Classic Combinations: 1960 Fender Twin & Custom Telecaster

From a sleepy, picturesque corner of Lincolnshire, Norman Mitchell’s Old Hat Guitars has long been supplying players in the know with high-quality vintage gear.

The shop downstairs is not even the half of it – upstairs in his museum, Norman curates a dazzling collection of rare vintage guitars and amplifiers that anyone can see, provided they support a charity close to his heart.

“Anybody can come up here if they make a donation to Cancer Research,” says Norman. “And if it’s a substantial contribution or I like ’em they can play anything as well! It’s a muso’s bolthole…”

In the first in a new series in which we’ll be showcasing some of the highlights of Norman’s collection, this month’s star pairing is a 1960 Fender Custom Telecaster and Twin, both of which have been restored to their original appearance after previous owners had made some ill-advised modifications.

“The guitar was restored by JW Black at Fender,” Norman reveals. “I restored the amplifier to how it should look visually. When I found it in America it had been painted black by its previous owner.

It had a torn fretcloth. But having looked at it in its sad condition for so long, I thought, this has got to go back to how it was. It was only when I stripped the blonde covering off that I discovered it was number three of the first production run by Fender in 1960.

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“The amplifier had more power than the speaker technology at the time was able to cope with. Everybody modified them with JBLs, otherwise the speakers wouldn’t last a day in normal use. But we’ve had some fun with it – if you turn the treble up full with a Telecaster it will slice bacon in the next road. There’s so much cut on it. But it sounds great.”

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