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Post new topic Confirming the age of this Fender
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Author Topic:  Confirming the age of this Fender
Noah Miller


From:
Rocky Hill, CT
Post  Posted 14 Aug 2019 4:16 pm    
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Gruhn's Guide says the script logo on the plate started in '56 and the dual under-string pickups started in '57, but I know that book is not infallible. The one legible pot code is 1954.

Is 1956-7 the most likely date?


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Bill Sinclair


From:
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 14 Aug 2019 4:56 pm    
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I don't know if this clouds the water any but the original finish Dual-Six Professional I used to own had a block letter logo, dual under-string pickups and a pan cavity date of '56. I'm not sure I understand what the Gruhn Guide means by dual under-string pickups beginning in '57 since the Stringmaster started (I think) in '53. Is '57 when the Trapazoid pickup was discontinued? If that's the case then I'd say your dating is correct.



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K Maul


From:
Mechanicville NY/Hobe Sound FL
Post  Posted 14 Aug 2019 6:01 pm    
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What kind of case does it have? If original, that is almost more accurate than pot codes, unless you find a date under the tuner pan.
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Noah Miller


From:
Rocky Hill, CT
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2019 1:53 am    
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There's some kind of chicken scratch faintly visible under one of the tuner pans, but I can't make out any numbers through the finish. Here's the case:


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Michael Greer


From:
Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2019 2:44 am    
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Noah

Do the numbers on the jack plate (3185) have any significance?

My guitar similar to yours has the number 3494

Mike
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Noah Miller


From:
Rocky Hill, CT
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2019 3:32 am    
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That's the serial, but my understanding is that serials aren't necessarily sequential (or at least not date-able) on Fender steels.
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Bill Sinclair


From:
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2019 5:36 am    
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The last catalog to show the trap pickup guitars was '55. If the script logo plate is original, I'd guess that yours is a late-out-of-the-door '56 model.

https://support.fender.com/hc/en-us/articles/115002476526-Fender-Catalogs-From-1953-to-1979
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Noah Miller


From:
Rocky Hill, CT
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2019 5:43 am    
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Good point, Bill - and that catalog also shows Roman numeral fret markers, so maybe mine really is a "transitional" one from around late '55-early '56.
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Ben Elder


From:
La Crescenta, California, USA
Post  Posted 15 Aug 2019 2:17 pm    
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My DP #2897 is dated 8-54 and came in a leather-ends tweed case (red crushed velvet lining) as in the photo above.
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Scott Thomas


Post  Posted 15 Aug 2019 2:38 pm    
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Noah Miller wrote:
Good point, Bill - and that catalog also shows Roman numeral fret markers, so maybe mine really is a "transitional" one from around late '55-early '56.


I think those Roman numerals were on the earliest Duals, often seen with the first "boxcar" string through type- pickup. These are usually walnut with no holes drilled for legs. I believe yours came well after since that script badge came in later. So I think a '56 date is pretty close!
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post  Posted 16 Aug 2019 3:02 am    
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Noah Miller wrote:
Good point, Bill - and that catalog also shows Roman numeral fret markers, so maybe mine really is a "transitional" one from around late '55-early '56.


You really can't go by the pictures in the catalogues - I think the communication between the sales and production teams must have been minimal at times. There are many oddities in those catalogues - both steel and regular guitars. Also, the catalogs would have probably gone off for printing while the production instruments were still being tweaked.

The combination in the '55 catalog of roman numerals and trapezoid pickups was never a production model. The original oblong boxcar pickups were changed to trapezoid some time after the roman numeral finger boards (ony used on the earliest models) were replaced by the more common style.

I have seen a picture of an example, owned by someone on the forum of the combination shown in the catalog (at Fender where no part was wasted, anything is possible if they found some old parts lurking in the back of a cupboard), but at no time was this the "current" model. The roman numeral fingerboards had been discontinued several years before.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post  Posted 16 Aug 2019 3:12 am     Re: Confirming the age of this Fender
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Noah Miller wrote:
Gruhn's Guide says the script logo on the plate started in '56 and the dual under-string pickups started in '57, but I know that book is not infallible.


Dual under string pickups? Sounds like they are talking about Stringmasters. This is a different (earlier) model - the Dual Professional - so any information about Stringmasters is totally irrelevant.

