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Old November 14th, 2005, 06:46 AM   #1 (permalink)
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BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN esquire mistery

The mistery of the esquire fender springsteen's guitar now is revealed...
Bruce said that your guitar is a Telecaster build from 2 pieces
one fender esquire neck and an another body of a telecaster...

said this in the dvd 30th anniversary for Born to run...

decal incorrect place?
body 53???

now the truth is out there


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Old November 14th, 2005, 12:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Here's a soundfile: http://geckomind.net/files/bruce-guitar.mp3
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Old November 15th, 2005, 04:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzyhead
Thanks! Is that clip from the 30th anniversary DVD's?
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Old November 15th, 2005, 05:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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yes...
His guitar is:

fender Esquire neck circa 1958-60
Fennder Telecaster body refinished circa 60's-70's
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Old November 15th, 2005, 05:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzyhead
Thanks! Is that clip from the 30th anniversary DVD's?
Could be. I got it from the pre-release podcast.
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Old November 15th, 2005, 01:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Bruce Springsteen's Guitar

This was a great clip from Bruce. He's always been rather ambiguous about this guitar which has lead to so much confusion over time. I've even spent years talking with the guy who sold it to him and never got much cleared up there either. I never understood all the claims about a "mis-placed decal" and whatnot. Every single detail about the neck suggests it's a '57. The body is harder to say, but given that it's ash I would put it pre-59 or '60. The guitar is clearly a mutt though. If you look very carefully at the cover of BTR you can spot a "Pat. Des." Bridge plate with the particularly long saddle adj. screws found only in '59 or so. However, I've seen earlier pics of the guitar with brass saddles, so who knows?

There are lots of stories about a serial # with an "asterick" and the guitar originally being sold as a "second". Well, it's very widely known that Fender never sold "seconds" as Gibson did. Why would they? A defective neck or body could simply be swapped for another. If the "asterick" existed it was probably something assigned by a pawn shop somewhare along the way, or by Columbia Records who supposedly owned the guitar before Bruce. That's according to the guy who sold it to him. I've since heard Bruce say he "knew the guy who owned it before he did" so that conflicts.

Anyway, I've spent a lot of time trying to figure this guitar out and that's my two-cents worth. Thanks,
David

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Old November 15th, 2005, 02:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I only listened to the clip once (several days ago), but it seems like Bruce is referring to the fact that the body has a neck pickup route to assert that it is a "telecaster" rather than an "esquire" body. However, both bodies had the route, and once somebody mounted a neck pickup in an "esquire" body, there is no way to tell the difference. Bob K. (does he still post here?) was our resident expert on Springsteen. Bob K? Can you clear this up?

By all accounts, Bruce's guitar is a highly modified instrument, and is mostly cool because Bruce plays it (not because it is a "vintage collector's item"). As a collectible guitar on its own (without the assocaition with Bruce), it isn't much.
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Old November 15th, 2005, 03:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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That's a good point Dave about the Tele/Esquire reference Bruce made. According to Phil Petillo (the guy who sold it to him and does all the work on it) there's a route under the guard large enough to park a small Buick in. Having never seen the guitar in person I can't say, but I doubt the original neck pu route is "in tact". Apparantly there were once two complete sets of pickups in there (thus the extra jack hole now plugged). And I guess at various times there have been active pu electronics and other things stashed in there as well. Tell you what though, I would love to get my hands on this thing one day!

David
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Old November 15th, 2005, 03:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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By all accounts, Bruce's guitar is a highly modified instrument, and is mostly cool because Bruce plays it (not because it is a "vintage collector's item"). As a collectible guitar on its own (without the assocaition with Bruce), it isn't much.
That's exactly what I think is cool about it! A player's guitar is much cooler than anything locked in a closet for fifty years. I like it when they tell stories just with their scars.
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Old November 15th, 2005, 03:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Apparantly there were once two complete sets of pickups in there (thus the extra jack hole now plugged). And I guess at various times there have been active pu electronics and other things stashed in there as well. Tell you what though, I would love to get my hands on this thing one day!

David
Just look at the weird stuff he's got going there on the BTR cover...

If you ever do get your hands on that guitar, you gotta promise me that I can play it one day. Only once... Whoever you are, my friend.
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Old November 15th, 2005, 03:30 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Where is bobk when you need him??

bobk, a TDPer of long standing, knows alot about that tele, and about Petillo, the guy who worked on it. Maybe he'll chime in here.
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Old November 15th, 2005, 03:38 PM   #12 (permalink)
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That would be great. But then: I am just obsessed!
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Old November 15th, 2005, 03:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
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According to Phil Petillo (the guy who sold it to him and does all the work on it) there's a route under the guard large enough to park a small Buick in.
It makes me think that there's no way to know, then, if it was an Esquire or Tele body originally. Here's a thought, though: I wonder if (because of the route issue) Bruce found a Telecaster body to mate his original Esquire neck to? It seems to me (in pictures, at least) that the guitar changes quite a bit over the years. Why not a new body? Just guessing here. Bobk should be along anytime now to clear this all up....
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Old November 15th, 2005, 03:45 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Found an old thread that should help (some).

http://www.tdpri.com/viewtopic.php?t=5347

And this is everything bobk has posted, much of it about Springsteen:

http://www.tdpri.com/search.php?search_author=bobk

Good luck!
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Old November 15th, 2005, 04:26 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Well, I dunno. As someone mentioned once before about (something else) this topic could be debated forever.

