Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

tele RI 52 v CS 52

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by vishnu, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. vishnu

    vishnu Tele-Meister

    Jun 5, 2011
    Hi Peeps :)

    Yeah I know, a difficult question this one......

    Is there much of a quality or playability difference between the two models?

    There is quite a difference in price and I was a wondering if it was reflected in the build of the guitar...

    The CS job is a 2017 CS 52 relic 10/56 neck.....wot's yer thoughts on the neck guys?

    thanks and merry xmas :)
    Slip Kid likes this.
  2. gobi_grey

    gobi_grey Tele-Holic

    Jun 7, 2011
    clinton, ia
    I own an AV 52 and just played a $3700 custom shop 52 relic the other day. I was not impressed with the custom shop. My 52 is so much better. The relic job was lame. Back of the neck felt like it was sanded down with 40 grit paper. Rough and nasty feeling. The custom shop had a little bit bigger frets if you like that. I say find a 52 that you like and save some money. They'll relic on their own with time and look much more natural.
    Slammintone and tonyj like this.
  3. DrPepper

    DrPepper Tele-Holic

    Nov 24, 2017
    Not much difference in the guitars and play-ability is subjective. I imagine overhead is higher at Fenders Custom Shop. It's more a matter of the buyers choice and whether they are willing to pay the premium for the CS logo.
  4. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    The custom shop is probably a little more 'handbuilt' variable. Maybe has nicer figure and fuller neck. Unique, there will.not be another exactly like it anywhere.

    Either is a good buy. The AV52 is like dozens of others hanging in stores around the world. Great guitar too, maybe 90-95% of the guitar for 50-60% of the price. VW, or Audi. Your call.

    If you like the CS see if you can do a deal for cash. My 51 Nocaster Thinline Closet Classic was great and much - missed.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
    nocastermike likes this.
  5. vishnu

    vishnu Tele-Meister

    Jun 5, 2011
    Good point about the uniqueness...ta
  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    The CS will be closer to the “real thing”.
    That may or may not matter to you.
    Play and enjoy what inspires you to keep picking it up.
  7. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    I haven't owned a recent AV52, but I do own a AV58 and AV64. I also owned a Wildwood '10' CS 52 that I just sold. I also own a couple of CS Time Machine Strats (57 and 63).

    Point being, even though no AV52, I am intimately familiar with both post-2012 AVs, and CS models.

    The AVs are very well executed. I don't find any appreciable difference in CS vs AV. They're on par with my Strats, no question. The only thing the Strats have is quartersawn necks, which is not on all CS, but I happen to like. And mine are Closet Classic light relic finish. The AVs are the equivalent of NOS finish. Brand new looking.

    Pickups in my 64 are some of the best I've ever played. Not just best Fenders. I replaced the pickups in the 58, but I didn't really have to. I DID have to replace them in the WW 52, because I can't stand Twisted neck pickups. Went with some Stuart Blackguards, and liked 'em so much, I put them in the 58 as well.

    Point there is that pickups aren't really part of the guitar, IMO. So easily swappable, if you want to tweak the voicing. That said, in general, the AV pickups are quite nice, to super nice.

    Fit and finish, thin nitro, good necks, great fretwork, neat wiring... it's all there in the AVs. Bone nuts.

    I think if you want a CS, get one. If you need to special order something, or just want to be sure you have the best (never a guarantee, though), and money's pretty far down on the requirements list.

    Otherwise, AV all the way. It's not "only an AV".

    You might notice in all the above, that the only one I no longer own is the WW CS 52. No accident. It didn't stand up to the AV58. Period.

    Now, if you're not asking about AVs, but AVRIs - the designation pre-2012 - then I'd say go Custom Shop. Or just get a more recent AV.
    swany and dr_tom like this.
  8. H. Mac

    H. Mac Friend of Leo's

    May 26, 2012
    Atlanta, Georgia
    The current/recent AVRI 52s are the best Teles made since the original Blackguards. I noticed no difference in the quality of workmanship or materials when compared to the 3 Nocasters I've owned.
    moosie, Slammintone and zephyrR1 like this.
  9. Telepi

    Telepi Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 22, 2009
    I believe the 10 56 necks are V shaped most of the way up the neck, then transition to a C shape. Although, Custom Shop specs can be all over the place, while calling them 52 Teles. Best to play it first and see if the neck rocks your boat.

