Vintage Hot Rod ’52 Telecaster Review
In the late forties the Fender Telecaster changed the life of
gigging guitarists as we know it. Gone were the problems normally
associated with howling hollow bodied guitars and guitarists
finally had an instrument that could be amplified easily and
heard at high volume levels. Despite initial skepticism from
traditional guitarists the instrument soon took off, to launch
the solid bodied guitar boom.
Keeping this in mind the instrument
we are reviewing today is based on one of Fender’s most popular
models the ’52 Reissue, but now updated under its new vintage
hot rod range.
Introduced in January 2007 this
particular Telecaster fuses the classic 50s look with modern
features to create a unique instrument with a vintage vibe whilst
remaining playable by today’s standards.
Stand out features include; the
Seymour Duncan Mini-Humbucker at the neck, and a custom vintage
Tele pickup in the bridge. These are selected via the usual
Telecaster 3-way blade switch. This guitar also carries Fender’s
recent “Thin-Skin" Nitrocellulose
Lacquer finish, a thinner layer of Nitrocellulose than
on other vintage reissue guitars. This is so as to allow the
wood to breathe and age more naturally whilst aiding resonance.
I actually was able to compare the finish on my instrument to
a regular ‘52 RI and the finish on the original ’52 is noticeably
Cosmetically the Tele is finished
in butterscotch blonde, whilst the maple neck is satin backed,
carrying medium jumbo frets with a flatter than usual radius.
Vintage style tuners compliment the headstock and one lone round
string retainer completes the package.
The Tele also sports a period correct,
5 screw black pickguard. All the hardware except for the brass
compensated saddles, are finished in chrome.
How a guitar sounds can be difficult
to describe. Using a standard USA Telecaster as a reference
this one can be described as more raunchy and gritty. The bridge
pickup provides the well known treble twang of a Tele whilst
still sounding refined, whilst the Mini Humbucker gives gritty
powerful dark tones.
Have a listen to
sample1 (Hot Rod) and sample2
(RI) and see the comparison between the Hot Rod Tele.
and a standard ’52 Vintage Reissue.
The neck profile is meaty but comfortable
and the larger frets and flatter radius give this Tele a modern
Fit and Finish
As usual with USA Fenders, everything
fits well and no one could really fault the quality of this
A great Telecaster, to take this
incredible instrument further on its journey through the decades.
By Ernest H Slade