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Fender Esquire Solid Body Electric Guitar (1958)
Fender Esquire Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1958), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 34082, Blonde lacquer finish, ash body, maple neck, original tweed hard shell case.
This late 1958 third-generation "Whiteguard" Esquire is a beautiful example of the period's Fender greatness, and an extremely fine-playing and sounding guitar. This is a "toploader", the collector's term for Telecaster and Esquire guitars with the strings running through the back end of the bridge rather than through the body.
The Fender company made this engineering change in 1958, probably to save a few bucks' worth labor, and quickly rescinded it by 1960, returning to the old through-body style. The bridge plates pre-punched at the rear edge took a couple of more years to use up, and you see them on Teles made into the early '60s. While some stone Telecaster players strongly prefer the through-body stringing, some -- most notably NY's own Jim Campilongo -- have found a unique tonal character in this Fender oddity, and they have developed a cult following of their own.
The $149.50 Esquire was classed by Fender sales as a separate model but was just a single-pickup Telecaster, which allowed the company to offer it as a slightly cheaper alternative for the buyer who couldn't quite manage the Tele's $189.50 price tag. This one shows typical features for this specific period, including the single ply white plastic pickguard (standard by 1955, replacing the earlier "blackguard") and the old script Fender logo decal above the newer "butterfly" style string tree. The very grainy ash body has a relatively white-blonde finish, still fairly transparent and showing the ash grain nicely. The neck vanish is very thin with the fine longitudinal checking typical of the late '50s.
The guitar is all original with an untouched wiring rig, the pots date coded to the 7th week of 1958. The neck is dated 11-58 in pencil on the heel and has some nice maple grain on the back. It is rounded to a fairly soft "C" profile, a change back from the sharper "V" necks of a year earlier.
The single staggered pole piece single pickup back at the bridge is controlled by a volume, tone, and 3-way switch with a "top hat" tip offering three tonal options: the #1 bass-heavy roll off setting, the #2 straight tone control, and #3" "bypass" 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. This first-rate "toploader" Esquire is just a beautiful-looking and sounding guitar; a Zen exercise in Fender minimalism.
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.).
Usually the process of describing a vintage instrument ends up being a litany of everything unfortunate that's happened to it since the day it first came out of the case, shiny and new. This one's got some typical signs of use, but no abuse over the last 60 years. The body finish shows fine checking to the very thin Fender blonde lacquer, which has a number dings, scrapes, and some light flaking (mostly on the edges; the Telecaster syndrome) and some belt-buckle wear on the back. The maple fingerboard shows more uniform wear from play and has some fretwear in the lower positions.
And that's it. ALL original, NO modifications, untouched wiring with NO bonehead "improvements"; just bona-fide Fender goodness from the days before Leo's company was sold into corporate slavery. The Snap-On chrome bridge cover is still intact, along with a somewhat externally dirty but not heavily worn and structurally fine tweed case. We didn't even want to pop the neck, and as the date is visible through the cavity didn't have to. When we removed the pickguard, it felt like it was the first time the screws had been turned since it was installed at Fullerton. This is simply a wonderful guitar -- the sound, the feel, the vibe are all the most basic and pure of Fender nirvana. Twang it and be blessed! Excellent - Condition.
Item # 8368
Prices subject to change without notice.
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