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    Tele List - all the USA Production Models I remember

    I recently posted some historical info about some Tele models on another thread and mentioned I had tried to compile a list of all USA production model Teles (and Strats) that I could think of or remember. A few people wanted to see the list, so here goes; it will probably take a few posts to list them all.

    A few ground rules:

    1. These are only USA production models; there are far too many models from the US Custom Shop, Japan, Mexico, Korea or any other country where Fender outsources production.

    2. I considered it a "new model" when Fender revised the guitar enough to give it a new part number - for example, there are multiple version of the American Deluxe Tele, etc.

    3. There are plenty of other sources that detail the changes the basic Tele went through after it changed from the Broadcaster until the "basic Tele" was replaced by the "Standard Tele" in 1983; I consider this to be a single model in the list.

    4. I excluded Esquires as a separate model.

    Most importantly, this is just my research/memory compiled over a few years; please feel free to add things wherever needed.


    1. Broadcaster/”Nocaster” (1951-1952) – The original model. Ash body, one-piece maple neck, 1 5/8” wide at the nut with 21 small frets and 7 ¼” radius fingerboard. Finished in transparent “butterscotch” finish with black bakelite pickguard. Rolled steel bridge with 3 saddles (each holding two strings) and the bridge pickup attached to the bridge, a small chrome-covered neck pickup, a rounded-end rectangular control plate that held the wiring., slot head Kluson Deluxe tuners. Controls are volume, blend control to mix the two pickups, and a 3-way blade switch giving you the bridge pickup with the blender control, the neck pickup, and the neck pickup with a capacitor circuit that rolls off the treble to provide a bass tone. Gretsch sued Fender over the use of the name “Broadcaster” claiming they owned the name (spelled “Broadkaster”) for musical instruments, in this case drum sets so the thrifty Leo Fender simply cut the “Broadcaster” part off of the headstock decals while a new name was developed. Tweed thermometer case.

    2. Telecaster (1952-1982) – The final name for the original model. Key specification change from Broadcaster/Nocaster was the replacement of the blend control with a tone control for position 1 (bridge pickup) and position 2 (neck pickup). Position 3 remained the neck pickup with the bass capacitor. Many iterations and modifications through the years, but in continuous production from 1952. The body wood, neck shape, fingerboard, and construction would evolve almost annually. The other key specification change occurred in 1966 with the advent of “modern wiring” – position 1 remained the bridge pickup, position 2 became both pickups wired in parallel, and position 3 became the neck pickup, with a master tone control for all 3 positions. Additionally, the basic Telecaster never used the micro-tilt neck adjustment and bullet truss rod adjuster of other Fender models in the 1970s. Many cases were offered , starting with a tweed thermometer case, then a tweed rectangular case, then pinkish-brown tolex, then blonde tolex, then black tolex circa and finally black molded plastic (although both the plastic and black tolex were used in 1980-1982)

    3. Custom Telecaster (1959-1970) – A “dressier” version of the Telecaster that appeared about the time Fender switched to rosewood fingerboards. The Custom Telecaster was standard in the Stratocaster’s 3-color burst finish and featured binding on the top and back of the body. First used a pinkish-brown tolex case, then a black tolex case.

    4. Telecaster Thinline (version 1 1968-1972) – Essentially the standard Telecaster features with a mahogany body with a tone chamber and a single f-hole. Additional features included a pearloid pickguard that left room for the f-hole and extended to the rear of the body on the control side that included the controls. Black tolex case.

    5. Telecaster Custom (1972-1982) – A new Telecaster model for the 1970s. The new Telecaster Custom featured a Fender Wide Range humbucker in the neck position, the traditional Telecaster box bridge/single coil pickup in the bridge position, and a new control layout. A large black 3-ply pickguard covered the face of the guitar, and held a Les Paul-style 3-way toggle switch in the upper bought and contained Les Paul-style separate volume/tone controls near the back of the guitar. Maple or rosewood fingerboard available, micro-tilt 3-bolt neck and bullet truss rod adjuster. Black tolex case.

    6. Telecaster Thinline (version 2 1972-1982) – Updated version of the Tele Thinline. Now features an ash body with the tone chamber and single f-hole; pickups changed to two Fender Wide-Range humbuckers and bridge changed to Strat hard-tail type. Slightly larger pearloid pickguard that left room for the f-hole and extended to the rear of the body on the control side that included the controls. Now features the micro-tilt neck adjustment and bullet truss rod adjuster. Black tolex case.

    7. Telecaster Deluxe (1972-1982) – The other new Telecaster model for the 1970s. The new Telecaster Deluxe featured Fender Wide Range humbuckers in the neck position and bridge positions and either a Strat hard-tail bridge or a Strat tremolo bridge. Same pickguard layout and controls as the Tele Custom. Maple or rosewood fingerboard available, micro-tilt 3-bolt neck and bullet truss rod adjuster, and large Strat-type headstock. Black tolex case.

    8. Black/Gold Telecaster (1981-1982) - a variation of the "regular" late 70s-early 80s Tele with heavy gold-plated brass hardware and available in black finish only - similar to the heavy hardware used on "The Strat". Black tolex or molded case.
    Last edited by John C; 10-12-2012 at 09:17 AM.

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