1969 Fender Villager 12-String 000-Size Flattop Guitar

A friend of mine sent this up for service and it's the cleanest Villager I've seen yet. The vast majority of these old Fender 12-strings have been mucked-up and abused and left to get nicked, dinged, and damaged. This one, however, has lived in its original Victoria Luggage Company case its entire life and so has only suffered one small hairline crack and the usual (and plentiful) finish cracking that these always get. The finish itself still shows-off an "almost new" coloration of ivory-white-cream to the spruce top. It really hasn't gotten a lot of UV to darken it.

For those not in the know, these were in-house Fender products built by the company in California. They feature bolt-on necks, solid spruce tops, and ply mahogany back and sides. The necks are medium-depth C like an old Strat neck with a steep fretboard radius (roughly 7" or so) and in this 12-string format, that makes this one of the most easily-playable 12-string necks I've had my paws around. They're long scale and because of that and its interaction with the bracing (it's a more acutely-angled x-bracing that I've not seen in any other make), these guitars have a very specific tone that I really, really like. It's mids-forward with a woody, chunky sound and lots of "jingle-jangle" on the high-end. The lows are chunky and crisp but not bloomy.

Work of mine included a fret level/dress, one hairline crack repair on the top, new relocated screwholes for the neck bolts to get the neck and saddle aligned with one another, a bridge reglue (which was basically its first real gluing as Fender glued it on top of the finish on this one rather than to the wood), new fully-compensated rosewood saddle, and a good setup. It plays perfectly with 3/32" EA and 1/16" DGBE action at the 12th fret and I've used a "Jake custom 12-string" set of strings gauged 20w/46w, 14/36w, 11/26w, 8/18w, 13/13, 10/10. This gives it an electric-12 tension and feel and takes as many extra pounds of tension I could off of the neck as possible by lightening-up the octave strings which really don't need heavier gauges to sound good.

Specs are: 25 1/2" scale, 1 3/4" nut width, 1 9/16" string spacing at the nut, 2 3/8" spacing at the bridge, 14 7/8" lower bout width, 11 3/4" upper bout, and 4" side depth at the endblock.

Woods are: solid spruce top, ply mahogany back and sides, maple neck, rosewood fretboard and bridge. It's all-original save the new saddle.

The neck has a 1969 stamp on its heel.

I made sure that I got a nice, tall saddle on this guitar so it has plenty of adjustment room for future settling. I also added string-ramps behind the saddle to keep back-angle on it nice and tidy well into the future, too.

The faux-pearl dots hide factory bridge bolts (which were all that held it on, basically).

I love the tuners!