(see details below). I've never seen one of these with "normal original type humbuckers" (Schaller, both labeled "Bridge" see photos). I worked for a Fender dealer from '79 - '86, and sold a few D'Aquisto models when new. This guitar is in virtually un-played condition. Newer hard case included, as it was acquired without one. (built late 1984/early '85...notice the knobs are Gibson style but Japanese as used on numerous FujiGen built guitars prior to the Fender arrangements. 100% ORIGINAL (except strings!)
Below is a statement from original owner, and THEN some info on the Fender "transition" as well as the D'Aquisto line.
Here's the info from original owner, Rex B. -- I was an engineer at Fender in the mid and late 80's. In engineering, there are always prototypes and samples that have something different about them, and can't be sold as "new". Most are destroyed, but sometimes they went into "MRB" stock and were sold to employees. I bought this D'Aquisto from MRB in about June of 1985. It may have been a sample for Jimmy D'Aquisto's approval, or had modifications he wanted us to implement in the production models: I don't really know. It is essentially in new condition, and has only been played a few minutes since I acquired it. I do know it is a one-of-a-kind and has no serial number.
From the web -THIS FOCUSES ON THE ULTRA MODEL PRIMARILY, but provides timeline for all ---
In 1984 CBS decided they had enough of the musical instrument business and they sold the company. Fortunately for all of us (lovers of Fender guitars that is) they sold the company to a group from in house (Fender employee’s).This group of investors was headed by then president of Fender guitars, William Schultz. Another of these employees was Dan Smith who retired as vice president of Fender. The Master series was conceived by the new management group at Fender and consisted of the Flame (standard, elite, and ultra), the Esprit (standard, elite, and ultra), and finally the D’Aquisto (standard, elite, and ultra). The Flame and Esprit were electrics with chambered bodies.These guitars would in their own right have to be considered “rare” due to the limited numbers manufactured.While a part of this whole Master series, the D’Aquisto line is really in a category of its own. The new management at Fender really cared about guitars (as a matter of fact, I remember hearing that Dan Smith had to sell hisvintage Epiphone Emperor at the time to cover his share of the original buyout!). The point is they decided to go to the man they considered the best builder of his time, JAMES D’AQUISTO! (I’m sure many would say thebest builder of carved arch top guitars EVER.)
He was commissioned to design a line of guitars which he himself described in the Master Series promotion literature as follows: ”I believe that with the technology availabletoday, if a large company could keep a high standard of quality control, and really understand what they are producing, my type of guitar can be made at a price that people can afford”.Now those of you who are familiar with Fender guitar history probably already know that U.S.A. built Fenders at the end of the CBS era are not as highly regarded as earlier or later models. The fact of the matter is in the early 1980′s the best Fender guitars were being built in Japan. It was these guitars that helped to turn the company around. The new management made the decision to have these guitars built in Japan which was considered to be producing the highest quality guitars for Fender at the time. The Corona, Ca. factory was just being completed at this time (and the Fender Custom Shop would not even produce its’ first guitar until June of 1987!)
Fender commissioned Jimmy to design his line of guitars for Fender to be produced in Japan. Like the rest of the Master Series guitars these included the standard (2 p.u. 16″ laminated maple body and top),the elite (1 p.u. 16″ laminated maple body and spruce top; to a jazz player the extra hole and p.u. is a negative feature which is why the single p.u. elite is more desirable and more costly), and finally the top of the line ULTRA.The ultra was to be a completely hand built 17″ solid maple body with solid carved spruce top (because these guitars were all hand carved no two were exactly the same). Unfortunately, since the ultra was completely handbuilt it ended up with a very limited number ever produced due to the high retail cost at the time. According to Dan Smith in a conversation I had with him in the early 1990′s only between 25 and 30 were ever built.(I myself have only seen one of these production model ultras’; at a guitar show in Philadelphia.)Now part of the agreement with Jimmy was that Fender would produce a prototype of at least one of each guitar for his approval before going into production. The first three were of the ultra and they were stamped onthe back of the h.s. with a sequence of 5 numbers ( X 010X). The first number represents the year of production and the last number is the order in which they were built. The first ultra prototype therefore is numbered 4 0101. Now because the prototype model of a guitar can not be sold it is usually given away. After these guitars were approved by James D’Aquisto I believe (I can only speculate) the first one was given to Bill Schultz,previously mentioned president of Fender guitars. The next two found their way into the hands of Dan Smith who was then a vice president at Fender
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