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1996 Fender Telecaster '52 Vintage Reissue TL52-80TX Blonde Japan MIJ w/ USA Pickups, V Neck


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Up for sale, a 1996 Fender Telecaster '52 vintage reissue model TL52-80TX in 100% original condition and in perfect working order. A very rare first-year iteration of the TL52-80TX model, this example is notable for hailing from the only year of production where this Tele model was made in the Fujigen factory at the tail end of the original "Made in Japan" run.

Built for the Japanese domestic market and discontinued long ago, the TL52-80TX Telecaster offered stiff competition for Fender's American Vintage series instruments. Featuring an ash body, one-piece maple neck with a prominent V profile carve, and a pair of factory-installed Fender USA Texas Special pickups, this guitar delivers on the promise of a classic Tele tonal palette. Fat and throaty in the neck position, chiming and cutting in the middle, and offering a chewy, snappy sparkle and twang in the bridge position, this guitar covers traditional Tele ground, yet the slightly overwound Texas Specials offer a bit more midrange fullness and kick. Weighing 8lbs 5oz, we've had this Tele professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 10-46 strings, low action, and accurate intonation.

The maple neck has a substantial deep V neck profile carve, filling the palm and boasting lightly rolled fretboard edges, measuring .885” deep at the 1st fret and .980” at the 12th. The maple fretboard has a vintage spec 7 1/4" radius, black dot inlay, and stock slender fretwire. The frets have well-rounded crowns and their full factory height, showing only light wear beneath the plain strings on frets 1-7. The guitar plays cleanly in every register, the neck is straight, and the truss rod is responsive and optimally adjusted. The neck has Fender's traditional 25 1/2" scale length, and the nut measures 1 5/8" in width. The headstock sports a set of original Kluson-style tuners that turn smoothly and hold pitch well.

The "Made in Japan" text sans-serial number is present above the four-bolt neck plate, with TL52-TX stamps on both the neck heel and in the pocket. The bridge base is serialized in the traditional fashion with an A-prefix plate, and these plates would continue to see use through the "Crafted in Japan" era.

All of the electronics work as they should, with the USA-made Fender Texas Special pickup pair wired to the stock harness. The vintage-style bridge retains the original trio of brass saddles with uniform surface patina, while the control plate, domed knurled knobs, and neck plate all have particularly clean plating. The body is accented by a one-ply matte black pickguard just like a genuine example from '52, and all flathead screws were used on this model further aligning with 1952 specs. Cosmetic wear includes some pick scuffing on the treble side of the guard, a few finish dings and chips adjacent to the input jack, and a few additional minor marks on the body parameter. Wear on the back is limited to just a few faint scuffs, and the neck profile retains its smooth ambered gloss finish.

The original Fender-branded gigbag is included.