Fender Starcaster Gene Fields Prototype


Gene Fields was a pedal steel guitar enthusiast and builder before getting hired by Leo Fender himself to work in the Fender R&D department in 1961. He spent 17 of his 23 years at Fender in that department while working on many classic Fender designs along with legendary guitar designer Roger Rossmeisl. Gene was one of the lead designers on the Starcaster model of the 1970s. 

I found the polaroids of this exact guitar on the website for the company Gene started after leaving Fender (Gene Fields Industries). I asked around but couldn't find anyone who had seen it in the last twenty years. I was shocked when I saw this guitar come up for sale and eagerly compared it to guitar in Gene's pictures. I was happy to find that all of the grain lines and features match exactly except for the faded out dark outer edge of the Sunburst finish. Gene's son-in-law described the guitar as the "original prototype that Fender let him keep". We don't have any data on whether or not it was the very first Starcaster or one of the first. There are pictures of at least one other prototypical Starcaster but it has yet to surface.

Make and Model: Fender Starcaster

Year: Unknown. The serial number range 275xxx was used in 1969, but this guitar was not likely made during that year. The only potentiometer that wasn't covered by a can had solder over the date codes. 

Prototype Features: No master volume, mix of nitro and poly finish, solid carved Maple top and back, wide range humbuckers mounted on foam like Jazzmaster/Jaguar, no model name on the headstock, Coronado style neck side strap button.

Condition: Fade and checking are present, but clean with very few playing hours on it. The neck is straight, the frets are unworn, and it plays very nicely. The neck is shimmed with a custom shim which is far more stable than the micro tilt adjustment. The treble side of the neck pocket took a knock at some point but the damage was only cosmetic. 

Case: Correct Starcaster case included but it's not original to this guitar. 

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