Up for sale, a 1954 Fender Telecaster in exceptional condition and in perfect working order. Retaining all of its original electronics, hardware, and plastics, this early Telecaster features a body-only nitro lacquer refinish and light relic courtesy of Riggio Custom Guitars. The original neck finish (and decal) are retained, and all original dates on the body and neck are present, spanning December 1953 and January 1954.
The guitar weighs 7lbs 6oz ("fully-clothed" with the original bridge cover), dynamically responsive and lively, with tonewoods comprising an ash body and one-piece maple neck with a deep U-shaped profile carve. The bridge pickup delivers chewy twang and broadband punch, with a sparkling cut that doesn’t lack for body and thickness. This Tele retains its original wiring, and the three-way pickup selector functions as follows: Bridge/Neck/Neck (+ dark tone capacitor). The neck pickup is smooth and silky, and with the dark cap engaged, the tone naturally has a dark, woofy quality. Cheating an “in-between” sound on the switch engages both pickups for the perfect blend of 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 splits the difference between a U and a very soft V shape at the nut, filling out with additional shoulder and U-ness in the higher registers. The fretboard edges are rolled, and there’s faint palm wear through the gloss on the bass side of the neck carve behind frets 1-10. The profile measures .930” deep at 1st fret, graduating to .985” at the 12th. The fretboard has a 7 1/4" radius, with light playwear through the gloss on the treble side of the fingerboard. The original frets are intact, dressed in the guitar’s lifetime and currently showing moderate wear beneath the plain strings on the crowns of frets 1-12. 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, and a small piece of maple behind the nut has been repaired. The headstock face retains the original Telecaster waterslide decal, and 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 1-54, and the neck pocket retains its 12-53 date.
The original electronics function as intended, and the dates on both original Stackpole pots are obscured by original solder and the neck pickup tone cap. Both pickups retain their original windings, and the control cavity has its original masking tape, signed by "Mary" and dated 1-28-54. All original hardware is present including the serialized bridge with brass saddles, domed knobs, control plate and four-bolt neck plate (which has been lightly etched with a previous owners Oregon drivers license number). The original single-ply pickguard is present too, with an area of pick wear through the lacquer on the treble side of the pick path.
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 broad lacquer checking and a few simulated marks of wear.
A modern G&G Deluxe Fender-branded tweed hardshell case is included, along with the original bridge cover.