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The yearly NAMM Show in LA allows guitar builders to launch a host of new models – Yet for the Fender Custom Shop team, it is more a case of releasing a run of highly spec’d Limited Edition models, that pay homage to the classic guitars from their own golden era, of the 50’s and 60’s  – With current vintage prices in excess of the cost of a nice used motor, few of us have access to an original early 60’s Tele, but thankfully the guys at the Fender Custom Shop facility pay tribute to guitars from the golden era – Coupled with a few modern features, that are designed to enhance the playing performance, this Tele captures the mystical magic of a good old ‘un – So let me introduce you to a New and highly spec’d Fender Custom Shop NAMM Limited Edition 1963 Heavy Relic Tele, with a seriously aged taos turquoise nitro finish – Nostalgia will always ensure we’ll find something of interest in an old original model, but your hands, ears and indeed your wallet, will appreciate all the attributes that this Custom Shop Strat possesses

Some might say that a picture paints a thousand words – If that is the case, then many might not have a lot of praise to bestow upon this Tele, with its seriously aged character – Yet the reverse is the case in this instance – The playing performance, tonal character and overall vibe is of a Tele, that in my opinion, is truly outstanding – Maybe it is hard to portray, with a few chosen adjectives, as to what constitutes such a great playing guitar – After all your hands and ears are the finest barometer to evaluate any guitar – Granted there are no shortage of new or used Teles out there, at various price points, to tempt you in to parting with some hard earned beer vouchers – Yet few  will be able to match the performance related attributes that this Tele possesses – The Tele is the granddad of the electric guitar – It is also the working class guitar, with no heirs and graces, so plug it in and play it and don’t be worried about working it hard – This is part and parcel of what the Custom Shop team capture when building such replicas from the golden era – It looks pure and vintage, yet a few custom tweaks are part of the package to enrich the playing performance, so more on that later

Full spec and details for this Fender Custom Shop NAMM Limited Edition 1963 Heavy Relic Tele  :-

Grease bucket tone mod – A simple mod on the tone pot that many players now utilise on their own guitars, that is subtle yet effective on overdriven amp settings – As you roll off the highs on your tone pot, it still preserves the same level of gain on the amp – So it still acts as a tone pot, but not to the detriment of gain and sustain you may require – As such, if you find at times that the bridge pick-up is a touch to fierce, with more bite than you require, so you might require a softer voice, that sounds more in control, yet still require plenty of gain and sustain, in which case this simple mod will work in your favour

Feel/playing performance :-  Whatever magic is in this Tele regarding the playing experience can’t be seen – You feel it – The classic 65 Large C profile instantly feels comfortable, familiar and very much old school from the vintage era, with an extra ounce of meat on it  – It can’t be considered fat, but it possesses a touch more meat than the regular 60’s C profile  – Spec’d with a thin honey tint nitro finish, that has been cut back for that instant ‘played in from day one’ vibe, along with the ‘dirty/worn’ character – To further enhance a slick playing performance, you’ll find a set of narrow/jumbo 6105 frets, along with a 9.5″ to 12″ compound radius – I don’t think you can actually see the gradual taper from 9.5″ to 12″ but when you bend the strings above the 5th and 12th frets it feels slinky and effortless, with no choking out, coupled with a slick playing action – The 9.5″ radius always feels comfortable for chord work around the top nut end, but many players like Eric Johnson and Kenny Wayne Shepherd often utilise a flatter radius – You can still dig in for big blues bends, but for more intricate licks, this Tele is as slick as they come – Overall the tweaks are subtle yet very effective – It is  a neat tweak from the Custom Shop team, so vintage and slick in one package

Tonal character :- The tone starts with the vibrant acoustic properties of a select ash body , which in turn is amplified by  a pair of hand wound Fender Custom Shop Twisted Tele  pick-ups – Like all good Teles, the tonal character ensures it is capable of working in  many different musical environments, either through a clean amp setting, classic rock/blues overdriven amp setting, or even a hi-gain amp setting – It is loaded with soul, passion, emotion and expression – Played unplugged you can hear it possesses a full bodied acoustic ring, but plugged in and the versatile tonal palette is instantly pleasing and infectious – To get the best out of the guitars emotional qualities, then I suggest you  do not leave the volume and tone pot on 10 – In fact, start off with the volume pot  around the 7 mark and let this be your base tone – This approach will allow you to wind the volume pot back towards 10, as and when you require some additional bite and edge, for that ‘turbo boost’ option – This allows you to clean up the sound of an overdriven amp setting, or on a hi-gain amp setting, the volume pot will adjust the level of gain required – As such you and the guitar control the amp – So from that ‘kick dirt’ setting with a hint of attitude, to a chilled out jazz/blues character and everything in between, this Tele excels – Clean succulent character to dirt with attitude

The  Twisted Tele neck pick-up is crisp and clear with full rounded low, transparent mids, plus highs that shimmer – It still possesses the hallmarks of a vintage Tele pick-up but with more articulation and sparkling highs – It kicks out a vintage flavoured 5.72K, so it is more about the tone and less about power – In contrast the Twisted Tele bridge pick-up can be somewhat of a shin kicker, in the traditional manner of an early 50’s Broadcaster pick-up, as it kicks out a healthy 10.11K – Hints of a P90 Soapbar voice to it, so it is full, throaty and barks, with tight lows and highs that can bite and snarl – Yet at all times it delivers a warm musical vibe to it – With the guitars volume pot on 10 it has plenty of bite and attitude, yet to tame the beast and obtain a softer character, just roll off the volume pot a touch, until you find that magical sweet spot – On clean or subtle blues overdriven amp settings, it is country pickin’ good with a touch of a snarl, but in a very musical way – As I mentioned earlier the whole guitar is loaded with  soul, expression and emotion – Trim the volume and tone pot a touch on a slightly overdriven amp setting, for that chilled out jazz/blues character that you’ll hear on all tracks prior to the mid 50’s days of Elvis – Add a touch more gain for the ballsy style of The Kinks and The Who, or add more gain and take it into the land of Rock, where you’ll hear plenty of harmonics – With the volume pot on 10 it can be a touch brutal with attitude, which is great when you want that character, so roll off the volume pot a touch for more of a controlled character – Here the neck pick-up is so smooth with softer highs, whilst the bridge pick-up does what a great Tele always does – The guitars limitation is how you want to use it

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Guitars4You Offers Reliability, Integrity and Expertise

Every guitar in stock at Guitars4You has been personally selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention paid to the set-up and playing performance – Every sale, phone call, mail order transaction or e-mail is handled my me – Mark Hopkin, the owner, Managing Director, cleaner and coffee maker (Jo, my wife helps with the coffee) – A 35 year journey has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars – This reflects in every aspect of our business.

I have no desire to run an Amazon style 'click to buy' guitar shop, that lacks any soul or passion, or indeed to fill a showroom with a selection of dirty, shop soiled or dusty guitars that are in need of a set-up.

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