50s tele body wood?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by gnugear, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. gnugear

    gnugear Member

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    Northern or swamp ash?
     
  2. mrfjones

    mrfjones Member

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    50's reissue is just labeled as ash, I can't tell which for sure but i would assume it is northern ash. I have one that is quite light and believe it is swamp ash only because of the weight.

    real 50's teles, 52 reissue, customshop nocasters etc. Are "select ash" which again I will assume is swamp ash. I hope that helps
     
  3. Aint Life Hell?

    Aint Life Hell? Member

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    because my RI '52 tele is heavy as hell.
    My buddy just picked up a '52 RI produced in 82 & it was super duper light.
    I guess Ash varies greatly in density and weight.
    Hmm.
    -m
     
  4. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    yup, it sure does.
    look at the grain pattern. generally speaking the tighter the grain pattern, the more dense the ash and consequently the heavier the body.
    i really look for a broad, even grain pattern in ash bodies as they usually "sing" well.
     
  5. Mutley

    Mutley Supporting Member

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    Weren't the Tele prototypes made out of pine? Was that used in any production Teles?
     
  6. MojoHand

    MojoHand Supporting Member

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    According to The Blackguard Book (http://www.jklutherie.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=64817) the earliest Broadcasters and Esquires were made from pine. Fender later switched to ash because it took a blonde finish better (Leo's favorite), and because pine is soft and more easily damaged.

    As far as I know, all the 50's Ash body Teles were Swamp (or Southern) Ash.
     
  7. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    yup.
    they also featured huge baseball bat necks w/ no truss rod.
    the bodies were also 1/4" thinner than the body we now know and love.
    the custom shop did, in fact, do 2 runs of 'tele' type guitars (esquire and broadcaster) that were reproductions of leo's prototype guitars.
    the first one was a black esquire w/ 2 PUPs. this is a reproduction of the guitar that leo took to the NAMM show in '51 (i think???).
    the second one was leo's initial prototype that was white and had a single PUP in the bridge position, an unusual volume/tone knob configuration and the snakehead headstock. i believe that it is a reproduction of the initial guitar that leo took to the NAMM show in '48 or '49. i believe that these guitars from the custom shop may also have been sold in a package w/ a reproduction of a very early fender 'pro' amp.
    if U are a teleholic (hello my name is µ¿ z3®ø™, and i'm a teleholic) these guitars are very worthwhile seeking out. they have a much different tone than ash or alder or basswood tele type guitars and the lack of truss rod really adds a very interesting signature to the overtone structure of the instrument.
    just to assuage Ur fears about the lack of truss rod.....
    these necks are made from 15 yr. old quarter sawn, straight grained hard maple and are actually so thick that they protrude ever so slightly from the back of the headstock. the guitar that i have is completely stable w/ 11s on it. of course, practicing proper humidification is essential and i also slack the strings off when i ain't bashing away on it.
     
  8. Boogie92801

    Boogie92801 Member

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    I owned a 1955 tele. Wired by Gloria on august 25, 1955 acording to the masking tape in the cavity. It had a bill from of sale dated 1958 in the strings with the tweed case and matching champ when I bought it for $125.00. All in mint condition ... 25 years ago:(

    It was ver light. I have played a hundred teles since then and can not brng myself to buy any because I remember what that guitar felt like and nothing new has ever fellt like that guitar.

    I belive it was swamp ash.
     
  9. leoman57

    leoman57 Guest

    Swamp ash......they were light in weight. Northern ash is heavy as all hell, like Les Paul +, heavy.
     
  10. stratofied

    stratofied Member

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    My '56 Strat is very lightweight one piece Swamp ash. Leo must have kept Gloria hopping because she wired this one as well.
     
  11. glasman

    glasman Guest

    My 89' - 52' reissue is Swamp Ash and extremely light and resonant.

    Gary
     
  12. plaintop

    plaintop Member

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    Old growth Swamp Ash?

    It's amazing how much the grain varied from one body to another. Here is my '52 (two piece body), and then a shot with another early 50s blackguard body. Note the striking difference in ash color:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  13. µ¿ z3®ø™

    µ¿ z3®ø™ Member

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    thanx for the pix.
    is the one on the left lighter in weight?
    and....
    damn that wood for being so inconsistent and and persnickety.
    haven't we learned how to make guitars out os modern manufacturing materials like plastic yet?
     
  14. plaintop

    plaintop Member

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    The one on the left is a '53. It looks lighter, doesn't it? ;^)

    I'll ask about the weights. Those are real-time pics of my '52 being restored.
     
  15. tonedaddy

    tonedaddy Member

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    Cool pics, plaintop!
    Very cool, and I'm anxious to see the progress!
     
  16. plaintop

    plaintop Member

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    Ok, the '53 is 4 lbs 3 oz, my '52 is 4 lbs 9 oz. FWIW...my complete guitar is 7.4lbs.
     

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