Fender Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1958)

Fender  Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1958)
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Item # 11823
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Fender Telecaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1958), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 31898, Blonde lacquer finish, ash body, maple neck, original tweed hard shell case.

This beautiful "white guard" Telecaster is a superb late 1950s survivor, only very lightly worn and a fantastic playing and sounding instrument. This guitar was made right at the end of 1958, not long before the entire Fender line saw a major change with the advent of the rosewood fingerboard replacing the maple used since 1950.

The most noticeable difference from earlier Telecasters is the stringing; this is what Fender aficionados call a "top loader", because the strings feed through the back end of the bridge instead of through the body. A short-lived production change, this design only lasted from mid 1958 to early 1960; apparently Fender's dealers and customers preferred the original through-body stringing so the company soon returned to the original pattern. For some decades many Tele fanatics were suspicious of these "Top loader" models, but more recently Jim Campilongo and other players have given them a far higher reputation in the Fender pantheon.

Another typical late '50s feature is the single-ply white plastic pickguard, which replaced the earlier black phenolic on Telecasters in 1954-5. The grained ash body is finished in a white-blonde lacquer, showing very little yellowish tint compared to the earlier '50s "butterscotch" style. This look would be the norm right into the '60s. This body retains the original lighter blonde look, apparently not used in smoky bars "back in the day".

The body has 12-58 penciled in the pickup cavity, the one-piece maple neck is dated 10-58 on the heel. It has a full round-backed profile and fills the hand nicely, the 1957 era "V" having been fully banished by this time. The script Fender "Telecaster" logo decal on the headstock sits above the "butterfly" string tree. The tuners are the typical clipped "single line" Kluson Deluxes.

The 5-digit serial number is stamped on the neck plate, having moved there from the bridge unit when Fender harmonized all their electric instruments into one series in 1955. The bridge has serrated steel saddles typical of this period and the original staggered-pole lead pickup.

All internal components are original, the paper-wrapped caps look amazingly fresh and the pot date codes are to the 25th week of 1958. The original wiring is untouched; it has never been altered to "modern" switching. 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 selects the neck pickup alone, while the back switch setting engages the bridge unit. The pickups can be combined by carefully positioning the lever between settings, which works well on this guitar giving a somewhat acoustic-y phased sound.

This '58 Telecaster remains a fantastic-sounding guitar with a powerful lead pickup offering a chunkier, less glassy sound than many later '50s examples. The "top loading" tends to make the guitar feel a bit more supple than through-body stringing, giving a distinctive feel and character. At only 7.01 LBs with the bridge cover ON (6.83 with it off!) this is one of the lighter '50s Teles we have had and handles like a dream. Many 1950s Telecasters have been played for decades and worn virtually into the ground; this one has seen comparatively little play time but is a truly great instrument nonetheless.
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.)., 7.01 lbs.

This ALL original Telecaster remains in very clean shape overall, one of the nicest '50s Fenders to come by in a while. It shows only light wear and tear for 65 years on earth with no heavy wear, repairs or alterations. The original thin blonde lacquer body finish shows minor chips, dings and rubbed-away spots along the edges and sides as is typical for slab-bodied Fenders. The back has some scuffs and scratches but no heavy belt buckle wear, the face is quite clean with some minor dings and scratches, the deepest one a dink below the controls. The white/blonde color has very little yellowing; it not changed a lot over the last six decades.

The neck finish is also all original and shows some light checking but very little wear through the lacquer on the fingerboard, a situation hard to find on '50's Telecasters. The finish on the back of the neck is similarly clean, with just a couple tiny dings and scrapes and nothing worn through. The headstock has some very light checking, the original decal is fully intact.

The hardware is also all original; the pickups and wiring are undisturbed. The guitar retains its original "mud cap" switching configuration with untouched solder joints. There is some minor wear to some chrome, but even the steel bridge saddles have hardly any corrosion; it looks like the still-intact snap-on cover was kept on for much of its life. The pickguard is nicely intact with some scuffing wear but no cracks or shrinkage at the screws.

The original thin frets have very little wear, just a bit in the lower positions and remain fully playable. The bone nut appears original as well. This is a light, superb sounding all-original Telecaster with a powerful sound from the bridge pickup, a nice mellow honk from the neck pickup and an interesting blend with that switch lodged JUST in the right spot! It is still housed in its original "Knuckle buster" tweed HSC, a bit worn-in overall with light "cat wear" to the top edge but solid and better preserved than many. Overall Excellent Condition.