Fender Champion Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1955)

Fender  Champion Lap Steel Electric Guitar  (1955)
$1,500.00 + shipping
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Item # 9811
Prices subject to change without notice.
Fender Champion Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1955), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 8970, yellow pearloid finish, hardwood body, original brown alligator chipboard case.

This 1955 Champion is a nice player's example of Fender's "bread and butter" lap steel from the first half of the 1950s. This instrument sounds and plays excellent but is not all original as it is set up with a modern pickup. This is the Duncan Antiquity re-creation of the original, which is a great sounding unit in itself. The wiring, pots and cap appear original with a visible pot date of the 11th week of 1955, marking this as a late example. The knobs are flat-topped Fender style repros, more in a 1960s pattern than 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 conveniently positioned tone and volume knobs. The serial number 8970 is stamped on the bridgeplate where the strings anchor through the body, also indicating this is a late-production champion from near the end of the run as the model was completely redesigned for 1956.

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, a trend that has become even more common recently. This one is one of them, but it has been equipped with the best possible reproduction so is still an excellent player's instrument.
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 nice player's Champion overall, and still an excellent sounding instrument though not all original as noted above. It shows general wear overall, with a number of small bar dinks and scratches in the metal fingerboard. The plastic body covering has puckered up in some places on the face, with a couple of small holes and one large area re-glued on the bass side forward of the pickup housing. This is not overly conspicuous but notable on close inspection. There is also some scuffing to the metal parts. There are new buttons on the original Kluson strip tuners. The Ducan pickup is slightly hotter and brighter than many originals and this is still a fine-sounding steel guitar with a powerful, singing tone; an early 1950s Fender instrument at a relatively reasonable price. The original case is included, though it is in poor condition and only functional for storage. Very Good + Condition.