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Champion/Student model. Serial number 1884.
Arne B. Larson Collection, 1979.
Lap steel guitars were the first instruments produced by the company founded by Leo Fender and Doc Kauffman in 1945. Following Kauffman’s departure in 1946, the company, K&F, was renamed Fender Electric Instrument Co. The Champion/Student model was introduced in late 1949. Unlike the company’s higher-end lap steels, which had stained wooden bodies, the Champion’s was covered in pearloid. A year later, Fender made history with the introduction of the electric solid-body Spanish guitars, the Esquire and Broadcaster (Telecaster), whose success prompted Gibson to bring the Les Paul model to market in 1952.