I interviewed Petillo once about ten years ago for an article about Bruce's guitar - being as obsessed as I was about it this seemed like a good way to get information. According to him, he sold Bruce the guitar in about 1971. This pretty well coincides with the earliest pics I've seen of it. The earliest of which shows a tortiseshell guard which pre-dated either of the two different hand stenciled black pgs he used (the later of which graces the guitar on the BTR cover). The guitar was also fitted with Gibson tuning machines at the time like you would have found on a Les Paul (Klusons with plastic knobs) Phil claimed he had the original bridge but could never "find it".

You could spend a short lifetime chronicaling all of the changes this guitar has undergone (and I have!) but suffice to say it's changed to suit Bruce's tastes at any given point. Lots of different pickups, knobs, several jack plates, etc. By the way, the knobs on the BTR album are '57-'58 as well. Lots of things sort of point to '57 like the neck and the re-curve radius of the body as it hits the 17th fret. That radius was changed from 1/4" to 3/8" starting in around '57, and the Bruce guitar definitely shows the later radius.

Anyway, I could talk about this thing forever so somebody just stop me. And if anyone has a "secret stash" of pics or something please get in touch.

Thanks,
David
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Old November 15th, 2005, 05:50 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Anyway, I could talk about this thing forever so somebody just stop me.
No way. At the very least I found someone as obsessed as I am! :D
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Old November 16th, 2005, 11:17 PM   #17 (permalink)
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me too!

great thread guys! i just haven't had anything to add, but i've got a bruce tele project going at the moment. my favorite look has always been that ol' natural worn tele. i've got a brian poe body in the works and piecing everything else together as i get the money, BUT hopefully by summer, i'll have it done!!! it won't be a relic YET, but i'll make it earn its scars the right way

bobk is a heck of a resource and i apprecate david's info as well...let me know if you get a hold of that stash of pic's :)
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Old November 17th, 2005, 12:23 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I can't add a thing either but I'm glad I finally read this thread!

A friend gave me a copy of Uncut, a music mag out of England I think, Bruce is on the cover.

Anyway I was looking at the pics in there, extras from the BTR photo shoot and every one of his tele had this "thing" on the pickguard and I became obsessed with it....you've helped me 8)
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Old November 17th, 2005, 04:08 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Hey Rusty! Be sure to post some nice big pictures, when you're finished! I think it's the right decision not to relic it beforehand. That wear on Bruce's guitar would be very hard to recreate I guess. Not like for example Roy Buchanan's "Nancy", I've seen some very good replicas of that. But then: I've never seen the original close up.
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Old November 17th, 2005, 12:34 PM   #20 (permalink)
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This is some of the stuff BobK wrote about awhile back in another forum. I've talked with him a few times in detail about it but haven't heard from him in a while.

"the '53 Esquire,guitar was originally sold as "second"....bought by a recording studio and fitted with 4 pickups and 2 output jacks.each track was EQ'd and effected differently,so as to sound like 4 different tracks AND they used to charge the person who was "forced" to use it for the sessions and charge on a per track basis(the fee x 4 ) ....the studio was busted in a payola scandal and was forced to sell all of its guitars...Phil Petillo bought the guitar and several others.he sold it to Bruce in 1969 for
$185.00!!!!!!it has big rout under the pickguard a lil bigger than two humbuckers......the guitar is fitted with custom wound hot single coil pickups(15k plus for the bridge) and active boost/tone controls.it has an ivory nut,schaller non locking tuners,custom made Petillo aluminum string trees(round),Petillo Precison Frets(triangle shape-space age alloy),Titanium Bridge saddles&screws,Titanium Jack plate,the body is one piece and VERY light..original nitro finish which has turned almost completely gray on the back from sweat.The V shape of the neck extends ALL the way to the neck joint.he sets his action VERY low and strings with .010 guage strings(Petillos own brand-very bright long lasting stainless steel)he uses a Heavy Pick.Ive seen this guitar up close many times...its very resonant acoustically...the other stage guitars he is currentntly using are New Fenders made just before the '99-2000 tour,have Barden pickups and necks reworked to match the profile/feel of the 53 EXACTLY...the Bigsbys were a recent addition,installed by Petillo on 3 guitars"

http://www.pbase.com/jroy/image/2375659
http://www.pbase.com/jroy/image/1505248
http://www.pbase.com/jroy/image/1505248

Jim
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