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  1. #1

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    I waited until the second day of Julien’s Auctions hoping to snag a Sadowsky Telecaster type guitar that Walter Becker played “Josie” on when Steely Dan appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman in 1994 (YouTube). When it sold for way more than I would ever consider spending on a rusty guitar with 2 strings ($20,000), I looked ahead in the catalogue and found this. I already had a bad case of GAS for a Tele type, as I have never had one or a Strat either…I’m mostly an archtop guy. I was very happy I had the winning bid ($2880 total plus $250 S&H) when it arrived at my home. I emailed 30th Street Guitars to see what I could learn about it, but they answered that Walter Becker was a regular customer of their’s, and without the guitar in hand they couldn’t tell me anything.
    Walter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-fullsizeoutput_b8d-jpgWalter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-fullsizeoutput_b8f-jpgWalter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-fullsizeoutput_b93-jpgWalter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-fullsizeoutput_b90-jpg
    It plays like butter, and has been aged in a pleasant way to make it seem old. From the cigarette smudges on the headstock with it’s spaghetti logo, to the obligatory belt buckle scratches, the aging of the appearance of the 7 lb.guitar has been tastefully done. There are nicks here and there on the guitar but the back of the neck has been thankfully unmolested. The fretboard indicates wear but has a clear coat over it so it doesn’t feel worn. Taking the neck off reveals some scribbling that would seem to indicate that this was the 5th guitar assembled by the shop in 1988. It has a scratchy volume pot so I will address that but everything else is cool. I was surprised by the amount of fret wear - it seems a bit extreme for relic-ing. Maybe Walter actually played this guitar (out of his collection of over 650)? The guitar has a sticker on the edge of the headstock that says “10’s”. I am speculating that Walter had this on the road with him at one time and his guitar tech labeled the string preference. I have been enjoying this guitar very much and now I understand the Telecaster mystique.
    Walter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-owo-cfmqfk97ttzq93hca-jpgWalter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-pll0j6yqpi2dospj3kzcg-jpgWalter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-x6to4llyrm-qz5v6snxu3g-jpgWalter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-iltdhhyq1qlp5q9yqbvsq-jpgWalter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-fullsizeoutput_ba1-jpegWalter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-fullsizeoutput_ba0-jpgWalter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-fullsizeoutput_b19-jpeg
    Walter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-fullsizeoutput_bc5-jpg

    Attached Images Attached Images Walter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-6vqptf08tyod4lstg9wvia-jpg Walter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-fullsizeoutput_b8e-jpg 
    Last edited by Easy2grasp; 11-14-2019 at 10:38 AM. Reason: Add photo
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  3. #2

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    The neck is an Allparts neck. Is the body a Fender body? Any details about the pickups?

  4. #3

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    You actually got a good deal on that one! Nice job. Something tells me you stumbled onto somehting really cool at a good price. Win!

  5. #4

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    Those bridge saddles are really interesting. I wonder who made them. ...and that looks like a brass nut! woohoo!
    Last edited by Hammertone; 11-10-2019 at 03:32 AM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  6. #5

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    Sweet! Congratulations, and play it in good health!
    Best regards, k

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone View Post
    This one? Those bridge saddles are really interesting:
    That's the guitar. Not sure where those figures came from, but it was $2250 at the gavel and $2880 total out of pocket. I did get hosed on the shipping - $250!
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  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter View Post
    The neck is an Allparts neck. Is the body a Fender body? Any details about the pickups?
    I'm not aware of how one determines if it is a fender body. Also, I have not disassembled the electronics. It sounds good to me - I am sure they didn't cut corners for a customer like Walter.
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  9. #8

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    30th street guitars was indeed part of the nyc studio/session scene...the main building for rehearsal rooms & studios and allsorts was right there...so becker no doubt could have been a regular there to the shop...they catered to that!...

    funny (tho very nyc) they can't give you info with all those great pics!!..tho im sure the people involved are long gone...unfortunately these things were not well documented...nobody really knew that people would be studying these clues decades later...

    fender decal might scare them as well!! copyright copyright

    anyways, nice lookin tele..allparts necks were nice...enjoy the steely history..and play it well

    cheers

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy2grasp View Post
    That's the guitar. Not sure where those figures came from, but it was $2250 at the gavel and $2880 total out of pocket. I did get hosed on the shipping - $250!
    I see. What they refer to as the "winning bid" in their auction summary has their premium and online charge built into it. OK, based on this, they did not charge you any sales tax. Shipping certainly appears to have been first-class at that price:
    Attached Images Attached Images Walter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-lot-848-jpg 
    Last edited by Hammertone; 11-07-2019 at 11:03 AM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  11. #10

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    Nice! A great acquisition. I’d love to say I owned that one!

