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.
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Fender Strat, ’64

Candy Apple Red, Serial number L45572.
 

Fender Model “Tremolux Amp. AB763″ ’66

Black tolex, Serial number A06527.
 

Fender Model 5C5 “Pro-Amp” ’53

Tweed, Serial number 221.
 

Fender Model 5E5 “Pro-Amp” ’57

Tweed, Serial # 501622.
 

Fender Model 5E7 “Bandmaster Amp” ’55

Tweed, Serial # B00094. The 3-10 version. Leo Fender began a shop in 1938 specializing in radio and electronics repair. By 1946, he was manufacturing amplifiers and electric lap steels as Fender Electric Instrument Co.  Leo’s hard work and his willingness to listen to feedback from working musicians made Fender amps top sellers by the fifties. The constantly improving Fender designs were often copied by other companies.   Fender’s 1950’s product line increased to include electric guitars and electric basses, so more amplifier models were added. 1953 saw the introduction of the Bandmaster. It was the third 1X15 two 6L6 amp in the line (the Pro and the Bassman were introduced earlier). The main difference was that it came with a new tone circuit with bass and treble control knobs rather than just one tone knob like previous models. The 1X15 Bandmaster lasted until mid-1955 when all Fender amps received a narrow-panel makeover (the previous incarnations had “wide” front panels, and “TV” fronts before that). The narrow-panel Bandmaster had three ten inch speakers.   The 1955 Fender Bandmaster has features common to most narrow-panel versions made between 1955 and 1960.These include: two channels labeled mic. and inst., a volume control for each channel, treble bass and presence controls, standby and on/off switch along with a ground switch. The 26 watt amp has two 6L6G power tubes, one 12AY7, and two 12AX7 preamp tubes, along with a 5U4G rectifier. The 21 and ¼” X 22 and ½” X 10 and ½” cabinet has three Jensen P10R speakers, the top one with its blue bell cover removed allowing it to fit in front of the tubes and chassis.   The narrow-panel tweed Bandmaster is mainly remembered today as the amp used with wonderful results by Pete Townsend on the Who’s 1971 album “Who’s Next”. It was coupled with a 1960 Chet Atkins 6120 model for shimmering guitar orchestrations.  
 
 

Fender Jazz Bass, ’66

Fire Mist Silver, Serial # 137016. The development of the revolutionary Fender Precision Bass in 1951 changed the sound of modern music forever. Since the bass was so functional and easily portable, Leo Fender thought one model was enough. Its design was upgraded twice during the ‘50s, while the preceding versions were discarded. By 1959, Don Randall at Fender Sales requested that Leo devise a more sophisticated, high-end model along the lines of the recently introduced Jazzmaster. The result was the new for 1960 Jazz Bass.   The body of the new Jazz Bass followed the off-set contoured style of the Jazzmaster. The neck was narrower at the nut permitting trouble-free faster playing for those uncomfortable with the wider Precision Bass neck. This proved popular with guitar players doubling on bass for session work. Two single coil pickups were included for extra tonal versatility. The neck pickup gave a warm full sound already familiar to those used to hearing the Precision Bass. The bridge pickup provided a sharp trebly attack to add punch to a bass line or solo fill. Each pickup had a separate volume control allowing the player to achieve the desired blend.   The 1966 Jazz Bass pictured is a striking Firemist Silver, a custom color introduced the previous year. While this finish is very rare, the rest of the bass’s features are typical to any 1966 Jazz Bass. These include: a rosewood fingerboard with pearl block inlays (replacing dots)and white binding (unbound in previous years), a three ply white vinyl pickguard (changed from greenish nitrocellulose in 1964), two volume controls and a master tone (replaced stacked volume/tone controls in 1962), and metal pickup covers.
 

Fender Strat, ’70

Sunburst, Serial # 295260.
 

Fender Jaguar, ’65

Burgundy Mist Metallic with a matching headstock, Serial # L89205.
 

Fender Telecaster Elite, ’83

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.
 

Fender Stratocaster, ’55

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!
 

Fender Electric XII, ’65

Olympic White with a matching headstock, Serial # 154372.
 

Fender Custom Telecaster, ’68

Black, Serial # 230066.
 

Fender Custom Telecaster, ’68

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.
 

Fender Montego II, ’72

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.
 

Fender Precision Bass, ’52

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.
 

Fender Esprit, ’84

Cherry Sunburst, Serial # 40702271.
 

Fender Precision Bass, ’63

Candy Apple Red, Serial # L24133.
 

Fender Precision Bass, ’65

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).
 

Fender Custom Esquire, ’63

Sunburst, Serial # L18136.
 

Fender Jaguar, ’61

Dakota Red, Serial # 73776.
 

Fender Broadcaster, ’50

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.                                                                                                
 

Fender Band Master, ’60

Brown Tolex, March 1960.
 

Fender Band Master, ’60

Brown Tolex, February 1960.
 

Fender Harvard, ’59

As important and innovative as Fender guitars were in the 1950’s, Fender amps were the industry standard; renowned for their tone, durability, and easy maintenance.  At Fender, the amplifier was considered as important to the overall sound as the guitar. The right electric guitar needed to be matched to the right amplifier before music could be made.   If the legendary recordings made at the Memphis Stax-Volt studio in the 1960’s are used as evidence, the perfect mate for a Fender Esquire (or Telecaster) would be a Fender Harvard Amp.  This combination was used by session guitarist (Booker T. and the MGs band member) Steve Cropper, on nearly every Stax hit of the 1960s. The sounds ranged from mellow (Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”), to biting (The MGs’ “Green Onions”), to distorted (The MGs’ “Hip Hug Her”).   Fender introduced the 10 watt Harvard in 1955 to fill the space between the 5 watt Princeton and the 15 watt Deluxe. It had one 10” speaker (sometimes an 8” was used) driven by two 6V6 power tubes. It had one tone control and one volume control. The Harvard was discontinued in 1961.
 

