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Fender CS Fleming '55 Telecaster

Discussion in 'Fender Custom Shop Tele Forum' started by one guitar, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. one guitar

    one guitar TDPRI Member

    55
    Jun 9, 2013
    germany
    Hello there,

    I'm a new member here, but allready got tons of information from this marvellous site.
    Now I have a question:

    I just bought an used Fleming '55 Tele, whiteguard.
    Lovely piece, but I didn't bought it from the first owner.

    It was sold as a Masterbuild guitar, but they seem to come also as Teambuilds.
    My first question is: How can you set those two apart?

    Serial Nr.# CF692

    I got curious because of the next thing: I don't have the leather binding with the Fleming-CD and specs and so on. Only the COA.
    Also the amp was not included in the deal.

    When I asked the trader about this, he told me that the former owner had two (!!) of these guitars, this one he got earlier but didn't came with the leather binding contents. The other one he sold also with the certifactes.

    Could this be an indication, that the guitar is not Masterbuild but Teambuild?

    Of course, the guitar won't change knowing this, but since it wasn't exactly cheap, it would be nice to know if this one came out of the hands of Fleming himself. Also, the pups should be handwired by him, in that case.

    Many thanks in advance,
     
  2. one guitar

    one guitar TDPRI Member

    55
    Jun 9, 2013
    germany
    I forgot: the COA is signed by Fleming.

    hoping for your responses, I'm totally new in the Fender Custom Shop world and very ignorant.

    thanx
     
  3. jabsalt

    jabsalt Tele-Meister

    305
    Apr 23, 2007
    New York
    Did you contact fender custom shop and see if they have info
     
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  5. one guitar

    one guitar TDPRI Member

    55
    Jun 9, 2013
    germany
    Well. I tried to. But for the german fender CS subsidiairy I only found a post address. No email nor Phone number. Is there an email address I could write to in the States?

    Here is a pic. In real she is even more beautifull

    ForumRunner_20130624_181037.jpg
     
  6. Ron Garson

    Ron Garson Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    71
    May 18, 2003
    UK
  7. one guitar

    one guitar TDPRI Member

    55
    Jun 9, 2013
    germany
    Hi Ron. Thanks a lot. I'll give it a try
     
  8. Esquire59

    Esquire59 Tele-Holic

    562
    Sep 22, 2007
    The Netherlands
    The serial says it all: CFxxx. CF stands for Chris Fleming, yours is a Masterbuilt. I have the same guitar but mine is teambuilt, serial is CZxxxxxx
    The masterbuilt sets included a leather binder with a DVD of how the guitar originated, the teambuilt sets lacked those DVD's.
    Furthermore this guitar is part of a set including a laquered relic tweed case and a reliced tweed Pro Jr. amp.
     
  9. one guitar

    one guitar TDPRI Member

    55
    Jun 9, 2013
    germany
    Dankjewel Esquire (I'm also dutch).

    I sent my questions to the Fender customer-relations. As soon as I get an answer, I'll let you know their response.
    On other thing:
    although I found the pups on the Fleming very sweet sounding, there was an overall metallic sound to it.
    I changed the saddles yesterday for brass saddles, which immediately took away the iceness. When I tried to determine the material the original saddles are made of (I thought steel), i noticed it could be aluminium as well. This because it didn't respond at all to magnetism.
    Strange, because I was convinced, that Fleming build this guitar to the original '55 specs.
    Does anyone who owns this guitar has an idea?

    The brass saddles sound better, but I don't like the idea to change the look of this guitar. The brass saddles are also noticebly heavier then the originals and they have a larger diameter, which gives it an even more weird look.
    Did anyone ever try titanium saddles? gonna look for it in other threads
     
  10. one guitar

    one guitar TDPRI Member

    55
    Jun 9, 2013
    germany
    It took Fender-Customer-relations only one day to answer my question. and guess what? The answer came straight away from Chris Fleming himself.
    Hats off to Fender, this is beyond my expectations.

    According to Mr. Fleming the guitar is Masterbuild, like Esquire said allready.

    Since I still don't have the spec sheet, I still have one more question for the Forum: Does anyone know from which material the saddles are made? Like I wrote allready, they don't respond to magnetism, so they might not be from steel.
    Did anybody who owns this guitar changed the saddles?

