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.
Tweed, Serial # B00094. The 3-10 version.
Fire Mist Silver, Serial # 137016.
Sunburst, Serial # 295260.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Leo Fender introduced the Precision Bass in late 1951 following the success of his revolutionary electric six-string, the Telecaster. The P-Bass proved to be even more ground-breaking. The radical guitar-sized instrument was almost immediately embraced by bassists and guitarists alike. Bassists had labored for years carrying around the huge upright, only to be barely heard over the horns and drums. The new readily portable bass was easily amplified and could provide a strong bottom end compliment to the drums. Unemployed guitarists, out of work due to the post World War II trend of smaller dance bands, could find work without having to learn a completely new technique. An early 1952 ad described the reasons to buy a Precision Bass: “fretted neck, superb tone, easily played, modern design, highly portable, extremely rugged, faster changes, light weight, 1/6 size of a regular bass”.
The P-Bass pictured dates from July of 1952. It shares the characteristics common to basses made between 1951 and 1954. The most prominent of these are: a flat slab ash body like the Telecaster’s with elongated horns for better balance (the body became contoured to match the Stratocaster’s in ’54), a headstock shaped like a larger version of the Tele’s (became more Strat shaped in ’57), black “Bakelite” pickguard (white by ’56, gold anodized by ’57), and a single coil pickup (became two-coil hum-cancelling in ’57).
Early players of the original Precision were Roy Johnson and Monk Montgomery – two consecutive bassists in Lionel Hampton’s band. Over two decades later, the bass again found favor with two successive bassists for the Fabulous Thunderbirds – Keith Ferguson and Preston Hubbard.
Cherry Sunburst, Serial # 40702271.
Candy Apple Red, Serial # L24133.
Olympic White, Serial # L86059.
The Fender Precision Bass was introduced in late 1951 and almost immediately had a dramatic lasting effect on how music was heard and played. This new bass was small compared to an upright acoustic bass, and its feedback resistant solid body (like the earlier Fender Telecaster) enabled players to play at higher volumes. Guitarists were able to adapt to this instrument more easily than the upright, and thus could obtain more work.
This Olympic White 1965 Precision is typical (other than the custom color) of the fully evolved model that year. It has a comfort contoured body (following the lead of the Stratocaster in 1954), a split hum-cancelling pickup (replacing the original single coil in 1957), tortoise pickguard and rosewood fingerboard (1959), pearloid fingerboard dots (replacing clay dots in 1964), and a transition headstock decal (replacing spaghetti logo in 1964).
Sunburst, Serial # L18136.
Dakota Red, Serial # 73776.
Blonde, Serial # 0163.
In the late 1940’s, Leo Fender began working on a practical electric Spanish guitar. The design would be simple, and the guitar would be easy to manufacture and repair. It would also be convenient and uncomplicated for the working musician. The result, introduced in the fall of 1950, was the Broadcaster.
The Broadcaster was a two pickup solid body guitar able to reach high stage volumes with none of the feedback problems that plagued hollowbody guitars. The instrument was fitted with an easily replaceable bolt-on neck. This neck contained an adjustable truss-rod (earlier prototypes had no truss-rod). The pickups were meant to give the same bright clarity as Fender’s lap steel guitars. Lastly, a 3-saddle adjustable bridge was included for better (not perfect) intonation.
In mid-February of 1951 the Gretsch Company contacted Fender pointing out that the name “Broadcaster “was very similar to the name of Gretsch’s “Broadkaster” drum set. Gretsch requested “immediate assurance” that Fender would abandon the use of the name. Fender immediately complied. The guitar continued to be produced without a name until September of that year when “Telecaster” began appearing on the decal. The Telecaster name continues to be used on the Broadcaster’s contemporary descendents.
A modern Telecaster has changed very little from the 61 year old Broadcaster spotlighted this month. The features special to Broadcasters and early Teles are: closed-shell Kluson Deluxe tuners with no protruding shaft on the side (became open-shell by 1952), maple headstock plug (all were walnut by ‘52), back string ferrules not in a straight line (straightened by ’51), pickup blend control (became a tone control by ’52), and slot-head screws (became Phillips screws by ’54). A black pickguard was used until late ’54, and a see-through blonde finished ash body remained standard through the ‘70s.