Fender Twin Amp, ’59

Tweed, High Power In 1953 Fender launched an amp that would become the industry standard for decades: The Twin. The Twin, named for its pair of 12” speakers, evolved in looks and power output through the 1950s. In1955 it changed from a wide-panel 25 watt amp to a narrow-panel 50 watt amp. By 1958, the tweed Twin reached 80 watts.   The new high powered Twins were favored by late ‘50s rock n’ roll musicians because the sound was able to fill most dance halls (this was before miking amps through a PA system was standard practice). A number of these rockers also plugged Fender’s space age Stratocaster into the Twin because of the solid body’s ability to reach high volumes without feedback. The Strat/Twin setup was favored by Buddy Holly and Tommy Allsup of The Crickets, and by Johnny Meeks of Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps.   Even though the high powered tweed Twin was eventually replaced by the black tolex covered Twin Reverb and various incarnations of channel switching Twins, it is still a sought after collectable amp.  The most notable proponent of the 80 watt tweed Twin today is Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones. Since the ‘90s he’s always had a Twin or two on stage to achieve his signature clean/dirty - rhythm/lead sound.  
 
 

Fender Pro Amp, ’61

Brown Tolex.
 

Fender Twin Amp, ’63

White Tolex. In 1953 Fender launched an amp that would become the industry standard for decades: The Twin. The Twin, named for its pair of 12” speakers, evolved in looks and power output through the 1950s. In1955 it changed from a wide-panel 25 watt amp to a narrow-panel 50 watt amp. By 1958, the tweed Twin reached 80 watts. This high-powered version lasted until early 1960.   By 1960 most Fender amps were upgraded to a new style brown Tolex covering with the control panel located in the front. Initially, the Twin was abandoned while Fender focused on the new 1X15” speaker Vibrasonic. A brown Tolex Twin was shown in a June 1960 Down Beat magazine insert, but actual examples in this color are extremely rare.   By 1961 the white Tolex Twin was released. It shared the color scheme of the new “piggyback” series (amp heads paired with separate matching cabinets). This Twin had four 5881 power tubes putting out 80 watts like the ‘50s version, but adding the vibrato channel used by most of the Fender amps at the time. The amp’s grille cloth had a dark maroon color from ’61 to ’62, and a wheat color from ’62 to ’63.  The blonde Tolex Twin was discontinued in 1963 when the black Tolex Twin Reverb became the top of the line combo amp of all time.
 

Fender Pro Amp, ’60

Brown Tolex.
 
 

Fender Champ, ’64

Black Tolex.
 
 

Fender Pro Amp, ’63

Brown Tolex.
 

Fender Telecaster, '66

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 170745

 

Fender Telecaster, '69

Paisley Red, Serial # 224483.

The “hippie” youth movement of 1960s began influencing mainstream society after the “Summer of Love” in 1967. By 1968 major companies realized there was money to be made by appealing to this large group (Baby Boomers).  Fender (owned by CBS) was no exception.

 

Fender’s original solidbody, the Telecaster, was picked to receive the “Flower Power” treatment with two new finishes: Paisley Red, and Blue Flower. These finishes were accomplished by sticking patterned wallpaper to the bodies and spraying clear polyester over the top. The original Fender ad copy also had a hippiesque tone: “Paisley Red Pulsates with every beat and swirls in a blinding carousel of color forms and tones.”

 

As groovy as these guitars were, they never caught on with the psychedelic rockers they were intended for. Ironically, the most visible guitarist to use a Paisley Tele was rockabilly/country session great James Burton.  The ’69 Paisley Tele remained his main stage guitar until his signature model debuted in 1990.

 

Those wanting to hear Burton’s Paisley Tele in action can check out “Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden” and Gram Parson’s “GP” and “Grievous Angel” albums.

 

Fender Jaguar, '65

Blond, Serial # 123729.

 

Fender Jazzmaster, '59

Sunburst, Serial # 38876.

 

Fender Jazzmaster, '59

Sunburst, Serial # 40947.

 

Fender Jazzmaster, '60

Blond, Serial # 44894.

 

Fender Jazzmaster, '66

Candy Apple Red, Serial # 140554.

 

Fender Esquire, '65

Walnut, Serial # 109827.

 

Fender Jaguar, '64

Olympic White, Serial # L61632.

 

Fender Jaguar, '73

Natural, Serial # 396923.

 

Fender Telecaster, '68

Blue Flower, Serial # 248410.

The “hippie” youth movement of 1960s began influencing mainstream society after the “Summer of Love” in 1967. By 1968 major companies realized there was money to be made by appealing to this large group (Baby Boomers).  Fender (owned by CBS) was no exception.

 

Fender’s original solidbody, the Telecaster, was picked to receive the “Flower Power” treatment with two new finishes: Paisley Red, and Blue Flower. These finishes were accomplished by sticking patterned wallpaper to the bodies and spraying clear polyester over the top. The original Fender ad copy also had a hippiesque tone: “Paisley Red Pulsates with every beat and swirls in a blinding carousel of color forms and tones.”

 

As groovy as these guitars were, they never caught on with the psychedelic rockers they were intended for. Ironically, the most visible guitarist to use a Paisley Tele was rockabilly/country session great James Burton.  The ’69 Paisley Tele remained his main stage guitar until his signature model debuted in 1990.

 

Those wanting to hear Burton’s Paisley Tele in action can check out “Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden” and Gram Parson’s “GP” and “Grievous Angel” albums.

 

Fender Jaguar, '73

Candy Apple Red, Serial # 377762.

