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The Fender Esquire, First Born in a Long Legacy
In 1949, Leo Fender along with George Fullerton developed the first prototype of an electric guitar that was refined throughout the winter of 1949/50 and later turned into what we would today know as the Telecaster. But before it was the Telecaster it was the Broadcaster, and before it was the broadcaster, it was the single-pickup Esquire.
The Fender Esquire was the first electric guitar sold by Fender and was released in 1950. This single pickup beauty is best known for its blonde finish and black pickguard. Not long after it's release, Fender added a second pickup variant that was named the Broadcaster, and for legal reasons, was later changed to the telecaster.
Both the Fender Esquire and Telecaster co-existed for many years, with the Esquire being a more affordable option since it only had a single pickup, but ironically, retained a three-way switch it retained the three-way switch of the two-pickup guitar. The switch modified the tone of the pickups by giving it more bass in the forward position, enabling the tone control knob in the middle position, and in the rear position, the tone controls were bypassed entirely for a "hotter" lead tone.
The original Fender Esquire run of guitars last less than a year before they were discontinued, only to be revived but with the addition of a truss rod in the neck from 1951-1969.
The 70th Anniversary of the Fender Esquire
With a limited run of only 2020 pieces, Fender has released the 70th Anniversary Fender Esquire for 2020. Like the earliest Esquire models, the 70th Anniversary Esquire features a pine body – a lightweight wood known for punchy and complex tone, but upgrades it with a roasting treatment, greatly improving the resonance of the body. Other features include a lacquer finish, thick “U”-shaped neck, Tim Shaw-designed Esquire bridge pickup – inspired by an original ’50 Esquire from Songbirds Museum in Chattanooga, TN - special anniversary neck plate and tweed case.
The 70th Anniversary Esquire will be available in four color choices; Two-Tone Sunburst, Lake Placid Blue, Surf Green, and White Blonde.