Esquire Guitars

1995 Fender Esquire

Color: White, Rating: 9.50, Sold (ID# 00764)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113

1949 Esquire Prototype with 1946 "Woodie" Professional Amplifier Prototype

This 'prototype' instrument, designed and built thru June to October 1995 by Fred Stuart of the Fender Custom Shop is an exact replica, inside and out, of the 1949 Esquire "Snakehead." This incredibly lightweight solid pine body guitar weighs just 5.90 lbs. One-piece huge "C" profile maple neck with a nut width of 1 11/16 inches, a neck profile which basically remains constant at 1 inch from the first fret all the way down to the 15th fret and a scale length of 25 1/2 inches. Twenty-one medium jumbo frets with small black dot markers and a single "dowel" dot marker at the fifteenth fret. Small black dot side markers. On the back of the headstock is an oval decal with "Custom Built / Fred Stuart / Fender U.S.A." in gold. Four-bolt neck plate with "Fender Custom Instruments Corona California." The end of the neck has "FS. 7-95" written in pencil, and the neck cavity has the black Fender Custom Shop stamp in black. Unique three-on-a-side headstock with single "dowel" inlay on face and [Kluson] Deluxe three-in-a-row strip tuners with white plastic oval buttons and slot-head screws. " Single-coil black flush six-polepiece pickup, angled in bridgeplate, with an incredibly strong output of 9.57k. Single-layer black bakelite pickguard with three slot-head screws. Two controls (one volume, one tone) with "taller" type chrome knobs with heavily knurled sides and pronounced "dome" tops, on metal plate with slot-head screws. Potentiometers stamped "R137 95XX (last two digits obscured by solder). Original Vintage Style Tele Bridge with three steel saddles and slot-head screws. The white finish on the body has a somewhat 'rough' texture as per the original 1949 guitar. This guitar is in mint (9.50) condition, having never been played - other than by Fred Stuart himself. Housed in the original tweed form-fit hardshell case with dark brown velvet lining (9.25). Attached to the case handle is a tag with "NAMM SHOW / "SNAKE HEAD" PINE / PROTOTYPE # 1. / 07.95" written in black ink.

[together with]

1996 Fender Professional "Model 25" (Woodie Pro) amplifier based on the original uncovered maple finish. Attached to the case handle is a tag with "NAMM SHOW / "PROFESSIONAL AMP / PROTOTYPE # 2." written in black ink.

The amplifier is also quite amazing - it is one of two 'prototypes' built in 1996 and is an exact copy of Fender's largest Woody, The Professional which was produced in 1946-1947. Like the original, it is made of beautiful birdseye maple with the original style red cloth and three chrome stripes. This is a hand built custom shop, point-to-point amplifier. They have even fitted it with new old stock original style vacuum tubes. The approach and execution - unbelievable. It has its own Anvil style hardshell case.

"For the select few that needed a little more than what the 1946 Deluxe offered, Fender had a step-up model that was their genuine best effort: the Professional, The wooden cabinet was a larger version of the hardwood Deluxe and Princeton models, with metal protectors mounted across solid red, blue, or gold grilles. The components used were the best available and at the time were really more than most players needed. The Jensen 15" field-coil speaker was about as good as it got and cost more than twice the price -- an handled twice the power -- of the Deluxe's 10". The two metal 6L6 power tubes were capable of putting out between 18 and 25 watts, compared to the 10 to 14 watts from the two 6V6s in the Deluxe…" (John Teagle and John Sprung, Fender Amps - The First Fifty Years, p. 53).

[together with]

a typed letter signed by Fred Stuart :
A Chronology of the development of the "Telecaster/Esquire" Prototype replica.
In December of 1993 the Fullerton Museum Center, Fender Musical Instruments, and Richard Smith put on an Exhibit entitled, "Five decades of Fender". It was at this exhibit that I first became aware of the existence of this unique instrument. It was once again brought to my attention in late 1994 when "Vintage Gallery" magazine ran an article about this show, and rumors where also circulating that an offer of 300,000$ was turned down for this instrument.
In May of 1995 John Page (manager of the Fender, Custom Shop at the time called me into his office and told me that marketing wanted us to come up with something special for Fender's fiftieth anniversary. Well, I already knew what I wanted to do, make a replica of that prototype! John agreed, and so did Mike Lewis, the director of marketing.
In June of 1995 we started on the project. Working from a really good set of photographs taken by Yasihiko Iwanade, copies of which accompany the instrument, we were able to get in the ballpark. Then, by a twist of fate I was able to spend about 4 hours with the actual guitar and finalize the specifications.
I knew from talking to Yasihiko that the body was made of pine laminated both side to side and front to back (4 pieces). I also knew that the neck had no truss rod. The bridge, bridge cover, control plate, and neck plate were also different from a standard Telecaster. The Input jack cup, and Knobs were like the Broadcaster, and early Telecaster. All of these metal parts had to be custom made for this project. The input jack cup, and the knobs have subsequently been used on the "pine 2 pick-up Esquire", the Leo Fender Broadcaster, and the relic No-caster.
By July of 1995 the first prototypes were on their way, and by October all the parts were done. The instrument that this letter accompanies is one of 2 instruments that were on display at the 1996 Winter NAMM Show. This same instrument is the one that went on to be used for the Custom Shop "Guitar Gallery" book and the 1996 Fender catalog which also accompany this instrument. [signed] Fred Stuart.


The set of eight color photographs of the original 1949 guitar that were taken by Yasihiko Iwanade as mentioned in Fred Stuart's letter.

In 1996, to mark the 50th Anniversary of Fender Musical Instruments, the Fender Custom Shop issued a highly limited edition "Electric Spanish Guitar" and "Woody Amp" in matching sets numbered 01 to 50. The guitar and amp were historically accurate reproductions of Fender's first instruments. When Leo originally attempted to make the first electric solid body guitars in the late 40's, they were the logically next evolutionary step of his lap steel Hawaiian guitars. At that time, Leo was manufacturing amplifier cabinets from boards of pine and he laminated two together to make the body of his first instruments, that has been correctly reproduced on these guitars, the body is pine, which was normally used for amplifier cabinets. The peg head of these early instruments retained some of the same attributes of his early steel guitars (3 on a side tuners). He had not yet borrowed the idea of the 6-on-a-side peghead from his good friend Paul Bigsby. These earlier instruments also did not have a truss rods and even some early examples of Broadcasters which were a production instrument did not have them as well. The evolution of the Telecaster starts with these instruments. Incredible attention to detail and accuracy of the original has been adhered to: the original style slot head screws used everywhere, hand painted position markers on the side of the fingerboard, reissue Kluson style tuners found on early Fender steels, early style white lacquer finish on body, these and many more details are apparent when one examines this historical tribute. It is easy to see how these early electric guitar eventually developed into what we believe is one of the finest electric guitars produced today, the Telecaster. The Fender Custom Shop also reissued the form fit tweed case almost never seen except on some very early Broadcasters. They also engineered an Anvil style case for the amplifier.

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