 

Fender Jaguar, '64

Candy Apple Red, Serial # L70149.

 

Fender Jaguar, '72

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 394818.

 

Fender Telecaster, '65

Sunburst, Serial # L97810.

From 1950 until 1959, a Fender guitar had a radical (for the time) one-piece lacquered maple neck. Due partially to the unattractive fingerboard wear that showed easily on these necks, separate rosewood fingerboards were introduced in 1959.

Since many players (especially Tele players) still preferred the feel of maple fingerboards, Fender allowed special order maple fingerboards as an unofficial option beginning in the early ‘60s. Because the machinery at the factory was set up for separate rosewood fingerboards, separate maple fingerboards were installed the same way. This is why two-piece ‘60s maple necks don’t have a skunk stripe on the back, or a walnut plug on the headstock like their one-piece ‘50s counterparts. Maple fingerboards did become an official option in 1967, and one-piece necks were finally reinstated in 1969.

This example not only has a maple-cap fingerboard, but it also has a rare sunburst finish usually reserved for Custom Telecasters. Typical Teles were blond with ash bodies, while the sunburst ones had bodies of alder. 

 

Fender Telecaster, '68

Paisley Red, Serial # 224066.

The “hippie” youth movement of 1960s began influencing mainstream society after the “Summer of Love” in 1967. By 1968 major companies realized there was money to be made by appealing to this large group (Baby Boomers).  Fender (owned by CBS) was no exception.

 

Fender’s original solidbody, the Telecaster, was picked to receive the “Flower Power” treatment with two new finishes: Paisley Red, and Blue Flower. These finishes were accomplished by sticking patterned wallpaper to the bodies and spraying clear polyester over the top. The original Fender ad copy also had a hippiesque tone: “Paisley Red Pulsates with every beat and swirls in a blinding carousel of color forms and tones.”

 

As groovy as these guitars were, they never caught on with the psychedelic rockers they were intended for. Ironically, the most visible guitarist to use a Paisley Tele was rockabilly/country session great James Burton.  The ’69 Paisley Tele remained his main stage guitar until his signature model debuted in 1990.

 

Those wanting to hear Burton’s Paisley Tele in action can check out “Elvis as Recorded at Madison Square Garden” and Gram Parson’s “GP” and “Grievous Angel” albums.

 

Fender Jaguar, '65

Ice Blue Metallic, Serial # L87495.

 

Fender Telecaster, '60

Blond, Serial # 60312.

What do Steve Cropper, Jimmy Page, Michael Bloomfield, and Robbie Robertson have in common? Besides being some of the most influential guitar players of all time, each did some of his finest work on a rosewood fingerboard early ‘60s Fender Telecaster.

Why did so many great players choose this type of guitar? It could be because of its gritty biting sound, or its durability and simplicity. It was also affordable. Especially second hand, a Tele would be within the reach of a young player at the start of his career who needed a reliable inexpensive tool. The reasons don’t matter as much as the fact that so much great music was made on these unadorned utilitarian planks of wood. 

This example from the collection has all the features common to early rosewood fingerboard Telecasters.

It has a Brazilian rosewood “slab board” fingerboard on a slim maple neck (seen until mid-1962), clay dots (seen until 1964), Single ply white pickguard (seen until 1963), and an ash body with an almost opaque creamy blonde finish.

When examining the metal bridge plate, six extra holes can be seen at the end near the bridge saddle screws. These holes were originally intended to hold the strings on the unpopular top-loading bridge used from mid 1958 to mid 1959. Since Leo Fender never wasted a usable part, these bridges were converted back to the original string-through design when the top loading system was abandoned. These top-loading bridges can be seen from 1959 as late as 1962.

The original owner of this Tele decided to buy it with the less expensive plastileather padded bag instead of the typically seen brown tolex case.

 

Fender Custom Telecaster, '66

Candy Apple Red, Serial #173125. Maple fingerboard - a rare combination! This nice one came from Reeve Little!

 

Fender Esquire, '62

Blond, Serial # 89802.

 

Fender Custom Esquire, ’67

Sunburst, Serial #208410, Neck Date September '67.
 

Fender Telecaster, '64

Serial # L20086.

 

Fender Jaguar, '64

Candy Apple Red, Serial # L73504.

 

Fender Custom Telecaster, ’68

Sunburst, Serial # 218821.
 

Fender Telecaster, '63

Sunburst, Serail # L27206.

Known unfficially among Kinks fans as the "Ray Davies Model".

 

Fender Stratocaster, '54

Sunburst, Serial # 6779.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '55

Sunburst, Serial # 8201.

 

Fender Telecaster, '58

Blonde, Serial # 29411.

 

Fender Esquire, '59

Blonde, Serial # 37809.

 

Fender Custom Telecaster, '66

Sunburst, Serial # 177050.

 

Fender Jaguar, '64

Sea Foam Green, Serial # L48186.

 

Fender Custom Telecaster, '66

Sunburst, Serial # 177029.

 

Fender Telecaster, '60

Blond, Serial # 51512.

 

Fender Jaguar, '64

Firemist Gold, Serial # L52085.

 

Fender Jaguar, '64

Black, Serial # L50480.

 

Fender Jaguar, '68

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 225899.

 

Fender Jaguar, '66

Sunburst, Serial # 160488.

 

Fender Electric XII, '68

Sunburst, Serial # 242501.

 

Fender Duo Sonic, '59

Desert Sand, Serial # 36349.

In 1955 Fender Sales decided the company needed inexpensive student electric guitar models added to the existing lineup which included The Esquire, The Telecaster, The Stratocaster, and the Precision bass.  These beginner electrics were introduced by 1956. They were called the Musicmaster (one pickup) and the Duo-Sonic (two pickups). These short scale guitars were designed for young beginners with small fingers.

