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.
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.
The 1952 reissue telecaster is a bluegrass showboat with a full-range single-coil pickup with volume and tone controls. You’ll never be drowned out by those big dreadnought acoustics again. Mandolin features a spruce top;
Esquire players are here listed alongside players of the more famous 1952 reissue telecaster, since 52 reissue telecaster regards it as part of the “family of Telecaster guitars”.While the one-pickup Esquire has been marketed as a separate model from the two-pickup 52 reissue telecaster (which was originally named the Broadcaster) since its reintroduction in 1951, the Esquire and 52 reissue telecaster are so intimately linked in their development and history, and so similar in design and tonal characteristics, that they are considered variations of the same model.
Since I had to do this trade in a cafe, I did ye olde Ear to the Body trick, heard those acoustic vibrations rush right into my ear canal, and did the trade right there. Hopped on a train home, plugged 1952 fender telecaster reissue in, and…uh, VERY LITTLE HUM. You have to understand, my place is like Dimmer Light Hell. Even some humbucker guitars I’ve owned have hummed more than fender telecaster 1952 reissue Tele. Don’t get me wrong, when I leave it on a stand and walk away from it and angle it for the worst magnet vector to the amp, it still proves it’s a single coil. But when I picked fender 1952 telecaster reissue up BAM I couldn’t hear the damn hum! Did he shield this thing like a mofo? That gold hardware sucking up the hertz? Whatever it is, I’m not going to fool with fender 1952 telecaster reissue – I was planning to rip the guts out and put some Dimarzio Areas in – with these pickups, that is no longer the plan.
The real benefit to this is that 1952 fender telecaster guitar is now the only single coil in my house. Which means everything good about the single coil that you’d hate to sacrifice away is now retained – I feel like I’m hardwired directly into my amp! I just finished a good 3 hour session with 1952 fender telecaster putting it through its paces, hooking it into my Pro Reverb, trying it out with pedals – it’s a champ! And a road warrior too, in the pics below you’ll see the brass saddles sweated through to the tarnish. I’m looking forward to putting my own stamp on fender telecaster 1952! BTW neither the neck or body were rubbery or sticky at all, which shocked me coming from the thick rubbery butterscotch body of the other ‘fender telecaster 1952, and the sticky orange neck of an EJ strat. I can just pick fender 1952 telecaster up and get right into fender 1952 telecaster and honestly just forget about any distractions – no buzz, rattle, fretout, intonation probs, nothing! And as said before, very little hum, like WAY low. Honestly, I”ve had a few strat Area pickups that had more hum!
The Fender American Vintage ’52 Telecaster is one of the longest production models ever to come from the Fender factory and harks back to a time when Cadillacs and Bobby Sox were just as popular as iPads and 3-D TV are now … This fabulous Vintage ’52 Telecaster re-issue from Fender is fastidiously period correct even down to the brass bridge saddles and ashtray-type bridge cover …
The Fender Telecaster was one of the key products that started Fender on the road to becoming a global brand reverred by millions, this Vintage Re-issued 1952 model proves the fact that the Fender Telecaster has changed very little since those early days. The Fender American Vintage ’52 re-issue uses a premium Ash body with Maple “U” shaped neck and 21 fret fretboardwith black dot position inlays, even the truss rod cover uses a period correct vintage type nut.
Sound is provided by 2 x American Vintage Tele single coil pick-ups which are managed by a master volume and master tone control along with a 3 way blade-type pick-up selector switch. For those who prefer the more contemporary option Fender include with this model an up-to date modern 6-saddle
Fender American Vintage ’52 Tele Left Handed Electric Guitar Features
- Ash body finished in thin nitrocellulose lacquer
- Maple U shaped neck for the fat feel of the original
- Long-lost recessed-top ‘barrel’ switch tip
- Vintage tuner spacing for truly straight string pull over the bone nut
- Vintage-style bridge with three brass saddles
- Knurled chrome domed control knobs
Fender American Vintage Series
The American Vintage series introduces a lineup of original-era model year guitars that bring Fender history and heritage to authentic and exciting new life. With key features and pivotal design elements spanning the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s, the Fender American Vintage series instruments delve deep into Fender’s roots, expertly preserving an innovative U.S. guitar-making legacy and vividly demonstrating like never before that Fender not only knows where it’s going, but also remembers where it came from.
The American Vintage Series has long presented some of Fender’s best selling guitars. Today, Fender has boldly cleared the slate to make way for a fresh American Vintage series with new features, new specs and the most meticulous level of vintage accuracy yet. Rather than just replacing the previous models with different ones, Fender completely and comprehensively re-imagined the entire vintage-reissue concept – restoring original tooling dies, voicing new pickups, reformulating vintage colors and more – based on actual vintage guitars they tracked down to make sure they had it right. Fender did the work, and it shows, because there’s pure tonal magic in each American Vintage instrument.
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 left-Handed 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. Vintage six-saddle bridge and modern wiring kit included as accessories.
This Left-Handed Fender American Vintage ’52 Telecaster Electric Guitar is true to the original with a premium ash body, a “U”-shaped maple neck, and a 7-1/4″ fingerboard radius. As one of the longest-running production models in history, the strength of the Tele guitar lies in its inherent simplicity. It’s been modified only slightly in its 40+-year tenure. This American Vintage model features the original Tele circuit with its 3-position switch (update wiring kit is included), original-style 3-saddle brass bridge (a vintage 6-saddle bridge is included) and the ashtray cover. Also true to the original ’52 Telecaster, it has a single-ply black pickguard, master volume tone controls, and chrome hardware.