In 1962, Leo Fender was continuing to devise ways to expand his company’s line of musical instruments. Since Fender had revolutionized the solidbody electric guitar in the ’50s, he was hoping to do the same with acoustic guitars in the ’60s. He hired a German-born guitar maker, Roger Rossmeisl, to help design and execute these guitars. Rossmeisl had come to the United States in the late ’40s hoping to build gui- tars for Gibson. After a brief, unsuccessful stay in Michigan, he moved to California, and contributed to Rickenbacker’s most enduring electric-guitar designs before moving on to Fender. Rossmeisl continued working at Fender
Musical Instruments after its sale to CBS
in 1965. He designed not only acoustics,
but also the Coronado semi-acoustics
and Tele Thinlines. In 1968, CBS gave
him the go-ahead to design two high-end
archtop electric jazz guitars: the LTD and
the Montego. The LTD was supposed to
be the ultimate jazz archtop and meant to
rival John D’Angelico’s masterful instruments. It had a carved spruce top, gold
hardware, and one hum-cancelling pickup.
The Montego was a step below with a
pressed spruce top and chrome hardware.
It was available in both single- and dual-pickup versions. Only a small number of
these guitars were made between 1968 and
1972—about 40 LTDs and less than 100
Montegos. The Montego II pictured here
has a hand-signed label numbered 92.
According to the 1969 Fender catalog:
“A magnificent instrument for the profes-
sional or serious musician, the Montego
combines both beauty and performance in a
high-quality, great-sounding guitar.”
As listed in the 1972 catalog, the
Montego’s specs included an “elegantly con-
toured spruce top, specially designed pickups
with handwound hum-cancelling coils—
totally shielded from outside interference,
genuine hand-cut Australian mother-of-pearl
decorative inlays, and the finest materials
and workmanship employed throughout.”
The Montego’s detachable neck is made
of hard-rock maple topped with a curved
ebony fretboard, and its body boasts an
arched spruce top with flamed maple
back and sides. The 1972 Fender price
list shows a Montego II Sunburst at $850,
plus $95 for a case. The current 2012 mar-
ket value is $2,500.
1. Australian mother-of-pearl decorative inlays and binding add elegance to the Montego’s large
2. The hand-signed label indicates this guitar was number 92 of less than 100 ever made.
3. The simple, yet stately Montego tailpiece.
The sources for this article include
Martin Kelly, Terry Foster, and Paul Kelly;
of;Rickenbacker;Electric;Guitars by Tony
Bacon and Paul Day; Fender:;The;Sound
Heard;’Round;the;World by Richard R.
Smith; and The;Fender;Book:;A;Complete
History;of;Fender;Electric;Guitars by Tony
Bacon and Paul Day.
Original price: $850 in 1972, plus $95
for hardshell case
Current estimated market value: $2,500
dAve’S GUi TAr ShoP
Dave Rogers’ collection is tended by Laun Braithwaite
and Tim Mullally and is on display at:
Dave’s Guitar Shop
1227 Third Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601
Photos by Mullally and text by Braithwaite.