The enduring strength of the Telecaster guitar is its elegant simplicity. One of the longest-running production models in history, it has been modified only slightly since its early 1951 debut. The American Vintage ’52 Telecaster Reissue has a premium ash body, one-piece U-shaped maple neck and 7.25″-radius fingerboard. It features two American Vintage Tele single-coil pickups, original Tele circuit with three-position switch, brass bridge saddles, ashtray bridge cover, single-ply black pickguard, chrome hardware and master volume and master tone controls in 52 telecaster reissue. Vintage six-saddle bridge and modern wiring kit included as accessories.
FEATURE OF 52 TELECASTER REISSUE
- Body shape: Single cutaway
- Body type: Solid body
- Body material: Solid wood
- Top wood: Not applicable
- Body wood: Ash
- Body finish: Gloss Nitrocellulose
- Orientation: Right handed
- Neck shape: U
- Neck wood: Maple
- Joint: Bolt-on
- Scale length: 25.5″
- Truss rod: Standard
- Neck finish: Gloss Nitrocellulose
- Material: Maple
- Radius: 7.25″
- Fret size: Vintage-style
- Number of frets: 21
- Inlays: Dot
- Nut width: 1.65″ (42mm)
- Configuration: SS
- Neck: American vintage ’52 Tele
- Middle: Not applicable
- Bridge: American vintage ’52 Tele
- Brand: Fender
- Active or passive: Passive
- Series or parallel: Series
- Piezo: No
- Active EQ: No
- Special electronics: Vintage wiring
- Control layout: Separate volume, tone
- Pickup switch: 3-way
- Coil tap or split: No
- Kill switch: No
- Bridge type: Fixed
- Bridge design: 3-saddle vintage-style
- Tailpiece: Not applicable
- Tuning machines: Vintage-style
- Color: Chrome
- Number of strings: 6-string
- Special features: Pickups
- Case: Hardshell case
- Accessories: Vintage six-saddle bridge and modern wiring kit
- Country of origin: United States
For instance, 1952 fender telecaster tried bending the third string at the 2nd fret for your archetypal Muddy Waters or Hendrix blues lick; you might find the string slipping from under your fingers due to the low wires. Conversely, bash out barre chords for two hours and the cambered ‘board makes 1952 fender telecaster easy, whereas on your modern ‘flat board and big frets’ Fender it can be tiring.
For years we got around the fretting issue by perseverance for 1952 fender telecaster, and the fact that if the old guard could do it, then nothing was going to stop us trying. Just as with the 1952 fender telecaster, if you use a lot of string bending in your playing, you will need to have that action higher than you would on a flatter ‘board. It’s a matter of preference though.
The ‘1952 telecaster is the heaviest of the three mentioned – not by much, but enough to notice. It’s got a big U neck, too, a shape that Fender has gone to great lengths to recreate, along with all the other classic profiles on offer across the range. It makes for a remarkable handful and, again, some of us like that while some of us really don’t. The effect is softened with wonderfully ‘rolled’ edges along the one-piece neck.
The new ‘Flash Coat’ lacquer 1952 telecaster finish does drag, but we found a silicon-impregnated cloth helped. For certain, this guitar feels tougher to play than more modern Standards and super-tweaked Custom Shop models. Tougher isn’t always negative, however – many players insist on some fight in the guitar to bring out the best in their technique and tone.
You’d have to say that these days, what with flatter fingerboards and bigger frets being the ‘norm’ on Fenders rather than the exception, 1952 telecaster is easy to forget how early Fenders were trickier to play in some respects and easier in others.
First bone of contention: the blonde finish. Chris Fleming says: “It looks to me – this is what we believe – that the 1952 fender 52 reissue telecaste were originally blonde and they turned a bit brown-ish or butterscotch or yellow over a period of time because of the formulation of the lacquer they used. Then in ’65 or so the lacquer changed and it stopped yellowing in that way and started looking like the American Vintage ‘ fender 52 reissue telecaste, which is kind of a whiter blonde. After the colour we put on a thin clear top coat.
“So all of the guitars have a base, white wash coat but the blond Teles and the one blonde Strat all have a sunburst around the edges in white, including the ‘ fender 52 reissue telecaste, which then gets its extra colour. We spent a lot of time on this and it was really hard for production to get consistent colour matches. But now we’re pretty happy.”
Only a handful of classic-era electric guitars genuinely qualify for the tag of “the only one you’ll ever need”. Gibson has one, the fabulous ES-335, and Fender can boast two; the Stratocaster and the 52 reissue Telecaster. Here we look at the new Vintage ’52 reissue Telecaster from Fender’s completely overhauled American Vintage range.
Your humble scribe has been around 52 reissue telecaster of all eras, both as a player and repairer, and it’s remarkable just how much the neck and even the body shapes have altered, how the transition from one curve into another can vary drastically, and how tiny variations in edge radius – even as inconsequential as those round the headstock – can drastically alter the vibe.
Fender has spent the last 30 years re-learning its past and with the new American Vintage range has homed in on what it sees as the three essential vintage 52 reissue telecaster: the quintessential ash-bodied ‘black guard’ ’52 reissue telecaster (reviewed here); the slimmer-necked ’58, also in ash; and the rosewood ‘board ’64 that’s generally alder-bodied, but employing ash for the White Blonde colour option. Fender has gone to town on accuracy, too, having used several great originals as benchmarks.
PURE VINTAGE ORIGINAL 52 TELECASTER
For the guitarist who craves pure vintage Fender 52 telecaster style, the American Vintage series presents original-era model year guitars built with meticulous attention to accurate detail that bring Fender history and heritage to authentic and exciting new life.
