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1949 Fender Telecaster? :includes video:

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by NastyMojo, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. NastyMojo

    NastyMojo Tele-Afflicted

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    telemnemonics likes this.
  2. TheBandFan

    TheBandFan TDPRI Member

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    What a great and informative video!
     
  3. NastyMojo

    NastyMojo Tele-Afflicted

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    Yeah I thought so too, and I love that color red!
     
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  5. Badabing

    Badabing Friend of Leo's

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    so if the broadcasters were the first tele's and that was #6 when did the snakehead tele come into play?? was that before the broadcaster or after?
     
  6. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity

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    So much wrong information in the video and ad!:oops:

    Leo and George made two prototypes - both in 1949. The first one was the "Snakehead" model:

    [​IMG]

    The second prototype had the headstock that we know today, but the control panel was nothing like today's Telecasters.

    [​IMG]

    These were the only prototypes!

    What Dan actually is speaking about is one of the first batch of Esquires made in 1950. They were made of laminated pine, the body was thinner, they were painted black, and they had no truss rod. So far he's right.

    A photo of the two-pickup Esquire, taken in summer 1950:

    [​IMG]

    But they didn't come with a second pickup because Gibson issued their Les Paul Goldtop - that wasn't until 1952!

    Those early, black 1950 Esquires came in both single-pickup and two-pickup versions. Later in 1950 Leo decided he'd go for a blond finished ash body, so he baptized that model the Broadcaster (the two-pickup version, that is - the single-pickup version was still named Esquire).

    If Dan's guitar is legit, it is an early 1950 two-pickup Esquire, or the neck pickup is installed later. It has noting to do with the 1949 prototypes though.
     
  7. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

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    I like that picture of the couple, with the man holding the guitar. Because, it looks like he has put the ashtray on halfway! I do that, and like it. "Great minds think alike" dept.
     
  8. nichd01

    nichd01 Tele-Meister

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    Telemarkman.. with all due respect, not sure i agree with you. Maybe it is semantics... if Leo built a guitar or two to experiment and get feedback... would that be considered a prototype?
     
  9. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity

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    These guitars have always been refered to as prototypes I and II - both by Leo and every Fender historian/writer, and no one has ever questioned it - until now. You don't think the word is my invention, do you?:D

    Since it's been common practice for decades to call them prototypes, I guess we can continue with it - unless you have a better suggestion ... ?;)
     
  10. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

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    I wish one of you real oldtimer tele experts would give a critique of that video. Seems like a lot of hype with no proof.

    "The guitar is mainly . . . lap steel parts". That seems wrong to me.

    Several other things said seem mysterious or dubious to me as well. But I am by no means an expert.

    Of course, this cat is a salesman. I visited that shop a few times when I worked on boats from Chelsea pier. Pricey store.
     
  11. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Holic

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    As Dan says, this guitar is in Nacho's book. For Nacho, it's an early 2 pickups esquire, not a prototype. It has the bodies characteristics of the first esquires. What does mean the fact that the neck pick up is a lapsteel one and isn't at the correct place? First attempt to put a second pickup? Or simply, as it was used in the factory to test amps, maybe the second pickup has been roughly added while the two pickups model was launched, just to test amps with a neck pickup. Questions, questions. I just wish I could look at this one for real and put my fingers on the neck!!
     
  12. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm certainly no "axespert" on vintage Teles like 0le FUZZY, Nacho or Slack, but what I wrote in my first post is well documented in words and photos. So I'd still say that Dan's comments are inaccurate.
     
  13. nichd01

    nichd01 Tele-Meister

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    Hey Major G... sent you a pm with a question if u dont mind.
     
  14. '56Teleman

    '56Teleman Tele-Afflicted

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    I've seen this before and find it odd that the guitar being played at the end is an acoustic. Why not plug the actual guitar in for the end of the video?

    Also, lots of interesting comments in the authenticity of it.


    Thanks, everyone
     
  15. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted

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    Very interesting video, but there are a few myths that have arisen through the years. Here are some non-myths.

    George Beauchamp was credited with the design of the first good magnetic guitar pickup, patent filed July 2, 1934 and granted August 10, 1937. This was made using two horseshoe magnets and used on the famous Rickenbacker "Frying Pan" guitar. He also patented a guitar tremolo (2,152,783, granted April 4, 1938).

    Because Doc Kaufman was a musician who knew a bit about pickups and musical instruments, and who had played with George Beauchamp and Paul Barth, Leo took Doc on as a partner, and started K & F Electric Instruments, which manufactured steel guitars and amps (sold as a matched set). One of the first products Doc and Leo designed was a record changer that they sold for $5,000 (because the couldn't afford to patent it). This evolved into the famous RCA 45-rpm record changer that sold millions.

