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1953 Fender Telecaster Vintage Electric Guitar Blackguard Butterscotch w/ Tweed Case


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Up for sale, a 1953 Fender Telecaster in exceptional condition and in perfect working order, complete with a tweed thermometer case. This early "Blackguard" Telecaster has been refinished in a vintage-accurate shade of nitro lacquer Butterscotch Blonde, featuring a combination of vintage and modern electronics and hardware. Perhaps most impactful to a certain group of players, this Tele was crafted with a more slender neck than most, measuring just a hair over 1 9/16" at the nut with a soft V-shaped profile carve.

The guitar weighs 7lbs 2oz, with tonewoods comprising an ash body and one-piece maple neck, and acoustically the instrument is highly responsive to picking dynamics with clear note attack and midrange detail. The bridge pickup is a genuine vintage Fender pickup circa 1952, converted from a Champ lap steel and metering 7.45k ohms. This pickup is round, burly and twangy with a chewy snap and plenty of attitude while still being well-suited to more delicate chording. This Tele has a vintage wiring scheme, and the three-way pickup selector functions as follows: Bridge/Neck/Neck (+ dark tone capacitor). The neck pickup, a Custom Shop single coil wound and signed by Fender's best, Josefina Campos, is more hotly wound than some, silky and bell-like, with a boldness not often heard in this pickup position. The switch can easily cheat an “in-between” setting with both pickups engaged, and this setting is balanced and flattering to both single coils, in-phase and offering a woody percussive cut. We've had this Telecaster professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, slinky action and accurate intonation.

The maple neck has a soft V-shaped profile carve at the nut, filling out closer to a U shape in the upper registers with rolled fretboard edges. The profile measures .885” deep at 1st fret, graduating to .950” at the 12th. The fretboard retains its 7 1/4" radius, recently refretted with 6105 narrow/tall fretwire that shows no wear. 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 1.575" (just a hair over 1 9/16") in width, and the small maple "shelf" behind the nut has been replaced. The headstock face has a vintage-spec replacement Telecaster waterslide decal, oversprayed with lacquer, and the original Kluson Deluxe "no line" tuners turn smoothly and hold pitch as they should with notably clean gear housings. The neck heel is pencil dated 9-53, and the neck pocket retains its matching 9-53 date.

Electronics include the pairing of the converted Fender Champ lap steel pickup and Fender Custom Shop Josefina Campos-wound neck pickup, metering at 7.45k ohms in the bridge position and 8.7k at the neck (both pickups are very balanced in terms of perceived volume). A vintage wiring harness was sourced for this Blackguard, with a pair of ink-stamped 1952 Clarostat pots wired to a vintage switch and pair of aged reproduction tone capacitors. The original control plate, jack cup, and pair of knurled knobs are intact, along with the original serialized bridge base. A set of aged brass saddles has been installed, along with an aged four-bolt neck plate, and flathead screws are used throughout. The switch tip is a vintage component, while the one-ply pickguard is a modern replacement.

The  nitro lacquer Butterscotch Blonde refinish has great transparency and broad lacquer checking, exhibiting light wear (either from a tasteful relic or light playwear), with various small dings and scuffs. There is some modest cloudiness in the lacquer and more prominent lacquer checking above the neck plate and on the inside edge of the cutaway. The neck finish is decidedly vintage and blacklights as such, with natural palm wear on the profile edges and light wear through the gloss on the treble side of the fingerboard as well.

A modern aged Fender-branded "thermometer" tweed hardshell case is included.