Here’s a vintage 1953 Fender Telecaster electric guitar. This particular Black Guard Tele, serial number 4310, is in very nice 100% all original condition aside from the replacement of a single pot and corresponding capacitor. Aside from that single modification, which can easily be restored if desired, this example is 100% all original where it counts, and features; the original Butterscotch Blonde nitrocellulose finish over an attractive light-weight 1-piece Ash body, a soft-V large neck profile with original frets and finish, a black Bakelite scratch plate, (2) efficient and evenly-balanced single-coil pickups, and all original hardware! Easily one of the best playing and sounding Black Guards I’ve owned in some time, this guitar is much lighter than average, and has a soft-V neck shape which is utterly amazing. The subtle arm wear, handsomely distressed fingerboard, well-worn pickguard, and general patina is perfect, and the guitar displays quintessential relic-style wear in all the right places.
Serial Number: 4310 (on bridge plate)
Body Date: 8-5-53 (Tadeo), 9/18/53 (Gloria in cavity)
Neck Date: 9-53,
Pot Codes: 140 148 (Clarostat, late-’51)
Weight: 7 lbs. 1 oz. (doesn’t get lighter than that!)
Pickup Resistance: 5.24Ω (bridge), 5.58Ω (neck)
There’s nothing note-worthy I could add to the volumes of praise and historical significance surrounding the early ’50s Fender Black Guard Teles that hasn’t already been published. Clearly, one of the most important guitars ever made, the ’52 Fender Tele has since become an icon in it’s own right. With Broadcasters being evaluated by blue books at a value exceeding $100,000.00, and the identical Nocaster being worth over $50,000.00, I still find these prices to be justified. In a way, Leo Fender’s original Broadcaster design (later being re-appropriated with the Telecaster moniker) is the impetus for the musical revolution that imminently followed. The ever-amazing part, however, is that this original design was brilliant and perfect, and that early Black Guard Telecasters and Esquires are considered to be some of the best guitars ever made. From 1950-1954 Black Guard Teles were produced in somewhat limited numbers, with approximately 1,000 Telecaster models made. Of those which have survived in nice original condition, it would be tough to find a better playing, better sounding, better looking example.
In addition to the appointments mentioned above, this original example also features; original copper clad grounding plate lead pickup, original black-bobbin neck pickup, original cloth wiring, original “no-line” Kluson Deluxe tuning machines, original water slide “Fender Telecaster” decal, single round string-tree, original nut, original frets, original brass bridge saddles, original dome-topped knurled control knobs, and all orignal hardware consisting of Phillips head screws. The guitar includes a new hardshell case, and does not include an original vintage case.
Not only does this guitar sound great and feel fantastic, it is easily one of the best Black Guards I’ve ever had the pleasure of owning. The neck is perfectly straight, and the original frets have enough life left to make it a pure joy to play. The soft-V neck shape profile is the stuff of legend, and has to be the best neck shape ever sculpted by the Fender factory. Once again, take a look at the photo of the guitar on the scale, this guitar barely weighs 7 pounds! That is about 1/2 lighter than the average Tele!
With a little bit of patience, a matching pot (or an original set of 2, which could be purchased for less than $500), this Tele would be restored to 100% original condition.