Fender Esquire - Wikipedia
From March to , Fender marked their necks with an "official" neck width letter at the butt of the neck (in front of the date code). The "B" neck width is the. Product Dating. Find out exactly when your instrument or amplifier was manufactured. How can I find out when my American-made instrument was manufactured. 09 = Strat 03 = Maple neck (which it is) 06 = Sixth week 1 = First day (Monday) 4 = Half of the serial number dating sites I read would.
It was reintroduced with a truss rod in January The only external differences between these second generation Esquires and the Broadcasters and Telecasters of are the lack of a neck pickup, and the Esquire label on the head. Although the Esquire had only a single pickup, it retained the three-way switch of the two-pickup guitars.
This switch modified the tone of the pickup by making it bassier in the forward position, while enabling use of the tone control knob in the middle position.
With the switch in the rear position, these tone controls were bypassed entirely for a "hotter" lead tone.
Like the two-pickup guitar, these Esquires had a routed cavity in the neck pickup position. Thus, with the purchase of a neck pickup and replacement or modification of the pickguard, players could upgrade their instrument to a guitar identical to the Telecaster in every respect except for the model decal. Bruce Springsteenfor example, has long played an Esquire modified in this way.
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Springsteen has claimed that the guitar he is pictured with on the Born To Run album cover is, in fact, a hybrid of two guitars, a Telecaster body and Esquire neck. However, it is actually a first-generation Esquire with two pickup routs. The Esquires had Esquire pickguards to cover the neck pickup rout; Springsteen's guitar has a neck pickup installed, but not connected. True to form the reissue guitars have their identification numbers stamped in the neck plate.
The serial numbers on the outside of the body are not the only way to date a Fender guitar however. Fender also dated the neck when it was manufactured. After the neck was finished, a Fender employee would either stamp or handwrite the date on the end of the guitar neck on its heel.
This marking is only visible when the neck is removed from the body because it is covered in the neck pocket. Almost all Fender guitars have a dated neck. Some Fender guitar bodies and pickups also have dates written on them.
Few Fender guitars have dates written on the bodies under the pickups, in the routed out cavities, and near the wiring harnesses. Fender only decided to write dates on the bodies for a few years here and there. They never really did that consistently. What does the date on the neck mean? Many people think that the date on the heel of their Fender neck is the production date of the guitar.
It all has to do with how Fender produced guitars. Leo Fender was a genius with minimizing the costs of production. Second generation CRL switch used from to about have three patent numbers. Otherwise the two and three patent number switches look identical. Shown below is a three patent number switch and brown center wheel. On the first single pickup Esquires Fender used a different flat looking 3-way switch.
Early style CRL 3-way switch with two patent numbers Switch made of metal and a fiberous brown bakelite type material holding the switch contact that has flat side cuts. This style of switch started with the double pickup Esquire.
CRL 3-way switch with three patent numbers and the bakelite with flat side cuts. Teles and Strats still use the CRL 3-way switch, but the fiberous brown bakelite material that holds the switch contacts is replaced with a less fiberous brown bakelite lighter in color that is cut round like a half moon, instead of having flat sides.
The center wheel is still brown bakelite. Teles and Strats still use the CRL 3-way switch with the less fiberous brown bakelite round cut half moon center. But now the center wheel is white plastic instead of brown bakelite. May or may not have a Diamond logo seen both ways.
CRL switches still look basically the same as the previous version, but only one patent number. Definately a Diamond logo during this period. Fender strats use a CRL 5-way switch on many models, which looks the same as the CRL 3-way switch but with two added notches in the switch lever metal. Fender bought of these in total, and just used them on special Teles and some Strats.
Probably less than a handful were shipped to dealers when the supply of 4, CRL switches had run out by mid The quote from Al Petty is, "if you have one of those switches in your Fender, you probably have an employee guitar or it was a guitar for someone special.
Bechtoldt for much of the CRL switch information. A virgin Stratocaster pickup assembly with no broken solder joints, "black bottom" pickups, "cloth" wire, flat box-shaped paper tone cap, rubber pickup springs, flat edge 3-way switch, CTS pots, and an aluminum pickguard shield all attached to a "green" pickguard.
Pickguard Material Black pickguards: This material consisted of a fiberous bakelite, and was about. The fiberous material was added to the bakelite to add strength bakelite is too brittle and would crack at that thickness without it.
Finally the black pickguards were clear-coated with clear nitrocellulose lacquer top side only to give them depth and shine. White pickguards single layer: Fender used a single layer white pickguard material made from ABS or vinyl about. This relatively new material for the time was cheap, easy to work with, and somewhat flexible.
Note bakelite was never used for white Fender pickguards on any model though many people refer to white pickguards as such; but it's not bakelite. In this case the single layer thickness increased to. To some degree the effect is not only caused by age and sun, but the "felting" of the black layer below the white layer.
This material was used till January when Fender switched to vinyl or ABS for their multilayer pickguards Celluloid was dangerous and very flamable, and shrunk with time causing cracks. Sometimes these pickguards are called "nitrate 'guards" because nitric acid is one of the key ingredients used to make celluloid.
The and later white pickguards do yellow a bit with age. But even aged white 'guards look much different than the older "green" 'guards. In the late s, white Stratocaster pickguards change slightly not sure about other models. Notice the redish material the factory used to angle the neck. This is typical of and Strats. Click here for a picture of the ink stamp on this aluminum pickguard shield used during the s. From and later, sticky aluminum foil was attached to the bottom of the pickguard, just around the pots and switch.
