Fender Esquire Solid Body Electric Guitar (1957)

Fender  Esquire Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1957)
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Item # 9439
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Fender Esquire Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1957), made in Fullerton, California, serial # -17016, Blonde lacquer finish, ash body, maple neck, brown tolex hard shell case.

This lovely second-generation "whiteguard" Esquire is a superb example of 1950's Fender greatness, an extremely fine playing and sounding guitar. The Esquire was cataloged as a separate model but was really just a single-pickup Telecaster, allowing Fender sales to offer a slightly cheaper $149.50 alternative to the buyer who couldn't quite spring for the Tele's $189.50 price tag. This mid-1957 example shows typical features for the period including the single ply white plastic pickguard (standard by early 1955, replacing the earlier "blackguard") and the old script Fender logo above the newer "butterfly" style string tree.

The serial number stamped on the neck plate is preceded by a "- minus sign" an oddity specific to 1957, probably the result of a stamper's error. The grainy ash body has a just slightly yellowed blonde finish, not as dark as the earlier '50s"butterscotch" color but more transparent than the early 1960s "white-blonde". The body is dated 8-57 in the pickup cavity, while the one-piece maple neck is dated 7-57 in pencil on the heel. The neck itself has the not-too sharp "V" contour that became more prominent in 1957 in place of the earlier round-backed profile. The visible pot date is the 45th week of 1956.

The single staggered pole pickup at the bridge is controlled by a volume, tone and 3-way switch with a "top hat" tip. Designed to use the same Telecaster components, the three-position switch selects the #1 bass-heavy rolloff setting, #2 in the center with and straight tone control and #3" "bypass" in the rear position sending the signal straight to the jack. This last setting is the Esquire's secret bonus, offering some of the finest, snarliest tones ever to emerge from the Fullerton factory.

The model was famously used by Paul Burlison with the Johnny Burnette Trio and many other early rock'n'roll and country players. While the most basic of Fender guitars, the Esquire has a super no-frills vibe and a surprisingly versatile sound when mastered. This early "Whiteguard" Esquire is simply a fantastic-sounding guitar and a joy to play...even to just hold!
 
Overall length is 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm.), 12 3/4 in. (32.4 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 prime '57 Fender is in excellent playing condition, showing some finish wear mostly to the body edges and fingerboard. There are small dings, dents and scrapes overall but no large areas of wear. It remains completely original internally, having never had a neck pickup fitted or any wiring alterations. It appears to have been mostly played in the "Cowboy Chord" position, with most of the wear to the fingerboard centered in the lower positions.

The frets show just some light wear and still have a lot of life left in them. This is an old Fender just the way we love 'em-played but not abused, and ready for the next 60+ years. It resides in an early '60's brown Tolex Fender case that appears to have not housed anything else and includes the period "top line leather" strap and "Fender Electric Instruments" polish cloth. Overall Excellent - Condition.