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Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by KRZ4TELE, Jul 13, 2004.
What do ya'll think about the 50th anniversary USA tele?
Tell you what I think ...
(I tried yesterday, but I took too long, got 'invalid' session and lost the whole text grrrr)
What I am talking about here is the MIA 50th Anniversary Telecaster. There were MIJ anniversary models as well, and just about any Fender made in 1996 got the 50th anniversary sticker, but I mean the 'limited run'.
This was a limited run (1250 pieces) from the normal production line. Not a Custom Shop job. Basically, it's a American Standard like they made in these days. This means it has no vintage features, but a modern, 22 fret 9.5" radius neck, two string retainers, modern wiring, modern bridge with 6 saddles, string through.
However, following is different from normal production American Standard series. Gold neckplate with serial number 'Txxxx of 1250' and 50th Anniversary logo engraved. All gold hardware. Body front and back has maple tiger stripe veneer, underneath may be alder (not sure, also not sure of how many pieces the body was constructed). Tobacco burst finish, polyurethane. 3 ply W-B-W pickguard.
What do I think about it? I like it, a lot! Bought it new. Fit & finish, setup were excellent. Paint job immaculate. However, if you are into the vintage vibe, this is not your guitar. Flatter radius, bigger frets, and most importantly, the modern 6 saddle bridge, which doesn't exert the same string pressure on the bridge plate like a vintage 3 brass saddle bridge does.
What does it sound like? That's funny, if I want to get what I think of as the vintage Tele sound, I grab this one. I have other second/third/umpteenth-hand Teles, from the 60'ies and 70'ies, and if I really want a snarling, in-your-face lead sound (slight mid dip), I pick up one of those. But this 50th Anniversary has good pickups. The neck pickup is smooth, jazzy and powerful, and I end up using it a lot. The bridge pickup is even and balanced, but not icepick. Doesn't have the high output of my older Teles, so you can't hit the pre amp hard. But you get very articulated, smooth but twangy, snappy sounds, both chords as well as single notes, and both finger picked as well as plectrum strummed. Middle position really stands out. Good for clean, or slightly overdriven. This is what you can hear on these older records, before bands started playing through amplifier stacks.
One minor note: the finish on the neck (poly as well) has started to blister around the the position dots, nothing serious, nothing has chipped off). I also have one or two chips of lacquer missing from the bottom edge of the fretboard, but that's due to my bumping a heavy brass slide there while playing chords. Also - on one 50th Anniversary Tele that I saw second-hand, the gold plating on the hardware hard started to come off, maybe the owner's acidity had something to do with that, on mine it's OK.
Don't be fooled into thinking this is a nice investment for your pension. Asking prices for used 50th Anniversary Teles and strats may be inflated (because dealers will overcharge on anything with a limited run), but when the market has run its course, most or all that I have seen sold for prices under the original MRSP (US$ 1100 with discount in the States, or ƒ 2200 in my neck of the woods). But it is a very nice guitar all around, and a good looking one too. I kid myself into thinking that, although it is regular production, these limited runs got some extra attention and TLC at the production line!
Are you considering buying one?
Two string trees? I have a 1996 American Standard with the little 50th sticker on the back and I only have one string tree. Maybe another spot where the 50th Anniversary edition differs from the American Standard.
... you could be right!
It is currently at home, so I can't check, but I have a picture here
can you see? (just one I believe)