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

What's in a year?

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by twang junkie, Jul 24, 2017.

  1. twang junkie

    twang junkie TDPRI Member

    97
    Nov 14, 2013
    london
    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?
     

  2. twang junkie

    twang junkie TDPRI Member

    97
    Nov 14, 2013
    london

  3. petebrown

    petebrown Tele-Meister

    209
    Sep 22, 2003
    No. Cal.
    Aside from the differences in the individual resonance of the wood each guitar is made from, the main differences in tone from blackguard to white guard instruments is the bridge pickup and the bridge pieces. In my experience going from brass to steel bridge pieces makes a huge difference in tone.
    But most of the magic is in the wood IMO. A guitar with "magic" resonant wood will outshine one with mediocre wood regardless of appointments.
     
    jazzmaster90150 and twang junkie like this.

  4. twang junkie

    twang junkie TDPRI Member

    97
    Nov 14, 2013
    london
    I agree in essence Pete, the timber is the main contributer, the bridge pickup didn't change till late 55 which is why I don't believe there to be any major difference between these early whiteguards and a blackguard ( bridge pieces aside, which are an easy swap if desired). Onve the staggered pole pickup is in play it is a different animal
     

  5. MichaelAa

    MichaelAa Tele-Holic

    927
    Jun 9, 2012
    Norway
    What a beauty! Congrats!
     
    twang junkie likes this.

  6. Danman

    Danman Tele-Meister

    Age:
    55
    205
    May 12, 2012
    Amsterdam,The Netherlands
    Very nice guitar and a good choice!
    I totally agree that the wood is of major importance. I usually play a guitar acoustically at first. And if I don't like that I don't even bother plugging it in.
    I own a nice resonant 60 slab board which I love but I am partial to Black Guards too and hope to make the same move sometime that you did. And it's good to know that these early White Guards are in the same ball park!
     
    twang junkie likes this.

  7. fernieite

    fernieite Tele-Meister

    201
    Mar 24, 2003
    (Age: 54) Toronto
    Cool story. Congratulations!
    Now, just screw on a good black pickguard and you'll have the look you were after too. ;)
     
    twang junkie likes this.

  8. petebrown

    petebrown Tele-Meister

    209
    Sep 22, 2003
    No. Cal.
    Love that center pocket case! Best cases fender ever used...
     
    jazzmaster90150 and twang junkie like this.

  9. twang junkie

    twang junkie TDPRI Member

    97
    Nov 14, 2013
    london
    I must admit to being a little to excited by old cases and the centre pocket is one of my favourites too Pete, this one's in good condition with all it's leather intact and all latches working.
     

  10. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    London
    Could you buy a Tele pickguard and put in a front pickup in the routed slot? Keep the original guard of course.

    Not sure, but I don't think the Esquire had the holes for pickup screws and springs. So you might have to be creative to avoid any drilling. Also, if the wiring is untouched, maybe you want zero alterations.

    But I thought when they were originally sold, a selling point for a customer was that they could always "upgrade" to a Tele by adding the pickup and pickguard.

    And beautiful guitar! I briefly owned a '56 Tele.
     

  11. Masterbuilt

    Masterbuilt Tele-Holic

    618
    Oct 28, 2004
    London,UK
    Very nice, congrats? Was your '57 the one that appeared at Phil's this week? It popped up on my FB feed yesterday.
     

  12. twang junkie

    twang junkie TDPRI Member

    97
    Nov 14, 2013
    london
    I could do that but I wouldn't, the solder is untouched in this one and will remain that way in my keep. Besides, I love Esquires, I don't really miss the neck pickup
     
    jazzmaster90150 likes this.

  13. Bill

    Bill Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Mar 16, 2003
    London
    OK, sounds good as is!
     

  14. jazzmaster90150

    jazzmaster90150 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    27
    35
    Aug 6, 2017
    NYC
    Congrats on acquiring such a beautiful guitar. You made the right decision buying the best sounding one. On top of that, you can't go wrong buying an excellent condition, all original guitar.
     
    tunerfish likes this.

  15. twang junkie

    twang junkie TDPRI Member

    97
    Nov 14, 2013
    london
    yep thats the one
     

  16. twang junkie

    twang junkie TDPRI Member

    97
    Nov 14, 2013
    london
    Thank you, I've been after a nice clean original for a while, I'm very happy with it
     
    jazzmaster90150 likes this.

  17. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Holic Ad Free + Supporter

    672
    Jun 17, 2008
    omaha
    neck pickups are just a crutch. Love it!!!
     
    twang junkie likes this.

  18. Dacious

    Dacious Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Godzone
    There's all sorts of reasons
    1 you got a 'good' one that really resonates or in a particular way
    2 even though spec didn't change, everything was handmade and certain variation is expected in vertically every bit including tone caps, pots
    3 no neck pickup so strings vibrate more freely and naturally
    4 what you're used to (Esquire 55+ tone)
    5 setup and playability, intonation of each guitar
    6 steel vs brass barrels

    It's all a bit of a crapshoot - but you won this one. Looks and sounds like an excellent guitar - enjoy.

    (Based on what people say and sound clips there's less diff in 50's guits than 50s - 60s: except for maybe a 51 and 58 say).
     

  19. twang junkie

    twang junkie TDPRI Member

    97
    Nov 14, 2013
    london
    I've been living with this thing for about 6 weeks now, the hardest decision was having to surrender my 57 Esquire with added neck pickup to pay for it, I can honestly say I haven't looked back, the 55 is without doubt the best guitar I have owned to date and I've owned a few. I don't struggle without a neck pickup, in fact you almost forget about such gizmos and just play, my other guitars are gathering dust, I'm coming to the conclusion that aside from an accoustic, all I want to play are Esquires and Tele's, I love archtops but they can be impracticle and a little unpredictable where feedback is concerned.
     
    Amby, Danman and fenderchamp like this.

  20. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 24, 2012
    Colombes France
    That's the thing with these desired vintage ones, their pedigree doesn't garanty they're exceptionnal instruments, even if they'll cost the same. As they're made of wood, musical qualities are random. There's some great 70's Fender and some dumb black guards as well. But the real old ones, when they're good, they can be just unbelievable, like your 55 beauty, good for you. If only all the so so all original black guards could be al in the museums and the amazing ones never stop singing…
     
    twang junkie, Amby and Danman like this.

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.