By 1957, Fender’s forward-thinking designs had led them to the already-popular Stratocaster, but a simpler guitar like the one-pickup Esquire could still get the job done. This Esquire is an exceptional example, a guitar with loads of character both in its sound and in its unique player wear. It’s also very light and extremely comfortable to hold.
The V-shaped neck is very smooth all the way up and down, with the vast majority of the nitrocellulose finish still on the back of the neck. The fretboard has classic wear, with stained bare wood on the second and third frets that shows this guitar has been well loved. Fortunately, it’s also very playable, set up with low but bendable action. The neatly crowned original frets are plenty high, enabling the trademark twangy bends that this guitar is famous for.
The single bridge pickup on this guitar provides a surprisingly versatile sound in part due to its unique switching system. The Esquire features the classic three-way Tele selector switch, but with an economical twist. In the neck position, the tone is rolled off significantly to provide a lower-volume, bassier rhythm sound. In the middle position, the tone knob can control the pickup, but in the bridge, the tone knob is disabled for a very hot lead sound.
On this guitar, the pickup has the trademark spank, but it also is a bit mellowed, making it perhaps a bit less blistering on leads, but more versatile overall, with a very expressive warmth that some Tele pickups seem to lack. All of which is to say that this is a pretty unique piece with which to emulate the sound of Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett.
Body: Ash, blonde finish. Very lightweight and comfortable to hold.
Neck: V-shape, one-piece maple with walnut "skunk" stripe, original frets have been crowned.
Pickups/Hardware: All original. One bridge pickup, three-way switch. Pickup is a bit mellower than some, but its warmth makes it appealing.
Setup/Playability: Has low but fast action, bends are very smooth.
Cosmetic Condition: Most finish on the neck is intact, classic fretboard wear with stained bare wood on lower frets.
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