 

The Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic shared the same double- cutaway Desert Sand colored bodies, and 22 and ½” scale one-piece maple necks.  The Musicmaster had two Telecaster style volume and tone knobs for its one neck position single-coil pickup. The Duo-Sonic was the same except for an added bridge position pickup and a 3-way selector switch. By 1959  separate rosewood fingerboards were added (matching the change to the rest of the Fender line). Thick single ply white pickguards replaced the original gold anodized guards, and sunburst finish became an option. The models received makeovers in 1964 to coincide with the introduction of the Mustang. The short scale Duo-Sonics and Musicmasters were offered through 1969.

 

Both Michael Bloomfield and Jimi Hendrix played Duo-Sonics in their early careers before working their way up to the “big boy” Fenders and Gibsons.

 

Fender Music Master, '57

Desert Sand, Serial # 18420.

In 1955 Fender Sales decided the company needed inexpensive student electric guitar models added to the existing lineup which included The Esquire, The Telecaster, The Stratocaster, and the Precision bass.  These beginner electrics were introduced by 1956. They were called the Musicmaster (one pickup) and the Duo-Sonic (two pickups). These short scale guitars were designed for young beginners with small fingers.

 

The Musicmaster and Duo-Sonic shared the same double- cutaway Desert Sand colored bodies, and 22 and ½” scale one-piece maple necks.  The Musicmaster had two Telecaster style volume and tone knobs for its one neck position single-coil pickup. The Duo-Sonic was the same except for an added bridge position pickup and a 3-way selector switch. By 1959  separate rosewood fingerboards were added (matching the change to the rest of the Fender line). Thick single ply white pickguards replaced the original gold anodized guards, and sunburst finish became an option. The models received makeovers in 1964 to coincide with the introduction of the Mustang. The short scale Duo-Sonics and Musicmasters were offered through 1969.

 

Both Michael Bloomfield and Jimi Hendrix played Duo-Sonics in their early careers before working their way up to the “big boy” Fenders and Gibsons.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '58

Sunburst, Serial # 025698.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '59

Blonde, Serial # 39470.

This '59 Strat neck is paired with a '56 Strat body.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '62

Sunburst, Serial # 82936.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '57

Sunburst, Serial # 20185.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '58

Sunburst, Serial # 025757.

 

Fender Telecaster, '60

Blond, Serial # 58699.

 

Fender Telecaster, '55

Blonde, Serial # 7553.

 

Fender Telecaster, '69

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 224909.

 

Fender Telecaster Thinline, '72

Natural, Serial # 354794.

 

Fender Telecaster Custom, '73

Natural, Serial # 419229.

 

Fender Telecaster, '71

Candy Apple Red, Serial # 302431.

 

Fender Telecaster, '55

Blonde, Serial # 7831.

 

Fender Esquire, '56

Blonde, Serial # 11093.

 

Fender Custom Telecaster, '59

Sunburst, Serial # 40771.

In mid-1959 Fender introduced lavishly appointed new versions of its original solid bodies the Telecaster and Esquire.  The models were named “Custom Telecaster” and “Custom Esquire” (perhaps influenced by Gibson’s Les Paul Custom). These guitars retained the basic characteristics and functions of the standard versions while showing a polished “classy” new look.  

 

This guitar has the classic appointments of a late 1959 Custom Telecaster, which include an alder body finished in 3-color sunburst, white binding around the top and back, a three ply greenish pickguard, and a gold Fender logo with “Custom Telecaster” written below.  The rest of the features match those of a standard late 1959 Telecaster. These consist of a “slab board” rosewood fingerboard with clay dots, a slim neck profile, and single line Kluson Deluxe tuning machines.

 

Unlike many other late ‘50s Fenders finished in three-color sunburst, this guitar has retained most of the red tint originally applied. The unstable red stain used by Fender at that time would very often fade when exposed to sunlight, leaving only the black to yellow part of the sunburst. Evidence of some fading on this example can be seen when observing the three dark rectangles on the upper bout. As was customary at the time, the original owner had his initials stuck to the guitar with mailbox letters. This shielded those areas from light for more than three decades.

 

Fender Custom Telecaster, ’72

Natural, Serial # 373034.
 

Fender Jaguar, '62

Fiesta Red, Serial # 79584.

 

Fender Custom Telecaster, '65

Sunburst, Serial # 103833.

 

Fender Swinger, '69

Dakota Red, Serial # 263366.

 

Fender Coronado II, '68

Antigua, Serial # 235002.

 

Fender Coronado II, '68

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 501108.

 

Fender Coronado II, '68

Wildwood I Finish, Serial # 214758.

While Fender had pioneered the solid body guitar in the 1950s, the changing trends of the 1960s caused the company to switch gears and try to expand into other areas of the electric guitar market. The British Invasion bands popular at the time were using hollow, and semi-hollow guitars offered by Gibson (ES-330, ES-335), Epiphone(Casino), Gretsch (Country Gentleman), and Rickenbacker(330, and 360). Fender’s double cutaway hollowbody was released in 1966 and was known as the Coronado.

The Coronados were designed by Roger Rossmeisl, who had been hired by Leo Fender a few years earlier to design a flat-top acoustic. Rossmeisl had experience with these types of guitars as he had designed the Rickenbacker Capri line in the 1950s.

 

The Coronados were produced at Fender’s separate acoustic guitar plant. The line initially consisted of the Coronado I with one pickup, and the Coronado II with two pickups and optional tremolo. The pickups were made by the DeArmond Company.

