Up for sale, a 2019 Fender Custom Shop '51 Telecaster (Nocaster) "NOS" Relic in exceptional, 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original tweed hardshell case and COA. This guitar commemorates the brief moment in history when Fender's first electric guitar had no model name on the headstock, as the original "Broadcaster" moniker was dropped and rebranded "Telecaster," but not before a number of instruments shipped with the headstocks left sans-model.
With a hand-selected one-piece lightweight ash body and substantial U-shaped maple neck profile, there's plenty to love about this Nocaster that's decidedly vintage, with the clarity and complex midrange of ash paired with the detail and crisp note attack of the maple. The bridge pickup is pure twang and sparkle, and the highest treble frequencies have a smooth, bell-like response. With both pickups engaged, it's the perfect cutting rhythm sound that balances sinewy snap and low end fullness, and when the neck pickup is soloed, there's enough girth and roundness to really compliment lead work and overdriven textures. Acoustically, the voice of the guitar is very powerful and clear, and the authority with which this guitar rings out and sustains translates well through the pickups. The guitar weighs 7lbs 6oz, dialed in with 10-46 strings and low action by our techs here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar.
The neck has the quintessential early '50s proper U-shaped “boat neck” with tons of heft and shoulder, and lightly rolled fretboard edges for added comfort. Light flame figuring extends along the profile length, and while the profile does fill the palm, it's never overwhelming, and the neck chords easily even for players with smaller hands, measuring .955" deep at the 1st fret and 1.015" at the 12th. The 6105 fretwire is flawless with perfectly rounded crowns, and the fretboard has a modern 9 1/2" radius. The guitar plays easily up the 25 1/2" scale, and the bone nut measures 1.650" in width. On the headstock, the Fender waterslide decal is present sans-model name in keeping with this "Nocaster" reissue, and the Kluson-style Fender Deluxe tuners turn smoothly.
All of the electronics work as they should, and all hardware is original including the black single-ply pickguard, knurled metal knobs, brass bridge saddles, and serial number stamped bridge plate with the proper "R" prefix for a Custom Shop Relic model. This is easily one of the nicest Butterscotch finishes we've seen from the Custom Shop, with the perfect amount of saturation and transparency to highlight the grain of the ash body. The finish is also applied lightly enough that the grain of the body can be felt through the finish. Cosmetic wear is limited to a few light pick marks across the guard, very light buckle wear at the treble-side waist on the back, and a few faint finish scuffs in the clear coat of the gloss, also on the back. The gloss finish on the neck profile is flawless.
The original tweed Custom Shop hardshell case is included, along with the COA.