Fender Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1957)

Fender  Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1957)
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Item # 10150
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Fender Telecaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1957), made in Fullerton, California, serial # -18000, Blonde lacquer finish, ash body, maple neck, modern tweed hard shell case.

This is a bit of a genuine "Light Relic" guitar; a played-in but still nicely original "white guard" 1957 Fender Telecaster. It shows characteristic features for this period. The most immediately noticeable is the single-ply white plastic pickguard which in 1954-5 replaced the earlier black phenolic on Teles and Precision Basses, making the look consistent with the then-new Stratocaster. The ash body has a much lighter and "whiter" blonde finish compared to the more amber earlier '50s-style butterscotch hue. This "white-blonde" look would be the norm into the '60s, continuing up into the CBS era. The ash used for this body has quite noticeable grain even under this slightly more opaque finish.

This Telecaster strings through the body, having been made not too long before the design was altered to the "top loader" stringing for a couple of years. The body is dated 8-57 in the pickup cavity, the one-piece maple neck is dated to the same month at the heel. The back of the neck has a fairly slim contour, with the "V" spine used in 1957 having a softer shape than some. On the headstock the old-style script Fender "Telecaster" logo decal is positioned above the "butterfly" string tree.

The staggered-pole lead pickup is generally similar to earlier Telecaster units but with the altered magnet layout with the center poles are raised slightly to balance out. The original tone pot is visibly coded to the 45th week of 1956. Like all Telecasters prior to the CBS era this guitar is wired with a "deep bass" cap engaged in the front switch position and the other settings being each pickup alone; carefully balancing the selector between the #2 and #3 positions is the only way to blend the pickups.

The "good luck" numerologists dream serial number (-18000) is stamped on the neck plate having been moved there from the bridge tray a couple of years earlier when Fender harmonized all their electric guitars into one number series in 1955. This 5-digit number is preceded by a "-" minus sign, a quirk of Fender neckplates from this specific period. The knobs are a medium pattern knurl with a subtly rounded top and the switch tip is the "top hat" style that has endured as a Tele trademark.

This 1957 Telecaster looks to have had some adventures over the last 60+ years but has not been altered or abused. It remains as Leo's crew built it, a fantastic-sounding guitar with that genuine "worn-in Fender" feel that is very difficult to capture. By '57 the Telecaster was a proven success, renowned as a popular tool used by working musicians, including a host of early rock'n'roll and country players. Many have been played for decades and worn virtually into the ground; this one has its road scars but is still a truly great instrument and a genuine relic of the best years of Leo Fender's company.
 
Overall length is 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm.), 12 5/8 in. (32.1 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This old Telecaster has seen its share of play time over the years, but nothing that alters its essential character. "Light relic" pretty much sums it up! The thin lacquer body finish has some checking, chipping and flaking and general play wear. The edges have the most loss as is typical with slab-sided Telecasters. There is a heavily worn area down to the wood just below the bridge; someone anchored their pinky there a lot while playing this guitar long ago! There is also a large belt buckle wear spot on the back. The neck is less heavily worn than the body but has typical spots down to the wood on the fingerboard and some dings, dents and rubbed-away areas on the back. The headstock has a small typical cigarette burn a bit higher up than most! All finish is original with no visible touch up or overspray.

The hardware is all original and has some average wear as would be expected. The pickguard is intact showing scuffing and very minor yellowing; it is warped up slightly at a couple of edges. The neck pickup cover has some dings and dents in the top surface. The wiring is original and unaltered, still with the "mud cap' front position on the selector. The original bridge cover is included. The original frets show some wear but still play well. Overall this is a nice playing and fine sounding '57 Tele, housed in a modern tweed case. Very Good + Condition.