Did Fender roll the fretboard edges already in the 50s?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by williu, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. williu

    williu TDPRI Member

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    I was wondering if any of you guys here know when guitar companies like Fender and Gibson started rolling the fingerboard edges on their guitars? I saw an American '52 RI Telecaster in the store yesterday, and noticed that the edges were heavily rounded. Much more than on my American Standard Strat (which has hand rolled fretboard edges). Were the original 52's already rolled from the factory? When did they stop doing it, or when did they start?

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  2. Rhomco

    Rhomco Friend of Leo's

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    Everything was hand worked in the 50's before automated machine work. This often resulted in smoothed out edges like this in direct contrast to crisp CNC edges. Many old necks have been refretted over the years which requires more sanding at the fret ends. In more recent years players began to notice the comfort of the older well played necks and coined the description "rolled edges".
    Rob
     
  3. Twang Tone

    Twang Tone Friend of Leo's

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    I've always associated modern necks with rolled edges as replicating an old, well-played neck. But as Rhomco says, there was A LOT of hand-finishing in the 50s (check out the '54 Strat headstock images on the internet). My guess would be the original 50s necks weren't intentionally rolled to the same extent that the 52RI is today (which I think is done to give the feel of an old neck), but due to the extra hand-finishing, there probably weren't many sharp fretboard edges in the 50s either.
     
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  4. Radspin

    Radspin Friend of Leo's

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    Not a '50s guitar, but my 1969 Tele has noticeably rolled neck edges (it's a maple neck). However, the stock fret work was terrible!
     
  5. TMB1956

    TMB1956 TDPRI Member

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    I was close friends with Forrest White, plant manager at Fender from 1956-1965. I asked Forrest about this in 1980. He suggested, there was no intentional "rolling" of neck edges. But, since they were hand glued, hand assembled and hand finished back then, it varied from guitar to guitar (depending on which worker was at that step, that day, on a particular guitar). But to best answer your question, apparently it it varied a lot. :)
     
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  6. TMB1956

    TMB1956 TDPRI Member

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    From my experience, 1967-1984 CBS Fender guitars were totally hit, and miss on quality. I mean I saw some REALLY scary "brand new" Strats and Tellys come through the stores I worked for. Towards the latter 80's Fender's quality stabilized, and they were much better quality, as they still are today. :)
     
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  7. Minivan Megafun

    Minivan Megafun Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    That's why it's both scary and hilarious that you're seeing late 60's and early 70's Fenders going for upwards of $10,000 now.
     
  8. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Afflicted

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    I think the modern rolled edges started in the custom shop, which started around 1987. Not saying they did it right away, but I remember an ad that mentioned this on a custom shop model and a few years later it was a standard feature.
     
  9. TMB1956

    TMB1956 TDPRI Member

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    I don't remember ANY of the Fenders I worked on back then, having deliberately rolled edges.
    It may well have started with the Custom Shop! :)
     
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