Bogus QuoQuo Guitars in Time

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Timeline
 
1968:

Francis's guitar can be seen in all its 'sunburst' glory, complete with original ash-tray bridge and top-hat switch tip, on the 1968 promo for Technicolour Dreams. Even the famous 'hole' has yet to be drilled.

1970:

Quo release Down the Dustpipe. The guitar is still a 'sunburst', although looking decidedly the worse for wear! The original bridge is still there, but the switch tip is missing. The 'hole' has now been drilled! A burn mark can be seen on the scratch plate.

1971:

Francis has completed the famous green transformation by the time of the Tune to the Music promo. The original bridge has gone, and has been replaced by the tune-o-matic and tailpiece.

1972:

Photographs taken at the Great Western Festival clearly show that Rossi's guitar still has the original 'jack cup'.

1973:

No noticeable changes in the pictures taken at Reading this year. Well, there is one... either he's given the old one a good clean or Francis has fitted a new scratch plate!

1974:

Quo play Wembley during the 'Quo' tour, and this is my first record of Rick using his white Telecaster. At this stage the guitar is still fitted with the original 'ash-tray' bridge.

Rossi's original 'jack-cup' has been replaced by a 4-screw plate.

1975:

The archive footage taken in Madrid during the 'On The Level' tour show that Rick's guitar has now been fitted with the tailpiece bridge. No ferrules have been fitted behind the bridge at this stage. This is one of the last times you'll see the top-hat switch tip on Rick's guitar!

1977:

Photographs taken on tour this year show that Rick's guitar still has the original 'jack-cup' in place.

1980:

Photographs still show no ferrules on Rick's guitar, and the original 'jack-cup' is still in place.

1984:

The End of the Road, and a couple of changes can be seen on Rick's guitar. Ferrules have now been added behind the bridge, and the 'jack-cup' has been switched to a 4-screw plate.

Francis adds a 'grip-wheel' to his volume control.

1985:

Quo play Live Aid. No change on either guitar.

 

1986:

Quo release Rollin' Home, and the single cover (left) gives a lovely close-up of both guitars.... 

1986: (Continued..)

... as does this year's tour programme, as it presents details of the Quo Armoury!

1988:

Francis ditches the 'grip-wheel'.

1991:

Francis replaces the original pick-ups with Fender Lace Sensors, and also swaps the single butterfly string guide on the headstock for two circular guides.

1993:

A narrow Stratocaster style black switch tip appears on Rossi's guitar for the first time.

1995:

Francis swaps the tune-o-matic bridge for a G&L saddle-lock unit.

At the same time an extra fret is squeezed onto the end of the finger board.

2000:

The August issue of Guitarist magazine includes a terrific feature on Quo and their guitars, with some amazing photographs to boot!

2002:

Rick begins to use a 'Lego' wheel on his volume control knob.

Francis reverts to an original 'top-hat' style switch tip.

2007:

Francis replaces the 'Blue' Lace Sensor pickup in the neck position with a Seymour Duncan 'Cool Rails' humbucker. A black Graphtec nut and strings guides also appear for the first time.

     
     
  Dating the Guitars  
Given the availability of classic archive footage, its not too hard to track back through the 'development' of the famous Status Quo Telecasters.

However, what is a little more tricky is the dating of when the guitars were actually made by Fender. This has been the subject of debate on many a Quo message board forum!

Unfortunately, Tony has never been lucky enough to see the guitars in a state that would reveal their secrets, so we can only go on the visible clues, and what we have been told by the Quo guitar technicians - and by Francis himself!

Face Value

If we work on the assumption that when these guitars first appeared with the band all the key parts on both guitars were original, the dating of the two main Quo Teles is fairly straight forward.

Both guitars have an 'F-series' serial number, but only Rick's guitar carried the 'Transition' logo, so 'Job done'.

The earliest 'F-series' serial numbers didn't appear until 1965. 'Transition' logos didn't begin to appear until very late on in 1965, and lasted a little over a year.

So this dates Francis's guitar as a 1965, and Rick's as a likely 66 (perhaps even a 1965 or 1967).

Digging Deeper

We've been told that Rick's is a 1965, which fits the above model (just!) so we'll leave it at that.

(However, it does still present some unanswered questions such as why domed brass control knobs from the 1950s are on a mid-1960s Fender?!?)

Its the dating of Francis's guitar that appears to present the biggest area for doubt, since the great man himself has always claimed that his guitar was made in the late 1950s.

Before his claims are dismissed, it needs to be remembered that he did strip his guitar down, and would have seen any date markings on the body.

In addition, two of the last three Quo guitar technicians have told us that Francis's guitar is dated 1959. These guys know what they're talking about, and would also have had access to the 'hidden clues' on many occasions.

Finally, one date we know as a fact is that on the original bridge pickup, which was removed when the Lace Sensors were fitted in 1991. We've been told that it is marked with a date of 1958. It would seem strange that Fender would use a 7 year old pickup in a new guitar!?!

There is no doubt that the neck dates from 1965, and that the neck plate and dual-line Kluson tuners are original to the neck, so we can only wonder if the guitar is in fact a hybrid...

 

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