Vintage Fender Telecaster Thinline - USA 1971
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The Telecaster Thinline. Arguably the best thing to come out of the CBS years. The Tele Thinline combines the utilitarian appeal of a slab of ash and strings with the grace and style of a semi hollow ‘F hole’ guitar. The semi hollow construction adds acoustic warmth to the twangy tele tone. Many believe these late 60s and early 70s Thinlines with the original single coil pickup design are some of the best sounding guitars Fender ever made. We were pleasantly surprised when we plugged this one in and believe this sentiment certainly holds some weight.
The tone of these guitars is somewhat serendipitous, as the real reasoning behind the development of the Thinline had little to do with tone.
When Leo Fender and crew were running the show, they were meticulous in their wood selection. From years of experience, Leo knew that light swamp ash was ideal for his solid body instruments. Not only from a tonal perspective, but also from a practical one. A lighter guitar was easier on the back and shoulders for the working musician. When CBS took over the reins, they paid little heed to this and due to cost cutting measures took to ordering very dense, very heavy pieces of ash for their guitars. Many 70s telecasters are surprisingly heavy.
These new, heavy telecasters weren’t everyones cup of tea, so Fender designed a new heavily chambered body to reduce the weight. Much of the material either side of the centre was chambered out from behind and discreetly recapped. The end result was a guitar that, was not only light weight, but also a guitar with more acoustic warmth and resonance than your average tele.
This guitar was refinished some years ago with a light clear finish. However, the patina this paint job has warrants a first glance that the finish appears original. One 1 meg CTS pot with a date code of 1966, which is standard for these late 60s, early 70s Thinlines. The other pot is a CTS 1 meg pot with a date code of 1973, indicating it has been replaced at some stage. The original headstock decals are in tact. It has certainly seen its fair share of gigs. It is a common theme with old guitars that the most worn in ones are often the best, and this is no exception.
To borrow a term from Gibson, this guitar is a ‘fretless wonder’. The frets on this guitar are low and very slick. Articulating chords is a breeze. Despite the low frets, solos and bending are no trouble at all. The tone coming out of the pickups has a pleasing acoustic element to the classic tele twang which is attributed to the chambered body. A great sounding, cool looking and easy guitar to play. These pre humbucker Thinlines are highly collectible as well as practical and great sounding workhorses. We don’t anticipate this tele staying around for long.
Scale length: 25.5
Fretboard Radius: 9.5”
Action at 1st fret: 0.4mm
Action at 12th fret: 2.2mm
Neck depth at 1st fret: 22.45mm
Neck depth at 12th fret: 24.3mm
Nut Width: 41.6mm
12 fret width: 51.15mm
Neck material: Maple with Skunk Stripe
Fretboard inlays: Black Dot
Front Pickup: 11k ohms
Bridge Pickup: 10.5k ohms
Tuners: F stamped Fender Chrome tuners
Pickguard: Tortoiseshell 3 ply
Bridge: Ashtray 6 barrel
Electronics: Volume, tone, 3-way selector