1984 Fender Esprit Standard, (front), (headstock), (back). Fairly rare model, especially scarce in recent years. Finished in "Autumn Burst" with the top in stunning condition. Although I'm always actively searching for these, I've only had around 8 Elite/Flame models in the past 10 years. The Esprit was the predecessor to the Robben Ford Signature Model, which was basically the same guitar in a custom shop version (pic of Robben with Esprit Ultra). Fender had been trying to steal a portion of Gibson's market for many years, namely a guitar with dual humbuckers on a double-cutaway body; guitars like the Coronado, Wildwood, Starcaster, etc. In the mid-80's Fender's effort was the "Master Series", which included the semi-solidbody Flame and Esprit , and the D'Aquisto hollowbodies, all having with 3 models in each line (Standard, Elite, & Ultra), differing by hardware and cosmetic appointments. The Esprit, was basically identical to the Flame but in a slightly (14" vs. 13") larger symmetrical body (Flame was slightly asymmetrical). The Standard was the base model with single ply body binding, neck and headstock binding, simple Les Paul style controls (dual hums, dual Vol-tone, 3-way), dot inlays, rosewood fretboard, metal tuner buttons, and an excellent "three-axis" (including side-to-side spacing) Schaller tuneomatic bridge and stopbar tailpiece. Other features of the Esprit Standard include tone-chambered Alder body with carved maple top and set-neck, 3-pc maple neck with rosewood fretboard, 24 3/4" scale (same as Gibson), flat 12" radius, an special Schaller humbuckers. The tone chambered body was credited with the Esprit's traditional archtop top, with none of the feedback problems of F-hole type guitars, but the same resonance and sustain--and fuller, rounder tone. The Schaller humbuckers are very highly regarded and are found only on this series. They're splitable, should you ever wish to add a switch or push-pull pot, and feature different spacing for neck and bridge, plus a extra windings on the bridge pickup for a "hotter, mellower sound", while the neck pickup was designed with a higher resonant frequency for clear, lush, rhythm sounds. The Master Series had a brief run, with the Esprit officially produced from ca. '84 to '86 but actual production run was less than 2 years. Total production for this model is said to be only around 4,000 units. Here's a good site for the Master Series -http://www.masterseriesguitars.com - with a lot of info on all of the models. As you can see in the pics, this Ultra, finished in Autumn Burst, is more of a player than a museum piece which I chalk up to perhaps one careless night since the frets are perfect, the top is immaculate, but the back has some dings and gouges in the finish, the worst being a small area in the cutaway which we refinished and lacquered over (see pic here). It does not have any cracks or other serious issues and is, overall, in beautiful condition. If you like low action - this is your guitar. With the strings slotted low at the nut, the action starts out low at the 1st fret and stays low all the way up the neck. It is, simply put, a phenomenal playing guitar. Esprit's have become highly prized guitars, due to their rarity and the fact that they're great guitars, with clean examples going $1500 and up, and a lot of guys trying to get that for well-worn examples on Ebay. If don't mind some dings on the back side only, you will love this guitar. For $1250 you're getting a guitar that plays exceptionally well, sounds excellent, and even looks fine from the audience perspective. Includes hardshell case. The original manual is downloadable at Fender's site here.
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