Fender Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar (1952)

Fender  Telecaster Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1952)
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$42,000.00 + shipping
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Item # 9154
Prices subject to change without notice.
Fender Telecaster Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1952), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 3498, Blonde lacquer finish, ash body, maple neck, original brown hard shell case.

This is a great example of a "Blackguard" Telecaster -- the guitar that put Leo Fender on the map for all time -- built at the company's original cinder-block factory in Fullerton, California towards the end of 1952. It retains all the classic '52 Tele features: the one-piece maple neck, aged "butterscotch" blonde-finished ash body, lacquered black fiber pickguard, brass bridge saddles, and of course the original black-bobbin hand wound pickups with a sound for the ages!

This guitar carries the serial number 3498 stamped into the bridgeplate, with a neck date of 11-19-52 in pencil on the heel alongside the initials of Fender's Tadeo Gomez, who signed most of the Telecasters of this period. The body carries a date mark of 11-11-52 in the neck cavity, with the penciled "Eddie" beside -- he was responsible for a number of Tele bodies in 1952. These parts are more closely dated than many early Fenders. One of the pot date codes is clearly legible reading 140-220 designating the 20th week of 1952.

This guitar has been played but not abused since it was shipped out in late 1952 or early 1953. All parts remain original including the early wiring rig; unlike many, it has never been re-wired to the "modern" Telecaster switching scheme. As originally set up there is a "deep bass" capacitor on the neck pickup in switch position # 1; position #2 is the neck pickup in normal mode, and #3 is the bridge pickup with a master tone control. The neck and bridge pickups can be combined by carefully lodging the selector between positions #2 and #3, which works better on this guitar than some we have had.

The very comfortable neck has a nice "C" profile, slimmer with less of a rounded "throat" in the lower positions than some '52s we have had. The screws are mixed flat and Phillips-head types as is customary for 1952. For many, this is THE classic Telecaster year, with the same look and feel of the earliest Fender Broadcaster and "No-Caster" guitars from 1950-51, but more consistent production standards. Many of the fine details of the instrument continued to gradually evolve as the decade went along, but '52 is the benchmark year for comparison to all later Fender guitars, and the year Fender has generally selected for basing its re-issues on.

Before the introduction of the second Fender solid-body (the Stratocaster) in 1954, the Tele and Precision Bass were the company's most innovative and sensational products, and in 1952 were already causing a revolution in playing styles and shaking up the guitar world in a big way. At the time the Telecaster was totally unique in look, feel, and sound, and became instantly popular, particularly with country players. In the years since, many players and collectors have come to consider the 1952 Telecaster the finest electric guitar ever made -- and one of the most important as well.

In his authoritative and beautiful book "The Blackguard", author Nacho Banos references this, calling '52s "a personal favorite" and stating, "The neck feel and lead pickup sounds from these ... make them some of the best Fenders ever made". The early Fender Telecasters of this period are universally considered as one of the most collectible and historic of all electric guitars, and this is a very nice original example.
 
Overall length is 38 3/4 in. (98.4 cm.), 12 5/8 in. (32.1 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

Overall this is a very nice example of a late 1952 "Blackguard" with some wear and tear but no major alterations. The thin lacquer body finish has ambered and checked somewhat and shows typical dings, dents, and worn spots, especially to the edges as usual, but no large areas of loss. The face shows several small but deep "case lid dings" in the upper arm wear area, where someone let the lid fall on the guitar several times long ago. You'd think after the first time they'd learn not to do that...D'Oh!!!

The neck finish both on the back and on the fingerboard shows wear down to the wood between the first and seventh frets, again common on 1950s Telecasters. The guitar has been very neatly refretted with the correct size wire, but there does not appear to be any overspray to the neck or fingerboard. These frets are fairly low but quite playable; as they are not strictly original, the guitar could be refretted to taste without losing any originality. The bone nut is newer.

All hardware on the instrument is original, down to the last screw. The pickguard has some light wear into the lacquer in the typical area below the strings, although rather less than others we have had. The bridge saddles have some light corrosion and discoloration but nothing is rusted hard and all adjustment screws are functional.

Everything on this instrument other than the fretwire and nut is as it left Fullerton in late 1952 or early '53, with less wear from years of hard gigging behind it than many of these now show and none of the modifications that befell way too many of them. Wherever it has been, this is a truly fantastic-sounding guitar, with a powerful bridge pickup that twangs sweetly as required and a nice "middle" position. The "ashtray" bridge cover is gone, but the guitar is still housed in the original shaped hard case -- a major rarity in itself. Excellent Condition.