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Tele passed down from Mum who bought new in 50s. Ideas?

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by randallp, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. t guitar floyd

    t guitar floyd Tele-Meister

    Age:
    70
    493
    Feb 4, 2016
    sw US
    Wouldn't it be cool if that started life as an early '50s pine bodied Esquire and later someone traded up (?) to a truss rod '57 neck, then someone (one of the brothers?) added a pup, customized the body, sanded a bit too much off the sides of the body, plugged the pup hole, started a refin, but never completed it (or several refins as toomuchfun suggested). I know, sounds a little out there, but as long as I'm imagining . . . :)
     

  2. randallp

    randallp TDPRI Member

    23
    Aug 12, 2010
    SW Florida
    Some more info - a still pic taken from the TV playing an old family video received today - as "toomuchfun" suspected the "modern" tele bits look like they have been added over the top of a different layout. There is much filler in the routing. We are having a blast viewing this old family tape. I'll get some better pictures with good lighting and post them. Also, the control mounting plate seen in this pic has been unearthed from a brother's IMG_1866.png drawer and is on the way to us in the mail. Thanks Wally for that link.
     
    2blue2 and Ex-riverman like this.

  3. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 17, 2003
    Lubbock, TX
    The possibility that his guitar started out in the Fender factory as an early pine example crossed my mind. that is why very good pics....and maybe removal of the current finish to reveal some of those tells...might be of interest. No harm can be done at this point except that knowledge that this is one butchered up early pine Esquire body would cause some people some sadness. (;^) There would also be the knowledge that much money was done away with long ago when these things were no more than two pieces of wood bolted together, right?
     

  4. brogh

    brogh Super Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 26, 2010
    italy
    Well that's a different looking PG, can't wait to see the real thing :)
     

  5. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Holic

    562
    Feb 9, 2014
    NE US
    randallp - what a great shot off the tv. The previous photos make a lot of sense after seeing that. I thought I saw a filled in pickup rout between the others, now I'll have to get a powerball ticket Saturday just in case I'm on a lucky streak, I usually don't get one number to match.

    I'm a Tele geek, and this talk of a pine body just confuses me. I took another good look at all the photos and see very little grain other than some end grain to tell me wood type. I know the early prototypes and some of the early 1950 Esquires had pinewood bodies, but by the time the Broadcaster was released (pre Telecaster) the switch to ash was made. In 1956 they started using alder on sunburst Strats so '57 Telecasters could possibly be made of that. Mahogany was used on a very few in the 1963-1965 period.

    The title of this thread is "Tele passed down from Mum who bought new in the 50's. Ideas?" and the neck is marked 8-57.

    Please explain what exactly is giving you information of a pine body? If you know of pine bodies being made by Fender after the early 1950 Esquires into the later 1950's please tell me where I can find this information.
     

  6. randallp

    randallp TDPRI Member

    23
    Aug 12, 2010
    SW Florida
    Toomuch - buy that ticket!

    I'm pretty sure it isn't pine as it is a redwood. It is pretty heavy and where it has split away in the neck pocket and adhered to the neck the raw wood is exposed (see pic). We are "de-smoke smell-ing" the case which came with it. Pic also attached - who knows if that is original. Also a tailpiece cover. IMG_1869.png IMG_1870.png IMG_1871.png
     

  7. Kennedycaster

    Kennedycaster Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 5, 2009
    Mesa, AZ
    As a longtime woodworker, the grain is very obvious to me. It's either pine or fir. The more I look at it, the more I'm leaning towards douglas fir. The grain structure of ash, alder & mahogany look nothing like that. To my eyes, the contours of the body don't look quite right either. Yes, that could be from some over-zealous sanding, but it really has a homemade look to it. A whole lotta time has passed between 1957 & 2016, so anything could've happened, including a body swap. Who knows, maybe the original 1957 body & some other original parts are tucked away in a family members attic to be discovered later.

    Bob
     
    telemnemonics likes this.

  8. Kennedycaster

    Kennedycaster Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 5, 2009
    Mesa, AZ
    Thanks for the better photos. It's definitely not a Fender body. The cavities & neck pocket look to be chiseled rather than routed & the contours aren't quite right. As for the wood used, I would now eliminate pine as well. I still think it could be douglas fir. It darkens like that over time & can be on the heavy side. You mentioned redwood & that's a good possibility as well. I'll bet construction grade lumber was used. What's the thickness of the body?

