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When Telecasters were new in the 50's, was the nitro finish glossy?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Digiplay, Nov 6, 2020.

  1. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    Glossy as in the way AVRI '52's and American Original 50s are glossy?
     
  2. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes.
     
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  3. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Holic

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    Yes, or at the very least, rather close to the modern reissues. According to Leo Fender's notebook circa 1951, the clear coat was Dupont #1655 gloss Duco lacquer.
     
  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Yes.
    If they were well cared for (most weren’t), they stayed shiny, too.
     
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  5. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    As glossy as they could get them! Deliberately matte or semi-matte finishes are a relatively recent trend.
     
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  6. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    Does this mean that the Bakelite pickguards were equally glossy as well, and not like the matte finish ones that seem to be in vogue now?
     
  7. Henley

    Henley Tele-Holic

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    Imo no one wanted matte anything in those days,. as that would have been considered unfinished. Their flashy cars and guitars used the same DuPont products. New Bakelite can be very glossy Digi,. even today jewelry is made from it.
     
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  8. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    No, this does not "mean" that.

    The phenolic guards were gloss finished when new...because it was decided that they would be. Not because a glossy body meant that the clear coat on the guard must also be glossy. It was an aesthetic choice, not a physical requirement.

    As excellent and historically accurate as the AV line (late 2012–2017) was on the whole, the '52 Tele was by far the most inaccurate of the entire line. If you were to gloss coat the guard, switch all the screws to Phillips heads, and put it in one of the older styles of case (thermometer or poodle), it would make it a really close '53 reissue. But as a '52, it's off in a couple of major ways.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
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  9. Wildeman

    Wildeman Tele-Meister

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    Yes. I have a butterscotch lapsteel from '52-3(same finish as Tele) and it's still pretty glossy. 20191218_173427.jpg
     
  10. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Yup.

    The clearer it was, the less moisture and contaminants were in there - and the faster it could dry hard and move on in the manufacturing process. Keep those water separators working just so.

    Here's an instance where Leo's people could shoot finish in SoCal more days than those folks in Kalamazoo could do the same.

    That was the joke in our family, when we kids were growing up. We wanted Dad to take an aerospace design job in SoCal (Lockheed - Northrop - Douglas), long before we knew about Whisky Au Go Go. My sisters wanted to see Movie Stars. My brother and I wanted to be able to spray paint stuff, 350 days per year. :^)
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
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  11. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, and also worth noting here that Fender finishes were generally applied thinly, while Gibson finishes were laid on very thickly in comparison. The whole "thin" finish thing was a cost and time saving technique, nothing more. Less material, faster finishing process. The chips on my '68 SG show a lacquer finish that is at least 20 mil thick, and this was fairly common on old Gibsons, at least IME observing them over the years. The only Fenders I've seen with lacquer finishes that thick are early Teles, and perhaps the American made reissues up till late 2012 (though even they weren't that thick IME).
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
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  12. Wildeman

    Wildeman Tele-Meister

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    The paint is chipping at the tailpeice of my steel and it's pretty thick, i'm just guessing at the '52-3 date but it could be anywhere from '50 to '55. There's no dates or codes on it that i can find but the round tuner buttons, flat head screws and domed knobs make me think early.
    Hope some guys post pix of their old Telly's.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
  13. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    Hi EsquireOK!

    Perhaps I asked the question wrong :)

    But in one word, yes or no, did the early 50's (1950 to mid-1954) Telecaster bakelite pickguards have a glossy clear coat finish?
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
  14. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Reread.
     
  15. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    I take the answer as yes :)
     
  16. Marn99

    Marn99 Tele-Holic

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    It should be pointed out by the way that Bakelite is just a colloquial name that guitarists have given the black guard material. In reality, the material Leo specified for the black guards as well as the position markers and side dots was Phenolite, which was the National Vulcanized Fiber Co.'s trade name for their line of phenolics. Now, there were many different kinds of Phenolite, being made up of things such as paper, canvas, cellulose, asbestos, fiberglass, etc etc. I have no idea which one Leo used, but if you asked me to make an educated guess on the spot, I'd reckon it was a very general purpose paper based punching grade of phenolic. the NVF Co also made the vulcanized fiber that the bobbins were made out of, their trade name for that was Forbon.
     
  17. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    Which leads me to ask is why do the majority of new Bakelite vintage looking Tele pickguards have a matte finish?
     
  18. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Because they were finished with matte clearcoat.
     
  19. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    You don’t need to “take” the answer. You just need to read it, as it was clearly stated.
     
  20. Digiplay

    Digiplay Tele-Afflicted

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    I better be careful with my words with you EsquireOK :)


    Does that mean (uh-oh, that damn "mean" word again :) ) they obviously aren't trying to be historically accurate?


    BTW, the main reason I started the Thread was because the AVRI '52 had a very glossy finish on both the guitar and pickguard, whereas the later American Original '50s has a matte pickguard, so I was just curious as to whether the early 50's Telecasters had an equally glossy finish on both parts.


    Regardless, I anxiously await your reply with crossed fingers :)
     
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