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1956 Fender Telecaster Vintage Guitar Blonde One Owner 100% Stock w/ Tweed Champ

+ $190 Shipping
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Shipped From
Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar
Seattle, WA, United States
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About This Listing

Up for sale, a 1956 Fender Telecaster in 100% original, collector-grade condition with its matching tweed Champ and detailed provenance. It goes without saying that finding an uncirculated and sparingly played Pre-CBS Tele of this calibre is exceedingly rare, but much more compelling than the rarity is the story of this instrument, known as the Gospel Machine.

The story of the Gospel Machine begins in a little town in Minnesota named Karlstad, where Christian and Esther Pedersen were farmers on a tract of land acquired through the U.S. Homestead act. When the pastor of the Pedersen's local church decided to broadcast a gospel program on the local KTRF radio station in 1950, the Pedersens and their children took part in the broadcast. In early '57 Ester and Christian decided to purchase a new guitar and corresponding amp, and this Tele and Champ traveled all around Minnesota and the adjoining states. Christened the "Gospel Machine" by the Pedersen family, the guitar was passed down from Ester to her daughter Adeline, and Adeline can be seen playing the Tele behind the pulpit in a photo included with the guitar. The guitar remained in the family until 2001, where it was sold to one of the owners of our shop and is now offered up for sale!

As this Tele only saw gentle yet consistent use for decades, it has remained in remarkable condition and has a soulful (no pun intended), resonant quality that only comes with age. Weighing in at 7lbs 8oz, the lightweight one-piece ash body delivers a midrange fullness, sweet attack, and incredible sustain rarely heard with a bolt-on neck instrument. Of course Leo Fender struck gold when he decided to combine an ash body with a substantial maple neck when designing the guitar that would become the Tele, and the crisp and articulate top end of the guitar's acoustic presence can largely be attributed to this incredible neck. The original black bobbin pickups chime and sparkle with the best, delivering a twang that is nuanced and dynamic. Few guitars cut like a Tele can, and few Teles can be strident yet smooth, snappy but not piercing like the example seen here. The neck pickup retains the clarity of the bridge pickup while being notably more girthy and rich, and the bell-like top end is highlighted by the simple circuit of the matching Fender Champ. Since the electronics are completely stock and untouched, the factory wiring scheme engages a thick, meaty sounding tone cap in the traditional "neck" position on the three way toggle. Professionally setup and dialed in with fresh 10-46 strings, the Gospel Machine is an incredible tool for use on stage or in the studio.

The neck has a chunky and generous C shaped profile indicative of 1955-56, with big shoulders and depth that would place it squarely in the "baseball bat" camp. The gloss nitro lacquer on the profile has been lightly worn away on the fretboard edges from frets 1-7, and the gently rolled edges of the fretboard make for a very comfortable playing experience. The stock fretwire is intact on the 7 1/4" radius fretboard, showing light, uniform wear on frets 1-4, and fainter wear on the fret crowns of the plain strings until roughly fret 7. Overall the fret crowns are very consistent and well rounded with plenty of height and life left in the frets, especially given the slender wire used by Fender in this era. Arrow straight with ideal relief, the neck feels very reliable and plays effortlessly in all registers with no buzzing or dead spots. Consistent with the fretwear, the maple fretboard itself shows the wear commonly seen on a Fender of this vintage, with wear down to the bare maple on frets 1-7 and modest grooves in the maple beneath the plain strings on frets 2-5. The stock nut measures 1 5/8" in width and the headstock sports the stock Kluson Deluxe single line tuning machines. All tuner shafts are straight, the gear housings are particularly clean, and the tuners turn very smoothly. Other features of the headstock include the round string tree and immaculate original "Fender Telecaster" decal.

All of the electronics work exactly as intended, and all solder joints are untouched. The one legible code not covered by original solder on the Stackpole pots dates to the 18th week of 1955. Both pickups retain their original windings, with clean waxy cloth covered leads. Other pertinent date codes include May, 1956 penciled on the neck heel, and 4/56 in the bridge pickup cavity. The original hardware includes the knurled domed chrome knobs, immaculate chrome control plate, pat. pending bridge, top hat switch tip, and single-ply white pickguard. All body routes are original and untouched and even the pickguard screws are original and still fit snug.

In terms of cosmetic wear, this guitar is a stunning example that falls in the category of gentle, honest use. There is wear down to the bare ash along about 80% of the back edge of the slab body, while wear along the top edges of the body is mostly reserved to where the forearm crosses the top of the instrument on the bass side lower bout. There is a bit of more targeted wear central to the back with scuffs and small dings, and these sorts of faint, assorted marks are present across the entire body, but are very minimal. Lacquer checking is also very light and present both vertically and horizontally on the body, but not prominent in the slightest. Lastly, there is a faint halo around the bridge, accenting the edges of the original and included "ashtray" cover.

With the guitar part of the program wrapped, it's worth talking a bit about the tweed Champ that is an integral part of this package and the story of the Gospel Machine. These two have lived together for 60 years and will continue to do so! Aside from a recap of the electrolytics with top quality Sprague capacitors, the amp is also 100% stock and works as well as the day it left the factory. The original yellow Astron caps are present in the preamp, the original transformers are intact, and the chassis itself has a nearly flawless chrome faceplate with all of its stock white silkscreen lettering. While the singular CTS pot in the circuit dates to the 46th week of 1956, the mint tube chart has a "GD" date code which translates to April of '57, and the Oxford 8" speaker dates to the 15th week of 1957 as well. With this in mind, we must assume that the guitar and amp were purchased new in '57 although the guitar is conclusively a '56. The original tweed covering and oxblood grillcloth are both intact, and the tweed shows similar wear to the guitar, as it was clearly well cared for but exhibits scuffs and corner wear consistent with an amp that was ostensibly toured in and around Minnesota.

Completing the package is the original tweed hardshell case with a red plush interior. The case retains clean brown leather ends, three stock and working latches, and a clean and original leather handle. The case is very structurally sound, although one of the back hinges has pulled out and the case will lie fully flat on the ground when you open it. Last, but certainly not least, the stock brown leather strap is included in the case pocket.

The Gospel Machine is a truly unique find and this guitar and its matching Champ have been carefully played and loved over the past 60 years!

*A note on shipping: Shipping in the continental USA will be $190, fully insured through both Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar and the shipper, and sent via FedEx One-Day. The amp will be packed with 1/2" industrial bubble wrap, and 1" hard foam, and double walled boxes will be used for both the guitar and amp. We will happily ship WORLDWIDE, but please contact us for an accurate international shipping quote before bidding or buying, as cost varies by buyer location.

This item is sold As-Described

This item is sold As-Described and cannot be returned unless it arrives in a condition different from how it was described or photographed. Items must be returned in original, as-shipped condition with all original packaging.

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Product Specs

Listed5 years ago
ConditionExcellent (Used)
Excellent items are almost entirely free from blemishes and other visual defects and have been played or used with the utmost care.learn more
Made In
  • United States

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