Fender Champion Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1952)

Fender  Champion Lap Steel Electric Guitar  (1952)
This item has been sold.
Item # 10060
Prices subject to change without notice.
Fender Champion Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1952), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 3777, yellow pearloid finish, hardwood body, original brown alligator chipboard case.

This Champion is a prime example of Fender's "bread and butter" lap steel guitar from the first half of the 1950s. Although designed as a student instrument, the Champion Steel was -- and remains -- 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 plate with dome-top knurled knobs. The serial number 3777 (lucky sevens there?) is stamped on the bridgeplate where the strings anchor through the body and suggests assembly in 1952, although like all fender numbers they are not in any exact order. The all-important pickup, pots and wiring remain original; the date code is partially visible on the blue-ink stamped Clarostat pots indicating the 30th week of (probably) 1952.

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 stamping is very shallow on this one but the part was not rejected by whoever assembled the guitar. The Phillips-head screws used suggest this Champion was made in later 1952. Sadly by the 21st century many of these early Fender steels have sacrificed their pickups and pots to provide the engine for vintage Telecaster recreations -- this one has fortunately avoided that fate. It remains pretty much as the early Fullerton team put it together, a fine-sounding steel guitar with a bright, singing tone and a genuine early 1950s Fender instrument at a relatively 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 Champion shows only very minor wear overall. The back even retains much of the original flocking. The only alteration to the instrument is new buttons on the Kluson strip tuners, the original buttons having nearly always crumbled by now. There are some dings and marks on the fingerboard and minor loss to the stenciled graphics.

The heart of the guitar -- the all-important original Telecaster-style pickup and electronics -- appears fully intact and sounding fantastic. It does have a lot of the correct black wax potting on the coil; it is *possible* it was removed and re-potted sometime early on but shows no signs of being rewound and sounds fabulous. This steel even arrived in its original alligator-grain chipboard case which is still quite functional. Excellent Condition.