The Fender Telecaster model is one of- if not THE- most beloved solid body electric guitar styles amongst guitarist since its introduction in 1952. Well, ok, it was initially introduced as the Broadcaster in 1950 but ran into a little trouble with Gretsch and their Broadkaster name. So, in 1952 it became the Telecaster.
The Telecaster remained largely unchanged and the only variation offered was the Custom Telecaster model introduced in 1959. The folks at Fender head their eye on a talented engineer working for Gibson named Seth Lover who was largely responsible for the successful Humbucker pickup. Fender was eventually able to lure Lover away from Gibson in 1967 in hopes that he would repeat some of the magic he had at Gibson. Something new emerged from Fender in the early 1970s as a result – the Wide Range Humbucking pickup.
Fender set out to take full advantage of this new innovation by introducing a new Telecaster variation and updating two previous ones. The new model was called the Telecaster Deluxe which differed from the standard in that it featured two Seth Lover designed WR Humbucking pickups, non-tremolo Stratocaster style bridge, as well as wider frets and a no-taper neck. The controls also differed from the standard Telecaster in that they offered individual volume and tone knobs for each pickup allowing a player to preset settings.
Fender’s Thinline Telecaster model was originally introduced in 1968 but was updated with new pickups in 1972. The Thinline model offered a weight relieved Ash or Mahogany body in the form of an attractive F hole. It received Lover’s new Wide Range Humbucking pickup and a new three bolt with MicroTilt neck joint with its reintroduction in 1972. That guitar has been reintroduced by Fender many times in different variations since its popularity increased among popular players in the late 1990s, 2000s, 2010s. The Thinline Telecaster retains the original Telecaster neck profile and fret width/height so it feels very different from a Telecaster Deluxe.
But the guitar that Fender likely had in mind when they hired Seth Lover was probably a Telecaster with a humbucker neck pickup and a standard Telecaster bridge pickup. The Custom Telecaster model from the 1960s was updated to these specifications and became the Telecaster Custom. Many players complained that the standard Telecaster’s neck pickup was just a little weak and uninspiring compared to its bright and jangly bridge pickup. The Wide Range pickup is a perfect compliment to the Tele bridge pickup and the way they interact in the middle position is very inspiring. The new controls also allowed presets for each pickup which becomes rather necessary with this pickup combination.
1974 Fender Telecaster Custom:
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