Fender, Guitar Center Announce Vintage Collector Series 1955 Relic Telecasters

New, limited-edition guitars are based on Joe Bonamassa's ultra-rare 1955 sunburst Tele.
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The Fender Custom Shop and Guitar Center have teamed up to unveil the Vintage Collector Series 1955 Relic Telecaster, two (very) limited-edition guitars based on Joe Bonamassa's ultra-rare 1955 sunburst Tele.

The two-tone sunburst finish was first introduced by Fender in 1954, and was used almost entirely on Stratocasters. However, a select few Telecasters of the time were also given the distinctive finish.

“In the 20+ years that I’ve been in the vintage business, I’ve seen two,” Jack Hetherington, Guitar Center's Director of Vintage and Used Gear, said in a press release. When a 1955 sunburst Tele showed up recently at a Guitar Center, Hetherington had only one customer in mind: blues guitarist and noted collector Joe Bonamassa.

"I look for the extraordinary in the sea of ordinary," Bonamassa said in a statement. "I like things that are unique—whether they’re rare, really clean, really beat up… I’ll just get a text from Jack or Nick (Vintage Acquisition Manager at Guitar Center) and it’ll randomly be a Sunburst Telecaster from 1955.”

With the guitar in Bonamassa's hands, Guitar Center decided to team up with the Fender Custom Shop for two new additions to Guitar Center’s Vintage Collector Series, the 1955 Relic Telecaster and the Special Mod 1955 Relic Telecaster.

Both guitars were built by Fender Master Builder Yuriy Shishkov, and feature an ash body, a soft "V" neck shape with 7.25" radius maple fingerboard, 21 vintage frets, a vintage bridge and a single-ply parchment pickguard. They also feature two hand-wound pickups and 3-way switch.

The 1955 Relic Telecaster is limited to just 15 instruments, and includes a case, plus a special Certificate Of Authenticity signed by Bonamassa himself. The Special Mod 1955 Relic Telecaster is limited to only 40 instruments exclusive to Guitar Center, and also features a special twist of a 3-tone sunburst that was non-existent on Fender Telecasters of that era.

The 1955 Relic Telecaster is available now for $7,545, and the Special Mod 1955 Relic Telecaster is available now for $4,650.

For more info, stop by guitarcenter.com.

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