Fender’s American Deluxe Telecaster was already one of my all time favorite guitars, so when I found out that a re-design was in the works about a year ago, I couldn’t help but get excited. We received our first example of the new design this week, and all I can say is “WOW!”.
The first good thing I noticed when I cracked open the case was the guitar’s look…. it haden’t changed! This was great news as far as I’m concerned. Why mess with an already great design! So, what has changed? As Fender says on their website, it’s all “in the details”.
At the heart of the new American Deluxe Tele is a pair of Fender’s N3 noiseless pickups. This is a brand new hum-cancelling pickup, and is easily Fender’s best yet. Noiseless pickups have been around for a long time now, but never before have I played any that capture the true detail, clarity, and attack of a real single coil the way the new N3s do. The guitar is as lively and responsive as any Tele I’ve played…. with no hum! The S-1 switching system is a fantastic addition a standard Telecaster wiring. You get the same range of sounds you would expect from any modern Tele, but with an extra secret weapon: set the 3 way switch to the middle position, then push the S-1 switch to jump to series wiring between the neck and bridge pickup…. the guitar will wail as if there was a giant humbucker right in the middle of the body! The extra output and fatter mid range found with this setting help make this one of the most versatile instruments I’ve ever played, without bogging down the guitar with loads of controls.
I didn’t think there was anything Fender could do to improve the feel of their modern “C” neck profile, but they found a way! The new American Deluxe Telecaster features a compound fingerboard radius. At the nut, the fingerboard is a carved to a familiar 9.5″ radius. This curve feels great for chording at the lower frets. Moving up the neck, the fingerboard flattens out to a 14″ raius at the 12th fret. This makes bending far easier and controllable; even my clumsy fingers were pushing double bends with ease!
The alder body version of the American Deluxe Telecaster features a “belly” contour (like a Strat) as well as body binding. The Ash body version features a more traditional slab body without binding. Both guitars have a contoured neck heel for easier access to the upper frets. The bridge features 6 adjustable chrome-plated brass saddles, for a sturdy feel and resonant sound. Fender has upgraded the tuners to a set of locking machines, paired with a synthetic bone nut for accurate and stable tuning. Across the guitar, the parts and components used are top-notch, with the rock-solid construction I’ve come to expect from Fender. The guitar just feels like a high quality machine, thanks to the grade of the materials and the precision of the construction.
The new American Deluxe Telecaster is the perfect example of why Fender is one of the greatest guitar builders in the world. They have managed to modernize the Telecaster in all the right ways, through subtle refinement and iteration. The result is an instrument that stands side by side with it’s historic predecessors, and simply out performs them in practically every way. It’s been almost 60 years since the Telecaster was first made, and in my mind no guitar builder has beaten it. This American Deluxe Tele raises the bar even further.
- Nevin Douglas
Current Canadian MAP Price: $1185.00 Canadian Dollars
* Body Material: Select Alder
* Body Finish: Urethane Body Finish
* Neck Shape: Modern “C” Shape
* Number of Frets: 22
* Fret Size: Medium Jumbo
* Position Inlays: White Pearloid Dot Position Inlays
* Fingerboard Radius: 9.5″-14″ Compound Radius (241mm-355.6mm)
*Fretboard: Rosewood or Maple
*Neck Material: Maple
* Neck Finish: Satin Urethane Finish
* Nut Width: 1.6875″ (43 mm)
* Scale Length: 25.5″ (648 mm)
* Neck Plate: 4-Bolt Neck Plate with Micro-Tilt™
* Truss Rod Nut: 1/8″ American Series Nut
* Pickup Configuration: S/S
* Bridge Pickup: Noiseless™ N3 Tele® Bridge Pickup
* Neck Pickup: Noiseless™ N3 Tele® Neck Pickup
* Pickup Switching: 3-Position Blade
* Special Electronics: S-1™ Switch
* Controls: Master Volume (with S-1™ Switch), Master No-Load Tone Control
* Hardware Finish: Chrome
* Bridge: American Tele with 6 Chromed Brass Saddles
* Tuning Machines: Deluxe Staggered Cast/Sealed Locking Tuning Machines
* String Nut: Synthetic Bone
* Switch Tips: “Barrel” Style Switch Tip
* Auxiliary Switching: S-1 Switch Down (On): Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Bridge Pickup in Series with Neck Pickup, Position 3. Neck Pickup
* Unique Features: Compound Radius Fretboard, New Noiseless™ N3 Tele® Pickups, Locking Tuning Machines, Contoured Heel and Body