I don't think they were even still making Dual Pros in 1957.

The pot code only gives a "no earlier than" date - Fender used some batches of pots for years.

The script logo is unusual - I've never seen one on a Dual Pro. Are you sure it's original? The section between the necks looks lighter than the rest of the guitar. Could it have been partially re-finished and a later plate applied?
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Noah Miller


From:
Rocky Hill, CT
Post  Posted 16 Aug 2019 3:26 am    
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It's a rather odd description in the book, as if it was briefly changed to Stringmaster features and then quickly discontinued. I know there are other errors in the book, which is why I defer to you folks.



The finish all appears to be original, as does the rest of the instrument down to the screws and wiring. The screws are tight enough that I don't think they've been pulled out in a long time, if ever. It's a bit odd how the finish has aged, as if there's a thicker clear coat over the necks, but the finish checking is uniform and I'm not seeing any signs of an overspray.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post  Posted 16 Aug 2019 3:41 am    
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Noah Miller wrote:






Yes, they are confusing two different models. The Dual Pro never had "Stringmaster Features" so I'd ignore that bit altogether.

But they might be right about the script logo. Your case looks right for 1956.
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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post  Posted 16 Aug 2019 3:47 am    
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Michael Greer wrote:
Noah

My guitar similar to yours has the number 3494

Mike


Is it also similar in that it has a script logo?
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Michael Greer


From:
Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 16 Aug 2019 5:46 am    
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Scott Thomas


Post  Posted 16 Aug 2019 6:47 am    
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Man, that description is a train wreck of misinformation. Come on, Gruhn! Rolling Eyes
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Aaron Jennings


From:
Montana, USA
Post  Posted 16 Aug 2019 7:59 am    
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Here is my Fender Triple with Roman Numeral Fretboards, Trap Pickups, Legs, and original finish.





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Scott Thomas


Post  Posted 16 Aug 2019 8:32 am    
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There is a rare bird. I know these were supposed to be Walnut or Ash, but that is some unusual grain...more like oak! Someone (Rick Aiello?) has a Dual Pro with a boxcar and trap pickup on the same guitar. If original that is really taking the waste not want not to extremes.

I have seen another (in pictures)with the Roman numeral/traps combo, but I have to go with Jeff Mead on this one. It is weird to see those in the catalogs, since I have been looking at pics of Dual and Customs for years posted here and for sale all over and can only count a handful that I've seen with mixed features.
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John Dahms


From:
Perkasie, Pennsylvania, USA
Post  Posted 16 Aug 2019 11:33 am    
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My Dual Pro # 3406 is Ash (walnut stain), has the same script logo decal (but the block metal tag on the face), traps. position markers. knobs, and case as yours Noah and there was a date under one tuner pan of ?/55 (some 2 digit month of 55).
The ash in some places and what is visible through the leg mount holes is course grained like oak but I am certain it is ash.
If I remember correctly in '56 the knobs became more squared off at the top. I'd call yours a '55.


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Jeff Mead


From:
London, England
Post  Posted 17 Aug 2019 2:08 pm    
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Scott Thomas wrote:
There is a rare bird. I know these were supposed to be Walnut or Ash, but that is some unusual grain...more like oak! Someone (Rick Aiello?) has a Dual Pro with a boxcar and trap pickup on the same guitar. If original that is really taking the waste not want not to extremes.

I have seen another (in pictures)with the Roman numeral/traps combo, but I have to go with Jeff Mead on this one. It is weird to see those in the catalogs, since I have been looking at pics of Dual and Customs for years posted here and for sale all over and can only count a handful that I've seen with mixed features.


One has just turned up in the For Sale section with trap pickups and Roman numerals (it is a re-fin though so does raise the possibility that it didn't leave the factory that way).
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Mark Helm


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post  Posted 20 Aug 2019 8:43 pm     OLd pics
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Noah Miller wrote:
Good point, Bill - and that catalog also shows Roman numeral fret markers, so maybe mine really is a "transitional" one from around late '55-early '56.


That catalogue used older pics. The Roman Numerals were discontinued around 1950. I've had at least one '50 and a few '51-'52s that didn't have the Romans...
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