The guitars were originally offered in Cherry and Sunburst finishes, but by 1967 Wildwood I (Rainbow Green), Wildwood II (Rainbow Blue) and Wildwood III (Rainbow Gold) also became available. These Wildwood finishes were obtained by injecting colorful dyes into beech trees. In 1968 the Antigua finish was also offered.

 

The Coronado did not prove popular, and was discontinued by 1972.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '54

Sunburst, Serial # 0756.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '55

Sunburst, Serial # 8154.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '56

Sunburst, Serial # 13673, Body date of 12/56.

This one was purchased from the son of the original owner. It would be safe to say that this guitar did not see too many smoke filled bars or dance halls over the years. The neck shows very little wear and the lacquer has not yellowed.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '57

Sunburst, Serial # -17439.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '57

Taos Turquoise, Serial # -20869.

A very rare to ever see Custom Colors from the 50's. There were very few of these that were done in this color to match the automobile colors that were coming out of Detroit at that time. Check out the Desert Sand base coat!

 

I bought this one from a PA store in Iowa after my good friend John Riniker passed on it. He was kind enough to swing it my way. Can you believe that this guitar was traded in for a set of horns? This is the guitar that I have owned for the longest time in the collection.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '58

Blonde, Serial # 36315.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '58

Sunburst, Serial # 026665.

The space age looking maple neck Stratocaster was favored by many innovative rockers of the 1950s era, including Buddy Holly, Johnny Meeks (of Gene Vincent’s Blue Caps), and Ike Turner. It went through a few minor changes from the time of its debut in 1954, to mid-1959 when the one-piece maple neck was discontinued in favor of a maple neck with a separate rosewood fingerboard. The body was originally ash with a black to see-through yellow sunburst. The standard body material was changed to alder in mid-1956 (ash was retained for custom color blonde Strats). The sunburst color remained the same until early 1958 when red was added in between the black and yellow. This guitar shows a good example of a non-faded 1958 3-color sunburst.

The neck shape of the Stratocaster also changed subtly between 1954 and 1959. The big “U” shape neck profile gradually changed to a “V” shape around 1956. By the time this example was made in 1958, neck profiles were a slim “C” shape.

Diabolical guitar virtuoso Greg Koch brought this very guitar out of retirement for the recent recording of the companion CD to the New Fender amp book. He picked it to represent the archetypal “Strat” sound over five other vintage maple neck models in the collection. He used this Strat to record through dozens of Fender amps for the upcoming CD. We were honored to have him here and to have the guitars & amps from our collection used for the project. We’ve had this one in the collection for at least 10 years and none of us can remember where we got it from! 

 

Fender Stratocaster, '59

Sunburst, Serial # 38098.

In 1959 the Fender electric guitar line was revamped to include rosewood fingerboards attached to the one-piece maple necks. Rosewood fingerboards were standard on most other brands, and were thought to give Fender’s space-age oddities a more traditional “classy” look.

This Strat, with a neck date of 7/59, is one of the rare transition models with combined features of the maple board and rosewood board eras. Like the maple neck Strats of ’58, it has a 3-color sunburst finish with a single ply pickguard (instead of the 3-ply guards seen on most rosewood board Strats). The pickguard has 10 screws instead of the 11 that would soon be seen on the 3-ply guards. The fingerboard is the thick rosewood “slab” that would be used until 1962. This guitar is also a non-trem “hardtail” which makes it even rarer (but not necessarily more desirable).

 

Dave’s notes: “After telling me for years that he had this especially rare Stratocaster belonging right in the middle of my collection, my friend Jack Stowe finally brought it up to La Crosse. We made a deal to put it on my wall.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '59

Sunburst, Serial # 43228.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '68

Firemist Gold, Serial # 103581.

This guitar was rescued a number of years back. This Strat was actually out for sale in the shop as a refin and tagged accordingly. Dave and Steve Paetow were at the shop on a Saturday afternoon and they were looking at this guitar. They noticed what appeared to be gold under the refin and brought it to my attention. They had suggested trying to remove the white finish to see what was underneath. Now obviously they could have not said a word and bought the guitar at a bargain price and done the work themselves, but they were way too honest to even consider such a thing. The job wasn't fun, but our friend and employee at the time Dave Reinders, painstakingly wet sanded the white finish off to reveal the original Firemist Gold that was underneath, and it ended up turning out pretty good considering. Also, please notice the missing string tree. It came from the factory this way. Nice guitar, and it is nice to see a rare custom color brought back to life.

 

Fender Telecaster, ’78

Antigua, Serial # S835555. Leo Fender’s pioneering work in the 1950s led to the creation of several classic guitars and amps, including the archetypal Telecaster and Stratocaster. These guitars continued evolving along with the growing company, even through its sale to the Columbia Broadcasting System – CBS in 1965.   After the sale to CBS, players noticed a gradual drop in quality of the instruments (especially noticeable starting at the end of the 1960s).  There were loose neck pockets, 3-bolt necks, and “Thick Skin” polyester finishes (durable, but detrimental to a guitar’s tone). There were still some interesting creative ideas, like the new Telecaster Custom (with neck humbucker) and the Telecaster Deluxe (two humbuckers).  One inspiration involved the revival of the Antigua finish as a Custom Color in 1977.   The Antigua finish had been introduced ten years earlier for the Coronado (Fender’s attempt at a Gibson ES-335 style semi-hollow guitar).  Fender had some difficulty applying the binding to these guitars, and often scorch marks and burns appeared in the wood. The Antigua sunburst with darker grey edges effectively covered up the blemishes. The re-introduction of the color in 1977 was entirely for visual allure. The guitars receiving the Antigua treatment were the regular Tele and Strat, the Telecaster Custom and Deluxe, the Mustang, the Jazz Bass, Precision Bass, and Mustang Bass.
 

