Fender Champion Lap Steel Electric Guitar , c. 1954

Fender  Champion Lap Steel Electric Guitar ,  c. 1954

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Item # 8248
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Fender Champion Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar, c. 1954, made in Fullerton, California, serial # 7123, yellow pearloid finish, hardwood body, original brown alligator grain chipboard case.

This Champ is a nice example of Fender's "bread and butter" lap steel guitar from the first half of the 1950s. Although designed as a student instrument, the Champion Steel was -- and remains -- a great-sounding guitar fully suited to professional use then or now. The flashy plastic-covered symmetrical two-bout body has a chrome bridge and cover plates with dome-top knurled knobs. The serial number "7123" is stamped on the bridgeplate where the strings anchor through the body, suggesting a build date around 1954-5; the pots are original, but the date codes are soldered over and so not readable.

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". Over the years many Champs have sacrificed their pickups over the years to provide pickups for vintage Telecaster recreations -- this one has avoided that fate. A very cool steel guitar, a fine-sounding player, and a genuine 1950s Fender instrument at a relatively 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.).

This is a fairly clean steel overall, with just some typical light wear here and there. There only really notable flaw is what looks like a burn mark to the celluloid on the bottom edge of the body. The tuners are repro Klusons, but all other hardware including the original pickup, pots, and wiring are intact. The pickup itself has been perfectly re-wound by tom Brantley (the best there is) and sounds great, exactly like it should. The original alligator-grain chipboard case is still pretty much intact and even relatively functional. Excellent Condition.