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Michael Bloomfield Telecaster Question

59burst

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,434
Does anyone know whether Michael Bloomfield's white blond Tele (with the rosewood fingerboard) was made of alder or ash? Also, what year was it?

I see Fender makes a '63 Tele reissue that is alder, but they switch to ash if you order it in white blond ...

Thanks!
 

MikeP

Member
Messages
874
I am not positive but I am betting Alder
I dont think Leo used rosewood on Alder often in the old days.
 

Mark Kane

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,852
He was using that tele in '64 so that gives you a range of what year could have been.
 

tommyg

Member
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1,528
..and Bloomers used the white Tele exclusively on his first Paul Butterfield album.

For East-West he used his gold-top LP.
 

59burst

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,434
I'm far from a Fender expert (barely qualify as a novice! :D ) - does anyone know what wood(s) were being used around '64? Were different woods used for different colors?

I went to www.mikebloomfield.com and was not able to find any firm info in the archived forum (the forum seems to be currently closed but the old postings are there for searching/reading).
 

RickC

Member
Messages
7,897
The wood of choice for Strats and Teles in '64 was alder. That doesn't mean they never used ash, just that it was much less common.

/rick
 

hogy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,986
There's a big difference between white and blonde.

Blonde was the standard color for all Teles way into the mid sixties. It is a slightly translucent finish that was always put on ash because it shows the grain of that wood.
Alder has almost no visible grain.

Bloomfield had a blonde slab board Tele and it was most certainly ash.

Fender did make a few olympic white Teles. Olympic white being opaque, it was used over alder. Those are much rarer.

Keep in mind that Fender didn't pick a certain wood for tone.
Those were assembly line guitars.
Ash is more labor intensive to finish because it requires extensive grain filling. Alder requires no filling.
They would have only used ash where it looked better, i.e. under a blonde finish.

Hogy
 

59burst

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,434
Thanks all.

Hogy: by "blond" I assume you mean the "butterscotch" color found on 50's teles?

What is throwing me is that Fender lists a color called "white blond" for the '63 Tele Time Machine, and they use ash when you pick that color, but alder if you select other colors.

I'm curious if that is the way Fender operated back in the early 60's. Your response suggests that it was.

So, I guess I need to find some good pics of Bloomfield's tele to see if I can see grain.

(However, doesn't some alder have pronounced grain? USA vintage reissue 62 strats in sunburst often have pronounced grain.)
 

hogy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,986
Originally posted by 59burst
Thanks all.

Hogy: by "blond" I assume you mean the "butterscotch" color found on 50's teles?

What is throwing me is that Fender lists a color called "white blond" for the '63 Tele Time Machine, and they use ash when you pick that color, but alder if you select other colors.

It's similar in that both are translucent, but the earlier variant is more amber/yellow

The second part of your quote confirms exactly what I was saying. They used (and still use) translucent blonde over ash only.

Alder can have some gain lines, but not enough to show up under blonde.

Look at these three blondes, they're all ash.

 

matte

Senior Member
Messages
10,418
Originally posted by hogy
It's similar in that both are translucent, but the earlier variant is more amber/yellow

The second part of your quote confirms exactly what I was saying. They used (and still use) translucent blonde over ash only.

Alder can have some gain lines, but not enough to show up under blonde.

Look at these three blondes, they're all ash.

Hogy,
Glad to see you're still with us. What year is the Maple neck 3 ply?
 

hogy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,986
They're all single ply guards, a '57 Esquire, '58 Tele, and '60 Tele.

We made it through the hurricane just fine.

Hogy
 

hogy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,986
The intro to "Got My Mojo Working" off the first Butterfield album is the definition of what a slab board Tele neck pickup should sound like. Very few do, though.

Hogy
 

59burst

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,434
Wow, nice axes!! (And glad you made it through Katrina.)

How does the rosewood board one sound? Can you go all the way from Tele bright spank to gritty blues to warm jazz on it?
 

hogy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,986
Originally posted by 59burst
Wow, nice axes!! (And glad you made it through Katrina.)

How does the rosewood board one sound? Can you go all the way from Tele bright spank to gritty blues to warm jazz on it?
Yes, you can. Robben Ford's Tele is a slab board, and I'm pretty sure he got it because of Bloomfield. Not all of them are great guitars, but a good one is just magical. Their neck pickups can sound so flutey and open, more hendrix-y than most Strats. I refer to it as the "blowing into the neck of an empty coke bottle sound":D

Hogy
 

59burst

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,434
OK, your comment about the intro to "Mojo" and "Yes you can" is fueling my GAS something wicked.

The Fender '63 CS reissue is not slab board - it is "round lam". Will that make a noticable difference in the tone?
 

hogy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
13,986
Originally posted by 59burst
OK, your comment about the intro to "Mojo" and "Yes you can" is fueling my GAS something wicked.

The Fender '63 CS reissue is not slab board - it is "round lam". Will that make a noticable difference in the tone?
Not really, there is so much variation between guitars from the same era that it's hard to assign a tonal difference to one aspect like that IMO.

A lot of it is in that particular generation of pickups, I haven't heard that duplicated in a newer neck pickup yet (but I haven't heard all of them either).

Another era of killer Tele neck pickups is '66/'67.

Hogy
 

59burst

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,434
Great! I guess I'll look to get a '63 reissue then in white blond, but with a beefier neck than stock (a la the ones at Fat Sound) since I like full necks. Then once I break it in, I can try different pickups if the stock ones don't get me close to Bloomfield territory (not that I can play like him. :D )
 

johan

Member
Messages
2,565
Nice axes Hogy! :eek: The blonde colors is very "translucent" :D

My amp is a 66 BFSR and the guitar is a new one-off Custom Shop '61 Tele NOS in Vintage Blonde. Slab board but I think the dots at 12th fret are wrong. I really like the guitar but as 59burst put it, a beefier neck would be nice and that's not one of a 60's Tele's features. The neck is SLIM.

 

59burst

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,434
johan -

That's a beaut!!! How does it sound?

Is the difference between yours and the '63 reissue the slab board that yours has?

I'm putting in calls as we speak to get one like that spec'd out. The only thing that will be different is a beefier neck.
 




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