1952 Fender Esquire

Pictured is a 1953 Fender Esquire identical to a 52
Photo courtesy Gruhn Guitars

Due to an old photo of Scotty and his friend James Lewis from around 1953 showing Scotty on a porch with his Fender it had been mistakenly identified as an Esquire and the error has propagated over the years as such.  Recently alternate photos have surfaced which revealed the guitar to actually have been a Telecaster, complete with the neck pickup.

James Lewis and Scotty with what was thought to be a Fender Esquire (1953)
Photo Scotty Moore

The 1952 Fender Esquire featured a solid ash body finished in butterscotch blond, 21 fret bolt-on maple neck,  single coil bridge position pickup, volume and tone control and 3 way switch (position one - no tone control; position two - full tone control; position three - full bass, no tone control). Essentially a single pickup version of the Fender Telecaster, the Esquire was originally introduced in 1950 and was Fender's first electric solid body guitar (the very early ones were offered in single and double pickup configurations).

page added October 2002

Harold L. McKinley's 1952 Esquire
Photo courtesy Harold McKinley

Recently we were contacted by Harold McKinley of Memphis who wrote:

For several months now I have tried to get to Scotty Moore through Sun Studio's but no help. In the middle 1950s I purchased the above guitar from Mr. Ed Fitzpatrick, OK Houck Music Company, Memphis, Tennessee and was told at the time that it had been traded in by a Elvis group and I'm sorry to say that I hardly knew who Elvis was at that time. Mr. Fitzpatrick has long passed. During all these years I have wondered about whom owned this guitar and just recent ran across the Scotty Moore's site on the inter net and began to put 2 and 2 together. I am almost 100% convinced that this could be the 52 Fender he owned.

I have no paper work and no serial #, the bridge only says patent pending. The guitar is a 52 model. My strongest belief that it could be Scotty's is that the internet article is quoted that Scotty purchased his Gibson ES-295 from Mr. Fitzpatrick at OK Houck Co. around 1953 or 1954 no other information. I do not remember ( to long ago) the date or year I acquired the Guitar but it was sometime in the mid 50's. One marking that would be recognized quickly is that someone before me installed a second pickup. I never learned to play but note the neck which shows that the guitar was played a great deal.

I am sure if that is true he would be happy to know that it is still around and I would be very pleased to know the original owner to be Scotty Moore and receive authorization of being the first owner. I understand the privacy but I am sure he would be interested in knowing it is still around if it is his.

Harold L. McKinley
September 2, 2010

Harold sent us several high quality photos of his guitar and after Scotty viewed them I'm sorry to report that Scotty said that this was not his guitar. He said he only had his for a short time before trading it into Houck's in preference of a full body guitar that he felt he could better hold onstage. His had no modifications and very little wear.  He also said that his guitar preceded any association with Elvis and at the time he himself had never heard of Elvis Presley so wonders how it could possibly be a (re)selling point by Ed.

Unfortunately since no substantial documentation with corresponding serial numbers exists with either party there is absolutely no way to authenticate it as even bought at Houck's let alone ever belonging to Scotty. However, it is still a 1952 Fender Esquire and though modified somewhat is still a valuable instrument in its own right.

James V. Roy
October 10, 2010


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