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The very collectable Coronado line of Fenders were an interesting line introduced in 1966, and were the first of Roger Rossmeisl's designs for Fender. Rossmeisl, the son of a German luthier, had worked for Gibson in Michigan, then Rickenbacker in California, where he made some one-off custom guitars as well as designing the Capri and Combo ranges. He also influenced other guitar-makers, notably Mosrite of California. The Coronados were available as a Coronado I with a single pickup, and the Coronado II with two pickups, and finally the Coronado XII which was essentially a Coronado II with 12 strings. The models were deleted from the Fender line in 1971. Pickups are great-sounding De-Armond pickups, with the Coronados being the first guitars for which Fender out-sourced from another manufacturer.

(Interestingly, it was Rossmeisl, in collaboration with Fender's product manager, Virgilio 'Babe' Simoni, who came up with the Telecaster thinline in 1968, with its three hollowed-out chambers.)

This Fender electric twelve string is in excellent condition. The original and rare custom transparent (Tangerine Red?) nitrocellulous finish is in great shape with only slight paint wear along the top edge of the body. There is wear through to wood on the back of the neck. The neck is smooth and a pleasure to play. The binding has yellowed nicely with age and is in very good condition.

Serial number is 181683, and the neck butt is stamp-dated 14 Feb 67 B. This vintage Fender is all original, and in amazingly good condition.

Now to a very interesting aspect; there is a factory stamp on the back of the headstock that reads 'SPECIAL' (see the close-up photograph in the 'more pictures' link below). In the mid '60s, the necks (and occasionally bodies) were sometimes factory-stamped "SPECIAL", "DEMO", or "NAMM". SPECIAL stamps are the most common, and were promotional instruments given away by Fender. DEMO stamped guitars were salesman samples they took on the road to show dealers, and NAMM stamped guitars were for exhibition at the NAMM shows. These stamps tend to appear most on 1966-1967 Coronado and Electric 12 instruments (first years of production of a new model, so the promotion was heavy).

So that begs the question; with the SPECIAL stamp, and the unbelievably attractive translucent, orange/red (with an almost metallic 'sheen' to it) custom finish, just for whom was this guitar first made? Any information readers can provide will be graciously accepted! Was it a deliberate attempt to woo an existing Gretsch player away? (The colour is like a Gretsch on steroids! While Cherry was a Coronado colour, this guitar can in no way be described as Cherry (which is a lot darker). Interestingly, in 1967 DuPont custom colors became an option on Coronado guitars, only to be dropped in 1969.)

Whatever the answer, this is a seriously cool and attractive vintage Fender, and one which is very different to any Coronado I have ever seen before.

No case came with this guitar, but I will be actively searching for a suitable vintage case. A suitable new case can be supplied at cost.

Sold to John

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