Fender Champion Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1952)
Fender Champion Model Lap Steel Electric Guitar (1952), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 5576, yellow pearloid finish, hardwood body, black gig bag case. Item # 7739
This is a nice player's example of Fender's "bread and butter" lap steel guitar from the first half of the 1950's. 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 1950's Teles. The flashy plastic-covered symmetrical two-bout body has a chrome bridge and cover plates with dome-top knurled knobs. The serial number "5576" 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 mixed slot and Phillips-head variety suggesting a mid-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 1950's 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 alterations but its original character intact. There is minor paint loss and small dings and pits to the metal fingerboard; there are small position numbers added on the treble side of the fingerboard-you have to look closely to really notice. Otherwise the guitar is relatively clean overall with only minor play wear, some scuffing to the chrome (mostly on the handrest) and some scrapes into the covering on the bottom. The tuners are correct style new re-issue Kluson Deluxe strips but without the safe-ti-slot string posts. The electronics are mixed; the (great sounding) original pickup is intact but the pots and knobs are newer. Still a great sounding steel-a real screamer when cranked. Excellent - Condition.
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