What's the difference between a '52 Tele and a '55 Tele???

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by thrashmetl, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. thrashmetl

    thrashmetl Member

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    So obviously the '52 Tele is the most recognizable Tele model out there, but Fender custom shop also makes '55's too so there must be a diffrerence beside the color, right? What's the difference? neck, pickups?
     
  2. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    Neck profile
    Staggered pole pickup instaed of flatpole
    steel saddles
    some later 55's and moreso mid '56's a butterfly string tree instead of the button
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  3. thrashmetl

    thrashmetl Member

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    what's the difference in the neck profile? are the pickups still Alnico III or did they switch to Alnico V by then?
     
  4. bluesjuke

    bluesjuke Disrespected Elder

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    Necks bacame more of a V profile and gradually over the years went more to a C shape.
    Not sure on the magnets.
    Switch tip also changed to the "Top Hat" version in mid '55.

    Here's a good resource for Fender Historic information;
    http://www.provide.net/~cfh/fender2.html
     
  5. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    Bluesjuke gives good info. Fender's production was not as "intentional" in the '50's as it is nowadays, nor was their record keeping. There are sometimes other subtle differences - Fender used softer lacquer in '56, so some '56 Teles and Esquires don't have as much weather checking as models of a few years earlier or later.

    There was also significant variation in neck sizes and shapes through the '50's. Remember, ALL those necks were shaped by hand by different folks. They're similar, but they're not all the same.

    Threaded steel saddles were stock on my '56 Tele, and somewhere in '55 they switched to butterfly string trees, as Bluesjuke pointed out. My '56 has a butterfly string tree, and a soft V neck. My pal Stevie's '54 has a MUCH bigger neck than mine, sort of a 'v' boatneck profile. '55 might have a white pickguard, '52 should be black.

    Hope this helps, Dana O.
     
  6. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

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  7. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    Great info, Dana

    Thanks, I'm considering a '56 for my next partscaster and this definitely helps.
     

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