Fender Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1955)

Fender  Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1955)
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$32,500.00 + shipping
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Item # 9382
Prices subject to change without notice.
Fender Telecaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1955), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 09456, Blonde lacquer finish, ash body, maple neck, original tweed hard shell case.

This nicely preserved early "white guard" Telecaster is a superb example of Fender greatness, and simply a fantastic instrument. This late 1955 guitar shows many of the changes of the "white guard" period in '50s Tele history, with features specific to this exact time period. The most noticeable is then-brand-new single-ply white plastic pickguard, just then starting to replace the earlier black phenolic piece on Teles and Precision Basses, making the look and production materials consistent with the then-new Stratocaster.

On the headstock the old script Fender "Telecaster" logo decal still sits below the original style round string tree, both unchanged from 1951. The strikingly-grained ash body has a much lighter and "whiter" blonde finish compared to the darker earlier '50s style butterscotch hue. This "white-blonde" look would be the norm in the late '50s, continuing up into the CBS era.

The one-piece maple neck is dated 10-55 and still has a chunky, round profile with a hint of slope to the shoulders, more reminiscent of the earlier '50s style but beginning to hint at the "V" that was to come in 1956-7. The flat-pole pickup back at the bridge is still in "Blackguard" sound territory, as the staggered-pole variant about to be introduced would change the tonal character of the guitar somewhat.

This guitar's period wiring was assembled by Mary on 10-21-55 when she left her name on masking tape in the cavity; the original control settings are still intact. These are, on the 3-way switch: #1 neck pickup on bass-heavy rolloff setting, #2 neck pickup with straight tone control, and #3 bridge pickup with tone control. The pickups can be blended only by carefully positioning the lever switch in the "2 1/2" spot. A modern wiring rig can easily be substituted as desired, but we don't recommend re-wiring the original at this late date!

The serial number is stamped on the neck plate and leads off with a "0", a new feature having just moved there from the bridge unit when Fender harmonized all their electric guitars into one number series earlier in 1955. The knobs are a smoother-sided knurl with a dome top and the switch tip is the new "top hat" style just introduced.

This 1955 Telecaster is quite the looker but is also a fantastic-sounding guitar and a joy to play -- and even to take out of its amazingly well-preserved tweed case and just smell! It is on the heavier side for mid-50's Teles at 8.9 LBs (with the bridge cover on!) but has a very solid feel. By 1955 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; few have survived as nicely as this one!
 
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 lovely Telecaster is nicely original and unaltered, showing some general fairly light wear but overall a nicely cared for 1950s Fender. There are small wear spots and flakes to the body finish, mostly on the edges. Some are from handling wear and some on the tip of the lower body horn and near the neck pocket area from what looks like old moisture exposure. There is one noticeable scrape to the top near the back edge, but mostly the face is quite clean.

The fingerboard has some noticeable wear just around the "Cowboy Chord' first position, the rest is still relatively undisturbed. The original frets show some light wear and signs of previous work in the same area, above that they look hardly played. The back of the neck is very clean, with hardly any wear except a bit on the lower edge. The pickguard has shrunk just a bit with the upper edge cupping up slightly, and has a small tight crack through the screw hole between the bridge and controls.

Most of the chrome is still clean and shiny; there is a bit of scuffing to the neck pickup and the snap-on bridge cover, which must have been on all the time as the bridge area looks virtually new! All electronics and wiring remain original. The original case is also in very fine fettle, and includes the period strap, cloth-covered cord (with one end missing), and a well-used but still intact early-style Fender-branded polish cloth. They don't come a whole lot nicer than this one -- and if they do, most folks are afraid to play 'em! Excellent + Condition.