Fender Telecaster 1953 4904
Posted on November 29 2022
This 1953 Fender Telecaster with original Blond finish and black pickguard is one of the finest vintage guitars to come through the shop this year! It's in really spectacular condition with light finish checking and minimal wear overall. I purchased it along with a matching Fender Deluxe amp from the son of the original owner after flying into Phoenix, Arizona. Apart from a gentle rewire of the control panel to modern style, it was completely original throughout.
As a Fender guitar collector and player, I'm always on the hunt for the nicest examples of 1950s era Fender guitars including Broadcasters, Telecasters, Esquires, and Stratocasters. You can contact me here to sell a Fender.
How much did a Telecaster cost in 1953?
By 1953, the popularity of the Telecaster model was pushing Fender's production levels higher and higher. Musicians were discovering how the volume levels that the solid body electric guitar with amplifier could make their music available to more people which continued to drive demand for them. Still, the price of the Telecaster model remained the same as the year before at $189.50 and $39.50 for the form fit case.
It's my goal to thoroughly document each vintage guitar that comes through the shop including this 1953 Fender Telecaster. While the exact measurements don't mean that much to me as a player and collector, it's fun to compare and contrast guitars from the same manufacturer and time period to see how they changed over time. The most important guitar measurements to me are the weight, neck shape, neck width, and pickup resistance.
1953 Fender Telecaster 4904 measurements:
Weight: 7 lbs 5 oz
Neck width: 1 21/32"
1st fret neck depth: 0.90"
12th fret neck depth 0.98"
Bridge pickup resistance: 5.7k ohms
Neck pickup resistance: 5.9k ohms
Knob style: domed
1953 Fender Telecaster Identification
As a part of cataloging each guitar that comes through the shop, I like to photograph the interior parts that add to the identification. The neck heel pencil date signature on Telecaster 4904 is "TG 4 - 30 - 53"; the neck pocket signature is "Eddie 4 - 21 - 53"; the masking tape in the control cavity is signed "Gloria 5 - 4 - 53". The dates here are very close together compared to later guitars which commonly have dates a bit farther apart.
Serial number: 4904
Location: bridge plate
Telecaster wiring in 1953
By 1953, Fender updated the pickup switching to what most players refer to as "vintage" today. This was the wiring style that Telecaster guitars were made with from late 1952 until 1967 which did not include an easily accessible "middle" position with both pickups on in parallel and in phase. Instead, the switch positions were as follows:
Forward: neck pickup bass tone with low pass filter meant to mimic a bass guitar
Middle: Neck pickup with tone control
Back: bridge pickup with tone control
It seems that the original owner of this guitar found it necessary to have a both on position and unnecessary to have the bass tone position. He clipped out the bass tone capacitor and rewired the switch to "modern" style wiring with available neck pickup alone, both pickups on, and bridge pickup alone positions. While I prefer not modifying vintage guitars if I can, I didn't think it would be beneficial to change the wiring back to its original configuration. I left it as is.
Sell a 1950s Fender Telecaster
As a Fender guitar collector and player, I am always looking for the nicest examples of 1950s Fender guitars. My favorite models are the Telecaster, Broadcaster, Esquire, Stratocaster, and Jazzmaster. You can check out this page if you're looking for 1950s Telecaster values. Or you can contact me here if you're interested in finding the right buyer for your family's guitar: Sell a Fender.