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1951 Fender Nocaster Vintage Electric Guitar Butterscotch w/ Tweed Case, Telecaster


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Up for sale, a 1951 Fender Nocaster in exceptional condition and in perfect working order. Crafted at the tail end of the brief period between this model's original Broadcaster branding and the Telecaster name which would supplant it by late '51, this guitar exists in the tiny sliver of Fender history between these two model names, with a simple "Fender" waterslide decal on the headstock (thus the Nocaster moniker).

Complete with a full suite of vintage electronics, hardware, and plastics, this Nocaster features a body-only nitro lacquer refinish and light relic courtesy of Riggio Custom Guitars. The vintage Fender factory neck finish is retained on the profile and fingerboard, and the original neck date is present, reading 8/30/51 and signed by Tadeo Gomez.

The guitar is featherweight at 6lbs 5oz ("fully-clothed" with the original bridge cover), dynamically responsive and lively, with tonewoods comprising an ash body and one-piece maple neck. The bridge pickup delivers chewy twang and broadband punch, with a sparkling cut that doesn’t lack for body and thickness. This wiring harness has a modern configuration, toggling Bridge, Bridge+Neck, Neck. The neck pickup is smooth and silky, and with both pickups engaged, the characteristics of the bridge pickup are more prominent, yet the sound offers an overarching percussive sweetness and authoritative bark. We've had this Telecaster professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, slinky action and accurate intonation.

The neck carve is a very soft V shape at the nut, filling out with additional shoulder to a U shape in the higher registers, measuring .840” deep at 1st fret, graduating to .980” at the 12th. The fretboard has rolled edges and the original 7 1/4" radius, with natural playwear through the gloss on the fingerboard and profile edges. The guitar has been refretted with slender vintage-spec wire, exhibiting only light wear on the crowns of frets 1-3, with wear extending even more faintly beneath the plain strings until fret 5. The guitar plays cleanly up the 25 1/2" scale with a very straight neck and responsive, optimally adjusted truss rod. The nut is a new hand-carved piece of bone measuring 1 5/8" in width. The headstock face has been refinished in ambered nitro lacquer, complete with a correct replacement "clipped" Fender Broadcaster waterslide decal (only the Fender portion remains). The original Kluson Deluxe "no line" tuners turn smoothly and hold pitch as they should with only light patina on the gear housings. The neck heel is pencil dated 8/30/51, also retaining a "1683" Fender factory marking matching the serial number on the bridge base. This Fender marking denotes that this Nocaster went back to the Fender factory for finish work in its lifetime (according to Riggio Custom Guitars, they estimate that this was very early in the guitar's life, likely due to the composition of the finish).

The electronics function as intended, and genuine vintage components were sourced to return this Nocaster to stock. This included the pair of early '50s black bobbin pickups, and a wiring harness with CTS pots that date to the 6th week of 1950 (the earliest date codes commonly seen on a Broadcaster potentiometer). The three-way switch and tone cap are original as well, wired in a modern configuration, eschewing the dark cap and blend switching of early examples.

All original hardware is present including the serialized bridge with brass saddles (the serial on the bridge matches the Fender factory marking on the neck heel), lightly domed knobs, control plate and four-bolt neck plate. A genuine early '50s Fender single-ply bakelite pickguard is present too, with an area of pick wear through the lacquer on the treble side of the pick path, and the switch tip is also original. All hardware and plastics are mounted with original flathead screws.

The body-only nitro lacquer Butterscotch Blonde refinish via Riggio Custom Guitars was expertly executed, and the body retains its full original 1 3/4" depth and perfect, unaltered contours. Riggio's tasteful relic treatment to match the original neck finish and hardware patina includes lacquer checking and a few simulated marks of wear. The circa 1950s Fender factory refinish on the neck profile and fingerboard exhibits very light additional clear lacquer overspray.

A modern G&G Deluxe Fender-branded tweed hardshell case is included, along with the original bridge cover.