In the past, Fender has paid homage to its history with precise replicas of certain classics. The company’s 70th Anniversary Esquire, however, honors its debut 1950 electric guitar without being hidebound to the past. Instead, it takes the original and runs with it.
The 1950 Esquire was a one-pickup wonder – a true-blue workhorse designed to wail in California honky-tonks. The 70th Esquire will do all that, and more.
Like the earliest Esquires, the 70th boasts a pine body – though instead of uncured wood, it’s roasted, making it lighter, likely more stable, and (according to Fender) greatly improving resonance. The U-shaped one-piece maple neck is beefy, mimicking the originals with a 7.25″-radius fretboard and 21 vintage-tall frets.
The pickup is designed by renowned Fender engineer Tim Shaw and inspired by one from an original ’50 Esquire from the Songbirds Museum, in Chattanooga. Between its aged body and the hot pickup, the 70th Esquire sounds unique – punchy when the strings are hit hard, yet with a clarity and sting all its own. Some might quickly swap to thicker strings, maybe even flatwounds, to enhance that vintage tone.
The body is finished in nitrocellulose lacquer and offered in special colors – White Blonde or two-color Sunburst with black pickguard, and Lake Placid Blue or Surf Green with white pickguard.
This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.