Fender Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1955)

Fender  Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1955)

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Item # 8258
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Fender Telecaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1955), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 8510, Blonde lacquer finish, ash body, maple neck, original tweed hard shell case.

This very well-preserved early "whiteguard" Telecaster is a great example of the early Fender mojo, played in just enough but simply a fantastic instrument. This summer 1955 guitar shows many of the changes of the "white guard" period in '50s Tele history, with features specific to this exact time period. The most noticeable is then-brand-new single-ply white plastic pickguard, which just this year had replaced the earlier black phenolic piece on Teles and Precision Basses, making the look and production materials consistent with the then-new Stratocaster.

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 nicely-grained ash body has a somewhat lighter and "whiter" blonde finish compared to the darker earlier '50s style butterscotch hue. This "white-blonde" look would be the norm in the late '50s, continuing up into the CBS era.

The body has a penciled date mark of 5-55 and the one-piece maple neck is dated 7-55. This supremely comfortable neck has a medium-chunky, round-backed profile with just a bit of slope to the shoulders, beginning to hint at the "V" that was to come in 1956-7. 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 neck pickup is quite strong on this guitar and has a lovely sound on its own.

This guitar's period wiring is untouched, unaltered since it was assembled by Mary on 8-8-55 when she left her name on masking tape in the cavity. The original 1952-style 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, which works well on this guitar.

The 4-digit serial number is stamped on the neck plate, a relatively new feature having just moved there from the bridge unit when Fender harmonized all their electric guitars into one number series earlier in 1955. The knobs are a smoother-sided knurl with a dome top and the switch tip is the new "top hat" style just introduced.

This 1955 Telecaster is quite the looker but is also a fantastic-sounding guitar and a joy to even to take out of its very early side-pocket tweed case and just smell! By the summer of 1955 the Telecaster had become a roaring success, renowned as a popular tool used by working musicians, including a host of early rock'n'roll and country players. The majority of Fenders from this era have been in use for decades and many played virtually into the ground; it is always a treat to have one preserved nicely as this is.
 
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 "Od '55" shows some play wear but remains a fine original example with no alterations or repairs. There are typical small dings and dents to the finish, as is common with slab-body Fenders, mostly on the edges. There is wear to the fingerboard up to about the fifth fret, not as much as some of these show, but through the lacquer in spots.

There is also strumwear through the finish on the fingerboard just over the neck joint; this guitar looks to have been played more "back in the day" by a rhythm strummer than any hot pickers! The frets are crowned fairly low; the guitar is playable currently but if used heavily in the future would benefit from a refret. The frets are all in the original style small wire but it is possible some were replaced long ago.

The pickups and hardware remain all original and the guitar is still wired to its factory switching scheme, with the "deep bass" capacitor intact. The pickguard has some very light surface wear but is not cracked or shrinking anywhere. The guitar is complete except it is missing the snap-on "ashtray" bridge cover; this was often removed right away.

The guitar still rests in the original and very early side-picket tweed case with an under-lid sticker from TH Conn Music in Fort Worth, Texas. That's a virtual guarantee this Tele has been some cool places! The case itself is still solid with some typical damage to the leather ends and a newer handle. Overall superb mid-'50s Telecaster with a great sound and excellent vibe! Overall Excellent Condition.