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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.

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