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Esquire, ’52

Blonde, Serial number 3841.
The Fender Esquire was officially unveiled in April of 1950 as Fender’s first standard electric solid body guitar. The 1950 spring catalog advertised the guitar as having one pickup in the bridge position (some early two pickup versions do exist). All bodies were routed for two pickups, giving the option of adding a neck pickup. The two pickup guitar eventually became known as the Telecaster, with the Esquire remaining as a lower priced alternative. While the Esquire that appeared in Fender’s 1950 catalog was black with a pinewood body, a see-through blonde finish on an ash body soon became standard. In the early fifties, the Esquire and Telecaster shared the same catalog description: “Sensational modern styling, especially designed neck with built-in adjustable tension rod to correct for warpage due to string tension, cutaway body makes possible full chord combinations up to the end of the fret board, new micro adjustable bridge makes possible string adjustments both for action (or fretting) and length, pickups are fully adjustable for desired balance of bass treble, threeway tone switch for lead or take off tone, full concert tone and short duration rhythm tone, compact size for easy playing and portability, professional players say these guitars have faster, easier action than any other guitar they have ever played.”

The 1952 Esquire pictured has TG-7-9-52 penciled on the end of the neck, indicating employee Tadeo Gomez completed it in July of 1952. The date penciled in the neck pocket area of the body is 6-12-52. The guitar has the classic characteristics of a 1952 Esquire including: a transparent “butterscotch” blonde finish over an ash body, a single ply black phenolite (also known as Bakelite) pickguard, one bridge pickup with level pole pieces (staggered during 1955), a three-way switch with full pickup no tone control in the 1st position, tone control engaged in the middle position, and pre-set rolled off tone in the 3rd position. The one piece maple neck has narrow spaced position markers at the 12th fret (wide between 1953 and 1963), a round string tree (rectangular in 1956), and Kluson “no brand” tuners (the tuners were stamped with “Kluson Deluxe” in a single line by 1957).

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