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1966 Fender Electric XII Vintage 12 String Electric Guitar Sunburst


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Up for sale, a 1966 Fender Electric XII in excellent condition and in perfect working order. Purposefully built to accept the tension of 12 strings (unlike most 12 string guitars built in the 1960s to capitalize on the burgeoning folk craze and British Invasion), the Fender Electric XII was one of the last projects fully realized by Leo Fender before he handed over the keys to CBS. This guitar has a very straight neck and a wide range of tones, providing the player plenty of jangle, chime, and classic Fender clarity. An immediate favorite upon its introduction, you can hear the Electric XII on many classic Beatles, Who, and Zeppelin recordings (including Stairway to Heaven), as well as countless Wrecking Crew LA sessions in the 1960s. This particular instrument is quite well-balanced and notably resonant acoustically, weighing 8lbs 1oz. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar, this Fender XII has been dialed in with fresh D'addario strings, low action, and solid intonation.

The maple neck has a round, chunky C profile carve with ample shoulder at the nut and lightly rolled fretboard edges in every register, gaining only a fraction of additional depth as you travel up the fingerboard, measuring .895" deep a the 1st fret and .910" at the 12th. The Brazilian rosewood fretboard sports pearl dot inlay and original medium jumbos which have their full factory height and plenty of meat, showing only light wear beneath the plain strings on frets 1-5. The guitar plays well in every register, and the truss rod is adjusted for ideal relief, with the truss rod nut flush with the neck heel and necessitating very little adjustment in the last half century. The neck has a full 25 1/2" scale, with a 7 1/4" fretboard radius, and the nut measures 1 9/16" in width (in-line with the "B" nut width on the neck heel which covers a broader range on vintage instruments than the prescribed 1 5/8"). On the headstock, the original "Fender Electric XII" waterslide decal is intact, showing some oxidation of the gold and minor wear. The original chrome "F" tuning machines have minty chrome plating, turn smoothly, and hold pitch as they should. The neck pocket has the correct factory paint stick markings, and the neck heel has a bold 12FEB66B stamp.

All of the electronics work flawlessly, with an ingenious four-way rotary pickup selector switch that singles out each Z coil pickup, in addition to providing options for both pickups in parallel and out-of-phase. The early gray bobbin pickups retain their original windings and covers, with a hand-written date on the bridge pickup bobbin from May of '66. The solder joints are untouched, and the Stackpole pots date to the 45th week of '65. Under the guard, the original routes are unmodified, and the shielding plates are intact in the body and beneath the pickguard. The guitar does have two doweled non-factory holes on the treble-side cutaway with a spot of touchup on each, presumably from some sort of stand used to mount the guitar, which is consistent with the round scuffs on the back of the cutaway. The tortoise pickguard also has two tiny flawless fills adjacent to the switch.

The original hardware is all in great shape, with clean chrome plating on the control plate and bridge base, which boasts 12 original saddles and adjustment screws which all work as they should with only light surface patina on the saddles. Also of note, the original nitrate tortoise pickguard is very clean, with a glossy sheen and a deeper, more dimensional tortoise pattern typically associated with Pre-CBS instruments. The three-tone Sunburst nitro lacquer gloss is bold and unfaded, showing some dings and minor marks on the body perimeter, with one spot of note through the finish on the treble-side cutaway edge. There are some scuffs and wear consistent with careful, honest use on the body as a whole, and the smooth lightly ambered nitro lacquer gloss is intact on the entire neck profile, with just a couple minor marks on the profile length.