Fender Telecaster Deluxe Solid Body Electric Guitar (1974)

Fender  Telecaster Deluxe Solid Body Electric Guitar  (1974)
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Item # 12017
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Fender Telecaster Deluxe Model Solid Body Electric Guitar (1974), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 581718, black polyester finish, alder body, maple neck, black gig bag case.

This guitar is a good player's example of one of Fender's better regarded new-for-the-1970s instruments, the Telecaster Deluxe. The model was introduced in January 1973, a product CBS/Fender labs designed to evoke the character of Gibson's Les Pauls then experiencing a huge wave of popularity. The Deluxe is a factory-built reflection of a modification many players were making in the field, fitting Fender's Telecaster with humbucking pickups. It also has the then-new 3-bolt micro tilt neck, all these considered upgrades at the time.

Besides differing from the standard Telecaster in carrying the new Fender "Wide Range" humbucking pickups the Telecaster Deluxe also has a Stratocaster-like 6-saddle bridge; some early ones even appropriated the Strat's trem system. The back of the body is contoured like a Strat, but the wiring layout is a ringer for the Les Paul. It's interesting that CBS/Fender did most of their experimenting with model variations on the basic Telecaster while leaving the Stratocaster as it was.

The unique pickups and the wiring layout owe much to Fender's employment of Seth Lover, the man responsible for the classic Gibson electronics of the 1950s. Lover's Cunife magnet Fender humbucking pickup was not a big hit at the time but has grown greatly in status over the years as players have discovered its unique combination of clarity, punch, and character. The wiring functions in a Gibson-like mode with a tone and volume for each pickup and a 3-way selector switch on the upper bout. Even the internal wire has the braided metal shielding traditionally favored by Gibson. While not always appreciated when new, these pickups now have a strong following and have been re-issued and copied numerous times. This guitar's original pickups have codes dating them to 1974 while the original pots are dated to the 40th week of 1973.

This basic black Deluxe has seen some use and minor modification but remains a fine player's piece with a darker tone than the standard Telecaster and Stratocaster but still a more crisply defined sound than the typical Gibson. These a unique Telecaster variations all have their own character, and the Deluxe in particular seems more appreciated now 50 years along than they were when new!
Overall length is 39 1/2 in. (100.3 cm.), 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth at side. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This 50 year old Telecaster Deluxe is a bit of a genuine relic; it was obviously a working guitar showing signs of use along the way, including some minor typical period modifications. There is moderate wear to the fairly sturdy original poly finish but nothing too brutal. The body shows checking and some dings and chips, mostly on the edges but including a pretty big gouge on the back. In general the body finish is a bit scruffy overall but one of the advantages of this 70's Poly in black is it can take a lot of abuse and still look great! The black pickguard is fairly heavily scuffed on the face but not cracked or chipped at the corners.

The neck is relatively clean; it was refretted some time back with the fingerboard altered to a compound radius and re-finished. This was a common thing to do in the 80's and 90's, allowing more aggressive bending up the neck while keeping the more traditional feel in the lower positions. The fingerboard was neatly refinished with a less thick coating than the original heavy poly and feels great. The original "F" tuners were replaced with later 1970s-80s Fender-branded Schaller enclosed machines, which were actually correct for this model later in its run.

The signature "Wide Range" humbucking pickups are original and sound great; The upper two pots are original, the lower two are 1970s or 80s DiMarzios; One tone knob is a "close but no cigar" Fender amp knob but blends in fine. The bridge and saddles are original; there is noticeable plating wear to these and the pickup covers but nothing affecting function. This Tele has seen some stage time but still plays and sounds very well, a slightly funky and badass piece of '70s Fender history in a modern HSC. Very Good + Condition.