    At the 1949 NAMM show in New York City, Don Randall (then sales with Radio-Tel, the distributor for Fender Electric Instruments) displayed two prototypes of Leo Fender's solid body guitar, each having only one pickup (patent 2,573,254. granted October 30, 1951). Al Frost, executive at Valco Manufacturing (maker of National and Supro guitars) thought they were unique but said he wouldn't want to produce such a guitar because they didn't have truss rods in the necks. (Forrest White - Fender, the inside story, 1994)

    Don Randall told Leo that he was afraid to sell the guitars because they didn't have truss rods in the necks. Leo disagreed, thinking that the necks were strong enough without one. Don Randall countered that Leo could just forget the whole thing, because Don was not going to place any orders for guitars without truss rods. Leo had tooling in place to install truss rods by the end of 1949, but the first production run was completed to have guitars (Two-pickup Broadcasters) ready for the June 1950 NAMM show in Chicago. This first run of Broadcasters are the ones without truss rods. (They used the existing necks in order to have the guitars ready for the NAMM show. Yes, they all came back for replacement necks, but Leo had already been converted into realizing that he needed truss rods. He didn't change to truss rods because the necks came back. Conway Twitty and Ronnie Hawkins didn't go to Toronto until the late 1950s.)

    The two pickup Broadcaster was on the market before the Gibson Les Paul guitar. The Gibson Les Paul guitar was a response to the Fender Broadcaster, not the other way around.

    The "Snake Head" prototype, the one with three tuners on each side of the peghead, was loaned out to musicians in the Fullerton area. Merle Travis, who was playing his custom Paul Bigsby designed solid body guitar with Cliffe Stone in Placentia, California (in 1947), showed his Bigsby guitar to Leo, who liked it. Later, Merle played Leo's guitar and told Leo that he thought it was a fine instrument. (Merle Travis, JEMF Quarterly, 1979)

    The Bigsby guitar's 6-inline tuner headstock looked a lot like Leo's 1954 Stratocaster, but Bigsby wasn't the first on to put 6 tuners on a side. C.F. Martin had done it in the 1800s, and you can find in on eastern European instruments made before that time.

    The famous story about Leo putting a neck between two chairs and standing on it and bouncing on it actually happened a little differently. On October 17, 1956, KTLA-TV in Hollywood sent a crew to Fender for a show called City at Night, where they filmed stories on places of interest in southern California. The announcer, Ken Grauer first introduced local celebrity Eddie Cletro strumming a Stratocaster. Leo then showed them the Stratocaster production of bodies through finish.

    Production Forman George Fullerton explained operations in the neck department. It was Ken Grauner who had the opportunity to stand and jump on a guitar neck suspended between two blocks, to show how strong the Fender necks, with truss rods installed, were. Plant Manager Forrest White then showed pickup and control installation, attaching the neck, stinging, and final test operations. It was then to a jam session with Noel Boggs, Eddie Cletro, Al Petty, Gene Gallion, Freddie Taveres, and Eddie Miller all playing Fender instuments.
     
  16. ralvarezguitar

    ralvarezguitar TDPRI Member

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  17. nichd01

    nichd01 Tele-Meister

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    Very interesting... so what about a neck with truss rod dated 11/49... any ideas?
     
  18. 63dot

    63dot Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the info. So many people believe it was simply Broadcaster then Telecaster, but only the hardcore collectors know that there were different protos, pre-Broadcaster Esquires, and of course the Nocaster.

    This stupid ad completely confused the issue:

    http://www.vintageguitarandbass.com/adDetails/51
     
  19. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeah, it's almost unbelievable that Fender themselves didn't have the year correct ... :oops: But thankfully we have a bunch of literature on Fender's history available today ... And I probably have most of them.;)
     
  20. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

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    I sure appreciate this type of info. I'm not some collector; just have one tele; but feel like I'm part of the "tele team" now and am interested in the history.

    I'm still curious about the statement made a couple of times in that video that "the guitar is mainly lap steel parts". Looks like a regular "tele" bridge/PU assembly & control plate. Were these crucial parts also used on Fender lap steels?
     
  21. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity

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    The pickup unit on the first prototype was similar to that of the Champion lap steel which was developed in early 1949. And the knobs look the same. The headstock of the first prototype (snakehead) was inspired by the lap steel headstock, but I guess that's it. We better take Dan's words with a grain of salt ...
     
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