Fender Telecaster Deluxe
|Fender Telecaster Deluxe|
|Period||1972 — 1981, 2004 - present|
|Body||Alder or Ash|
Classic Series: Vintage Style Strat Strings-Through-Body Hardtail BridgeClassic Player: Vintage Style Synchronized Tremolo
|Pickup(s)||2 Fender Wide Range humbuckers|
Classic Series: Black, 3-Color Sunburst, Walnut, Cherry, Olympic White (FSR)Other colours may be available
The popularity of heavy rock in the late 1960s led Fender to re-think its strategy of exclusively using single-coil pickups, as they were not perceived as being suitable for the thick sound and extended sustain favoured by heavy rock guitarists using double-coil humbucking pickups. Consequently, Fender hired former Gibson employee Seth Lover, the inventor of the humbucker himself, to design a humbucking pickup for use in a number of Fender guitars. The result was a pickup known as the Wide Range humbucker, and it was used in a variety of different Fender models including the Deluxe, Custom, and Thinline Telecasters as well as a semi-hollowbody design called the Starcaster. The Deluxe, originally conceived as the top-of-the-line model in the Telecaster series, was the last of these to be released, in late 1972.
The "humbucker" Telecasters failed to draw potential customers away from competition like Gibson's Les Paul model, and the Telecaster Deluxe was discontinued in 1981. However, in 2004 Fender decided to re-issue the Deluxe, probably in response to the belated popularity of the original 1970s version.
The Deluxe is unique amongst Telecasters in that the neck has an enlarged headstock - a very similar 21-fret neck was used by Fender Stratocaster models manufactured in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. The main difference between the Telecaster Deluxe and Stratocaster necks from this period is that the Telecaster Deluxe neck used medium jumbo frets while the Stratocaster necks featured narrower fretwire. The Telecaster's neck also features the "Micro-Tilt" angle adjustment device located in the heel of the neck, similar to other Fender models of the period.
The body shape was similar to other Telecaster models of the era, with one minor difference - a "belly cut" contour similar to that featured on all Stratocasters was added to the back of the guitar. The Deluxe also had the same "glitch" in its shape as the other Telecasters - a slightly less-pronounced curve where the upper bout meets the neck joint, compared to earlier (and later) Telecasters. This was attributed to more modern routing machines installed in the production line at the time. The 2004 re-issue differs from the original in that it does not have the 1970s "notchless" body style.
The Deluxe features 2 Seth Lover-designed Wide Range humbuckers with "Cunife" (Copper/Nickel/Ferrite) rod magnets in the place of pole-pieces. This design yielded a brighter and clearer sound more similar to that of single coil pickups. They were wound with approximately 6,800 turns of copper wire, yielding a DC resistance of approximately 10.6 kΩ (compared to a standard Gibson P.A.F. humbucker typical DC resistance of 9 kΩ).
The 2004 reissue version of the pickup was redesigned by Fender employee Bill Turner in order to achieve a similar sound in the absence of cunife magnets. While looking almost identical to the original 1970s version it differs greatly in its construction, featuring an alnico bar magnet underneath non-magnetized pole-pieces. It is in fact an ordinary humbucker placed in the larger Wide Range Humbucker casing, and the gap is filled with wax. This is one important reason the reissue Deluxe sounds different from the original guitars. Another reason is the use of 250kΩ volume and tone pots, while the original used 1 MΩ pots. Using 250kΩ pots with very hot humbuckers results in a dark and muddy sound; a common remedy is to replace the controls with 500kΩ pots, which is generally agreed to improve the sound of the reissues. (These same reissue pickups are used for the current 1972 Custom and Thinline Telecaster Reissues.)
Most Deluxes produced have a "hard-tail" fixed bridge, although for the first couple of years of production a vibrato bridge could be ordered with the guitar - this was the same bridge used on most Stratocasters. As this was not a standard option, models with the vibrato bridge are quite rare. Fender reintroduced the Tele Deluxe with the tremolo bridge option  as a part of the Classic Player series as of 2009 together with a new variant featuring Black Dove P90-style single-coil pickups .
The volume/tone knobs used on the early Deluxes were very similar to those used on Fender's "Blackface"/"Silverface" range of amplifiers with a chromed "skirt" tip on the top, however in the late 1970s these were replaced with black knobs identical to those used on the Stratocaster.
For 2010 Fender has released a limited factory special run of 72 Deluxe Telecasters in their Road Worn Line available in black and olympic white nitrocellulose finishes with the neck and body being aged in appearance, along with aged hardware.
The Telecaster Deluxe is very similar to another Fender model sold in the 1970s - the Telecaster Custom. The Custom can be differentiated from the Deluxe by its use of the "classic Tele"-style neck & headstock, as well as the "ashtray" style bridge and single-coil slanted bridge pickup also used by all other Telecaster models. The Custom was also available with a rosewood fretboard, whereas the Deluxe was only available with maple.
The Telecaster Thinline also featured a version with two "Wide Range" humbuckers, however in most other respects this was quite a different guitar from the Deluxe.
Electronically, the Tele Deluxe also resembles the Gibson Les Paul - as both models have dual humbucking pickups, an upper-bout mounted 3-way pickup selector switch, and independent volume/tone controls for each individual pickup.
A very small number of Telecaster Deluxes' (less than 50) left the factory fitted with a Stratocaster tremolo bridge.
In 2009, Fender released the Telecaster Thinline Deluxe , combining the best of the Telecaster Thinline and Telecaster Deluxe into a single instrument. This Classic Player Series guitar features a semi-hollow ash body, four-bolt neck, 9.5” radius, Wide Range humbucking pickups, three-position toggle switch, bullet truss rod, four independent controls and skirted amp knobs.
As well as reissuing the original tremolo equipped Telecaster Deluxe in 2009, Fender has also introduced a completely new model based on the Deluxe: the Telecaster Deluxe Black Dove. This guitar is effectively the same as the non-trem Deluxe model, but features two Black Dove P90 pickups instead of the twin wide range pickups. The guitar is available in black and transparent crimson red finishes with an alder body.
This model in some ways can be thought of as the Fender version of the Squier Telecaster Custom II that was launched in 2003, as both instruments possess P90 pickups and maple necks, although the Squier version is built with Duncan Designed Pickups and an agathis body.
Black Dove P90 pickups were also used on the short lived Toronado and Strat-o-sonic models.