My New-to-Me 57/55 Tele (and pickup question)

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by Low_ghost, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. Low_ghost

    Low_ghost TDPRI Member

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    Hi all,

    Just closed the deal on a 1957/1955 hybrid telecaster and thought I'd share, and also see if I can get some advice on the neck pickup.

    The rundown is: 1957 body, original finish, but with some obvious modification (maybe a b bender?) covered up by a metal plate. Original bridge and bridge pickup, original wiring with dark circuit bypassed, and an old black-bobbin neck pickup (will get to this later).

    Neck is a 1955 with a bit of overspray and a mix of original and replacement klusons.

    Here are some pics:
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    I don't have the money for a pristine collector's tele, so this is a perfect fit for me. It plays great, has mojo in spades, and sounds amazing, especially that bridge pu!

    The biggest question I have right now is what the neck pickup is. The seller has told me he thinks it is a replacement, maybe a 60's Fender pu. I haven't had time to take pictures of it yet, but will do so and update the thread later tonight. It definitely looks old and has a black bobbin. I've been searching the web for a way to date vintage telecaster neck pickups, but am not finding much out there. If anyone has any advice or knowledge/helpful links, I'd really appreciate it! Again, will post pictures tonight to help illustrate the issue.

    Thanks!
     
  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Very cool!
    I had the good fortune in my youth to own a 55 Esquire, and a 57 Tele.
    Both sounded great!
    I no longer have either.
    I sold the Esquire to Michael Bean of The Call, and gave the Tele to a friend.
    Ancient history.
    Anyways, congratulations!
     
  3. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Need to see the underside of the neck pup. 60s did lose some winds compared to 50s but they can still be all over the shop, if a bit more consistent. Grey bobbins came in later 60s so if it's dark it's closer to a 50s.

    If you could drop a lead off and give a DC reading it'd be handy.

    The way that one's adjusted it wouldn't be giving it's best I'd think. Looks way low and higher on the low-e side.
     
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  4. Fretting out

    Fretting out Tele-Afflicted

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    I don’t want to be the naysayer because I think it looks cool
    But unless I bought that guitar new in 57 I’d be suspicious that that the body finish is original
    Just looks too natural colored to me

    Maybe somebody more knowledgeable will chime in but I’ve never seen a 57 that translucent and natural

    Is it possible for a white blonde to do this ?
    Is there any documented natural 57s?

    I just can’t tell from the photos
    Some of them look like there’s original finish and others don’t

    Maybe it’s just the lighting

    Either way it’s cool

    Like said above some photos of under the neck pickup will help the most

    The body reminds me of Danny gattons where he would mount an effects unit on a plate in the exact same place
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
  5. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

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    Wow. Can't help ya with the details but a player grade white guard is on my short list of dreams to accompany my player grade vintage 335.


    Congrats!
     
  6. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    You've always been able to order a Natural finish. Very rare, but it happened. Later they stamped Natural in a neck pocket but not early on.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
    2 Headed Goat and Fretting out like this.
  7. Low_ghost

    Low_ghost TDPRI Member

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    Yup, when I bought It I was on a trip to the Midwest and I wanted to be sure too, so took it to Chicago Music Exchange and had it checked out. It’s all good! Unfortunately didn’t have a chance to get to the pickup before I had to leave, hence my pickup question.
     
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  8. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    I wish you'd post the story of Michael Been.....I've LONG been a fan of the Call and him in particular. His passing really hit me hard. I still have an old VHS tape of them at the Roxy as a four-piece, with him playing a fretless Ampeg bass. He was SO TALENTED!
     
  9. Low_ghost

    Low_ghost TDPRI Member

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    Here are the images of the neck pu. Wires have plastic coatings so unless there was a relead I’m guessing it must be somewhat modern?
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Low_ghost

    Low_ghost TDPRI Member

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    One more
     

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  11. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yep, I'd say it's 70s. Bit milder wind.

    Not terrible sounding pickups.
     
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  12. Low_ghost

    Low_ghost TDPRI Member

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    Thanks! I did a little research and looks like the plastic leads were intro’d in ‘69 so I think you are right.

    I’m also impressed you spotted the pickup height issue. I just got this guitar home yesterday, but you totally called it. Neck pu was a itting at about 5mm away from the strings with the last fret depressed. Just adjusted tonight which I’m hoping will help with a pretty noticeable volume/tone discrepancy between bridge and neck pu.
     
  13. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Tele-Meister

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    That's not the original finish. No way. Cool guitar though
     
  14. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

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  15. derekwarner

    derekwarner TDPRI Member

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    Well, to me obviously very original....you have said it plays well....you don't need to spend a Penny on it

    Unless that engraved steel plate & emblem has any love or significance to you, you could remove it, very lightly sand any screw hole roughness and replace that rectangular area with a simple stick-on ...it could be your National Flag, Confederate Flag, a 1/2 horizontal image of the Moon.......or anything to your choosing to cover that unfortunate modification

    It will look a lot better, which is only cosmetic.......but better

    [I have an original unmarked Sunburst 70 Tele, but with a damaged neck.........the damage looks gross but is only cosmetic.....close my eyes & I cannot feel the damage ....same applies to you]

    If you look at the timber growth rings in the second image you posted, to me it suggests that this is a one piece slab body & the timber may have been 50+ years old when it was harvested...this also shows the timber was 1/4 sawn and the the Heart of the timber is close to the placement of the control plate horizontal axis

    So think of this as the timber in your guitar as 100+ years old

    You also see three less screws retaining your pick guard over my 70 build

    Keep us posted...... Derek

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    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
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