Fender Champion Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1952)
Fender Champion Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1952), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 3204, yellow pearloid finish, hardwood body. Item # 7798
This well-worn Champ is a good player's example of Fender's "bread and butter" lap steel guitar from the first half of the 1950's. Although designed as a student instrument, the Champion Steel was a great-sounding guitar fully suited to professional use then or now. The flashy plastic-covered symmetrical two-bout body has a chrome bridge and cover plates with dome-top knurled knobs. The serial number "3204" is stamped on the bridgeplate where the strings anchor through the body.
The metal fingerboard plate pinned to the body has black paint screening to outline fret positions. The headstock has metal facing with integral nut stamped with lighting bolt logo and "Fender Electric Instrument Co. Fullerton, California". The screws are of Phillips-head variety suggesting a late 1952 assembly date. Many Champs have sacrificed their pickups over the years to provide pickups for vintage Telecaster recreations-this is likely one of them. Still a very cool steel guitar, a fine sounding player and a genuine 1950's Fender instrument at a reasonable price!.
Overall length is 29 3/4 in. (75.6 cm.), 7 1/2 in. (19 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 22 1/2 in. (572 mm.). Width of nut is 2 1/4 in. (57 mm.). This is a well-worn, heavily played example of this early Fender steel. The plastic body covering is scuffed overall and there is a section peeled up and missing on the bass side by the nut, while the metal fingerboard has notable wear mostly at the top end. The pickup is a recent Duncan Broadcaster-style unit which is a close re-creation of the original and sounds very good; the wiring and pots are later than the guitar (the one visible date is 1966) but not as new. The bridge fittings are original with repro knobs. The Kluson tuners are original but the covers are quite corroded and they are fitted with newer buttons. There are holes for a strap pin at either end (who was playing this standing up??) and wear overall but this is still a good playing and sounding steel with a funky vibe-testament to the hardiness of Leo Fender's almost indestructible 1950's creations! Very Good Condition.
Prices subject to change without notice.
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