1950 Tele string gauge?

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by slinger, Aug 15, 2017.

  1. slinger

    slinger Friend of Leo's

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    in 1950's what was the exact string gauge on all the strings on the Tele and who made them? what were they made of ?...I know they were heavier then, more suitable for rythym style of the times..but I have never seen exact specs ..I have read Leo would experiment tweaking all the components to his liking so what exactly did he choose?.. the heavier string sure makes a difference to warm up the tele tone..maybe this is why the tele has become ice picky with our modern banjoish string gauge...and why has Fender never issued a vintage gauge?....I have seen pics of 1950's Fender guitars, cases, amps, straps,etc..but never a pack of old Fender strings
     
  2. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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  3. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Usually they were nickel flatwound like jazz strings and had a wound G. There's pics floating around of early Britpop bands, you can see rusty and tarnished B&E strings. They didn't change them often and there were no demon string benders until the advent of blues guys.

    Lennon and co never changed strings until they broke. Coming up through working class Liverpool that were a 'look-sury'.

    This close up of Lennon's 325 shows acoustic gauge strings with a wound G.

    images (20).jpg
     
  4. slinger

    slinger Friend of Leo's

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    some good info..so they were flatwounds..makes sence why Luther Perkins used them ...

    Kenny Vaughan probably knows this to get vintage tone
     
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  5. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    I believe they were originally called #10 or #1500's and were ground-wound, NOT flat- or tape-wounds, as mentioned above.

    Ground-wound, is sorta like over-sized round-wound that's gone thru a surface grinder to slightly remove portion of the 'round' bump tops. They were also pure nickel material.

    In 1968, the CBS/FENDER String Catalog lists 1500's as:

    "Spanish Guitar, Smooth round wound, No. 1500 Complete Set; (this set supplied on all new Fender instruments except 3/4)"
    [bold and color emphasis mine]

    A little searching disclosed that Fender strings were not even mentioned in their catalog until 1955. Then, in the 1957-1958 catalog it shows Electric Spanish Guitar Set #10 (but no gauges indicated). Later, in the 1968 catalog (page 43), it identifies the Spanish Guitar #10 (13, 17, 28w, 34, 46, 55); but also shows the #1500 series as OEM installed (above).

    But, as I recall from my '59-60's handling of Telecasters down at Jones Music (Yuma,AZ) that #10 string set seems right...they were heavy, but not excessive.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
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  6. slinger

    slinger Friend of Leo's

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    ........thank you sir for that great information...this makes perfect sence..as I have heard various players saying that they put a banjo string on the high e and moved the others, one over....making that gauge a 9 or 10 high e then 13 17 28 34 46...that's very close to our standard....10 13 17 26 36 46 today
     
  7. jazzmaster90150

    jazzmaster90150 TDPRI Member

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    I collect vintage case candy. I tend to focus on pre cbs Fender. I had a few set of early 50's Fender strings. Most of the time, people were buying individual strings instead of full sets. I was lucky enough to find a few full sets over the years. The G strings was always wound. The string gauge was also heavier than what is commonly used today.

    EDIT: early Fender strings were made in West Germany.


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. slinger

    slinger Friend of Leo's

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    ... thank you Sir this is awesome to see...could you gauge each string (caliper) to see the exact gauge..Im sure there are plenty of pickers that would like to know...thanks again..
     
  9. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    Just remember, that's a #50 Flatwound set, not the #10 Ground wound set that was (possibly) what was OEM installed.

    From that same 1968 catalog, the #50 Mastersound Flatwound String gauges are: 13, 17, 26, 34, 44, 54. -- which are actually (slightly) lighter gauged than the #10 set!
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  10. slinger

    slinger Friend of Leo's

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    thank you..Old Tele man...thank you..jazzmaster90150
     
  11. slinger

    slinger Friend of Leo's

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    [​IMG]
     
  12. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

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    Great thread this!
     
  13. Tele wacker

    Tele wacker Tele-Holic

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    I'll bet some Tele's wound up with Black Diamond strings in the early days.
     
  14. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    In one respect I think I agree...because there's neither mention nor pictures of string sets until the 1955 catalog, which is when I believe Squier began branding/labelling sets with Fender name.
     
  15. Zac

    Zac Tele-Meister

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    I emailed with Nacho, Tom Wheeler, George Gruhn, and John Peden. None would say with absolute certainty the manufacturer, gauge, or if they were flat or round wound.
     
  16. jazzmaster90150

    jazzmaster90150 TDPRI Member

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    Fender strings were sold before 1955. They were simply not present in the catalog but dealers were selling them. The black and silver box (pictured above) was sold pre 1955.
     
  17. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    Then, were they imported from Germany?

    I believe the original flat wounds were imported from Germany, but I doubt that ALL the strings Fender used before V.C. Squier came from Germany.

    Most of the literature say that V.C. Squier became OEM to Fender in 1963, then was bought by Fender in 1965. But who supplied Fender prior to that? Who was the German string company?
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
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  18. jazzmaster90150

    jazzmaster90150 TDPRI Member

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    The strings were made in Germany. I don't know about the box and enveloppes. The back of the enveloppe clearly says "made in west germany".

    ALL black and silver Fender boxes with red string enveloppes were made in West Germany.
     
  19. lycheelassi

    lycheelassi TDPRI Member

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    the biggest manufacterer of strings in west germany at the time was PYRAMIDE. i will try to contact them...
     
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  20. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I can remember when here in Australia you bought Black diamonds OR Black Diamonds- wound G -of course.;)
     
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