The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

Fender Telecaster Custom Sunburst, 1978


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The 1970’s Fender Telecaster Custom was a significant departure from the 1960’s Custom, which had basically been a stock model with a bound body. In contrast, the Telecaster Custom introduced in 1972 and built until 1979 introduced the head-end “Bullet” truss rod adjuster, the three-bolt MicroTilt neck angle adjuster, and a huge change for Fender – the Wide-Range Humbucker designed by Seth Lover. At the same time, a two-humbucker version was introduced, named the Telecaster Deluxe.

Here we’re looking at a Fender Telecaster Custom dating to early 1978, sporting the Sunburst finish and Maple neck. This guitar is largely original though the ‘witch hat’ volume and tone control knobs have been replaced with black Strat-type knobs, and the G tuner seems to have been serviced. Those with sharp eyes will notice that the G tuner post is slightly shorter, suggesting that the button came loose, the post was shortened and the button re-attached. This guitar has also been converted to the six-saddle bridge; many of these models were (and presently are) shipped with both three- and six-saddle bridges. The body is Ash, and the neck is Maple. And of course it has the Wide-Range humbucker, and when paired with the stock Telecaster bridge pickup, a very wide range of tones are available.   The finish is in overall good condition, with a few small chips and dents and a bit of textured deterioration.   The guitar plays well and sounds great!

The Fender Wide-Range humbucker was designed by Seth Lover to avoid infringing on the patents for the Gibson humbucker he had originally designed. In addition to the larger size, the magnets are CuNiFe (an alloy of Copper, Nickel and Iron) with threads cut into the magnets themselves. CuNiFe was hard to source, and when the Custom and Deluxe models were discontinued in 1979, CuNiFe almost completely disappeared from the market. Fender started reproducing these CuNiFe pickups in 2020 and they are presently available as separate parts.

Here is Fender on the CuNiFe Wide Range Humbucker:

“The first authentic CuNiFe-magnet-powered Wide Range pickup in more than 40 years delivers rich bell-like humbucking tone with full bass and clear treble. CuNiFe pickups have “hi-fi” clarity yet never lose their attack and definition no matter how hard they are pushed. A chrome cover with a “3 3” exposed pole piece design and Fender logo completes the vintage-’70s vibe.

As popular music roared with the fatter tones of humbuckers at the dawn of the 1970s, Fender hired acclaimed pickup designer Seth Lover to create a distinctly Fender-flavored take on a higher-output dual-coil pickup. The resulting Wide Range pickup used large bobbins and threaded CuNiFe-rod magnets to achieve its distinctively brilliant sound, as heard on that era’s Telecaster® Custom, Thinline and Deluxe guitars. Sought after by musicians of all genres for decades, the original-era real CuNiFe-magnet pickups disappeared when the Telecaster Custom was discontinued in 1979.”

This 1978 Fender Telecaster Custom is sold without case.


Price: $5,000.00 CAD
  • Model: Telecaster Custom
  • Year: Current
  • Finish Sunburst
  • Class: Vintage
  • Serial Number: S816454, built during early 1978 in Fullerton CA
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 06/07/2022

  • Consignment Item

  • Instrument Weight: 10.208lbs 4.64kg
  • Scale Length: 25.5in 647.7mm
  • Nut Width: 1.613in 40/98mm
Fender Website

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