1952 Fender Telecaster - Tadeo Gomez - with Thermometer Case

New Price$33,400
+ $175 Shipping
Listed:5 years ago
Shipped From
House Rent Boogie
Sparta, TN, United States
Joined Reverb

1952 Fender Telecaster with original "thermometer" case.    Tadeo Gomez.                 

Cat not included.

This is a really great, and very playable instrument, with a story to tell from the 1960's. See "The Story - Chicago's Little Boy Blues band, and Jeff Beck" following the instrument description.  

Legendary Tadeo Gomez signed and dated both neck and neck pocket, "TG 5-15-52" and "TG 3-6-52 #2", respectively.

Updated on 10 November 2019: image added with neck dimensions.

Additional photos:  Available on request, including detailed photos when instrument was disassembled for documentation and verification of authenticity

Offers:  I am not interested in straight-up trades, however, I will entertain reasonable offers, and will reply at my earliest convenience.  

Shipping/Pickup:  I encourage local pickup so you can make sure this is the right instrument for you.  I will ship to locations in the continental USA per conditions shown; for all other locations, please contact me in advance to negotiate shipping methods and costs.  At additional cost, I can ship the instrument in a sturdy modern tweed case, and include the original thermometer case.


Very good.  I have owned this instrument since 1984, and have used it on local gigs within the past six months. 

This instrument plays well, it sounds right, holds tune, and the intonation is good, Frets appear to be original (no visible finish on frets or on fret ends) and show wear, but all notes fret cleanly. Pickups (see note), selector switch, potentiometers and jack all work as intended. All parts are original except where noted.

Case: The original "thermometer" case, in fair condition, is included. Handle is good, all latches and hinges function. Lining is in good condition, and the accessory compartment lid works. There is staining on tweed covering. The cloth strap which limits travel of the top of the case is loose at one end, and some edges are frayed or have separated, and were repaired with duct tape by the previous owner.  

Weight: estimated at 7 lbs, 3 oz. 

Body: Ash, two-piece. Marked as Esquire body, but factory routed for two pickups. Finish: Original finish was removed, but is visible under pickguard. The several holes under the pickguard (indicated in photos by short section of guitar string) were not filled with paint or finishing spray; these were used to hang body when painting.  Body marked "ESQ" near bridge pickup,under the finish, in pencil.  While the Esquire is a single-pickup guitar, I have seen references to a few early 1950's Esquires produced with two pickups. Routing for two pickups appears to be factory original. Neck pocket: is "D" stamped, and marked "TG 3-6-52 #2" (date is a Thursday). Currently StrapLocks are installed, but the original strap buttons are included. All six original string ferrules are present.

Pickguard: Original, and in excellent condition, the single-ply black pickguard is secured by five 1/2" slot-head screws, original. (Transition from slotted to Phillips screws started in 1952, but was not complete until 1953).

Neck: Great feeling neck.  Neck is "D" stamped, marked "TG 5-15-52" (a Thursday). Side position markers are correct for period, as are fret markers. Neck plate is plated and shiny on outside, dull on inside. Neck screws are Phillips, 2" long.  Headstock has original single string guide. Tuners: Installed tuners are Fender replacements, changed prior to 1984, Five of the original six tuners (in photo) are included. Decal: Headstock decal, not applied at time of photos, is replacement (a gift from SWD, thanks!).
Bridge: Bridge assembly mising 'ashtray' pickup cover, otherwise all original with no issues: Upper portion of plate is bright plated, lower portion not plated. Serial Number 1426 stamped on plate.          

Electronics and Controls:
Pickups are original: Neck pickup reads 7.03kOhms. Bridge pickup has a strong treble output, and, perhaps, lower perceived volume than the bridge pickup. The pickup has no DC Resistance reading. Seymour Duncan, Don Mare and others have documented similar findings. Don Mare studied Roy Buchanan's 1953 Telecaster, "Nancy", (SN 2324) and documented a similar situation with bridge pickup on the guitar, which shows no DC resistance, yet has a strong treble output. This is not intended to imply that the instrument has a sound like Roy Buchanan's instrument, but to disclose a known "working defect" with the pickup.