Fender Rosewood Telecaster, '71

Serial # 346098.

It is widely accepted that the quality of Fender instruments suffered a gradual decline after the CBS buyout of 1965. While this is true, the early CBS period of the mid to late 1960s was also a time of great creativity. The recipient of much of this energy was none other than Fender’s original solidbody: the Telecaster.

 

No fewer than four new versions of the Telecaster were added to the Fender line in the late sixties, including the Paisley and Blue Floral Teles, inspired by the psychedelic scene popular at the time. German master builder Roger Rossmeisl designed the other two Tele innovations: the Thinline Telecaster, and the Rosewood Telecaster. Rossmeisl, who had been responsible for the unique and enduring Rickenbacker electric guitar line of the late fifties, was hired away from Rickenbacker in 1962 by Leo Fender to be in charge of designing Fender’s new acoustic guitars and archtop electrics.

 

The first Rosewood Telecaster was a gift to Beatle George Harrison for use in the movie ‘Let It Be’.  Rossmeisl and Phillip Kubicki (employed by Fender at the time) made two prototypes and chose the best for Harrison. The guitar body was made with a thin layer of maple sandwiched between a solid rosewood back and top. The rosewood neck had a separate rosewood fingerboard glued on. The whole guitar had a special satin polyurethane finish (for more info read “Beatles Gear” by Andy Babiuk).

 

The Rosewood Telecaster was added to the regular production line in 1969 at $375. Production models differed from George’s slightly. They were made with a one-piece rosewood neck, and had gloss polyurethane finishes. While early examples were

solid, like George’s, the guitars were eventually lightened by hollowing out the two body halves.

 

Large numbers of Rosewood Teles were never produced, and by 1972 it was discontinued. Fender Japan reissued the guitar in the eighties, and the Fender Custom Shop makes occasional runs today (for more info read “The Fender Telecaster” by A.R. Duchossoir).

 

There are a couple of DVDs available if you’d like to see and hear Rosewood Teles in action. The first is ‘Let It Be’ showing the Beatles recording and playing live. The second is ‘Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story’. ‘Respect Yourself’ includes footage of Booker T. and the MGs playing live in 1970. Steve Cropper wields a beautiful Rosewood Tele while wearing a matching brown corduroy suit.

 

Fender Telecaster, '66

Blond, Serial # 168060.

 

Fender Nocaster, '51

Blonde, Serial # 0390.

 

Fender Esquire, '52

Blonde, Serial # 2580.

This one is nice and clean. There is just a hint of fingerboard wear. I purchased this one back during the days when an Esquire was still selling for less than $1000.

 

Fender Esquire, '68

Blond, Serial # 236389.

 

Fender Telecaster Thinline, '68

Natural, Serial # 230818.

 

Fender Telecaster Thinline, '68

Sunburst, Serial # 241136.

 

Fender Telecaster, '67

Blond, Serial # 205513, Neck Date September '67.

In the summer of 1967, Fender experimented with ways to make a Telecaster lighter. Large cavities were routed underneath the pickguard to lighten the guitar without changing the way it looked. These are unofficially known as "Smuggler's Tellies".

 

Fender Esquire, '53

Blonde, Serial # 3032.

 

Fender Telecaster, ’53

Blonde, Serial # 4123. This one was acquired in a trade deal with Larry Hendrickson back around 1980. I have to say that this is one of my favorite Teles. In the late 1940’s, Leo Fender began work on a no-nonsense solid body electric guitar. The result, introduced in the fall of 1950, was the Broadcaster.  Production continued through a name change in late 1951 (the name conflicted with Gretsch’s Boadkaster drum set) and factory relocation in 1953. For many, a 1953 “Blackguard” Telecaster is considered the Holy Grail of all Teles. Whether it’s because more were made than in the previous years due to the new factory’s increased production capabilities, or because three years had been spent perfecting building techniques, a large number of legendary Tele artists were known to favor ‘53s.  Some of the most famous of these players include James Burton, Roy Buchanan, and Danny Gatton.   The well worn 1953 Telecaster pictured has the classic features most often associated with that year, including a one-piece bolt-on maple neck, a round string tree on the headstock (rectangular by ’56), an ash body with see-through butterscotch blonde finish (after the mid-fifties, the blonde finish became whiter and eventually more opaque), a black Bakelite pickguard (changed to white in late ’54), the serial number on the bridge plate (moved to neck plate by late ’54), outer brass bridge saddles that were notched on the bottom allowing for lower saddle adjustment, and a bridge pickup with flush level pole pieces (staggered by the end of ’55).
 

Fender Telecaster, '68

Black, Serial # 222373, Neck Date July 1968.

 

Fender Telecaster Thinline, '71

Black, Serial # 319156.

 

Fender Telecaster Thinline, '73

Black, Serial # 526177.

 

Fender Telecaster, '67

Sunburst, Serial # 206721, Neck Date October 1967.

 

Fender Telecaster, '53

Blonde, Serial # 4238.

This is really one of the cleanest black guard Telecasters that I have ever seen! I remember having to pay $10,000 for it many years ago. At the time that was well above the going rate for these. I have never regretted this purchase.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # L59451.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Dakota Red, Serial # L64322.

This one has been in the collection for a very long time and was purchased back when clean custom color Strats were affordable, This one does have the previous owners social security number engraved on the neck plate and the fingerboard still has the grime from when it was out being played. What a great guitar indeed!

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Olympic White, Serial # L86093

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Sunburst, Serial number L90333, This Strat has a maple cap fingerboard and it does not have the walnut skunk stripe on the back of the neck. We have seen this same fingerboard and neck configuration on a few Tele Customs from the same era. It would be safe to say that there are not many of these out there. This is certainly one rare and cool guitar!

