MIJ Telecaster experts please help identify my TL52-55

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by soul_man87, Mar 3, 2019.

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  1. soul_man87

    soul_man87 TDPRI Member

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    Hi fellas,

    I recently purchased a Made in Japan Fender '52 Reissue Telecaster. The guitar is nice and light at 6.5 lbs. It is well balanced, not neck heavy and very comfortable to play.

    The guitar however is not completely original:
    -The pickups are Seymour Duncan 52 pickups
    -A Fender 3-way switch has been added
    -The neck plate is not original
    -The bridge plate does not have a serial number and may not be original
    -The tuners look vintage, but the tuning posts do not have the slotted openings
    -There is no serial number to help identify the guitar

    I am positive that the neck is original due to its markings, but I am questioning whether the body belongs to the neck, or if it is even a MIJ body at all. Although it says TL52 carved in the neck pocket, the body cavities with black carbon shielding paint look different from other MIJ TL52's that I have seen on the web. There is a number A44039 under the neck pickup on the body, but I'm not sure if it means anything. Has anyone seen a TL52 body like this? Can anyone verify whether the body is a MIJ TL52?

    *Another curiosity I should mention: I also have a TL52-78US CIJ from 2006, and I tried putting the pickguard from that Tele on this TL52-55 but it does not line up correctly with the screw holes. Are there slight screw hole variations for pickguards on the TL52 models?

    Please have a look at the pictures provided.

    Thanks

    1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.JPG 7.JPG 8.JPG 9.jpg 10.jpg
     
  2. sonny wolf

    sonny wolf Friend of Leo's

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    I can't confirm any of your questions because Fender Japan has a vast line of reissue Teles they have made over the years but that is a really nice one....looks like a USA 52 AVRI from afar.Congratulations!!
     
  3. Twang Tone

    Twang Tone Friend of Leo's

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    Hmmm... that body looks a lot like a Squier Classic Vibe 50s Tele in Butterscotch Blonde to me. They're made in China. So my guess is it's a MIJ TL52 neck bolted to a Chinese Squier Classic Vibe 50s Tele body, with a US vintage bridge and an Oak Grigsby switch.

    Also the reason the CIJ pickguard screw holes don't line up is because of the different metric systems employed by MIJ and Squier CV, which uses the US system. I can never remember who uses which, but one is Metric the other Imperial.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
  4. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Holic

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    Squier classic vibes telecaster body to my eyes.
     
  5. jondanger

    jondanger Poster Extraordinaire

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    In my experience the Japanese TL-52s have a more transparent and less milky poly coat than what you have there. Mine did not have shielding paint in the cavities either. That “TL-52” stamp in the neck pocket looks off too. Probably not what you want to hear, but that’s my take. Neck looks legit, everything else not so much.
     
  6. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    I've never seen a TL52, so I can't speak to that. Some body features match my Squier CV exactly. The neck pocket with routes past the end due to using a large diameter cutter. The color and coverage of the shielding paint. The routes for the neck pickup and wiring, including the slight relief for each of the pickup screws. Mine doesn't have a stamped number in the pickup route.

     
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  7. soul_man87

    soul_man87 TDPRI Member

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    Thank you to everyone for your replies. Certainly, the Squier CV body comparisons is not something that I wanted to hear. Yes, the internal routing and black paint looks like a CV, but the wood grain looks slightly different (not pine?) and would someone actually go the length to carve 'TL52' into the neck pocket of a Squier to pass it off as a Japanese made TL52?

    Does anyone else care to weigh in? I would really appreciate any feedback.

    I am worried that I paid for a Japanese made TL52 and only got half of one.

    22.jpg 33.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2019
  8. BobbyMac

    BobbyMac Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    In my opinion, that is not a Fender MIJ body.

    And those tuners without the safety posts are all wrong for a TL 52 guitar.
     
  9. MatthewK

    MatthewK Tele-Holic

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    Agree with all the above - I have never ever seen the neck pocket "ears" on any MIJ or CIJ Fender. Here's the neck pocket of my 1987ish TL52-70:
    [​IMG]

    As you can see it matches up to the neck markings:
    [​IMG]
     
  10. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    ok big two questions...

    where , who did you buy it from ? Japan dealer or private sale ?

    how much did you pay ? ( if you don't mind sharing )

    While at the end of the day it may not be exactly as you expected, it's still a very nice guitar.


    I own what I consider to be a 1989 MIJ 52 RI, it has all the right stuff except nowhere does it say MIJ or TL-52 ! Many much smarter than me have told me it is a USA guitar others say yes an MIJ because the logo is under the finish. The only s/n is on the tray. To me it doesn't much matter as it has been my primary guitar for the last 18 years ! I paid $800 for it and have zero regrets. In fact it is the guitar I compare all other Teles to should I seek another, and have.

    This 89 ( by s/n ) compared to the 88 USA 52RI i own, is pretty much identical with the exception of the logo being under the finish.

    If you like the guitar in your hands, play it and enjoy it !
     
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