Fender Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1955)

Fender  Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1955)

This item has been sold.
Item # 7852
Prices subject to change without notice.
Fender Telecaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1955), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 7369, Blonde lacquer finish, ash body, maple neck, original brown hard shell case.

This lovely early "whiteguard" Telecaster is a superb example of Fender greatness, unaltered and simply a fantastic instrument. It is also an interesting transitional Telecaster, still with many characteristics of the earlier 1950-54 "Blackguard"-era guitars. Essentially this very early 1955 guitar is a "blackguard with a white guard"...if that makes any sense! This Telecaster was made just as the new year 1955 was beginning and shows a mix of features specific to this exact time period.

The most noticeable feature is a very early example of the then-brand-new single-ply white plastic pickguard, just then starting to replace the earlier black phenolic piece on Teles and Precision Basses. On the headstock, the old script Fender "Telecaster" logo decal still sits below the original style round string tree, both unchanged from 1951. The very strikingly grained ash body has a yellowed blonde finish, not quite as dark as the earlier '50s style tends to age into, but with a more distinct butterscotch hue than the "white-blonde" that would be the norm in the late '50s.

The one-piece maple neck is dated 1-55 on the heel with the Taddeo Gomez signature and has a chunky round profile with just a hint of slope to the shoulders, much more like the earlier '50s style than the "V" that was to come. The flat-pole pickup back at the bridge is still in "Blackguard" sound territory, as the staggered-pole variant about to be introduced would change the tonal character of the guitar somewhat.

The period wiring is unaltered, assembled by Gloria on 1-20-55 when she left her name on masking tape in the cavity, and original control settings are still intact. These are, on the 3-way switch: #1 neck pickup on bass-heavy rolloff setting, #2 neck pickup with straight tone control, and #3 bridge pickup with tone control. The pickups can be blended by carefully positioning the switch in the "2 1/2" spot.

The 4-digit serial number is stamped on the neck plate, having just moved there from the bridge unit when Fender harmonized all their electric guitars into one number series right around this time. A blackguard in a new suit, this January 1955 Telecaster is a fantastic-sounding guitar, a joy to play, and even to take out of its "poodle" case and just hold! By 1955, the Telecaster had become a popular tool used by a host of early rock'n'roll and country players, but few have survived as nicely as this one!
Overall length is 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm.), 12 5/8 in. (32.1 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This is a beautiful and well-preserved example, with all the sound and character one would expect delivered in spades. There is typical play wear in all the usual places, but none of it excessive. The lacquer is rubbed away down to the wood on the body edges and along quite a bit of the fingerboard, while the back of the neck has that perfect worn-in Fender feel. The fingerboard has smooth divoting in the first position and the frets are lower than they once were but still play very well.

The body finish has aged beautifully with some checking and small dings and scrapes to the top and back, but no large wear areas. A blacklight examination shows there appears to have been a sticker removed from the upper horn at some point, but there is no visible evidence to the naked eye. The small corner of the pickguard by the treble end of the fingerboard has chipped off. All parts are original, the solder joints untouched, and even the bridge cover is intact.

Soundwise, this is not the hottest Tele we have ever heard, but one of the sweetest; the neck pickup has a lovely dark purr, and the bridge plenty of twang when required. Simply a fantastic piece of the 1950s Fender legacy; this is one of those guitars that makes you go "aaah" when you pick it up and then play things you don't even expect! It also includes a very late example of the cool and rare original 1954 "poodle" case, the flat-bottomed shaped top unit used only around this period for the Telecaster and Stratocaster, before the iconic tweed case was introduced. Excellent - Condition.