    The 52 AVRIs are consistent. I played one yesterday at GC. Really light weight and felt great. Plus, it was on sale. If I hadn't bought my 51 CS relic earlier this year, I might have walked out with it. That's what I did with the 51. It's neck is fantastic. A big U shape, way bigger than any AVRI. 6105 frets and a 9.5 radius. The neck is silky smooth too. I prefer aged and relic'd guitars for the way they look and feel.
  10. Lobomov

    Lobomov Friend of Leo's

    Jul 15, 2013
    The AVRIs are great guitars .. especially the post-2012 are popular and you have people like moosie a couple of posts above me selling CS tele's but keeping their AVRI.

    Are the CS guitars "better" than the Avri's? .. On average I think they are, tho at times you will find off course find a dud.

    But it is so personal that no one but you can make the decision. Personally there is something about the neck on the 52, that I really dislike, so in your situation it is an easy choice for me.

    If we where talking about the '58 or '64 then it would be more difficult, but I'd probably still go with the CS.

    (But please beware that this is the time of sick deals on the used marked with peaks a couple of days before christmas and then a second wave in the days after new years )
    nocastermike likes this.
  11. vishnu

    vishnu Tele-Meister

    Jun 5, 2011
    Thanks Moosie....

    Lets see if I can get up to date here...

    The AV 52 you speak of is the new reference for a post 2012 RI 52,yeah?

    I had a 2012, I think it was, RI 52 with 7.25 radius and thin frets....did not care for radius or frets at all, I prefer wider frets

    Big frets, thin nitro ,headstock end truss rod, 9.5 radius......does your AV post 2012 come with these specs at all?

    thanks for all your help and advice guys :)
  12. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Sep 20, 2005
    Kansas City
    No, the regular AV 52 would not come with those specs; it would have the small frets. 7.25" radius and heel truss rod adjuster. The actual transition from the earlier "AVRI 52" to the current "AV 52" happened in August of 2012 - so in 2012 you had both models in production. That being said the "revised" AV 52 models would have serial numbers with a "V12xxxxx" format while the earlier AVRI 52 models had a 5 or 6 digit serial number with no letter prefix.

    If I'm reading your post correctly the CS 52 you are looking at has the 10/56 neck - that is the neck found on AV 56 Strats (and on "standard spec" CS 56 Strats) and as Telepi says its a soft V neck and many of them transition to a rounded C shape by the 12th fret (some but not all - I had a 2007 CS Time Machine '56 Strat that stayed soft V the entire way down the neck so I imagine it depends on who did the final shaping). Post 2009 CS Fenders do tend to have the larger (6105) frets and the 9.5" radius but they will still have the heel truss rod adjuster.

    Wildwood Guitars here in the USA (in Colorado) has a series they call the "American Vintage 'Thin Skin' Nitro - these are FSR runs done for Wildwood (and typically also for Dave's Guitar in Wisconsin); they have a '52 Tele in their run that has the 9.5" radius and the larger 6105 frets - but they also have different pickups than the stock models (a Duncan '59 neck humbucker pickup and a Fender CS Twi.sted Tele bridge pickup). I'm not sure if they can ship these internationally but if your interested it might be worth taking a look
    H. Mac likes this.
  13. vishnu

    vishnu Tele-Meister

    Jun 5, 2011
  14. BradL

    BradL Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    Sussex, UK
    The Fender Custom Shop guitars we see over here these days generally -but not always- come with 9.5 inch radius fret boards and 6105 (tall narrow) fret-wire. I've seen several 52 (style) CS Teles with skinny necks and in different colours too over recent months so it's worth checking out what's available.

    Sometimes the shops struggle to sell stuff that is "off piste" like a Melon Candy 52 Tele and will do very decent deals just to shift the gear. Fit and finish they're both going to be decently put together, great sounding instruments.

    The CS exclusivity tag matters more to some and less to others. Down to personal choice at the end of the day. I've got a CS 52 that I really like but recently sold a CS 62 because I infinitely preferred a cheap old Japanese 62 I found. Horses and courses.

