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‘50s Telecaster® vs 52 RI

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Marshall Thinline, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. Marshall Thinline

    Marshall Thinline Tele-Holic

    851
    Mar 22, 2003
    Pittsburgh, PA
    How does this MIM guitar compare to the American 52 RI? I know that there are a few differences. In overall tone, are they in the same ballpark?
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

  2. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    my '52Ri & '50's Classic are quite close in feel (mine both have U contour necks), though the '52's bridge Pup might have a bit more sparkle than the Classic's, aside from the brass/steel saddle differences, it's a pretty close toss up....

    however, each instrument is a distinct individual..... two '52Ri's built side by side on the same day will have some differences in feel and tone....

    the '50's Classic is a "best bang for your buck" guitar i.m.h.o.
     

  3. Mark Davis

    Mark Davis Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Bakersfield Ca.
    It all depends on the guitar itself just like people all guitars are different even ones of the same model.

    50's MIM $639 with gigbag
    52ri USA $1350 with tweed hsc

    50's MIM ping hardware
    52ri Gotoh hardware

    50's Ash body polyester thick finish
    52ri Ash body polyurethane/nitro finish

    on paper there isnt alot of difference the 52ri's generally have better fretwork and feel but a good 50's MIM can give a 52ri a run for the border! LOL

    I like em both. I think the 50's MIM is a better value but the 52ri is all vintage specs and thats how I like my Teles.

    These are the best Teles you can buy in my opinion any of these listed below.

    50's Classic/Esquire
    60's Classic
    52ri USA
    62ri USA
    50's MIJ/CIJ
    60's MIJ/CIJ
     

  4. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    70
    Dec 6, 2005
    Norway
    I have both , and the differences are marginal.

    The most obvious being that the 52RI has a nitro top coat over the poly finish. (Well, actually the biggest difference is in the price.)

    Secondly I think that the 52RI has a little warmer sound, maybe due to the brass saddles - I don't know for shure. (Of course they have different pickups.) I'm amazed by the '50s neck pickup, though - very bluesy !

    The fret ends and fretboard edges are a little smoother on my 52RI, and the neck is also a little bigger (both are 2004 models), but this will vary in any individual guitar, and also from year to year.

    The hardwear seems to be quite identical, and I will say the mexican guitar is at least 90% of the american one for about half the price. A very good deal !
     

  5. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    70
    Dec 6, 2005
    Norway
    When Mark and I agree on something 100%, you can be shure it's right ! ;) :lol:
     

  6. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire


    let me put it this way....if you were to attend a gig, and had your back to the stage, you'd never be able to tell which i was playing.....and if you came to my place, put on a blindfold, and let me put one or the other in your lap, plugged into my Champ, from the tones you'd be hard pressed to tell which you were playing....

    hope it helps ya
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2006

  7. Mark Davis

    Mark Davis Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Bakersfield Ca.
    Ya I have to remember to be kind to my elders hahah.

    As long ias its a Leo designed Fender I like it.
     

  8. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    70
    Dec 6, 2005
    Norway
    That's more like it, young man. :lol:
     

  9. BrianF

    BrianF Friend of Leo's

    Apr 11, 2003
    Carlsbad, Ca
    I've had 2 MiM 50's and agree they are a great for the $...Most noticebaly different is the thickness of the finish... (52 ri vintage-like nitro....MIM thick plastic) The other differences are quality in hardware and fit finish. I just noticed the other day but my 50's MIM esquire...on the nut...the high and lo E string notches are offset between 1/16 to 1/8 in (all 6 six strings are offset to the right about that much). This attention to detail will be present in the USA 52-RI and hit/miss in the MiM...
     

  10. lewy

    lewy TDPRI Member

    34
    Apr 1, 2005
    I have to disagree with vintage-like nitro thing on the 52RI. All of the 52RI's I've seen recently are positively caked in finish. Sure, the thin topcoat is nitro, but there's a big ol' gloop of poly underneath it, effectively minimising any difference between the 52RI and the 50's Classic imo on grounds of finish, at least. I have both, so I'm not partisan on the issue.
     

  11. Mark Davis

    Mark Davis Telefied Ad Free Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    Bakersfield Ca.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    These are pics of my 1st 1998 50's Classic neck pocket. Looks better to me than alot of MIA's and even CS models.
     

  12. Dacious

    Dacious Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Godzone
    I have a 52RI and a 69RI MIM Thinline which has the same pickups as a 50's except with staggered polepieces. I love the Thinline, and it is my never-sell guitar. But since I got the 52, it has sunk a little in my estimation.

    The MIM is basically good wood, pretty well finished. The Schaller tuners are fine (asian Ping on the 50's not so good, but thats a simple and cheap upgrade to the Gotohs on the 52). The bridgeplate/neckplate is not of the same quality metal as the NOS one I put on it, or the 52RI which are both blue-chromed and a denser, heavier metal compared to straw-coloured flash chrome on the MIM. The wiring in the MIM uses star washers and indifferent grounding and is not as nice as the solder joins in the 52, plus the wiring is plastic-coated. Both are buzzy, the MIM is worse.