 

Fender Stratocaster, ’65

Sonic Blue, Serial # 104234. Guitar collectors consider 1965 to be one of the most significant years in history. It was the year that the large corporation Columbia Broadcasting Systems Inc. (CBS) bought Fender Instruments and Fender Sales.  To many players and collectors this year also marks the beginning of a decline in the quality of Fender products that continued through the 1970s.   The Stratocaster had been gradually evolving, along with the rest of the Fender line, since its debut in 1954. The most obvious change occurred in 1959 when the one-piece maple neck acquired a separate rosewood fingerboard. After the CBS buyout more changes took place, with the most dramatic being the enlargement of the headstock shape (coinciding with the popularity of bell-bottoms?) in December of 1965.   This rare 1965 Sonic Blue Strat has details common to Strats made during this transitional period. The November 1965 neck date shows that this is one of the last small headstock Strats made until the 1980s.  Other traits include Gold Transition Logo (designed by Fender photographer Bob Perine), pearloid position markers, double line Kluson Deluxe tuners, and an “F” stamp neck plate. This guitar also came stock from the factory with large frets (often seen in 1965).
 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 101113.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Ocean Turquoise, Serial # 107632, This is a nice custom color Strat with some honest playing wear. It is pictured on page 41 of the Vintage Guitar Book by Mac Yasuda.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Charcoal Frost Metallic, Serial # 107518.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '66

Candy Apple Red, Serial # 116384.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '64

Sunburst, Serial # L36630.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '64

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # L20674.

 This guitar is a gorgeous custom color Fender Strat. Besides having a stunning Lake Placid Blue finish, this February 1964 guitar has other features that make it very desirable: Spaghetti Logo (phased out in ’64), clay dots (replaced by pearloid dots in ’65),  single line Kluson Deluxe tuning machines (replaced by double line Klusons during ’64),and a greenish celluloid pickguard (replaced by white in ’65).

 

The guitar’s previous owner acquired it in 1967 while serving in the U.S. Marines.  His Commanding Officer had a gambling problem and was forced sell the Strat and an Epiphone amp for $175 to help settle his debts. The guitar has been played quite a bit since then, but was also very well taken care of.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '64

Black, Serial # L27250.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '63

Blond, Serial # L19865.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '63

Refinished in Natural, 2 piece Korina body, Serial # L14737.

We know that Fender was experimenting with woods during this period, and we've seen some Mahogany body Strats & Teles from that era. Now here is proof that Korina was also used. You can also see the tooling holes on the back of the body. A guy had called me a long time ago and said that he had an old Strat but it wasn't put together. The body was stripped and he was going to refinish it but he just never got around to doing it. He had all the parts in a box and he asked if I was interested. We agreed on a price and I bought it. I just sprayed a clear coat over the body and played this one for a few years.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '63

Burgundy Mist, Serial # L11394.

Purchased locally from the wife of the original owner. He was kindly gentleman who brought this guitar into my first store back in '82 for a restring & set up. I flipped when I saw the guitar and I told him if he ever wanted to part with it to please think of me. He said he'd never part with it as it was the best playing guitar he ever had his hands on. Over the years he became a good customer & friend and he would drop in often just to say hi. Then I got the call from his wife telling me that he had passed. It was a sad time for me indeed. The one thing that he made clear to his wife was that he wanted to make sure that I got the guitar after he was gone. I'll treasure this one till my dying day, just like he did.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '62

Fiesta Red, Gold hadware, Serial # 74434.

Very figured Maple neck, A fellow brought this one in to the shop about 17 years ago and just wanted to know what it was worth. He said he'd had it forever and he'd never sell it. When I told him the dollar amount, he just got quiet for a bit, then said "Well, I'd sell it for that"!

 

Fender Stratocaster, '61

Sunburst, Serial # 60492.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '61

Tahitian Coral, Serial # 59930.

Nothing conjures up images of a ‘60s Rock n’ Roll beach party like a cool custom colored Fender Strat. Custom colors don’t get much hipper than this example.

 

This Strat has a penciled neck date of 3-61, and has all the features typical to Strats that year. These include: a “slab” Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with clay dots, a small headstock with “spaghetti” decal including 2 patent numbers, and a greenish Nitrate 3-ply pickguard with a metal shielding plate underneath. The neck profile is very flat and comfortable like most of the early “slab board” necks.

 

Besides having all the classic characteristics that make early ‘60s Strats appealing to players and collectors, this one has an ultra-rare color. According to an old piece of masking tape attached under the pickguard, the color is Tahitian Coral (a color of the same name was used by Chrysler in the late ‘50s). This non-standard color was not mentioned in any Fender catalogs (The closest official Fender color at the time was Shell Pink listed from 1960-1963).  An undercoat of Desert Sand can be seen where the top color has worn off. Proof that this color is factory original can be seen after unscrewing the neck. An area of paint from the body has stuck to the neck leaving a bare spot in the neck pocket that is an exact match to the glob stuck to the neck.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '60

Fiesta Red, Serial # 49005.

When the Fender Stratocaster was introduced in 1954, one of the main special features was a built in vibrato unit called the “Synchronized Tremolo”.  A non-tremolo version was also available at about $30 less. A non-tremolo Strat (nicknamed “hardtail”) had the same string through the body set up as a Telecaster, except it kept a six-way bridge for better intonation.

Custom Color Strats were available almost from the beginning, but a standardized color list didn’t appear until 1961. The Custom Colors resembled the colors offered on automobiles at the time.

The example from the collection shown in this article is a Fiesta Red Hardtail Strat dating from 1960 (George Fullerton mixed up the first batch of Fiesta Red at a paint store in 1957).  According to an early ‘60s Fender pricelist, a non-trem Strat cost 259.50. There was a 5% up charge for a Custom Color, so this Strat would have been about $272.47 (still $17 less than a sunburst tremolo version).

