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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

1949 Fender Telecaster? :includes video:

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

  1. Bongocaster

    Bongocaster Friend of Leo's

    Here is what bothers me.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You could use these pictures in a textbook as examples of orange peel. I am not even close to being as knowledgeable as many folks on here, but has anybody ever seen something of Leo's painted so badly?
     

  2. ripgtr

    ripgtr Tele-Holic

    664
    Oct 12, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I want to see the vidoe of that!
     

  3. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    70
    Dec 6, 2005
    Norway
    No, never! But that is definitely a refin - and a bad one at that ... If it is the guitar that Dan says, it would originally have been painted in black.
     

  4. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

    May 31, 2011
    Nashville TN
    I hate to sound like a "broken record" (!), but, what, if any, "lap steel parts" are on this old guitar? The only thing I can detect from the pics and video is maybe the crudely installed neck PU.
     

  5. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    70
    Dec 6, 2005
    Norway
    Since this guitar is (at best) one of the first batch Esquires and NOT the prototype, I don't think there are any lap steel parts at all. As I can recall those Esquires got a revised lead pickup unit. And if fitted with a neck pickup, that would have been constructed with this guitar in mind (the lap steel had no neck pickup).
     

  6. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 24, 2012
    Colombes France
    Very good point. I've been thinking a lot about this guitar and all this discussion tend to reinforce the guessing I had yesterday : an early neck pick up roughly set on the one pickup esquire used to test amplifiers, so both pu sound can be tested.
     

  7. 63dot

    63dot Friend of Leo's

    What's interesting is I read an interview with Leo shortly before he died and he wasn't sure exactly when the first production Stratocaster was put out and he ventured to say, "1953?". I am sure the ideas of it were in his head and maybe he had a mock up but it's so well established that the Stratocaster was put into official production after that.

    I always wonder what would have happened had Gibson listened to Les Paul in the 1940s about at least a semi-solidbody electric guitar. The later Les Paul model would have been perfect had it used perhaps a low impedance pickup like Les demanded or later humbucker models with a directly mounted pickup, but Gibson had to do what they thought would sell. I am sure the first 1940s meeting with Gibson just didn't go so well.
     

  8. Bongocaster

    Bongocaster Friend of Leo's

    So the story goes that it was used to test amps in the Fender factory and then put away for the son of the amp tech. Not a word about who did the crappy refin. Just doesn't scan right with me.
     

  9. afoolsparadise

    afoolsparadise Tele-Meister

    301
    Nov 29, 2009
    Portland, ME
    [​IMG]

    Funny piece in the New Yorker about Billy Gibbons going to the shop to check out that guitar. There is mention of the rough-cut nature of the neck pickup and the seemingly odd color.

    An interesting oddity that possibly offers a peek into the somewhat less than perfectly organized state of the Fender plant operations in the early 50's. I'm not sure they were all giving everything as much thought as many do here on this forum.
     

  10. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

    May 31, 2011
    Nashville TN
    I wish I had a limo driver on retainer so I could pound beer all day like Billy! Fun article indeed.
     

  11. Bongocaster

    Bongocaster Friend of Leo's

    So Leo went all the way to South Bend, IN to get some paint. Yeah I can figure it out but that's sloppy writing.
     

  12. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    70
    Dec 6, 2005
    Norway
    Thanks to our member, Bob Davis, I've been able to find out some more about this "Mystery Tele" (actually Esquire).

    I thought I'd seen it before and - Lo and Behold - it was right under my nose: in Nacho's "Blackguard" book!

    As the New Yorker writes in its article about Bill Gibbons, the guitar is an early Tele/Esquire with serial # 0009. It was given by Leo to long time employee Sam Hutton, and was used as a test instrument for years. The red flake paint was a refin (of course!), but it had probably originally been painted in white, not black (traces of white lacquer in neck pocket). The neck pickup is an early prototype (with a very weak sound). Fretboard radius is 9.5"(!). And of course it has a non-truss rod neck. Strangely the electronic harness and knobs are from 1951!

    Those who have the "Blackguard" book may find it on page 26.

    So it is no doubt that the guitar is legit (as I suspected it might be), it's just presented in an inaccurate way by Dan and the store, as the guitar itself is no prototype.
     

  13. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

    May 31, 2011
    Nashville TN
    Thanks for clearing that up! "Mostly lap steel parts" -- harumph.

    I wonder if, say, George Gruhn, would have so misrepresented a historical axe this badly? I would hope not.
     

  14. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 3, 2012
    Austin, Texas
    Thanks to Don Randall's insistence, Leo had tooling in place to install truss rods by the end of 1949, so it's possible that a truss-rod equipped Fender neck could be dated 11/49.