Before there was rock ‘n’ roll, there was the 52 Telecaster—the Fender guitar that started it all. From humble beginnings came a revolutionary and elegantly simple new electric guitar that let musicians be heard loud and clear with sparkling tone and distinctive style. The U.S.-made American Vintage ’52 Telecaster puts that original-instrument magic in your hands, built using original tooling and based on actual 1952 models we tracked down.
- Ash body
- Thin nitrocellulose lacquer finish in light Butterscotch Blonde
- Deep maple neck with “U”-shaped profile and rolled edges
- Specially voiced pickups
- Recessed-top “barrel” switch tip and knurled/domed chrome control knobs
- Vintage-style bridge with three brass saddles
There are a couple of tiny marks on the front of the vintage hot rod 52 telecaster (near the three-way switch), a few insignificant “dings” on the body, a small amount of wear to the edges of the fretboard and the frets, and a small amount of playing wear, mainly on the edges, where the vintage hot rod 52 telecaster has rubbed against the player’s body. The fretboard itself is remarkably clean with only a few small wear spots on the first five frets. The Butterscotch has mellowed to a rich, creamy color. The lovely grain of the ash body shows very well through the Blond finish and this fifty-six year old gem is quite simply one of the best “black-guard” Telecasters that we have ever seen. Complete with fender 52 hot rod telecaster’s original “ashtray” bridge cover.
In retrospect, their most striking features of fender 52 hot rod telecaster — at least cosmetically speaking — are a typical yellowed blonde finish (a.k.a. ‘butterscotch’ finish) and a black pickguard, hence the often cited notion of early ‘black guard’ Tellies. The combination of the two actually gives a distinct look to the early 50s models, which are otherwise considered by many as the ultimate classic Telecaster guitar because of their tone…Besides its peculiar hue, the original blonde finish nicely showcases the ash body heavy grain pattern that later whiter finishes would subdue… marks the beginning of a number of changes in the appointments of Telecaster guitars.
James Burton fender telecaster 52 is a model from the Artist Series in Fender`s catalog. It comes with a solid Telecaster body made of ash. Ash is an alternative Fender sometimes uses instead of alder. Body is flat, single cut and it`s topped with a plastic white pickguard of fender telecaster 52. Besides it`s primary function, Telecaster`s pickguard also serves as the electronics cover.
One plain metal-cover “black-bottom” pickup with slot-head adjusting screws (at neck) with an output of 6.30k, and fender telecaster 52 has one black six-polepiece “copper-coated metal plate bottom” pickup with flush polepieces (angled in bridgeplate) with an output of 6.79k. Single-ply black Bakelite pickguard with five slot-head screws. Two controls (one volume, one blender) plus three-way “tone” switch (with slot-head screws) and original “patent number” black plastic “barrel-like” tip, all on metal plate adjoining pickguard. Shorter chrome knobs with more pronounced domes and heavy knurled sides. fender telecaster 52 combined bridge/tailpiece with three (flat-ground on bottom) brass saddles. Serial number (“0382”) on the bridge plate beneath the words “FENDER/PAT. PEND.” The neck is dated in pencil “TG 3-6-52” and the body neck-pocket is dated in pencil “TG 3-3-52” One of the potentiometers is stamped “CMG 140 203” (Clarostat January 1952) and the three-way switch is stamped “CRL 1452.” This guitar is in remarkably fine condition.
Shorter chrome knobs of fender telecaster 52 relic with more pronounced domes and heavy knurled sides. fender telecaster 52 relic combined bridge/tailpiece with three (flat-ground on bottom) brass saddles. Serial number (“0382”) on the bridge plate beneath the words “FENDER/PAT. PEND.” The neck of fender telecaster 52 relic is dated in pencil “TG 3-6-52” and the body neck-pocket is dated in pencil “TG 3-3-52” One of the potentiometers is stamped “CMG 140 203” (Clarostat January 1952) and the three-way switch is stamped “CRL 1452.” fender telecaster 52 relic guitar is in remarkably fine condition. There are a couple of tiny marks on the front of the guitar (near the three-way switch), a few insignificant “dings” on the body, a small amount of wear to the edges of the fretboard and the frets, and a small amount of playing wear, mainly on the edges, where the fender telecaster 52 relic guitar has rubbed against the player’s body. The fretboard itself is remarkably clean with only a few small wear spots on the first five frets. The Butterscotch of fender telecaster 52 relic has mellowed to a rich, creamy color.
fender custom shop 1952 telecaster relic specs:
- The lead pickup no longer has the two notches in the black pickup base for the winding wires.
- Gradual use of phillips head screws replaces slot head screws (this change was not complete till 1953).
- Knurled chrome plated brass knobs with a round top.
- Late 1952: pressed jack cup replaced milled jack cup. An added internal metal plate is used inside the body jack hole to secure milled cup.
- Walnut peghead truss rod plug is more oval shaped.
- Late 1952: Wiring changes on Tele. Now instead of the last knob being a “blend” control (allowing both pickups to be used at the same time), it now becomes a tone knob. The 1950-1952 wiring used a .05mfd cap between the 3 way switch and the volume pot, and a 15k resistor coming off the 3 way switch of original 52 telecaster.
By Fall, the bakelite black guard was replaced by a single ply white trim and a few months later steel superseded brass for the bridge saddles of original 1952 fender telecaster. FENDER also changed the finishing process of the blonde original 52 telecaster finish…The typical ‘butterscotch’ colour gave way to a creamier shade which would soon evolve into a lighter off-white fender custom shop 1952 telecaster relic. Finally, 1954 is also the year when the serial number was removed from the bridge plate to be stamped on the neck anchor plate of original 1952 fender telecaster.