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New Fender Custom Shop 52 Journeyman Relic Tele – aged nocaster blonde – Last of our 2019 models available at the old price of £3190

A black guard 50’s Tele is surely one of the most iconic guitar ever released – It is the granddad of the guitar industry and has certainly stood the test of time – Even today they can be found working hard in so many different genres of music – This New Fender Custom Shop 52 Journeyman Relic Tele, from the 2019 collection, is highly spec’d throughout including a select ash body, that is married to a maple rift sawn  one piece neck/fingerboard – Then add a set of hand wound Loaded 51 Nocaster pick-ups – Set-up with 10-46 strings, along with a slick action – Includes the deluxe vintage style tweed case, certificate, tags, Custom Shop leather strap, plus travel/spec sheet

51 Nocaster or a 52 Tele :- Effectively the same guitar – Many players just bundle them into one package, then refer to them  as an early 50’s black guard Tele – The only real difference is the decal/name on the headstock – The original 2 pick-up model released late 1950 was called the Fender Broadcaster and as such all headstock decals were pre-ordered this way – It turns out that the Gretsch company already ‘owned’ the rights to the Broadcaster (albeit Broadkaster, as part of their drum catalogue) – So Fender decided a new name was required – By late 1951 it was simply known as the Fender Telecaster – However the usual ‘transition period’ issue applied to Fender Guitars already in production and waiting to be shipped, as the new Fender Telecaster decals had not yet arrived – So they simply cut off the ‘Broadcaster’ part of the decal and shipped them out with only ‘Fender’ remaining – Hence the nick name ‘The NoCaster’ – It was just a nick name and Fender never released such a guitar – It is estimated only 500 ‘NoCasters’ were ever shipped during this transition period – Collectors will pay big money for them and ever since, the legend was created

Full spec and details for this Fender Custom Shop Journeyman Relic 52 Tele :- 

Lightly aged ‘Journeyman’ character :-   I fully appreciate that not all guitar players buy into the seriously aged vibe that you’ll find on many  Custom Shop Black Guard Teles – With this in mind, a thin nitro Journeyman finish takes on more of a  lightly aged approach, that some might say is more authentic – This classic ‘aged nocaster blonde’ nitro finish possesses a worn and faded character, with far less scars and wears than many other Relic models  – You’ll find no shortage of lacquer checking , yet overall it receives far less dings and dints, with very little in the way of a worn finish that reveals the alder body – Aged, but not abused, might be a fair remark, therefore the Journeyman finish is a far more subtle approach to finding a Tele with some played in character – Hence you can  buy it and play it, without having to give it the kids gloves treatment, then getting upset regarding any nicks and grazes that it will inevitably acquire – It is generally accepted that a thin base coat and finish allows the guitar to ‘breathe’ so as to maximise the guitars natural vibrant character and this is a big plus factor of the aged approach

That chunky ’52 U’ neck profile –   Fender Custom Shop now offer two early 50’s neck profiles – The ‘Nocaster U’ which is  a touch bigger with .960″ to .987″ measurements – Or the ’52 U’ profile, as per this neck, which measures .873″ to .971″ – Both are chunky but the 52 version is a tad slimmer by .087″around the top nut end, so maybe more comfortable to some – Is it to big to handle ? – No – Does it enrich the tone ?- Yes  – The more string vibration you can get out of the maple neck and the select lightweight ash body, then the bigger the tone – I certainly think if you play a big neck, with a set of vintage frets and the 7.25″ fingerboard radius, coupled with a ‘less slick’ action, then yes you’ll find it less forgiving  – Yet thanks to a set of 6105 ‘medium jumbo’ frets, a 9.5″ fingerboard radius, plus set up with a well balanced fluid action, then it will respond to a light touch, hence it is far more easy to handle – I find you quickly get used to it, so before to long you don’t notice the size of the neck, but you will appreciate that big tone – Note that the nitro finish has been cut back just enough for that ‘silky smooth’ played in satin character

Tonal character :- An unplugged test is always a good place to start any tonal evaluation of a Fender – ‘It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that ring’ is a favourite phrase of mine and this 52 Tele is not to be found wanting in the unplugged department, with a big vibrant acoustic voice – This bodes well when you get round to hooking it up to your favourite amp, to hear a pair of hand wound ‘Loaded’ 51 NoCaster pick-ups  – Start of on a clean amp setting and it instantly sounds full, rich, warm and organic – The bridge pick-up possesses body, twang and bite in a musical way, without any of that nasty clang that you’ll hear on so many budget based Teles – A good Tele has so much more of a bigger voice than a Strat, especially on the bridge pick-up  – Big chords and riffs have power and body, with that tight controlled edge that allows them to cut through in the mix – The neck pick-up possesses a laid back character, that sounds sweet, lush and warm, yet still with enough clarity and sparkling highs, thanks to the alnico V magnets – Roll off the tone pot as required for a deeper laid back jazz flavoured voice – Both pick ups on together and you’ll hear that jangly pop voice that is instantly Beatles 60’s pop

Add some gain on the amp and you’ll instantly find it is loaded with character, especially as you play around with the volume pot, to adjust the level of gain that you require – As such you and the guitar control the amp – Utilise this approach with the guitar’s volume pot around the 6 mark, to obtain a cleaner voice and you’ll find this is great place to set up base camp for the hard core of your tone – Now wind the volume pot back towards 10 as and when you require more gain, bite, snap and attack for lead work, hence a built in turbo boost as and when required – Hit the hi-gain amp setting if you require more overdrive – With the guitar volume pot on 10, you’ll just about reach the point of going out of control, as you approach the red line – So again, just roll off the volume and/or tone pot a touch, to control the fizzy edges, yet still retain the gain, so again all the soul, emotion and passion that is in this guitar is at your finger tips – From succulent warm and chilled, to brutal attack and everything else in between, this black guard Tele can mix it with the best of them – Hot country, classic rock, raw blues, sweet blues, jazz, indie or pop and somehow, such a Tele can find itself on home turf  – On overdriven amp settings the neck pick-up is so rich and smooth with just enough sparkling highs, hence instant Robben Ford – Add more gain and you can almost obtain those smouldering LP flavoured tones with excellent sustain – The bridge pick-up can morph from tight crunch to hot lead – Controlled or on the verge of kicking down a barn door  – Play such a guitar and you can see why the voice of a black guard Tele is so legendary

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Guitars4You is not another corporate high street guitar store - My selection of premium grade guitars is about quality not quantity. Every guitar has been selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention to the set-up and playing performance. Every sale, phone call, email and mail order transaction is handled by me. A journey that is now over 40 years old, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars.