a Telecaster-shaped instrument with no visible pickups!
Fender catalogue with pictures of the Fender Esquire.
Leo Fender transposed this to the electric Spanish guitar (which differentiated it from a guitar played with a steel bar.)
The neck was dissimilar in that it had a 3 on a side headstock. Like the models to come, it was attached to the body by four wood screws.
The maple neck on the prototype and on 1950 Esquires did not have a truss rod. Nor did it have a fretboard. The frets were attached directly to the top side of the maple neck. The neck was wider on the prototype than on the production model. The bridge had the same 3 saddles that are still featured on vintage models.
The single pickup was slanted to enhance the bass and treble strings. The pickup was not covered and featured six pole pieces. The prototype lacked a selector switch and the wiring pattern of the Esquire. It was mounted at an angle. The pick guard only covered the bottom portion of the guitars. The prototypes body was made of pine.
Country bands usually consisted of an acoustic player and a steel player, a drummer, a fiddler, an electric guitar player, maybe a banjo player and possibly a string bass player. Leo’s concern was about the electric player. How could he add some versatility to the guitars sound? What if there was no bass player? Could the electric player cover the bass lines?
To solve this, he added a unique three position tone circuit. The third position was the pickup wired directly to the 250k volume potentiometer, but not the tone control. This gave the guitar an added boost and a bright sound. Eddie Van Halen did the same thing to give his home-made guitar a hotter sound.
3.3k resistor which was wired to yet another .05uF capacitor that is wired to ground. This position yielded a fixed bass tone. Fender thought this would allow the guitarist to cover bass lines.
The original Esquire was slightly shallower than the prototype and had a solid ash body. The body had a butterscotch colour and the scratch plate was solid black. The control plate was mounted parallel to the bridge plate.
The Broadcaster and requested that Fender not use the name.
"Telecaster" guitars from this period did not have a model name on the headstock. These have come to be known as Nocasters.
Fender briefly discontinued promoting The Esquire during this period. However it was reintroduced in 1951 and this time it came with a truss rod. The Esquire and The Telecaster now utilized the same bodies. Both were routed out for two pickups.
The Esquire with its one pickup sold for a slightly lower price. A guitarist could easily convert an Esquire to a Telecaster with the purchase of an additional pickup and a Telecaster scratch plate. Many guitars modified their Esquires.
The Esquire remained in the Fender line up until 1969, when it was discontinued due to lack of sales.
Squier Avril Lavigne model, with only one bridge pickup. I suppose this could be construed as an Esquire.
The Esquire is once again being offered in Fenders current line up. I played the new model last week and guarantee it is a beaut!