this guitar has the same see-through blonde as a Telecaster. Custom color Strats were rare in the fifties and especially rare before 1956 when the option first appeared in the Fender catalog.
The Strat’s original owner bought it new in November of 1955 for $317. He was allowed a payment plan of $15.73 installments with the final amount due in May of 1957. According to the back of his sales contract, he paid off the guitar a whole year early. His polka gigs must have been good!
Natural, Serial # A4308.
Gibson introduced its first electric guitar, the ES-150 in 1936. Its acceptance by influential players like Eddie Durham and Charlie Christian led to the manufacture of lower (ES-100) and higher end (ES-250) models over the next few years. These earliest electric guitars were amplified with a magnetic “bar” pickup (later called the Charlie Christian pickup) designed by Walter Fuller. The apex of Gibson’s pre-war electric production was the 17” wide ES-300 which used a long diagonal pickup in an attempt at a more natural acoustic sound. Gibson’s experimentation on and refinement of the electric guitar was halted briefly during World War II.
After the war, when production had fully resumed, a cutaway version of the ES-300 was designed called the ES-350 Premier. This guitar was initially equipped with one black plastic covered P-90 pickup (also designed by Walter Fuller) in the neck position. By 1949 a bridge pickup was added and the model became known simply as the ES-350. The ES-350 remained in production until 1956, when it was replaced by the thin-bodied ES-350T.
The natural finished 1949 ES-350 pictured matches the description in the original 1949 Gibson catalog perfectly:
“-Beautifully figured curly maple body and neck with Gibson Golden Sunburst or selected natural wood finishes.
-Modern cutaway design to make all 20 frets readily accessible.
-Clear, brilliant solos or full, mellow backgrounds by regulated dual pickup amplification.
-Alnico No. 5 magnetic poles individually adjustable for tone balance.
-Gold plated metal parts offer rich decorative accents.
-Tone and volume controls make possible wide, powerful electronic range.
-Body size 17” wide and 21” long.”
Sunburst, Serial # A2438.
Sunburst, Serial # A2135.
Western Orange, Serial # 46589.
Sunburst, Non-Reverse model, Serial # 501529.
Olympic White with a matching headstock, Serial # 154372.
Olympic White with Black binding, Serial # 107308.
Introduced in 1959, the Fender Custom Telecaster was a special deluxe version of the regular Telecaster. The Custom's sunburst alder body had white binding around the top and back that was meant to provide a more sophisticated look than the standard blonde finish Fender used on ash body Teles.
The 1968 Custom Telecaster pictured has a custom Olympic White finish with black binding (black binding was used occasionally for a light colored guitar). The body is finished with a thick-skin polyester base coat, which was new to '68. The maple neck with separate maple fretboard still has a traditional Fender nitrocellulose lacquer finish, but by '69 polyester finished necks became standard. The headstock boasts the bold black CBS logo, which was first seen on Customs in '68.
Silver Fox, Serial # 560550.
Sunburst, Serial # 92.
In 1962, Leo Fender was continuing to devise ways to expand his company’s line of musical instruments. Since Fender had revolutionized the solid body electric guitar in the ‘50s, he was hoping to do the same with acoustic guitars in the ‘60s. He hired German born guitar-maker Roger Rossmeisl to help design and execute these guitars. Rossmeisl had come to the United States in the late ‘40s hoping to build guitars for Gibson. After a brief unsuccessful stay in Michigan, he moved to California, and contributed to Rickenbacker’s most enduring electric guitar designs before moving on to Fender.
Rossmeisl continued work at Fender Musical Instruments after its sale to CBS in 1965. He designed not only acoustics, but also the Coronado semi-acoustics and Tele Thinlines. In 1968, CBS gave him the go-ahead to design two high-end archtop electric jazz guitars: the LTD and the Montego. The LTD was supposed to be the ultimate jazz archtop (meant to rival D’Angelicos). It had a carved spruce top, gold hardware, and one hum-cancelling pickup. The Montego was a step below with a pressed spruce top and chrome hardware. It was available in both a one pickup, and a two pickup version. Only a small number of these guitars were made between 1968 and 1972: about 40 LTDs, and less than 100 Montegos. The Montego II pictured has a hand-signed label numbered 92.
According to the 1969 Fender catalog, “A magnificent instrument for the professional or serious musician, the Montego combines both beauty and performance in a high quality great sounding guitar.” These specs were listed in the 1972 catalog: “Elegantly contoured spruce top, specially-designed pickups with hand-wound hum-cancelling coils – totally shielded from outside interference, genuine hand-cut Australian mother-of-pearl decorative inlays, and the finest materials and workmanship employed throughout.” The neck is detachable hard rock maple with a curved ebony fingerboard. The body has an arched spruce top with flamed maple back and sides.
The 1972 Fender price list has a Montego II Sunburst at $850 plus $95 for a case.
Butterscotch Blonde, Serial # 0215.
Sunburst, Serial # A33186.
Sparkling Burgundy, Serial # 899091.
Black, Serial # 82986502.
Cherry Sunburst, Serial # 40702271.
Candy Apple Red, Serial # L24133.
Whale Blue, Serial # 521569.