Fender Champion Lap Steel Electric Guitar , c. 1952

Fender  Champion Lap Steel Electric Guitar ,  c. 1952

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Item # 7797
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Fender Champion Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar, c. 1952, made in Fullerton, California, serial # 5567, yellow pearloid finish, hardwood body.

This is a nice example of Fender's "bread and butter" lap steel guitar from the first half of the 1950s, one of the pieces that fueled the company's early success. Although designed as a student instrument, the Champion Steel is a great-sounding guitar fully suited to professional use then or now, with a Broadcaster-style flat pole pickup fully equivalent in sound to the legendary 1950s Teles. The flashy plastic-covered symmetrical two-bout body has a chrome bridge and cover plates with dome-top knurled knobs. The serial number "5567" is stamped on the bridgeplate where the strings anchor through the body.

The metal fingerboard plate pinned to the body has black paint screening to outline fret positions. The headstock has metal facing with integral nut stamped with lighting bolt logo and "Fender Electric Instrument Co. Fullerton, California". The screws are of the Phillips-head variety suggesting a late 1952 assembly date.

Good examples of the Champion are increasingly hard to find. Many have been sacrificed over the years to provide pickups for vintage Telecaster recreations. This is a very cool steel guitar; one of the best of its era, and a nice 1950s Fender instrument at a reasonable price.
Overall length is 29 3/4 in. (75.6 cm.), 7 1/2 in. (19 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 22 1/2 in. (572 mm.). Width of nut is 2 1/4 in. (57 mm.).

A nice example with some wear but no alterations. There is minor paint loss and small dings and pits to the metal fingerboard; otherwise the guitar is relatively clean overall with only minor play wear, some scuffing to the chrome (mostly on the control plate), and some scrapes into the covering on the bottom.

The tuners are the original Kluson Deluxe strips, a bit corroded with the buttons showing some shrinkage, but still functional. The electronics are all original; the spectacular pickup is intact, making for a great-sounding steel -- a real screamer when cranked. Excellent - Condition.