1952 (nov/dec) Fender Telecaster Blackguard Tadeo Gomez / Eddie Mendoza
Uncirculated 1952 Blackguard Telecaster in all original condition. This beauty has been in a private collection in The Netherlands for the last 25 years.
This beautiful and all original 70 year old lady is a prime example of the legendary "Blackguard" Telecaster -- the guitar that put Leo Fender on the map and considered to be the Holy Grail of Fender Telecasters -- She was built at the company's original cinder block factory in Fullerton, California in nov/dec 1952.
In his authoritative and beautiful book "The Blackguard", author Nacho Banos calls 52's "a personal favorite" and states: "The neck feel and lead pickup sounds from these make them some of the best Fenders ever made". Early Fender Telecasters of this period are universally considered as one of the most desired of all electric guitars, and this is a very nice original example.
Before the introduction of the second Fender solid-body (the Stratocaster) in 1954, the Tele and Precision Bass were the company's most innovative and sensational products, and in 1952 were already causing a revolution in playing styles, shaking up the guitar world in a big way. At the time the Telecaster had a totally unique look, feel, and sound, becoming instantly popular particularly with country players. In the years since, many players and collectors have come to consider the 1952 Telecaster the finest electric guitar ever made, and one of the most historically important as well.
This Blackguard's serial # is 3604 and it's stamped into the bridgeplate, the unit at the heart of the Blackguard Tele. The neck is pencilled "12-3-52" on the heel alongside the initials "TG" of Tadeo Gomez, who signed most of the Fender necks made in this period. The body is marked "11-18-52" and "EM" in the neck cavity, with the penciled "Eddie" beside for Eddie Mendoza -- his signature is found in many Tele and Precision Bass bodies from 1952. These parts are more closely dated than many other early Fenders: they're only 2 weeks apart!
This guitar has been played but not abused since it shipped out of Fullerton around Christmas/New Year 1952. All parts remain original including the wiring, pot's, switch, capacitor and pickups. Case is an aged Tosh case that looks scary original!
The very comfortable neck has a nice "C" profile, with a hint of "V" and less "shoulder" than some other '52s we have had. The screws are mixed flat and Phillips-head types as is customary for 1952. For many, 1952 is THE classic Telecaster year, with the same look and feel of the earliest Fender Broadcaster and "No-Caster" guitars from 1950-51, but more consistent production standards. Many of the fine details of the instrument continued to gradually evolve as the decade went along, but '52 is the benchmark year for comparison to all later Fender guitars, and the year Fender has generally selected for basing its re-issues on.
Overall this is a super nice example of a late 1952 early 1953 "Blackguard," showing some general wear and tear but no alterations whatsoever. The thin lacquer finish on the body has ambered and checked and shows typical dings, dents, and worn spots, especially to the edges as usual. The face shows 2 small but deep and typical "case lid dings" in the upper arm wear area, where someone let the lid fall on the guitar ages ago.
The thin clear lacquer finish both on the back of the neck and on the fingerboard shows wear down to the wood between the first and seventh frets, again common on 1950s Telecasters. The guitar has been very professionally refretted with the correct size wire, but there does not appear to be any overspray to the neck or fingerboard accompanying this. The frets are in perfect shape.
All hardware on the instrument remains original, showing some wear but no modifications. The pickguard has some wear into the lacquer in the typical area below the strings. The brass bridge saddles have some discoloration but nothing is rusted hard and all adjustment screws are bent for intonation as usual and all are functional. Internally the pickups and wiring are all original; some worn and cold solder joints have been carefully touched up.
Everything on this instrument other than the fretwire and nut is as it left Fullerton in late 1952. These were unique instruments when new, often "played to death," and the majority of survivors have not only been heavily used but commonly modified and now often subject to extensive restoration and refin's. This one however escaped this fate and remains an original and truly fantastic-sounding guitar, with a powerful bridge pickup that twangs sweetly as required and a nice "middle" position. The neck is warm and jazzy and as powerfull as many Les Paul from that ERA!