How to spot a real 50's body from a fake one?

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by Revo, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Revo

    Revo TDPRI Member

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    Hey,
    I recently met a guitar luthier here in Finland and he showed me something which I found pretty rad! He had bought a '52 Esquire body from the US which had been heavily modified over time. It had been repainted several times, once into 2-tone sunburst and most recently into black. It also had a humbucker route for neck position and a middle pickup routing as well.

    The body looked quite interesting: the black colour had faded to look like a matte black with hints of 2-tone sunburst here and there where the black paint was worn in use. The neck pocket was also roughly repainted at some point, no sign of original finish left.
    The body also had '55 electronics and a '53 bridge pickup.

    The luthier was ready to sell the body for me for relatively cheap price, but I felt a bit suspicious. There were no signs of the originality left, except the neck pocket had a "Eddie 10-6-52" signature left. The signature looked different for me, comparing it to other ones I have seen on books and on the internet.

    I'm here to ask your opinions: what are the "best ways" to confirm an original, 50's Fender Telecaster/Esquire body? There are pictures from original 50's bodies all over the internet and there must be tons of different ways to spot a fake from a real one.

    Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the body to show you.

    Thanks in advance!
     
    gallred and Skamania like this.
  2. kbold

    kbold Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Edit ; double post
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  3. kbold

    kbold Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    It's getting harder and harder. The current flock of custom shop relic'd fenders is very good - down to vintage correct looking paint crazing and colour fading.
    At least these are correctly marked.

    I think as prices keep skyrocketing, the fakes will also get better and better.
    The fakers also have access to the internet. For the prices wanted, I would be wanting some kind of proof or documantation.
    Unless the body had been rerouted, Seth Lovers humbucker was patented in 1955.
     
  4. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    I agree 1000%. If I were to buy a body only I would want documentation that what I was purchasing was the real deal. The ability to make a vintage looking body or neck today with all the machinery available is too easy. There are some really good forgers out there that can get things to look spot on, so buyer beware.
     
  5. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

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    I have lots of old guitars that have had mods , paint removed etc . I trust my source, but I have never paid more than their worth as an instrument, not an antique. What you are describing has had any collector value almost if not totally destroyed. What was he asking ? Is it just the body ? Or Bridge, p-ups and electronics.
     
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  6. Cysquatch

    Cysquatch Tele-Meister

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    I'm with Teleterr. I wouldn't really treat this any different than any other body you may come across unless you just think it's neat IF it is real. All that's been done to it has pretty much voided any amount of collectibility, so I wouldn't be the guy to take the hit and pay a collector's premium for something that has nowhere near that value.

    As far as actually being able to tell? Good luck brother. Teles are too well documented and the good fakes are too well researched and aged to take the bet without documentation as far as I'm concerned.

    That said, if it's a reasonable price for a normal body, not a historic/collectible body, sounds like it'd be cool. It either has actually had over half a century of a very interesting life and look, or somebody put a lot of work into making it seem so.
     
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  7. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    What kind of documentation or "provenance" would be reliable? If someone is good enough to "fake" a body, what makes you think they couldn't "fake" paperwork or documents?
     
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  8. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd want some kind of certification of authenticity.
     
  9. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    As I said right above you.....what kind of certification of authenticity would you trust?
     
  10. chomps

    chomps TDPRI Member

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    Refinished bodies are the easiest to fake as only the best can come close to an authentic looking finish. It would be tough to authenticate, but I’d research bodies from that time period to see if the router marks are in the right places. Also ask if they have any old photos during its previous lifetimes. A humbucker and middle pup route might increase the chances of it being real, as I doubt a forger would devalue it like that. Even if it’s real, make sure the body wasn’t over-sanded during all those refins. That can screw up the setup and also the feel of the guitar.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    For the bodies of this era there's some clues : nail holes (my avatar) if the route for the humbucker has carved the zone where the hole should be, there must be another one in the horn area. The dowel holes on the back of the body, and they're larger before 53. If there's a trace of a "D" stamped in the neck cavity, it's good (but if there's not any D, it's not a problem as it's not on all guitars of this period). The curv of the low end of the control cavity should be flatter. I don't think a fake body that would have that much clever clues could end up as a player damaged vintage body this way. By the way, I'm preparing a picture with several different Eddie markings.
     
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  12. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    I actually had one already done.

    Eddie.png
     
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  13. Greg_L

    Greg_L Tele-Holic

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    If this body has been so hacked up, why even bother? Is a beat to hell vintage body really still better than any other body?
     
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  14. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

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    These old wood parts can have something special and get a great woody tone, but aside that, after a sanding, a restoration and a good refin, a body like this can be part of a still valuable player grade instrument project.
     
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  15. Skamania

    Skamania Tele-Meister Platinum Supporter

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    My 53 partscaster has EM marked on the body pocket. It is still a 53 body with a 53 neck
     
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