If you know anything about Norman's Rare Guitars (opens in new tab) in Los Angeles, it's probably that more unique, cool, and ultra-valuable vintage guitars come through its doors than your average guitar shop.
One of the shop's latest acquisitions though, is a doozy even by its already-lofty standards. Recently, a 1951 Fender Telecaster – serial number 0942 – came into the shop's possession, in "pristine condition" no less.
Given that the Telecaster only received (opens in new tab) its world-famous name – after first being dubbed the Broadcaster upon its release in 1950, only to have that name scrubbed after a lawsuit from Gretsch over its similarly named drum-kit, resulting in a period of nameless "No-casters" from February to August 1951 – in September 1951, there are exceptionally few '51 Teles around.
According to shop owner Norman Harris, Nocasters generally were given serial numbers between 1,000 and 2,000. The '51 Tele in his shop though, “is under 1,000. So this is one of the earliest Telecasters on the face of the earth,” he says.
Aside from some checking and weathering, the Tele's condition is just about flawless, and it comes with its original strap and case, and even a photo of its original owners.
The only mod to the guitar, according to Harris, is a rewound neck pickup, which he says occurred because the front single-coil features “a dark circuit, and a lot of times people think the pickup is weak. With just a slight mod these pickups come alive.”
You can learn more about the guitar in the video above.
For more info on Norman's and its other rare guitars, stop by normansrareguitars.com (opens in new tab).
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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.
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