Fender Telecaster Custom Solid Body Electric Guitar (1960)

Fender  Telecaster Custom Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1960)

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Item # 8357
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Fender Telecaster Custom Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1960), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 51320, sunburst lacquer finish, alder body, maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, original brown tolex hard shell case.

Here is a heavily played-in genuine "Relic" example one of our very favorite Fenders, a early bound-body sunburst Custom Telecaster. This is a first generation example of this comparatively rare Tele variation, Fender's first attempt at 'upscaling' their original Spanish electric.

By 1959 the Telecaster and Esquire were a nearly ten year old design, and had been succeeded by the Stratocaster in 1954 and Jazzmaster in 1958. Introduced at the June 1959 NAMM show, the Custom Telecaster and Custom Esquire featured a sunburst finish body with bound edges and a slab rosewood fingerboard neck, cosmetic upgrades intended to dress up the Telecaster and Esquire and make for a classier looking package. "Two Fender Favorites have a startling new look" exclaimed the 1959 brochure introducing the new models, which went into production in the fall of that year. The "regular" Telecaster kept the old blonde finish and single-layer white 'guard for several more years.

The original Customs were not sold in large numbers…while more striking-looking they offered no playing advantage over the regular models and were somewhat more expensive. This one has a 6-60 penciled neck date, which puts it within the first year of production. The pots are dated to the 52nd week of 1961; it is not necessarily unusual to see date gaps with older Fenders (which were assembled from stockpiled parts) but it is possible the wiring rig-or the complete body- were mated to this neck at a later date. Whatever its history this is definitely a well-loved, heavily played guitar, but it's easy to see why as it maintains a truly spectacular feel and sound.
 
Overall length is 38 5/8 in. (98.1 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.). Played! This is the word for this very well-worn road warrior Tele, which shows major wear including some old repair work but exudes the true vintage Fender vibe in spades. Over the last nearly 60 years this guitar must have seen more than its share of rowdy action, and has some scars from what has certainly been an active life on the front lines of 60's and '70's music.

The original 3-tone body finish shows wear everywhere and has faded and 'smoked" to an ambered two-color look; the original red tint is still visible under the pickguard. There are dings, scrapes and dents to numerous to catalog including fairly large spots down to the wood in the armwear spot, below the bridge and a large swath worn away on the back. There is no added finish to the body. The treble side of the neck pocket lip has a small solid crack repair, the binding is undamaged so the piece was never loose from the guitar but this is noticeable on close inspection.

The neck also shows a very minor repair to the bass side of the headstock; nothing catastrophic (like Gibsons sometimes suffer) but there are some small lateral stress cracks through the lower tuner holes. It appears perhaps the guitar was dropped on the tuner side long ago, and the shock caused some small grain splits in the maple. These are sealed up but visible-the peghead was never cracked through and only the low E shaft has anything visible around it from the front. In a probably related situation the tuners look to have had additional screws at the corners securing them; these have been removed and the holes filled neatly-this is only noticeable on close inspection.

The neck has been oversprayed lightly with a thin nitro, probably when the headstock was attended to long ago. The original decal is now under this finish. Subsequent to this much of the back of the neck was sanded down to the wood. Coupled with the subsequent natural wear makes for a very smooth-feeling playing surface, the epitome of the worn-in fender neck.

The clay-dot rosewood fingerboard has been refretted with the perfect period correct wire and the fingerboard leveled, which is most noticeable at the body end. All the hardware is original or at least authentic period Fender parts; as noted above the wiring rig is built on original pots dated to late 1961, so it is possible the rig was changed out at some point-or this neck waited until early 1962 to be assembled into a guitar, at this late date it's impossible to tell for sure. The guitar is wired to the "modern" post 1966 Tele configuration with the center position activating both pickups-this means some solder joints at the switch are redone and the "mud" cap originally used in position #1 is long gone.

The original 3-ply nitro "green" pickguard is not heavily shrunken (just a bit on the edges) but has a notch by the fingerboard to make it easier to adjust the truss rod. The entire lead pickup and bridge assembly is in its untouched original state, and sounds fantastic. The neck pickup cover has been removed and put back on, so although there ate no obvious signs we cannot absolutely verify it has not possibly been rewound or at least re-potted at some point. This pickup also sounds lovely, with a richer tone than many Tele rhythm units.

The foregoing catalog shows just how well-used and heavily played this guitar has been, and signs of things that have happened along the way. Despite a hard life-or perhaps because of it-what's harder to convey is just how great it feels and sounds. There are a thousand gigs under this one's belt, and many more if the next owner chooses. In this era of old guitars increasingly seen as museum pieces, here's one that should really still be out there making music. Includes a very battered but still serviceable brown Fender HSC. Overall Very Good + Condition.