I have owned a 57 Esquire for some years now, it has had a very skilled re-finish by Clive Brown and has been a great work horse but my heart has always longed for a black guard. Recently I decided to sell a few guitars to free up some cash and see if I could stretch to a blackgaurd with issues as a straight example would be beyond what I would be willing to pay. On a recent trip to the U.S I looked at a nocaster with serious issues that was within budget, also on offer was a very clean 55 Esquire with no issues at all, in fact it had the original owners credit papers showing each payment of $2 made until it was paid for. The price was a little more than the re-finished, routed and messed around nocaster (with replaced guard) but not much more. I plugged them both in and waited for the nocaster to blow me away, it was very nice, but the 55 blew it out of the park so I decided to put my blackguard dreams on hold and bought the 55. On returning home I compared it to my 57, again it blew it away, it also overshaddowed my friends 58 Esquire which has the edge on my 57. I have been lucky enough to play a few blackguards in my time which is where my yearning came from, now I have come to the conclusion that if you buy a 54 or 55 white guard the main difference is the colour of the gaurd and the change to buy a decent second hand car. Surely these early white guards are bound to catch up in price sooner or later or is the romance of the black guard too strong?