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Ultra-rare Fender/Yater Hawaii “teardrop” Jazzmaster and “pintail” Strat and Tele prototypes go under the hammer

(Image credit: Bonhams)

Three rare Fender/Yater Hawaii electric guitar prototypes are up for sale as part of Bonhams’ TCM Presents… California Dreaming: Surf and Skate in Film and Popular Culture online-only auction.

The models – a pintail Telecaster, pintail Stratocaster and teardrop Jazzmaster – combine Fender shapes with a “surf sensibility,” and never made it out of the prototype stage, making them the only three in existence.

The guitars were conceived by Skateboard Hall of Famer and Santa Barbara Surf Museum owner James O’Mahoney, and were intended to bring together the legacies of Leo Fender and surfboard legend Reynolds Yater, who were rumored to have spoken of a collaboration in the mid-1950s.

(Image credit: Bonhams)

In 2008, O’Mahoney called on three craftsmen to build the prototypes using Reynolds Yater-shaped bodies. The rosewood necks were made by late Fender luthier Phil Kubicki, who also built George Harrison’s rosewood Telecaster and Jimi Hendrix’s rosewood Strat, as well as created the Factor Bass.

The finishes are by Jim Lombard, the electronics by Seymour Duncan and the flamed maple cap on the teardrop Jazzmaster by Paul Schürch. 

The Jazzmaster (opens in new tab) features a Tobacco Sunburst flamed maple body, rosewood neck with mother-of-pearl dot markers and ebony center strip, three-layer black pickguard, two black pickups and floating tremolo and comes in a custom aluminum case.

(Image credit: Bonhams)

The Strat (opens in new tab) boasts a coral-colored finish with extended shaped tail, rosewood neck with maple center strip, three single coil pickups, a white pickguard and gold hardware and is signed by Yater on the back.

The Tele (opens in new tab), meanwhile, boasts a black single cutaway slab body with extended shaped tail, rosewood neck with birds-eye maple center strip, white pickguard, two single coil pickups and gold hardware and is signed by Yater on the back.

(Image credit: Bonhams)

The Strat and Tele have an opening bid of $15,000, while the Jazzmaster is set at $25,000.

The California Dreaming auction ends on August 12. For more information, head to Bonhams (opens in new tab).

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Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.