Michael Bloomfield Telecaster Question

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by 59burst, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. 59burst

    59burst Gold Supporting Member

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    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!
     
  2. jokerjkny

    jokerjkny Member

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    pretty sure its ash.
     
  3. MikeP

    MikeP Member

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    I am not positive but I am betting Alder
    I dont think Leo used rosewood on Alder often in the old days.
     
  4. Mark Kane

    Mark Kane Silver Supporting Member

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    He was using that tele in '64 so that gives you a range of what year could have been.
     
  5. tommyg

    tommyg Member

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    ..and Bloomers used the white Tele exclusively on his first Paul Butterfield album.

    For East-West he used his gold-top LP.
     
  6. 59burst

    59burst Gold Supporting Member

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    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).
     
  7. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

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    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
     
  8. hogy

    hogy Member

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    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
     
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  9. 59burst

    59burst Gold Supporting Member

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    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.)
     
  10. hogy

    hogy Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. matte

    matte Senior Member

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

    hogy Member

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    They're all single ply guards, a '57 Esquire, '58 Tele, and '60 Tele.

    We made it through the hurricane just fine.

    Hogy
     
  13. hogy

    hogy Member

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    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
     
  14. 59burst

    59burst Gold Supporting Member

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    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?
     
  15. hogy

    hogy Member

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    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
     
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  16. 59burst

    59burst Gold Supporting Member

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    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?
     
  17. hogy

    hogy Member

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    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
     
  18. 59burst

    59burst Gold Supporting Member

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    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 )
     
  19. johan

    johan Member

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. 59burst

    59burst Gold Supporting Member

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    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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