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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. 

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