Controls: Control plate is secured by two 1/2" Phillips screws. the 3-way switch .  

Knurled, dome-topped control knobs are original, approx 1-3/4" tall, with diameter of approx 1-3/8".   Three-way pickup selector switch is secured to the plate by two slotted screws. Switch is CRL 1452 with diamond logo and one patent number (one patent number may indicate an early 1960's replacement).   Selector switch knob is original, approx 5/8" tall, 1/2" diameter.      
Wiring/Shielding:  Inside of control cavity, back of control plate and pickup wires are covered with metal foil. Capacitors and potentiometers may not be all original - Capacitors are: Sprague "Orange Drop" .0015 and Central Lab ceramic disc .05. Potentiometers: both are Centralab 250K, cannot verify as original.  

The Story - Chicago's Little Boy Blues band, and Jeff Beck.

The 1950's story, of course, began with Leo Fender, and Tadeo Gomez, but the 1960's story is interesting. I purchased this instrument in Chicago in 1984 from the previous owner. I met Paul at his home on West Estes Avenue in Chicago, and I followed him upstairs where he plugged the guitar into (I think) a small Fender blackface amp, and left me so I could play a bit.  The strings were heavier gage than I was accustomed to playing, but the guitar sounded great, and I bought it.  We sat to talk for a bit after I had made the purchase, and was pleased to talk with such a nice guy. Before I left, he played the guitar a bit, and I was dumbfounded by what I heard: he played with his picking hand arched over the strings, plucking notes with thumb and all fingers, while dextrously touching strings with picking hand fingertips to generate artificial harmonics. These harmonics and the fretted notes he played were matched in volume and clarity, requiring great touch and skill.  The pace of his playing was lively, and it sounded magical, like a wonderful music box, perhaps. The tone was beautiful.  I was in awe, and told him as much; he shared that he was the pit orchestra guitarist for the musical

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Paul then mentioned that in 1968 while in San Francisco, Jeff Beck had made a generous offer for instrument, which Paul had declined. Since this was disclosed after I had bought the instrument, it had no bearing on our transaction, and I had every reason to think it was factual.  Still, when I decided to let go of this instrument, I decided to send its story along with it, but decided to find some evidence to support the story. I found the key when I removed the neck plate from the body.

On the body, under the plate is the information for the music store in Chicago, with a hand-written date in the 1960's, and and address label for the previous owner, from whom I purchased this guitar: Paul Ostroff (Ostrof), was a founding member and from 1964 to 1967 lead guitarist for Little Boy Blues, a legendary Chicago garage band, with serious blues roots, though considered pioneers in protopunk. Success of their recorded singles and extensive airplay earned them a huge following, and they were an opening act for The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Lovin' Spoonful, The Association, Paul Revere & The Raiders and other headline acts of the era.  I also discovered that Paul was in fact an orchestra pit musician in Chicago, and well respected by other musicians.

This verified a link between Paul and Jeff Beck, guitarist with The Yardbirds at the time Paul's band was an opening act. Further, Jeff was in San Francisco in 1968, touring with The Jeff Beck Group (notably December 5, 6, 7, and 8 at The Fillmore West). When I bought the guitar, Paul had called my attention to the "California Zephyr - Vista Dome" sticker on the guitar case; this train line ran from Chicago to San Francisco Bay in California, and ceased operations on March 22, 1970; this helped place Paul in California during that era.

Oh, and the incredible playing I mentioned? It turns out that Paul was trained by Segovia! The YouTube link shows Paul distinctive right-hand playing position, and his playing, based on the Little Boy Blues recordings, would likely have been noticed by Jeff Beck.  I don't think this instrument has ever sounded as good as it did the day that Paul last played it, though no fault of the instrument.  Perhaps in the right hands the story will continue with a further chapter.  That is up to you.

This item is sold As-Described

This item is sold As-Described and cannot be returned unless it arrives in a condition different from how it was described or photographed. Items must be returned in original, as-shipped condition with all original packaging.Learn More.

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