Dating Japanese Tele 52 reissue.

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Lokkochaa, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. Lokkochaa

    Lokkochaa TDPRI Member

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    Hi all,

    Looking for a bit of help in dating this MIJ Tele. No serial number number evident anywhere. Made in Japan on the back of the heel only. No sanding marks anywhere. Looks to have some age to the bridge and saddles etc.[​IMG][/URL][/IMG]

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    Cheers

    Matt
     
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  2. kinkstah

    kinkstah Tele-Afflicted

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    Hard to say without a s/n or stamps/writings in the neck pocket or neck heel...
    The font used for "MADE IN JAPAN" indicates that it's most probably a pre-1997 MIJ (from then on, they were "Crafted in Japan", before being "MADE IN JAPAN" again since 2007/8, but with a different (somewhat bold) font)

    The pics below are taken from a old post by Jack Wells, on which you can see the "old" font (top picture) vs. the "new" font

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  3. Lokkochaa

    Lokkochaa TDPRI Member

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    Ive looked at the end of the neck and theres nothing written there, no serial number to be seen anywhere. I'm going to pop the bridge and scratchplate when i change the strings in the next few days.
    The font is the old font.
    The neckpocket and heel are pictured. Does anyone know what the letters in red stand for? Ive done some digging previously and seen numerous single capital letters shown but no one has discussed them?
    The pots have M250K and then 36 K under that with an orange cap with 473 KCK
     
  4. superbadj

    superbadj Poster Extraordinaire

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    So this is just my guess based on owning the following:
    1985 (neck dated) TL62
    1996 (neck dated + + serial dated + anniversary sticker) TL52
    1994 (neck dated + serial dated) TL52
    1999 (serial dated) TL72 (I've since sold this one)

    The only one that doesn't have the serial below the "Made In Japan" is my older TL62. Evidently in the 80s they didn't put the serial on the neck like that, they just used the serial on the bridge plate (which isn't particularly useful when it comes to dating all by itself).

    So I would hazard a GUESS based on that that your guitar probably older than my '94 and '96 TL52s. I don't know when the serial numbers started appearing on the neck. But other than that, who knows.
     
  5. Lokkochaa

    Lokkochaa TDPRI Member

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    I'm pretty confident it's an older guitar, the metal work seems consistent and has an older feel to it. It is a little strange there's no serial number anywhere I can find.
    It was likely on the neck plate, but that's the only metalwork that seems newer, so may have been swapped out.
     
  6. superbadj

    superbadj Poster Extraordinaire

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    yeah the A serial plates were used for something like 10 years. My '85 has one, but I've seen them on 90s guitars as well.

    The only real way to know is a pencil date on butt end of the neck. If that's not there, it's all guesswork frankly.
     
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  7. Lokkochaa

    Lokkochaa TDPRI Member

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    Yes that's what I though. I was a bit surprised there wasn't a date on the neck end.
     
  8. maloburro

    maloburro Tele-Holic

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    I would agree with what Superbad says, he is well versed.

    From what I have seen online and my personal MIJ tele, it looks mid/late 80s to me. The neck pocket and heel markings look consistent. It looks like it's stamped as an export (EX). From what I have read no one has ever determined what the stamped single letters mean. Google the fender Japan twang catalogs may help. Either way it's a beauty.
     
  9. Lokkochaa

    Lokkochaa TDPRI Member

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    Thanks mate, it's in keeping with the research I've done, shame there's no definite catalogue of the letters. Be interesting to get a list of them from people who do know the date of their guitars and see if they are any trends.
    It is a beauty :)
     
  10. Ron Garson

    Ron Garson Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    According to the serial number on your bridge plate, A065550, the guitar was built at the Fuji-gen factory in 85-86. At least that's what the Guitar Dater Project says.
     
  11. MatthewK

    MatthewK Tele-Holic

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    Yeah the problem is that the A serial plates were actually used from 1985 to around 2010. That date range is correct for serial numbers on the wood under the finish, but Tele bridge plates have always been a special case.
    I agree with the others who have said it's mid-late 80s - the fonts, neck stamps, hardware all add up. I have an 87 TL52 reissue and its identifying marks are very similar. Looks like a gem and that sen body wood is my favourite.
     
  12. Lokkochaa

    Lokkochaa TDPRI Member

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    Do you know what red letters are stamped on the neck/body (individual capitals) for your 87? Be interested to compare.
     
  13. MatthewK

    MatthewK Tele-Holic

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    1987 is a guess - there is no serial number other than the A on the bridge plate, but the neck plate is stamped FENDER which they only did for a couple of years around 1987-1989.
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  14. Lokkochaa

    Lokkochaa TDPRI Member

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    I strongly think the neck plate has been swapped out at some point, it's too new and shiny compared to the other parts.

    Interesting yours has both "K" on neck and in pocket.
     
  15. MatthewK

    MatthewK Tele-Holic

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    On mine? Nope, the underside was corroded in a way that matched the finish. Everything else is consonant with a late 80s MIJ - the DM-30 pickup switch, knobs, even the feel of the neck.
    For yours, make sure you have a really good look at the neck heel - sometimes the pencil dates are extremely faint, I had a Jaguar I disassembled three times before I noticed it.
     
  16. Lokkochaa

    Lokkochaa TDPRI Member

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    I'll have another good look when I open it up again. Would be good to find something in there that does date it.
     
  17. bugo

    bugo Tele-Holic

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    This is an old thread, but I'm reviving it to add these pictures of my Tele so perhaps somebody can use this information when doing research on Fender Japan. The guitar is a typical butterscotch blonde 52 style Fender Telecaster. I have had it since 1994, and there were at least 2 owners before me. The bridge was switched out for a 6 saddle plate. I have the original bridge somewhere around here. The serial number on the bridge plate started with an A. There are no date marks anywhere on the guitar. Somebody told me that it was sen. It has a sweet hard V neck. I don't know what year it was made. The guy who I got it from was in an alternative rock band and he used the Telecaster in that band for a while before selling it to me, so it's a 1993 at the newest. Can anybody decipher the stamps in the neck pocket? The "TL-52EX" stands for "TeLecaster '52 EXport", but what do the other letters and numbers mean? It's a really nice guitar.

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  18. MatthewK

    MatthewK Tele-Holic

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    Body and neck are mismatched - the TL-52 and CTL-50 are different Fender Japan models. The other letter and number stamps presumably relate to who made / finished / inspected the parts, I've never seen any explanation of how they vary.
     
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