This Strat has a beautiful early “slab” fingerboard of Brazilian rosewood. The Kluson tuners on the headstock were replaced at some point with “double line” mid-‘60s Klusons.  The undercoat below the Fiesta Red (seen through the scrapes and dings) is the color Desert Sand, which was the color of Duo Sonics and Music Masters. This color was often used as an undercoat for Custom Color guitars in the ‘50s and early ‘60s.

Hardtail Strats are seen less often than the tremolo versions, and are favored by Bluesman Robert Cray, and Rocker Ron Wood.

 

Fender Bass VI, ’63

Sunburst, Serial # L03350. Ten years after launching the ground breaking Precision Bass, Fender introduced a six string bass, the Bass VI, in 1961. The instrument was tuned the same as a standard guitar, but an octave lower, attracting guitar players, as well as bassists wishing to expand their soloing range (this soloing capability was utilized by Cream’s Jack Bruce, and the Shadows’ Jet Harris).  The Bass VI had the comfort contoured “off-set” body design and floating tremolo of the Jazzmaster, and the narrow nut size of the Jazz Bass. The constricted string spacing made playing with a pick the easiest way to get sound out of the Bass VI. Nashville session players made great use of this when doubling the bass lines of the upright bass. This was known as “tic-tac” bass.   The 1963 Fender Bass VI pictured is typical of Bass VIs that year. The pickups, which originally had metal surrounds, were changed to match the newly released (1962) Jaguar’s pickups. A bridge mute was added, also much like the Jaguar’s, and a fourth switch appeared allowing for a darker tone option. The 1962 Fender list price for a Bass VI with a sunburst finish was $329.50.
 

Fender Jazz Bass, '65

Candy Apple Red, Serial # L83602.

 

Fender Custom, '69

Sunburst, Serial # 259125.

 

Fender Marauder, '66

Lake Placid Blue, Prototype.

 

Fender Musicmaster, '64

Cherry, Serial # L29571.

 

Fender Swinger, '69

Lake Placid Blue, Serial # 269107.

 

Fender Telecaster, '55

Blonde, Serial number 7553, I love the Blonde on this one. It is VERY transparent. The Blonde finishes from this era do seem to stand out. It looks like the folks at Fender really took their time during this period to make sure that the grain of the Ash really jump out from under the finish. 

 

Fender No Caster, '51

Butterscotch Blonde, Serial number 0390, The original owner had his initials engraved in the Ash tray bridge cover. Just a wonderful example of a No Caster. This one has been in the collection for longer than we can remember.

 

Fender Telecaster Thinline, '68

Natural, Serial number 230818, Ash body, Just a nice representation of this classic guitar.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Lake Placid Blue, Serial number 101113, Here is a good example of this classic custom color. A previous owner did install one of the Fender clear body guards on this one. It has since been removed. The body does have a few wear spots from when the rubber on the guard reacted with the lacquer. Sadly, in most cases the guards did more harm than was ever intended.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '65

Olympic White, Serial number L86093, A customer came into my shop with this one close to twenty years ago and wanted to sell it. I asked him who did the refinish work, as it was way too clean. He had a confused look on his face and said that he did not understand what I was asking. As it turned out, he was the one and only owner. This Strat was hanging in the store where he took lessons for 6 years before he bought it in 1971. He just never played it after that. This one also has all of the Fender hang tags, and the manual. This guitar looked brand new when it came in, and it still looks new today. They do not get any cleaner than this one!

 

Fender Stratocaster, '63

Sunburst, Serial number L36630, This one has been in the collection for a very long time and the "red" is starting to fade on the front.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '63

Black, Serial number L27250, Although you wouldn't think it, Black is a pretty rare and hard to find Custom Color. My good friend Chris Trider found this one for me years ago.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '63

Burgundy Mist, Serial number L11394, Purchased locally from the wife of the original owner. He was kindly gentleman who brought this guitar into my first store back in '82 for a restring & set up. I flipped when I saw the guitar and I told him if he ever wanted to part with it to please think of me. He said he'd never part with it as it was the best playing guitar he ever had his hands on. Over the years he became a good customer & friend and he would drop in often just to say hi. Then I got the call from his wife telling me that he had passed. It was a sad time for me indeed. The one thing that he made clear to his wife was that he wanted to make sure that I got the guitar after he was gone. I'll treasure this one till my dying day, just like he did.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '63

Blonde, Ash body, Serial number L19865, Fits right in with the Blonde '58 Strat!

 

Fender Stratocaster, '59

Fiesta Red, Serial number 49005, Hard tail, This one is a little beat up but it is just a wonderful guitar in a pretty rare color!

 

Fender Stratocaster, '58

3 Tone Sunburst, Serial number 026665, This is one of the guitars that Greg Koch used to record the CD that goes along with the Tom Wheeler Fender Amp Book. Greg also used many of the Fender amps that are part of the collection we have here at the shop.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '55

Sunburst, Ash body, Serial number 8154, I think I bought this one at the peak of Stratomania back in 1987 for $6000. At the time I did think I was crazy for doing it, but I just really liked this guitar.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '54

Sunburst, One piece Ash body, Serial number 0756, I bought this one in the mid-eighties from my good friend Bill Nix. Bill's store was called Somewhere in Iowa Guitars. I remember doing many deals with him over the years.

 

Fender Stratocaster, '58

Blonde, Ash body, Serial number 36315, This guitar was purchased from the late Reeve Little at a guitar show in Dallas, Texas back in the early 90's. You could always trust that whatever Reeve had for sale was going to be 100 percent straight. I miss him and think of him often.

 

 

 

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