I was first interested in the different versions of the Tele that Fender produced in the early 70’s when The Neon got his black ’72 Tele Custom reish a few years back. His had a rosewood fingerboard on its neck and had a single split humbucker at the neck position. The Neon was also the one who rekindled my somewhat one-CD interest in Radiohead in those days.

I foolishly thought Thom added a ’70s Strat neck on his Tele the first time I saw a photo of him wielding the Tele Deluxe. How wrong I was. With the advent of the current crop of bands like Franz Ferdinand, the ’72 Fender Telecaster Deluxe seemed to be ‘in’. Fad or not, I wanted one, too. Then someone had it on a buy it now for three hundred smackers on eBay. Oh boy.

This is a Mexican reissue that belongs to the Classic series (I realise I now own three guitars from said series!). The Deluxe had a surprisingly heavy alder body. Wielding it shows a fuller U-shaped maple neck than my C-shaped bog standard Tele neck (don’t ask what the Xingxiao has. Haha.).

It has two split “Wide Range” humbucking pickups (single coils divided into two rows of threes) which adds to a fuller tone to the well-known Tele twang, but falls short of a rip-roaring Gibbo-styled humbucker. Tone and volume knobs were in the typical Les Paul configuration (a volume and a tone control for each pickup), and you select it with a three-way switch. Talk about Fender creating something similar to a Gibson product. Then again, read this wikipedia excerpt:

The popularity of heavy rock in the late 1960s led Fender to re-think its strategy of exclusively using single-coil pickups, as these were not perceived as being as suitable for the thick sound and extended sustain favoured by heavy rock guitarists as a double-coil humbucking pickup. Consequently, Fender hired former Gibson employee Seth Lover, the inventor of the humbucker, 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. 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.

Top-of-the-line, huh?

Plugging into the Marshall VS100R combo, the clean tones were glistening, albeit with some added meat. Rolled the tone down to 8, and 2+2=5 was just superb. Bringing it up to a mild overdrive, nailing the raucous mid and outro tones wasn’t too bad either. As a person who couldn’t play a decent solo to save his life, the Tele Deluxe is a sturdy enough beast if you want to beat the crap out of it during rhythm work. Operative word here is if. It handles higher levels of overdrive gorgeously too. It was a joy to play Brain of J (or any Pearl Jam tunes) on this. I have to say that the chubbier U-shaped neck took some getting used to. Fat tones by adding a MT-2 stompbox in the chain are possible, but then again what electric guitar wouldn’t sound metal with a Metal Zone?

Before I bought the Tele Deluxe on eBay, I actually sought out the Apple and X-girl decals seen on Thom’s Tele. The actual ones are bigger in size, actually. Also, Thom’s Tele had been modified where one of the tone knobs has been replaced by a jack socket. I wouldn’t go that far for mine. Hehe.

If I wasn’t greedy and would be happy with just one guitar, the Tele Deluxe would do just fine. But then, that’s what I say about the other guitars I have.

Oh, as a play on the Radiohead song Myxomatosis, she’s now re-christened ミキちゃん「MIKI-chan」.

Body Material: Alder
Body Finish: Polyester
Body Shape: Telecaster®

Neck Material: Maple
Neck Finish: Gloss Urethane
Neck Shape: “C” Shape
Scale Length: 25.5″ (648 mm)
Fingerboard: Material Maple
Fingerboard: Radius 12″ (305 mm)
Number of Frets: 21
Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
Nut Material: Synthetic Bone
Nut Width: 1.650″ (42 mm)
Position Inlays: Black Dots
Truss Rod: Bullet Style

Pickups: Fender “Wide Range” Humbucking
Controls: Volume 1. (Neck Pickup), Tone 1. (Neck Pickup), Volume 2. (Bridge Pickup), Tone 2. (Bridge Pickup) Switching: 3-Position toggle – Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge And Neck Pickups, Position 3. Neck Pickup

Bridge: 6-Saddle Vintage-Style Strat Strings-Through-Body Hardtail
Hardware Finish: Chrome
Tuning Machines: Fender Vintage “F” Stamped
Pickguard: 3-Ply Black
Control Knobs: Skirted Amp Knobs
Switch Tip: Aged White
Neck Plate: 3-Bolt “F” Stamped with Micro-Tilt™

[Post updated 8.8.2017]