In the 's, this metal shield was much thicker.How to date a Vintage 79 Fender Stratocaster
Note reissue Strats also use these shields. Click here for a comparison of pickguard material used from toand a reissue pickguard. The two pickup covers on the outside are ABS plastic. The three covers on the insides are "bakelite" actually polystyrene, but collectors refer to it incorrectly as "bakelite".
Note how the "bakelite" covers are whiter, and the edges have rounded. When new, the "bakelite" cover edges were as shape as the ABS covers. But with time, the edges round only on the polystyrene covers.
They can even wear to show the black pickup itsef underneath. The top row of knobs are ABS, the bottom row are "bakelite" polystyrene. Notice again how the edges of the "bakelite" knobs wear especially on the volume knoband the ABS edges don't. Also the "bakelite" knobs are whiter. The original Daka-Ware switch tips used on Broadcasters and Telecasters from to the s.
The switch tip on the right is a "top hat" style switch with a patent number though round switch tips can also have these markings. Other Plastic Parts pickup covers, knobs.
From to earlythese parts were made from white urea formaldehyde, commonly and incorrectly known as "bakelite" bakelite is actually a trade name for phenol formaldehyde, and is most commonly black or molted brown; for consistency, I will refer to these white pickup covers as "bakelite", though in fact they are not. These covers were very brittle and very white. Note early Strat knobs have a different and taller shape than late and later knobs. Since "bakelite" cracked and wore very easily, Fender switched to white ABS parts in early These ABS parts yellowed with age unlike the earlier "bakelite" parts.
Click here for a comparison of vintage versus s and later Strat knobs. But the switch tip for Telecasters was bakelite plastic. These black tips are still available today, with very minor differences. In about this changed to the "top hat" style of selector switch tip. In either case, all original Tele switch tips have some stampings on their bottom side.
All tips about and later say "PAT. Reissue "top hat" tele switch tips have no marks on the bottom. Click here to see the difference. Click here for a comparison of old and new pbass plastic pickup covers. Click here for a picture of the knob style used on Jazzmasters starting in Exceptions to the below data: October to mid All models used Ash as the body wood.
Most ash bodies are two or even three pieces, but sometimes a one-piece body was used. Mid to current: All models used Alder as the body wood. The ONLY exception to this is if the model had a "blond" finish. For example, since the stock finish on a Telecaster is "blond" a translucent white colorall blond Telecasters are made of Ash. If a post Stratocaster was ordered in blond, it too would be Ash. To summarize, if the Fender instrument is later than mid, and was originally not blond in color, the body wood should be Alder!
Most alder bodies are 2 to 4 pieces. Alder trees do not grow "big", so multiple pieces were used for Fender guitar bodies. The number of pieces has little effect on sound or value. Some Mexican made models use Poplar bodies.
Starting in mid, Fender sprayed the yellow part of the sunburst. This allowed Fender to be less picky with their choice of Alder, because the sunburst is less transparent. Prior toFender stained the yellow of the sunburst into the wood, instead of spraying it. This saved a spray step when shooting a sunburst finish. There is a lot more info on Fender finishes here.
Fender used nitrocellulose lacquer for all finishes. Film thickness was very thin, especially in the 's. From the beginning, Fender would hammer nails into the face of the guitar body before painting, under the pickguard areas.
Can you help me confirm my 1974 Strat dating?
Then the body was painted on a "lazy susan". First the face of the guitar was painted. Then the body was flipped over onto the nails which suspended the freshed painted body faceand the back and sides of the body were painted. The nails were then used to suspend the body while the paint fully dried. After all the paint was sprayed, the nails were removed. Hence all original pre-CBS Fender bodies will have "nail holes" with no paint in them!
There should be three or four nail holes under the pickguard, control plate or bridge plate on every original finish solidbody pre Fender instrument. Interestingly, Tele nail holes were moved in the early s, but are still present. Again, see here for more details. One nail hole near the neck pocket on a May Fender Stratocaster. Note the "shadow" lack of red created by the nail, as the red was originally sprayed on the body!
Fender started using Alder instead of Ash as the main body wood for all models that were not finished in Blond which means the Telecaster stayed Ash. They did this because it was easier to paint Alder it required less paint steps. All Alder bodies were dipped in a yellow stain, which was the first step in the sunbursting paint process sunburst was Fender's primary color on Alder bodies, hence all Alder bodies were prepped this way, regardless of what color they were actually painted.
This Strat has a neck date of Decemberand still has the "nail holes" under the pickguard. The nails holes were pretty much gone by fall of The position of the nail holes was moved on the Telecaster only. Then were now inside the cavity routes, like in the truss rod rod or neck pocket route, inside the control cavity route, and inside the bridge pickup route.
Fender now bolted a "stick" inside the body's neck pocket to the two bass side neck screw holes prior to painting. The stick allowed the body to be easily held by the painter while spraying paint and drying. This left a visible paint stick shadow inside the neck pocket. Fender used this technique into the s. The nails were still used, but now only for the drying process and were no longer needed during painting.
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Still, the "nail holes" will be present with no paint in them! Fender changed how they sprayed a sunburst finish. In early and before, the yellow part of the sunburst was stained into the wood.
How to Date your Fender Guitar by Serial Number
This meant Fender only had to spray two colors red and brown instead of three. But in mid, Fender changed to spraying the yellow portion of the sunburst finish. This made the finish less transparent, and allowed Fender to use Alder body wood with minor defects such as mineral stains. The and later sunburst finish colors didn't blend together as nice and don't show much wood grain, and hence are sometimes called a "target 'burst".