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53' "Esquire" help!!

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by fenderguy813, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

    662
    Feb 10, 2010
    Low Lands
    Do you mean where it says "Esq" close to the HB route?
     
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  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine

  3. LowThudd

    LowThudd Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    Yea. I could be wrong. Did fender pencil ON the finish like that?
     

  4. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

    662
    Feb 10, 2010
    Low Lands
    I would not automatically dismiss this as not original.
     

  5. LowThudd

    LowThudd Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
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  6. fenderguy813

    fenderguy813 TDPRI Member

    Age:
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    Jan 8, 2018
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    Now im curious what esq would mean? Also i found on the neck it says fs and an 8 with a line through the 8 any idea what that could be?
     

  7. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

    662
    Feb 10, 2010
    Low Lands
    It means "Esquire" :D
     
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  8. fenderguy813

    fenderguy813 TDPRI Member

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    makes sense lol
     
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  9. chomps

    chomps TDPRI Member

    28
    Sep 8, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
    It looks like the neck butt date was sanded off, but the headstock face was not sanded. Several years back I bought a ‘55 hardtail Strat with a neck that was shellacked by the original owner. Lays Guitar was able to chip away the old shellac exposing the pristine original finish. 535A5B26-E4EC-43FD-90EC-DF36B5670BB3.jpeg
     

  10. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

    662
    Feb 10, 2010
    Low Lands
    all original esquire bodies from that period had these markings. dont sand them away!
     
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  11. aerhed

    aerhed Tele-Holic

    Age:
    58
    696
    Dec 24, 2016
    Boulder, WY
    For some reason I really like this guitar and were it mine I would take the opportunity to have a blackguard player you don't have to be scared of. I'd start with a razor, rags and a citrus stripper in an innocuous area. I think that varnish will soften and scrape off.
     
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  12. fenderguy813

    fenderguy813 TDPRI Member

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    Yeah the neck is actually in great shape the shape is what i would imagine would be the same because it feels great there is a little bit of run off from the varnish though. And the neck pockets are left unsanded and original except a little varnish that he put on the back of the neck.
     

  13. fenderguy813

    fenderguy813 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    26
    33
    Jan 8, 2018
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    Yeah my only thing is, i could use sripper on the body but not the fretboard because that may pull the frets out to. And these frets are in great shape they definitely need a fret job but i dont know until i play it.
     

  14. aerhed

    aerhed Tele-Holic

    Age:
    58
    696
    Dec 24, 2016
    Boulder, WY
    I don't think it would affect fret seating if you wipe it on thin between frets. I'd try one. Wipe stripper on, observe and test with razor edge. As soon as it's soft, scrape with the grain from fret to fret. Stop when you hit hard varnish and re-soften. Wipe it out with a damp rag and rub it dry.
     
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  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    So, you have not played it yet???

    You say the frets are in great shape but in the one pic of the nut and the first fret, the fret looks pretty flat on top, like worn down pretty far.
    I would start by setting it up and playing it, and I'd even include the neck pickup since it's already there.
    Once you know how it plays and sounds you'll have a better idea of how to proceed.
    Have you tested the bridge pickup on a meter? The high E pole looks sunk in (or the bobbin flatwork is lifted and separated) and it could be dead.
    If the guitar plays and sounds great as is, I'd keep as much original as possible, starting by stripping the body and making the top flat once again. See how the glop comes off to know how to deal with the neck.

    If the frets are as worn as they look, you may decide it deserves a refret, in which case you will be able to deal with the fingerboard with the frets removed.
    Those frets went in sideways, and are best removed the way they were installed, not pulled out from the surface of the board.

    Somewhere in the thread you said you had a lot of experience working on guitars.
    Are you talking about modding and setting up?
    (Edit: I see you wrote that you "have a lot of experience building guitars and working on them". But restoration is a somewhat different skillset. Have you made new necks and fretted them?)
    Or have you done restoration work on high value vintage guitars?
    If you think stripper may "pull the frets out", I'm wondering if maybe you don't really have the skills and experience to do this sort of restoration work with certainty of the results.

    If you're at all uncertain, you could do a full resto of the body before doing anything to the neck.

    But I'd want to know how it plays first, to be able to asses needs and goals before pouring on the stripper.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
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  16. fenderguy813

    fenderguy813 TDPRI Member

    Age:
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    Yeah the frets are pretty worn down but not to the point where they cant be leveled and re crowned. For being a 53 is why i say great shape because for being that old they are nice. But i have not tested the pickup yet i havent even strung it up. I recieved it in all pieces in ziploc bags and the body and neck all wrapped up. Which if you can see the saddles i wiped the one off with a cloth it had alot of build up like just gunk caked on ( from sitting around not being protected for so long) so it cleans up nice. And the stripping the fretboard worries me because if those frets are crazy glued in the stripper has a chance of taking that up and i want the original frets. Im not saying i wont be careful its just a risk. I have done complete refret jobs and body restorations. As well as setups and wiring/custom wiring. Also modifications as far as new tremelos and extra switches and things like that.
     
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  17. fenderguy813

    fenderguy813 TDPRI Member

    Age:
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    Jan 8, 2018
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    20180110_003405_Burst03.jpg 20180110_003512.jpg So looking more at this guitar is it at all possible this finish could have been done at the factory? Like an experiment? Because i found another esq marking over the varnish. And took a picture of whats left of the masking tape inside.
     

  18. fenderguy813

    fenderguy813 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    26
    33
    Jan 8, 2018
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    So the bad part is is that this fretboard has been varnished then shellac put over it or something i did carefully take a razor to it and it peeled up really yellow. But all the color of the wood was still dark and i went further a little on the back of the neck near the headstock and its raw wood no finish of any kind. Plain wood so im pretty sure the entire thing was sanded down and refinished or an experiment at the factory? Probably not but who knows.
     

  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    58
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    If the frets are crazy glues they are not original so you don't want them!
    Are you familiar with the vintage Fender fret installation, slid into the slot from the edge of the board, not hammered in like all other brands?
    Pretty interesting.
     

  20. chomps

    chomps TDPRI Member

    28
    Sep 8, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
    136AF56D-18B2-4CB9-B589-7772A4BECB64.jpeg
    The “Esq” mark on the back of the body under the neck plate is typical for an Esquire and was in the factory. The marking is under the original varnish on bare wood and was not written on top by your grandfather. Attached is a pic of this on a ‘55 Esquire. It looks like you may have some original finish under that varnish or shellac based on the areas that lifted near the screw holes.
     
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