Fender Champion Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1953)

Fender  Champion Lap Steel Electric Guitar  (1953)
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Item # 9240
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Fender Champion Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1953), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 6842, yellow pearloid finish, hardwood body, original brown alligator chipboard case.

This 1953 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 6842 is stamped on the bridgeplate where the strings anchor through the body. The pots and wiring are original with a visible date code indicating one pot dates to the 20-something week of 1952, with a firmer date provided by Gloria's masking tape signature indicating she wired this Champ up on August 20, 1953.

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". Over the years many Champs have sacrificed their pickups to provide the engine for vintage Telecaster recreations -- this one has fortunately avoided that fate. It remains as Gloria 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 is a nicely clean and original Champion, showing just light wear overall. The only alteration is new buttons on the original Kluson strip tuners, and there are some small tape marks on the bass side of the fingerboard that have ossified enough to resist removal. The original pickup and electronics are fully intact and sound fantastic. Basically pretty much as it left Fullerton in 1953, this steel includes the somewhat worn but still functional alligator grain original chipboard case and a period bar. Excellent Condition.