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Once upon a time, in a land called Rock & Roll, a man known as Leo Fender developed his first solid-body electric guitar, the prototype for which was completed in the fall of 1949.
He would call it the Fender Esquire. The design was as basic as it gets.
Six strings, a single bridge position pickup and a set of volume and tone controls. Done.
Over the winter of 1949/50, Fender refined the design, making a few structural and cosmetic changes. Among them was the addition of a ‘tone selector’ switch, which was mounted on a plate with the volume and tone controls. A design that, with not many changes, would last for sixty-seven years and counting.▼ Article continues below ▼
Of course, it didn’t take long (about two months) after the Esquire made its public debut in 1950, that a two-pickup version was introduced and was renamed the Fender Broadcaster. The single pickup version retained the Esquire name. The Gretsch Company, at the time, marketed a drum
set under the “Broadkaster” name, and at their request, Fender dropped the Broadcaster name and eventually renamed their guitar the Telecaster. During the transition between Broadcaster and Telecaster, rather than stop production while they waited for the new “Telecaster” decals to come in, they cut the “Broadcaster” off and the guitars were shipped with just the “Fender” logo. Those guitars were dubbed “Nocaster,” a rare and much sought-after collectible.
Before you today, we have a 1959 Fender Esquire, courtesy of Don Miggs at the LaLa Mansion recording studio in Tampa FL. Although at first glance this guitar may appear “well-traveled,” I assure you it plays like a dream. The tone is, in true Fender tradition, incredible! It is perhaps the most requested guitar among the musicians recording at LaLa Mansion Studio.
I hope you have enjoyed this little tidbit of musical history.
From Soho Guitar in Tampa FL, I’m Rob Meigel.