Rosewood Telecaster - USA Custom Shop Guitars

1991 Fender Rosewood Telecaster - USA Custom Shop

Color: Rosewood, Rating: 8.25, Sold (ID# 02177)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113


A Near Mint 1991 USA Custom Shop Rosewood Telecaster
One of Just Forty Examples Specifically Made for the Japanese Market


1991 Fender Rosewood Telecaster - USA Custom Shop

This very early 1991 Fender Custom Shop reissue 'Rosewood' Telecaster weighs just 8.10 lbs. Two-piece 'chambered' book-matched Indian Rosewood body with a center 'sandwich' of maple. One-piece straight-grained rosewood neck with a maple 'skunk-stripe' and a nut width of just under 1 11/16 inches, a scale length of 25 1/2 inches and a wonderful medium profile. Rosewood fretboard with 21 original medium frets and pearl dot position markers. Headstock decal with "Fender" 'transitional logo in silver with black trim. Back of headstock with Fender's early oval 'Custom Shop / Fender USA' logo in gold. Individual vintage-style "no-name" Fender [Kluson] Deluxe tuners with oval metal buttons. Single "butterfly" string tree. Four-bolt neck plate with serial number "V054203" stamped between the top two screws. Two hot single-coil pickups: one plain metal-cover pickup at neck with an output of 7.90k and one black six-polepiece pickup angled in bridgeplate with an output of 7.35k. Three-layer black over white plastic pickguard with eight screws. Two controls (one volume, one tone) plus three-way selector switch with 'round' tip, all on metal plate adjoining pickguard. The potentiometers are stamped "137 9101" (CTS, January 1991). Chrome knobs with flat tops and knurled sides. Fender combined bridge/tailpiece with six individually adjustable steel saddles. The neck pocket has the Fender Custom Shop oval logo stamped in red with the Master Builder's name "J. Madore" stamped in black. This guitar is in near mint (9.25) condition with just a couple of very tiny surface marks, one on the back of the neck behind the fourth fret, the other on the back of the headstock. Housed in the original Fender three-latch, rectangular dark gray 'faux' aligator hardshell case with black leather ends and black plush lining (9.25)

Thirty-one years ago in 1990, the Fender Custom Shop in Corona, CA, was commissioned to make forty 'solid' rosewood Telecasters to be shipped overseas to a Japanese distributor. When it came to accepting the last batch of them the distributor backed out, and those few (10?) guitars were sold to domestic dealers in the US. - this guitar is one of those… Our good friend Fred Stuart together with Alan Hamel, John Paige, Jay Madore, and a couple more Master Builders were responsible for the project in 1990-1991.

Master Builder Jay Madore's experience includes thirteen years at Fender, starting out as a builder on the main production line. A little later, Jay did tune-testing work there and soon joined the Fender Custom Shop building guitars. Later Jay became a tune-tester for Fender Custom Shop guitars and basses and also worked in purchasing and inventory control there before joining Suhr Guitars.

The first Rosewood Telecaster was a gift to Beatle George Harrison in late 18968 for use in the movie ‘Let It Be’. Roger Rossmeisl and Phillip Kubicki (employed by Fender at the time) made two prototypes and chose the best for Harrison. The guitar body was made with a thin layer of maple sandwiched between a solid rosewood back and top. The rosewood neck had a separate rosewood fingerboard glued on. The whole guitar had a special satin polyurethane finish (for more info read “Beatles Gear” by Andy Babiuk). The Rosewood Telecaster was added to the regular production line in 1969 at $375. Production models differed from George’s slightly. They were made with a one-piece rosewood neck, and had gloss polyurethane finishes. While early examples were solid, like George’s, the guitars were eventually lightened by hollowing out the two body halves. Large numbers of Rosewood Telecasters were never produced, and by 1972 it was discontinued. Fender Japan reissued the guitar in 1985.

Note: Later in 1969, George gave away his Rosewood Telecaster to Delaney Bramlett of Delaney & Bonnie. Delaney kept the instrument until he sold it at auction in 2003, two years after George's death. It fetched a staggering $434,750, bought by an intermediary for George's widow, Olivia Harrison.

"I played bass with Delaney Bramlett from around 1988 to 1998. The rosewood Telecaster was always around his studio, so I've played it many times. Other players would come by, and pick it up to try it out. Everyone was in awe of it, but nobody really liked playing it. It was heavy and thin sounding. Probably why George gave it away. One day Delaney picked up my Music Man bass, and liked the way the neck felt, as I had taken the worn finish the rest of the way off. I like the feel of raw wood. Delaney liked it too, and he handed me the Tele, and said to do that to it. Believe me, I tried to talk him out of it, but he insisted. I will say that it did have too thick a finish on it. So the next day found me on my front porch, sanding the finish off of the neck of George Harrison's "Rooftop Tele". Surreal. I've heard that it's been properly refinished. I was thrilled to see it returned to George's family." (Bob Gross).

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