  12. #11

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    ps- fender bodies were very hard to come by...unless repurposed from another..chances are body was a mighty mite or allparts...warmoth usually had brand etched into neck pocket..those days was difficult to find parts!!!

    similar reason why the great jimmy d'aquisto used guild large sized humbuckers!! they were local and available to him!!!


    cheers

  13. #12

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    Wow, congrats on a special instrument.

  14. #13

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    This is really cool. Congrats! Can we get some sound clips?....
    On the Turntable: Steve Reich - Phases (box set), Fred Frith Guitar Quartet - Ayaya Moses
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  15. #14

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    What a great guitar with a great story...Congrats! You know you're going to have to learn to play Josie, if you don't already know how to play it!

    And I'm not surprised that 30th St. Guitars offered no help. Since they moved to 27th, the magic is gone. I like to go in there to see how long I can be ignored - 10 minutes is my record...and that's with two guys standing behind the counter talking about their weekend.
    I never practice my guitar — from time to time I just open the case and throw in a piece of raw meat. - Wes Montgomery
    Gibson ES-335 | Gibson ES-175 | Fender Stratocaster | Martin HD-28V

  16. #15

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    Easy2grasp: Congrats on the Tele! I tried for several guitars during the auction and kept getting outbid. I finally got a Strat replica, also from 30th Street Guitars. Never thought I'd buy an artificially reliced guitar, but, extenuating circumstances...Anyway, the setup and feel of this one is exceptional, nice neck, good tremolo, etc. I also contacted 30th Street guitars for more info, Matt said it likely had Lollars or similar in it when built, but "Walter was a tinkerer and constantly was changing pickups." I haven't dissected it yet.
    Attached Images Attached Images Walter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-img_6581-jpg Walter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-img_6593-jpg 
    Last edited by John_ByTheSea; 11-14-2019 at 07:54 AM.

  17. #16

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    [QUOTE=John_ByTheSea;988731]Easy2grasp: Congrats on the Tele! I tried for several guitars during the auction and kept getting outbid. I finally got a Strat replica, also from 30th Street Guitars. Never thought I'd buy an artificially reliced guitar, but, extenuating circumstances...Anyway, the setup and feel of this one is exceptional, nice neck, good tremolo, etc. I also contacted 30th Street guitars for more info, Matt said it likely had Lollars or similar in it when built, but "Walter was a tinkerer and constantly was changing pickups." I haven't dissected it yet.[/QUOTE

    Totally cool looking Strat! Congrats! Thanks for including the eye candy pics. I was wondering if your frets were "relic'ed" by 30th St. I haven't shown it to my guitar tech/luthier yet, but I am trying to figure out if any or all of the fret wear is legitimate on my 30th street Tele that belonged to Walter. Thanks!

    Ted E

    Walter Becker’s 1952 Telecaster replica by 30th Street Guitars of NYC-fullsizeoutput_bd1-jpg
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  18. #17

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    No fret wear at all on mine. The fretboard show some authentic looking minor wear in the right light. Hardly noticeable, total contrast to the heavy relicing on the body. I really wanted the '51 reissue Tele from Japan (it said chambered?), or Don Mare's Tele. Yours is really well done. Mine is a bit overdone, I think, and the pickguard doesn't seem a good match. But, there may have been another pickguard on it when he got it. I feel really fortunate to have it, I love it!

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by John_ByTheSea View Post
    Easy2grasp: Congrats on the Tele! I tried for several guitars during the auction and kept getting outbid. I finally got a Strat replica, also from 30th Street Guitars. Never thought I'd buy an artificially reliced guitar, but, extenuating circumstances...Anyway, the setup and feel of this one is exceptional, nice neck, good tremolo, etc. I also contacted 30th Street guitars for more info, Matt said it likely had Lollars or similar in it when built, but "Walter was a tinkerer and constantly was changing pickups." I haven't dissected it yet.
    Best regards, k