Fender Telecaster Thinline Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1971)

Fender  Telecaster Thinline Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar  (1971)
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Item # 9395
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Fender Telecaster Thinline Model Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1971), made in Fullerton, California, serial # 305069, natural polyester finish, ash body, maple neck, original black tolex hard shell case.

The Thinline Telecaster was one of the best of the late '60's newer Fender concepts, according to legend born from dealer complaints about heavy guitars from 1965 on! After experimenting with hidden routing under the pickguard (the so-called "Smuggler's Teles") Fender decided to instead offer a new model where routing was celebrated instead of hidden. This was introduced in late 1968 as the "Telecaster Thinline" and offered in natural finished ash or mahogany, advertised as "Groovy Naturals". This was a sign of the "hippie influence" as CBS/Fender noticed players in the field stripping their custom color or Sunburst Fenders to the bare wood. The model was subsequently also offered in sunburst or Custom Colors, but these are rarer.

The Thinline Telecaster was built from a block of timber like a solid body, but hollowed out from the rear not unlike the Rickenbacker instruments designed by Roger Rossmeisel. It is not a coincidence that Rossmeisel was employed by CBS/Fender at the time! The separate back piece was then glued back and neatly faired in at the edge, giving the impression of a magically hollowed-out solidbody. The Telecaster pickguard shape was altered to clear a single upper F-hole and also carry the controls. The other aspects of the traditional Telecaster were retained on this new model including the single coil pickups, master tone and volume controls and 3-way lever switch.

This is a very fine example of an ash-bodied Thinline from 1971, the last year of the original model. The neck is clear-dated to April 1971 and the pots are still leftovers of the famous CBS 1966 "truckload" buy, dating to the 34th week of that year. By the end of 1971 the Thinline design was "upgraded" to carry two of the new Fender humbucking pickups which changed its sonic character dramatically. The original 1968-71 version was not a major success despite its nifty and practical design and with only a 3-year production run is not overly rare but less common than the standard Tele model.

This guitar's ash body has a lovely grain, highlighted by the clear natural finish. The pickguard is the pearloid material that Fender favored on several models in the late '60's. The neck is the single piece maple design re-introduced in 1968, with the clear ploy finish and larger logo decal typical of the period. The original pickups are quite bright sounding but still sweet. This is a cool and fairly rare guitar, a lovely original example of this sometimes overlooked Fender gem.
Overall length is 38 1/2 in. (97.8 cm.), 12 3/8 in. (31.4 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 3/4 in. (4.4 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/2 in. (648 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This is a very clean guitar overall, showing only some very light wear and remaining all original and unaltered, even the "ashtray" bridge cover is still present. The Poly finish has only some minor dings and dents and still gleams like the Brady Bunch were in their first ABC run. The original frets show some light wear and appear to have been lightly crowned down but the guitar plays and sounds great, with the typically twangy 1970's Tele tone mellowed just a bit by the light hollow ash body. The original red-lined Fender HSC has some minor external wear but is still quite nice overall. Excellent + Condition.