    The frets on both of mine were good out of the box, and the nutslots, basic action etc are all good and needed minimal tweaking. Both can do big bends without choking.

    The pickups on the MIM use plastic bobbins and a higher winding count for more DC resistance. They are hotter, but more scatty and less defined but not really louder. I put a copper-clad baseplate on the bridge, which improved it, but the 52 is still a lot better, and I like the newer 52 pickups with the alnico 3 magnets. They seem more characterful, with added colour and nuance which is quite nice. The fibre bobbins and cloth wiring looks cool, too. Little touches like the stainless slotted head screws and real bakelite scratchplate are added bonuses. I have to say the Thinline is nice - I've had it next to a real '70 and the detailing is not bad at all.

    The finish on both is good, but the 52 better. The 52 of course comes with the tweed case, the MIM came with nothing. The 52 also came with ashtray, vintage strap, vintage lead, the conversion kit plus spare six barrel bridge and the COA. It is very nicely presented and the case is top-notch.

    I think they're both good guitars for the money and you can't go wrong with either. You can buy a new 50's, good case and upgrade it to be within a whisker of a 52, and customise it for less than a used 52. But a 52 is 95% good to go out of the box. And it is a classic guitar and look IMO, which will never age or go out of fashion. The only real change I am contemplating is a 4-way, or 5-way switch for the rock covers band and maybe a little more shielding. For blues, country or classic rock it's near perfect. I resisted for a long time, but got one at the right price finally, and love it. Unlike a vintage axe I have no qualms about taking it anywhere.

    They are both vintage-style Telecasters, and as such won't suit some people, either for pickup sound, single coil buzziness and of course the vintage neck radius and skinny frets. That's fine - there's other versions Fender makes.
     

  13. TeleTurkey

    TeleTurkey Tele-Holic

    Age:
    51
    805
    Feb 23, 2006
    North Carolina
    50's or 60's Classic

    I think both are great. Think of the extra money you would save for pickups, larger fretwire, bridges, saddles, etc. If you want a Leo style guitar that you won't feel bad about modifying these two are the best!

    Think about this....How many 52RIs do you think Fender would sell if they offered the 50's classic in butterscotch/black?
     

  14. Dacious

    Dacious Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Godzone
    I think they are aimed at different markets. You can buy MIJ 52s that are almost a clone of the US version, and I think they actually cross promote each other and the MIM Classics. We're just lucky we have such choice.

    The reissue Teles, whatever their oigins, are in no danger of going away.

    Of, and on the finish front - both my MIM and MIA have about the same finish thickness, I'd judge about half a mm. The 52 doesn't appear to use sanding sealer on the body which is chemically inert like poly and gloopier than paint anyhow. So it looks like they just subbed one process (one coat poly-U) for another.
     

  15. Dacious

    Dacious Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Godzone
    Dup. post
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2006

  16. TeleTurkey

    TeleTurkey Tele-Holic

    Age:
    51
    805
    Feb 23, 2006
    North Carolina
    You may be right. On the other hand, in my part of the country the only CIJs we see are on the web. I think a lot of folks are in love with the color of the original blackguards.(and rightly so) That alone sells a bunch of the 52RIs IMO.
     

  17. Marshall Thinline

    Marshall Thinline Tele-Holic

    851
    Mar 22, 2003
    Pittsburgh, PA
    It sounds like they are very similar tone wise, and the major difference is the in some of the parts and the finish.
    I was at GC today and tried the 52 RI and liked it. They did not have a 50’s model at the store to compare it to. I did compare it to the newer ash model. They were very different guitars. They looked similar, but it ends there. The newer one did not have the same style neck and was MUCH heaver than the 52RI. The 52 had much better resonance and tone unplugged. I did not plug them in. I believe if a guitar sounds good unplugged, you have something to work with. If not, you’re just never going to get a good sound out of it.

    I have two MIM Thinlines, a 99 and a 04. I am very happy with them and believe them to be as good as anything American made that I have seen. I would not hesitate to by another MIM guitar.
     

  18. Ignatius

    Ignatius Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 29, 2004
    I have both. I've upgraded the 50's Classic with brass saddles, and both guitars have aftermarket pickups in them. The differences between them are very minor. I usually play the 50's Classic.
     

  19. maestrovert

    maestrovert Poster Extraordinaire

    the 2 Teles you checked out were a '52Ri & the other one was the Korean made Lite Ash model ?

    the finish on my Lite Ash is waaaay thick....my '50's Classic's finish is much thinner....it's a much better instrument than the Mik L-A.
    doncha dare tell my wife (the Lite Ash Tele was a gift from her), but jes' 'tween you & me, i'd've never bought it......
     

  20. jericho60

    jericho60 formerly ye olde fretmonkey

    Mar 19, 2003
    Gnashville area
    I've not been real impressed with the Lite Ash guitars I've seen. Not terrible, but not great either.
     

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