1952/1953 Fender Telecaster Tele Guitar
Description: 1952/1953 Fender Telecaster (Tele) guitar
Collectibility Rating: A
Production: no official (or unofficial) production numbers available.
The Fender Telecaster guitar is one of the most popular solidbody electric
guitar ever made, and is the solidbody guitar that started it all.
Early models (pre-1965, known as "pre-CBS" models, since CBS
bought Fender in January 1965) are the most collectible.
Originality and condition are the two most important features of a vintage Fender
guitar, and Fender Telecaster, Nocaster, Broadcaster, and Esquires (Teles)
do seem to have been easily modified
(due to their "bolt together" nature).
Serial number range for the 1952 and 1953 Fender Telecaster are generally
0100 to 5500 (stamped into the bridge plate).
If you need to figure out the exact year of your pre-CBS Fender Nocaster or Telecaster,
use the serial number and the general features of the guitar.
The serial number is located on the bridge until mid-1954, when it
was moved to the back metal neck plate.
See the Fender Serial Number Info web page
for help determining the year.
If you have a vintage pre-CBS Fender Telecaster (Tele) guitar for sale, please let me know.
I am a private vintage guitar collector (not a store), and you can contact me at
See the next year's 1953 Fender Telecaster guitar.
See the previous year's 1951 Fender Telecaster & Nocaster guitar.
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1952 Telecaster 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.
1953 Telecaster specs:
- Neck fingerboard dots change spacing. On pre-1953 models, dots are
about 1" (center to center) apart at the 12th fret. On 1953 and later
models, the dot spacing is about 1 1/8" center to center.
- New wiring on a Telecaster. (Note the wiring change was late 1952.)
That is, the 3 position switch forward position was the neck pickup with a
"woof tone" capacitor (no tone adjustment.) Middle switch position was the neck
pickup with the tone knob implemented. Rear switch position was the bridge pickup with
no tone adjustment. This wiring used a .05mfd cap soldered between the two pots,
and a .1mfd cap between the volume pot's ground and the 3 way switch.
- Flat-side ("poodle") guitar-shaped cases used during 1953.