The Greatest Guitar Finds: Crazy For Coral

As you may well know, buying for our shop has given me some of my life’s most extraordinary tales and adventures. This story takes us back to the early 2010s in New Jersey with my former business partner, Richie, at We Buy Guitars. 

On November 30th, 2013, we received a call from our friend at a small guitar shop in New Jersey. Upon answering the phone, they told us they were with the original owner of a “guitar you just absolutely have to come and see.” We asked for more information, but he insisted that we come to see it in person. So, in true guitar hunter fashion, we arranged to get out there the following day to see it. We drove down and met a gentleman in his mid 60’s holding a Tweed Fender case in his hand, along with a little Fender Tweed Champ Amplifier, both virtually brand new in condition. You can imagine our initial reaction, I am sure. But when he opened up the case, our heads nearly exploded. What lay before us was a guitar and a custom color that we had never seen before.

While we immediately knew it was a 1956 Fender Esquire, the color had us stumped. It was a cross between rosy pink and salmon and was certainly not offered by Fender regularly. We proceeded to take the guitar apart to confirm its authenticity, and while we did, he told us how he came to have this guitar.

The original owner grew up playing an acoustic guitar, though by the time he was a teenager, he really wanted an electric guitar. For his birthday, his mom took him to their local New Jersey music store to buy an inexpensive, solid-body guitar. While looking at Fender Esquire options, this pink-toned one was on the shelf. The store owner explained to his mom that someone had custom ordered this guitar in this color, though when the guitar came in, the customer didn’t like it. He wound up breaking the deal and leaving the guitar behind at the music store. Due to this, they now had this piece in their inventory in a color that was relatively unpopular at the time due to its “feminine” nature. His mom proceeded to bargain with the store owner for $10 off of the asking price of the pink Esquire. The original owner was pretty upset about it at the time, he recalls. He didn’t want a pink guitar either! But lucky him…he wound up with one of the rarest Esquires we’ve seen to date! 

1956 Fender Esquire with the original owner moments before we purchased the guitar!

We purchased this one-of-a-kind Esquire that day along with the Champ Amplifier. We discovered that the color looked exactly like “Tahitian Coral”, an uber-rare color seen on a 1954 Stratocaster rumored to have been owned by Wanda Jackson. Coincidentally, we also have this Strat now, allowing for a side-by-side comparison of the two and we have to say, they look identical. The color is also very close to Ford’s 1954-1955 Cameo Coral (Ditzerler #70455). With 50s custom finishes it is always hard to say. What we will say is that this is one of the rarest colors we have ever seen on a vintage instrument. The finish is truly a custom color, made before Fender offered standardized custom finishes.

1954-1955 Ford Colors by Ditzler Automotive Finishes

We are very thankful that throughout our years of business, we have kept detailed buying records of every instrument that passed through our hands. Having gotten the chance to buy and sell this piece again, I would be remiss not to share this incredible story with you all. For more information on this guitar, please call us at 516.221.0563 today!