    The first Broadcaster production run was completed to have guitars (Two-pickup Broadcasters) ready for the June 1950 NAMM show in Chicago.
    A "production run" is a completed, tested, out-the-door fulfillment of a purchase order. "Work in process inventory" would include finished (and unfinished) necks and bodies (without electronics) in inventory. There were undoubtedly truss rod equipped necks in inventory, because the guitar that made the 1950 NAMM show was a 2-pickup Broadcaster with truss rod.

    There was no such thing as a "production line" at Fender Electric Instrument Company in 1950. They had four buildings at 500 South Raymond, and everything was in those four buildings. Leo's lab was next to the office, sharing a wall, which caused a whole lot of noise in the office when Leo tested amps! Amps and guitar were being built right next to each other, with no separation or any semblance of work flow. The stock room in building 4, was not organized at all, and they only ordered parts when they ran out of something.

    As far as "lap steel parts" goes, the knobs on the Spanish guitar (Broadcaster/Esquire/Telecaster) are the same the ones used on the Champion steel guitar. The same goes for the recessed output jack/cup. (What we know as the Tele bridge pickup was similar to the Champion pickup.)

    Forrest White, Plant Manager of Fender Electric Instrument Co. from May 1954, then Vice President and General Manager of Fender Electric Instruments, Inc, from May 1959, and Director of Manufacturing Operations for CBS Fender Musical Instruments from January 1965 - December 1966, had this to say about Sam Hutton: "Sam Hutton was one of the most outstanding employees we had in the amplifier cabinet covering department." The cabinet covering department is where Leo put Forrest for his first two weeks of employment in May 1954. (Sam is the man who later made the clocks that looked like narrow panel tweed fronts). Leo didn't tell the Production Foreman, George Fullerton, who Forrest was, or that Forrest was hired to be George's boss. Leo made Forrest tell him.

    This caused friction in the relationship between George and Forrest right from the get-go. Even though Leo, and sometimes Forrest, wanted to fire George at times, they never did (CBS later let him go), and it was Forrest White who recommended that Leo hire George at Music Man in 1974, after George was let go by Ernie Ball/Earthwood.

    Sam Hutton made a photo collage of Forrest White with the first Music Man bass, and vintage Fender products in the background. Forrest designed the Music Man pegheads (3+1 on the bass and 4+2 on guitars) and he also designed (in 1942, when he built his own solid body electric guitar) the pre-set rhythm circuit that Leo used on the Jazzmaster guitar, with prompting from Alvino Rey.
     

  15. 63dot

    63dot Friend of Leo's

    Before the Broadcaster of November, 1950, and most don't know this, there was the two pickup Esquire of June 1950 and one pickup version in April, 1950.

    Though many were not made, the two Esquire models predated the Broadcaster by a few months. It's easy enough to check on the internet but the huge attention given to the Broadcaster drowns out the real first guitar from Fender, the Esquire.
     

  16. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    70
    Dec 6, 2005
    Norway
    If you take a look at my first post (p.1), there's even a photo of someone playing it.;)
     

  17. 63dot

    63dot Friend of Leo's

    Wow, I didn't see the neck pickup. That is so cool. Before I researched early Fender, I only thought two pickup Esquires had to be player mods to them. While I heard there was tooling for a truss rod at Fender in 1949, I know the first Esquires didn't get a truss rod in 1950. I wonder if "all" the Broadcasters got a truss rod, or just most of them? From the musings of George Fullerton and Forrest White, there were a lot of things Fender was ready to do but the master needed a little operations management and direction to get there. I always wonder what would have happened if the day to day chores of running a business was left up to the eccentric genius. Somebody should make a movie about them all and have somebody like Johnny Depp play Leo.

    Those little details are fun to check out. At the local vintage store near me, there's a 1958 Korina Flying V, and I think perhaps the only one of its kind in the world. It was made right handed initially but before it left the factory a second pickguard was fashioned and side dots installed on the neck. Those one of kind things are what makes it all interesting to me. I can't really figure out what the OP's tele really is and if it was indeed red. In those early days I don't think Leo would have worried about such a poor thrown together finish on that guitar. But just as likely is that it's not totally real and nowhere close to 1949.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013

  18. Donelson

    Donelson Tele-Afflicted

    May 31, 2011
    Nashville TN
    I wonder who has the negative for that wonderful picture? It is almost like a work of art, showing a warehouse, early Fender gear, guitar technique from back then (Bb chord with "cowboy" bass note & thumbpick, "half-on" ashtray), hairstyles & clothing styles from the era, etc. Fun!
     

  19. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    70
    Dec 6, 2005
    Norway
    I don't know who has the negative, but Leo himself is credited with the photo!:cool:
     

  20. Birdmankustomz

    Birdmankustomz Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    27
    Aug 28, 2008
    New York
    How he handled the guitar with the case was painful, "If I flip it over"... *scraaaappeee tilt it up so you can see *scraaaappeee

    :eek:
     

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