For many potential buyers of a mid/late 70’s Fender Tele, the following questions always appear to be at the top of any list – How heavy does it weigh ? – What is the body/neck join like, specifically is it a big gap ? – How does it feel/play ? – Is it all original ? – With that in mind I can report that it is good news on all accounts – So please read below all my appropriate notes, when I carried out the evaluation of this used, USA, Fender 1978 Tele, with a natural gloss finish on an ash body
- Includes the original 4 latch moulded black Fender case – These are the original, and more substantial, moulded Fender cases – Condition good and handle + latches in correct functioning order Also includes the original ash tray bridge cover
- Whole guitar weighs 7lbs 6oz which is well below the weight you find on many such models
- 3 piece ash body
- Very good + tight body neck join – I tried to get a .46mm pick down the side and it was not even remotely possible – So on a par with many good vintage models and even Custom Shop models
- Lam rosewood fingerboard on a maple neck – Neck measures .882″ around the top nut end and fattens out to .945″ around the top nut end – So slimmer than the chunky 50’s black guard models and more on par with many 60’s models, so a nice 1/2 way house between slim and chunky
- Clean frets with no sign of wear at all – Minor and I mean minor, hint of nail wear, in a couple of positions, to the rosewood fingerboard – A point I should mention but no issue and no work required to touch up – As I said earlier it is minor at the absolute worse
- Originality – It is just about 100% original from tip to toe – The only minor change is a previous owner has put some additional screening foil in the control cavity – But can be easily removed if required – But I see no issue with such a simple modification – Otherwise all correct and kosher, including wiring loom, scratchplate, hardware etc
- Neck pick-up measures 8.33K – bridge pick-up, with the usual brass base plate, measures 6.21K – Note this has the correct period ‘Gibson humbucker style’ braid pick-up wire from the brass plate, through to the switch – A feature that for some reason Fender ran with during this period
Date :- Many of us tend to accept the serial number as the date of any Fender Guitar – And with that in mind the S8 number certainly indicates 1978 – Yet the volume pot date clearly indicates 1979 – Note correct original pot – I can’t read the date on the tone pot due to the usual factory solder blob/join – This is a common ‘discrepancy’ on Fender Guitars, be it 50’s, 60’s or 70’s – Partly due to the fact that different parts of the guitars are built, then dated/numbered accordingly, before being placed on the appropriate storage shelf, before parts are collected ready for assembly – Add to that, that it is totally viable that a neck, with a late 78 serial number, would be placed on a guitar, with 79 pot dates and assembled early 79 – So if we are being correct, then it should be treated as a 79 Tele, as obviously you won’t find 79 pots on a 78 built/assembled guitar – But that goes against the grain when many treat the serial number as correct – So you decide
Condition :- For a guitar that is now well over 40 years old, the condition is very good – It certainly has not had a hard life and/or has been well cared for – Around the 6th fret area, on the maple neck, there was a blemish, that has now being touched up – So whilst the scar is still visible, more importantly, you can’t feel any ding – So nice and smooth – Look on the rear of the ash body and any compression ‘buckle’ marks are on the slight side of life – Nothing that has pierced the finish – Nothing nasty whatsoever, so far more subtle – Couple of subtle nicks on the rim of the body – But overall a clean ‘old guitar’ with no significant nicks, grazes, blemishes
Playability :- The frets are clean and original – I’ve re-strung this Tele with a set of 10-46 gauge strings and set it up with a sensible action, that is neither shred metal low, or tough to play – The neck feels comfortable with enough meat on it to stop it feeling skinny – Yet certainly it can’t be classed as chunky
To conclude, compare this to many other mid/late 70’s Teles and you instantly realise it has a lot going for it – condition, weight, originality, playability – Plus of course it has some mojo’ that is part and parcel of a 40 year old guitar – The fact that it still has the original late 70’s moulded case is a bonus – Such cases can now fetch a few bob, if listed for sale on various sites – It would have been so easy for me to split this from the package, whilst trying to make an extra couple of quid – Then include a gig bag or indeed any non-descript case – But I feel it is better to preserve the whole ‘integrity’ of the package and keep the case + guitar together
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