    Bob
     

  9. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Holic

    562
    Feb 9, 2014
    NE US
    I sure got that wrong, but randallp I will still buy a ticket today since I haven't for a while.

    Kennedycaster - I appreciate your replies and you are indeed correct, that's not a Fender body. When I saw those holes that looked like clamping holes I couldn't imagine someone putting them in a later body, but now looking at the tv photo they match up with that pickguard. Thought I was a detective, but really only defective.

    randallp I still think you have a cool guitar, of course the big question is which brother still has the old body sitting around? And it would be cool to see the case. I hope this discussion has brought back memories for your wife and family, and you decide to keep the guitar and play it or pass it on. The neck has value and if some cash would help better than memories, plus you say it plays good so that's another avenue. If you decide to sell in the near future, please click on my headstock photo and send me a message, I'll make you an offer. I'd love to have a neck like that to put on a home made Tele I have with a body made from an old chestnut barn beam. Again, I'd rather you keep it in your family if you can.

    Below is a shot of my '56 Tele I got last year, funny it's been refinished in brown too. I doubt any of the hardware is original other than the knobs and neck plate, pick ups are replacements too. But darn, it plays so nice and makes me smile. Take care.

    56_Tele-1.jpg
     

  10. randallp

    randallp TDPRI Member

    23
    Aug 12, 2010
    SW Florida

  11. Asmith

    Asmith Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Age:
    21
    Nov 27, 2014
    Morley, England
    To the OP I'd doubt the genuinity of anything but the neck and maybe the switch and pots depending on what they look like up close. Still an original 57 neck would still probably fetch $1500 on its own and it certainly seems to have a rich history.
     

  12. Terriblecj

    Terriblecj Tele-Meister

    189
    Mar 30, 2014
    NC
    I think that body has serious mojo, even if it isnt the original and is homemade. Awesome thread!
     

  13. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Holic

    562
    Feb 9, 2014
    NE US
    The case looks like a later chipboard case to me. The bridge cover could be original, hard to say. They say the early ones had a mark or a tiny bit of solder on the inside where they hooked up a wire for electroplating, but not sure when that ended.

    Below is a '56 lap steel tweed case sitting on top a recent replica guitar case they sell these days. Just to show the old ones had a coat of lacquer where most of the replicas don't. The cases were sold separately so it might not have had one like this when bought.

    And while we were picking apart the body no one asked if you have a neck plate with a serial number on it. They do get replaced and it might have went with the body. Here's a shot of mine. Number is between the top screws.

    I'll also echo the sentiment in the post above, your guitar has a cool vibe as is. I personally wouldn't make it look like it did on the tv shot but that's your business.

    cases.jpg 56_Tele-1a.jpg

    Edit to add: Oh, my lottery luck was slightly better than my body prediction. I got 2 numbers but not the pball, still a little more fun than just throwing $3 out the car window.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2016

  14. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Holic

    961
    Dec 21, 2012
    england
    Cool guitar with a story & some memories for your wife, i would agree with some of the other posters in this thread the only original part on that instrument looks to be the neck
    for that reason personally i would part it up and sell the neck and give the money to your missus to go on a spending spree
     
    randallp likes this.

  15. Bluebird

    Bluebird TDPRI Member

    50
    Jun 12, 2003
    Canada
    Sorry... errant post!
     

  16. niksevig119

    niksevig119 TDPRI Member

    30
    Dec 5, 2010
    RI
    +1. Big repair right there
     

  17. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Holic

    562
    Feb 9, 2014
    NE US
    niksevig119 - later photos show the body is not a Fender body, I was wrong about the body, the holes I thought were clamping holes were used for another pickguard.
     

  18. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

    Aug 6, 2014
    UK
    It's family history. Get it playing really nice and then pass it down a generation or two with its story and some previous owner pics hidden inside.
     

  19. Robster

    Robster Tele-Holic

    980
    Feb 14, 2009
    Marietta, GA
    Would those pots have manufacture and date codes on them in '57?
     

  20. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Tele-Afflicted

    Might that be the remains of a shim? Might explain why it looks different from the body wood.

    - D

    EDIT: Reading further I see that's not the case. Never mind...
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016

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