Fender Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1957)

Fender  Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1957)
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Item # 10609
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Fender Telecaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1957), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 12313, Blonde lacquer finish, ash body, maple neck, original tweed hard shell case.

While not exactly a pristine "closet classic" guitar, this original "white guard" 1957 Fender Telecaster shows not too much wear for its 65 years on Earth. Overall it shows typical playing wear and one small repair, surviving in nicely all-original condition since it left Fullerton during the second Eisenhower administration.

This Tele shows the characteristic features of 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 lighter and "whiter" blonde finish compared to the more amber earlier '50s-style butterscotch hue, with some nice ash grain showing through. This "white-blonde" look would be the norm into the '60s, continuing up into the CBS era. This one strings through the body as Teles had from the beginning; a year or so later Fender altered to the "top loader" stringing for a couple of years.

The one-piece maple neck is dated 2-57 at the heel, the body date is 1-57. This neck has a fairly slim contour with the soft "V" spine used in 1957. On the headstock the old-style script Fender "Telecaster" logo decal is positioned above the newer "butterfly" string tree. The frets are still the original small wire.

The staggered-pole lead pickup is generally similar to earlier Telecaster units but with the altered magnet layout; the center poles are raised slightly. Like all Telecasters prior to the CBS era this guitar is wired with a "deep bass" cap engaged in the front switch position; the middle position is the neck pickup alone, while the back switch setting selects the bridge unit. The pickups can be combined only by carefully positioning the lever between settings, which works fairly well on this guitar.

The 5-digit serial number is stamped on the neck plate having been moved there from the bridge a couple of years earlier when Fender harmonized all their guitars into one number series in 1955. The knobs are a medium pattern knurl with a flat top and the switch tip is the "top hat" style that has endured as a Tele trademark. The volume pot is dated to the 45th week of 1956; the tone pot date is soldered over.

This 1957 Telecaster remains a fantastic-sounding guitar and a joy to play. By this point the Telecaster had become a 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 seen some use but less abuse than many and remains a truly great instrument, a genuine relic of the best years of Leo Fender's original 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 is an all original and relatively clean Tele, with some typical wear and one small repair to the back edge of the body. Other than this single spot the body finish is the unaltered original thin blonde lacquer. There are some chips, dings and rubbed-away spots along the edges (typical for slab-sided Fenders) and minor belt-buckle marks on the back into but not through the finish. The face is relatively clean except for very small dings and dents, and the white/blonde color has hardly changed over the last 65 years. The one repaired spot is an old bash on the back/top edge that caused a section of the top to be slightly raised; all is sealed solidly but there is a visible touch up on the back edge and two grain lines are visible on the top where the wood was slightly pushed up.

The neck has some typical fretboard wear down to the wood; this was not a "Cowboy Chord" guitar but was played well up and down the neck! The finish on the back of the neck has comparatively light wear, just some loss on the edges with minor staining and dings overall. The headstock has some very light checking and some darkening to the decal halo. The original thin frets have some wear and re-crowning but are still quite playable, the bone nut is still original as well.

The hardware is all original and intact; the pickups and wiring are undisturbed, the guitar retains its original "mud cap" switching configuration. There is light wear to the chrome (most heavily on the tone knob) and more pick scratching and scuffing to the pickguard than some. The bridge has very minor corrosion (mostly to the steel saddles) and the snap-on cover is missing. This is a superb sounding all-original Telecaster with a very powerful snap, housed in a quite clean original "Knuckle buster" tweed HSC. Overall Excellent - Condition.