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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.

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