    If you're into the whole vintage re-pro thing then the American Vintage line are great. However you used to be able to get a really nice Hot Rodded 52 with a mini bucker in the neck and I think a compound fret-board. They seemed to me a lot of guitar without climbing up price wise into the CS bracket. Not sure if they make them any more but something to consider.
    Southpole likes this.
  15. Slammintone

    Slammintone TDPRI Member

    Jan 16, 2010
    NW Indiana
    I'm another one that has both a CS 51 Nocaster Relic and a 2017 AVRI 52 Tele. If you want to save a ton of cash and like vintage spec Fender necks you cannot possibly go wrong with a new or used post 2012 AVRI 52 Telecaster.
    The one thing I will say about the CS Fenders is that although you pay more to get one you are likely not to lose much if you later sell so it's money well spent.
    Quality of the new AVRI 52 is indeed the same as NOS from the Custom Shop minus some ultra flamed maple you might get on a CS neck. I have been less than impressed with any fretwork from the CS that involved 9.5" radius and those lousy tall med-jumbo fret wires. They always seem to have high spots and a rough feel and end up needing fret dressing and polishing to be playable. Every single one out of 8 like that I have owned. My current Nocaster was dressed and polished before I reclaimed it and now it's pretty good. Both the AVRIs and CS guitars I've owned with vintage spec radius and fretwire have been equally perfect however.

    It's really a toss up. But I am certain the latest AVRI 52s are up there with the best I have ever seen or owned and I've tried a few out since the redo and they have all been impeccable. The more I play it the more I keep thinking "you know, if I could have but one guitar this 52 would do it for me." My 51 is jealous.

    I forgot to add that the larger frets on any American Standard/Series Fender I have ever owned came from the factory perfect. No issues whatsoever. Wish they would show the guys at the CS how it's done lol!
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
    H. Mac likes this.
  16. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    In late 2012, but really more like early 2013, the new models hit the market. This was a major reworking of the whole AV line. Before, there were the AVRI designation, and for Teles, I believe only the 52 and the double-bound 62 (with the famously skinny neck). These tended to be heavier, and had thicker finishes, that probably contained at least some form of poly layer, based on both the thickness, and the way it chips.

    Fender completely retooled. That's when we started seeing what they call Pure Vintage. The hardware was redone to be more vintage correct (and is the hardware they now use on the reissue CS models, too). They don't guarantee light weight bodies in the new models, but every one I've held, own, or even heard about, runs light. My two AV Teles are 6.75 and 7.1 lbs.

    IMO, the finish is where they really outdid themselves. Paper thin, all nitro, it's gonna crack and age with you, just like the originals. There was a problem with some of the early ones, where I think they found the finish to be a bit TOO thin and fragile. I'm not sure what they changed - the later ones don't seem thicker, to me, but do seem to no longer relic all by themselves.

    When you see AVRI, it should / may / probably mean the older model, which to my mind is much less desirable. When you see AV, or even PV (Pure...), it's the newer ones.

    Neither of these models came with a headstock end truss rod and 9.5 radius. Perhaps you're thinking of some hot rod model. The frets on the older ones were extremely tiny. I didn't have one of those 52s, but I forgot to mention my (now sold) AVRI 69 Thinline. Same deal as the AVRI 52 in specs. The frets on that one were around .096" x .031". Similar to a vintage spec Martin or Gretsch. The frets on the newer line still feel vintage, but not so darn tiny. Mine average around .084 x .048.
    H. Mac likes this.
  17. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    To be clear, I'm keeping my AV, not AVRI, and also, I'm not dumping all CS. I can only go by the ones I've owned, but my Wildwood CS that I sold was built in 2011, before the AV line was reworked. Yeah, so what, right? AV, not CS. Well, here's the thing. When Fender went to all the trouble to develop new hardware and improved finish techniques for their new AV line, I know they applied it to at least some of their post-2012 CS models. Both my CS Strats, built in 2013, have AV hardware, and a finish very, very similar to the new, thin all-nitro of the AVs.

    I'm keeping those CS Strats. I have no issue with them. That said, if I were to buy again, it would be a toss up. If I needed something special (custom), then I'd order a CS. But I doubt I'd buy a CS off the rack again, because the AV line are just so darn good. Also, it boils down to pricing. I happened to get those Strats (new) for just a couple hundred bucks over what I can get a new AV for. That doesn't happen every day, but it does happen.
  18. vishnu

    vishnu Tele-Meister

    Jun 5, 2011
    Thanks all :)

    After doing some research the guitar that comes closest to all the specs I would like is,,,,wait for it......the USA SPECIAL TELE! :)

    It's hardly a RI or CS shop but the 22 big frets....headstock truss rod....adjustable screws for PUPs on top.....barrels.....and so on

    the saga continues.....
    moosie and Slammintone like this.
  19. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut

    Oh, OK, I'm happy for ya. It's half the battle, just figuring out what it is that you really want. Pics when you get it!

  20. vishnu

    vishnu Tele-Meister

    Jun 5, 2011
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