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There have been countless solid body electric guitar designs over the years, but only one was first: the Fender Esquire. Making its debut in 1950, the mass-produced six string, with just a single-cutaway pine body, bolt-on maple neck and a lone, repurposed lap-steel pickup in the bridge position, changed the guitar world forever.

But more than merely being there at the beginning, the Esquire has remained an integral part of the guitar conversation ever since. It’s the guitar that Luther Perkins used to create the boom-chicka-boom sound while backing Johnny Cash, and that Syd Barrett employed to journey into the great psychedelic unknown with Pink Floyd. Paul McCartney played one on the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” and Steve Cropper used his to record Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay.” You hear it on Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” and see it on the cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run. The word “iconic” is overused and often abused. Make no mistake—the Fender Esquire is iconic.

A Classic, Reimagined

Now, to celebrate 70 years of that legendary status, the original one-pickup wonder is back and better than ever. The 70th Anniversary Esquire combines classic looks, feel and sound with modern touches, beginning with a roasted pine body that offers the same lightweight comfort and punchy, complex tone as the earliest models, but is here upgraded with Fender’s roasting treatment for improved resonance and coated in a gloss nitrocellulose lacquer for easy playability.

That nitro finish extends to the comfortable, thick “U” maple neck, topped with a maple fingerboard with 21 vintage tall frets and black dot markers. Hardware and accessories include a three-saddle American Vintage Strings-Through-Body Tele bridge with solid barrel steel saddles, a bone nut and vintage-style tuners.

Take It To the Bridge

But if there’s one feature that most defines the Esquire, it’s the guitar’s single bridge pickup. Working in conjunction with a unique wiring schematic, it lends the instrument a unique, attention-grabbing sound—percussive, responsive and rich—all its own. Here, the Esquire’s distinctive calling card is represented by a Tim Shaw Designed single coil, inspired by an original ’50 Esquire from Songbirds Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Shaw pickup is controlled by master volume and tone knobs, as well as, in classic Esquire fashion, a three-position blade switch that offers a range of sonic options, including preset treble roll off and the ability to engage or bypass the tone control.

To top it off, the guitar is presented in a choice of four eye-catching finishes that range from the traditional and timeless (White Blonde, 2-Color Sunburst) to the cool and contemporary (Lake Placid Blue, Surf Green). No matter which you choose, the 70th Anniversary Esquire is an exceptional and upgraded celebration of the original single-cutaway, single-pickup classic. Rock ‘n’ roll starts—and lives on—right here.