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Fender Telecaster®

Telecaster, Broadcaster, NoCaster, Tele Custom, Tele Thinline, Rosewood Tele.

Collectibility Rating: 1950's models: B+, 1960's models: C+.

October 1950 Broadcaster specs:

  • Ash body with Butterscotch Blond finish.
  • Maple one piece neck, all with truss rods.
  • Round button string tree (1st month models don't have one).
  • Silver "spaghetti" peghead decal with black trim.
  • Flat pole pickup in treble position.
  • Chrome covered pickup in neck position.
  • Black fiber pickguard, clear coated with lacquer.
  • Serial number on bridge plate.
  • Round Daka-Ware switch tip.
  • Steel bridge saddles till November 1950, then brass with flat bottoms.
  • Body date in neck pocket.
  • All screws have slot heads.
  • Most Broadcasters bodies do not have the diagonal wire route between the neck pickup and the control cavity. This route was added to allow easier drilling and mounting of the neck pickup's wire to the control cavity.

    February 1951 "NoCaster" specs:

  • Fender decal with "Broadcaster" cut off.

    Summer 1951 Telecaster specs:

  • After all cut "NoCaster" decals used, "Telecaster" decals appear. Still a silver "spaghetti" logo with black trim.
  • Gradual use of phillips head screws replaces slot head screws (this change was not complete till 1953).

    Late 1952 Telecaster specs:

  • Wiring changes on Tele. Now instead of the last knob being a "blend", it is a tone knob.

    Spring 1954 Telecaster specs:

  • Serial number on neck plate.

    Summer 1954 Telecaster specs:

  • White Blond finish replaces butterscotch finish.
  • White single layer vinyl pickguard replaces black pickguard.
  • Bridge saddles change from brass to small steel smooth saddles.

    Mid 1955 Telecaste specs:

  • Staggered pole pickup magnets replace the previous "flat pole" pickup in the treble position.
  • Daka-Ware "Top Hat" style switch tip replaces round tip.
  • Sunburst finish available.
  • Body date moved from neck pocket to under lead pickup (late 1955).

    Mid 1956 Telecaster specs:

  • String tree changes from round button to "butterfly" clip.
  • String tree moved closer to the nut, roughly in alignment with the A-string tuning post.
  • Peghead decal position changes to between the nut and the string tree (rather than next to the G-string tuning post).

    1958 Telecaster specs:

  • Bridge saddles change from smooth to threaded saddles.
  • Strings anchor at bridge ("top loading") instead of going thru the body (late 1958).

    Mid 1959 Telecaster specs:

  • Slab Rosewood fingerboard.
  • Single layer thick white pickguard (custom color Teles used 3 layer celluloid mint green pickguard).
  • Number of pickguard screws increases from five to eight.
  • "Custom Telecaster" introduced with body binding, sunburst finish, and 3 layer celluloid mint green pickguard. The first few models have a peghead logo the same as a regular Telecaster. Then a gold spaghetti peghead decal reads "Custom Telecaster" (not Telecaster Custom!), with the model name lettering slightly bolder than a regular Telecaster.
  • "Custom Esquire" introduced, just like the Custom Telecaster (but with one pickup). Same decal specs as Custom Telecaster.

    1960 Telecaster specs:

  • Strings anchor thru the body again.

    Late 1961 Telecaster specs:

  • Patent numbers 2,573,254 and 2,784,631 added to peghead decal, and DES number 164,227.

    Mid 1962 Telecaster specs:

  • Veneer Rosewood fingerboard instead of the previous "slab" style.

    1963 Telecaster specs:

  • 3 layer celluloid mint green pickguard on all models.
  • Telecasters were offered with a mahogany body and a translucent red finish. Not very many were produced, and this option is only seen in 1963/1964.

    Fall 1964 Telecaster specs:

  • Pearl fingerboard dots replace "clay" dots.
  • White plastic three layer pickguard.
  • The Custom Telecaster peghead decal changed to the gold "transition" style decal with patent numbers 2,573,254 and 2,784,631 and DES number 164,227.

    Late 1965 Telecaster specs:

  • Gold Fender "transition" decal, thicker than previous "spaghetti" logo. Two patent numbers of 2,573,254 and 3,143,028 (the DES number is dropped).
  • Maple fingerboard available as an option (black dots).

    Late 1967 Telecaster specs:

  • Black Fender decal with gold trim with the two patent numbers moved under the "Fender" part of the decal.
  • "F" style tuning gears replaces Kluson-Deluxe gears.
  • Polyester thick finish replaces nitrocellulose lacquer.
  • String ferrules on back now stick out, no longer flush.

    1968 Telecaster specs:

  • Pink paisley and blue floral finishes available 1968 & 1969 only.
  • Tele Thinline was introduced (late-1968).
  • On Custom Telecasters the peghead decal changes to a regular Telecaster style decal (the "Custom Telecaster" designation is dropped).

    1969 Telecaster specs:

  • Maple necks went back to the "one piece" construction.
  • Rosewood necks now how a contrasting "skunk strip" on the back of the neck (Fender wanted to use just one truss rod construction system!).
  • The diagonal body route between the neck pickup and the control cavity is suspended.

    Still in production today in several different forms.


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Other Info   

Fender Telecaster history

Vintage Fenders Appreciation page

Serial Number/Year Identification

Vintage Fender Guitar Pickup Specs

Fender Electric Guitar Schematics






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