    Thanks in advance
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2013
  11. Esquire59

    Esquire59 Tele-Holic

    562
    Sep 22, 2007
    The Netherlands
    Mine has definitely steel saddles, they do respond to magnetism...
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2013
  12. one guitar

    one guitar TDPRI Member

    55
    Jun 9, 2013
    germany
    OK, thanks,

    then I'm still bewildered if mine are the originals or not.

    Or might it be that they are only very low magnetic because they are nickel plated?

    They sure look the same as on the pictures I've seen from other 55s Flemings.

    BTW, after playing a couple of days on the brass saddles, I noticed that the tone made a huge lap into "beefiness", but the finesses and twang were gone. The bridge PU had a big advantage in tone, but the neck which sounded so sensible and sweet sounds more dumb now.
    The brass saddles I put on are of a much wider diameter though (don't know the brand), so even more mass.
    Now I probably gonna change the original saddles back. Or try a set with normal diameter brass saddles, or put only a brass on the top E and B strings.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013
  13. MikeCee

    MikeCee TDPRI Member

    20
    Apr 28, 2003
    NJ
    I just bought one of these. Only tele I have played that's as good as my Nocaster relic which was one of the first made after they moved in house from Cunetto era models. That guitar is unreal. The Flemming is just wonderful. Love it!!
     
  14. Zillinois

    Zillinois Friend of Leo's

    Feb 25, 2009
    Seattle
    the serial number - Serial Nr.# CF692 - is in the style what Fender Custom Shop Master Builders use.
     
  15. one guitar

    one guitar TDPRI Member

    55
    Jun 9, 2013
    germany
    Mike & Zillinois: I own the guitar almost a year right now and I'm still verrry happy about I bought it. It weighs about 6,5 lbs which is perfect for me. The looks are genuinly beautifful, a piece of art.
    I also owned previously a Nocaster, but the Fleming V to C Neck which still has a lot of meat is definitely more comfortable for me.
    Meanwhile I got accustomed to the steal saddles, which are period correct, but sound less fierce then brass saddles which have my preference, but soit.
    The neck PU has honestly one of the most sweet sounds I ever heard coming out of a guitar, suddenly I recognize all those sounds I always heard on those good ol`records.
    I wired it standard way, and also here, a wonderfull middle position sound.
    The only drawback is the bridge PU by itself. I researched the internet and found out, that Fender reduced the windings of their Tele-PU's in the mids of the 50s. So the Nocaster PU is indeed a lot hotter, the Fleming PU is more fragile with to much high end to my taste. But no way I'm gonna change that PU, learned to live with it, although it sometimes literally pierces my ears, and yes, I know where to find the treble knob!
    Now I've got two questions:
    1. when I rewired the select switch, I kept the paper in oil capacitor in the wiring system, Fender did however include a transistor like cap for those who wanted to change to standard wiring. Was my idea of leaving the oil in paper cap in the guitar wrong, are there any benefits of the regular cap? Does the treble knob with the oil in paper cap has a more wah wah efect on it?
    I use the treble knob a lot to change the sounds of the guitar, and does seem to have a different character then I was used to from teles. More of a frequency change, but I'm a total fool on this subject. So the first question is: should I also have changed the cap?
    2. a probably more difficult question, but one I was eager to pose allready a long time but didn't dare to and which reaches out to all of you hundert Fleming 55 Tele owners: as you can read in the posts above, I do have a masterbuilt Fleming but mine unfortunately didn't came with the leather binding.
    Is there anyone of you able to make a copy of the DVD where Chris explains why he made the guitar the way he did. Since I love and play this guitar so much I'm very sad not able to know what he is telling us. I asked Fender if they could make me a copy, but they said they didn`t have an original one. I live in Germany, so shipping should go to Europe. Of course I'm willing to pay for all the expences in advance.
    I would be more then happy!!!

    Regards
     
  16. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

    Bit of a noddy question I know, but have you tried adjusting the Pick up height? This can significantly alter the sound!

    Also, many here will comment on the utility of the Tone pot for reducing Ice pick.
     
  17. one guitar

    one guitar TDPRI Member

    55
    Jun 9, 2013
    germany
    Hi Tonemonkey, thanks for the suggestion, a good one. The answer is no.
    Because the balance between the neck and bridge PU is correct now, I would have to adjust both. I'm also uncertain when the magnetic pull would start to be too high.
    But it's definetely worth a try, I admit. Rolling of the highs, does put off top end, but the PU remains fragile. But I think its inherent of this PU. Certailny great for Country B.T.W. but I'm a blues player, no effects straight into the amp, very brittle sound.
     
  18. MikeCee

    MikeCee TDPRI Member

    20
    Apr 28, 2003
    NJ
    Hi
    When you say brittle what do you mean? I use mine into a tweed Harvard or a VOX AC15. What amp are you using? It is a screaming bridge pickup for sure but sooo musical. I don't think that the paper in oil cap should be changed out. Its a good cap. Does yours have a treble bleed added? I would slightly lower the bridge pickup ever so slightly. Make sure it is not angled towards the top three strings. Make it even with the body. Ths will tame the highs a bit.

    I also changed the saddles to to Marc Rutters Broadcaster steel set. Much more growl and presence. I prefer them. You might consider brass saddles. Those steel saddles are small diameter.

    Are you using pure nickel strings?

    It all adds up!

    Also, I need the CD too. :(
     
  19. MickM

    MickM Friend of Leo's

    The wise men on this forum say that in electric guitar wiring the type of capacitor is of no importance. The paper in oil shines in cases of higher voltage.

    This opinion is shared by the majority of builders but some folks still kick out the cash for the paper in oil. I have some Teles with PIO and some like Fender supplies (chicklets) and couldn't tell a difference when I changed 'em.
     
  20. one guitar

    one guitar TDPRI Member

    55
    Jun 9, 2013
    germany
    Hi Folks, thanks for answering:

    MickM: what I don't get, is why Fender includes an extra .022 cap to put in the tone circuit if you update the wiring to the current state. You can also rewire it to current tele standart with the paper in oil, so why include this spare cap.?

    MikeCee: lots of hints, wow! gonna level the Bridge PU a bit more, but the sound in itself is good balanced. With brittle I mean thin and piercing. I also tried allready brass saddels, don't know the brand, the Bridge PU became less piercing ans slightly fuller indeed, but the Neck PU-sound suffered. Like you said allready: the sound of the PU's is very musical, I never encountered such a reaction on playing and tonewood in my guitar-playing-life till now. And that's 33 years of playing electric with lots of good and less good guitars.
    I think Fleming made this guitar for steel saddles with all the (dis)-advantages. Fender CS don't seem to use the steel saddles themselves a lot, some of the late 50's and even 60's reissues have brass ones. In ione Video on YouTube Mike Eldred even murmurs he doesn't like them, or at least they sound very different. This combines with an allready weaker PU is putting insukt to injury. (at least for my ears).
    I play the guitar through a '54 Fender Champ, '64 Princeton, and .... yes one of those new 1WMarschall amps which sounds plain terrific. Though totally different than those other two of course. I don't use any peddals, so this makes the harsh Bridge PU sound even more direct.
    Yes, I use pure nickel strings, whichs helps. I don't have a trebble bleed but do use the treble knob a lot, actually most of the time it's on 70%.

    Question: do you also have a Masterbuilt '55 Tele without the DVD, or do you have the later CS-Production of the same guitar prototype? The person I bought mine from, meant, this guitar came without the DVD an without the Junior Amp. But still is a Masterbuilt. (which was later on confirmed by Fleming). This implies that there must have been also examples without the Amp set and Leather binding.

    Thanks again for answering, helps me out a lot, I'm struggling all alone here in the German plains. (-:.

    And again to all of you Fleming `55 Tele owners, Mike and I are more than happy and certainly generous for a copy of one of those DVD`s!!!
     
  21. jedi

    jedi Tele-Holic

    628
    Nov 26, 2007
    on the bridge pickup
    I have 55 Fleming MB and it is phenomenal. My Nocaster was my main Tele but the 55 has so much going for it. The steel saddles are different sounding, in my mind and ears there is more information transmitted from them producing a significant amount of presence which I like very much! YMMV. :p
     
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