The Fender American Deluxe Telecaster, previewed last month on this very blog, has now arrived on the DV247 Blog reviews bench, and I for one am excited about it. Having been a very big fan of the Telecaster in all its various forms since I was barely out of short trousers, and having owned a fair few down the years, any opportunity to grab every new version and discover just what Fender is up to with its oldest model rarely passes me by. The review sample is the latest update and is finished in an Olympic Pearl, but if three-colour Sunburst, Aged Cherry Burst or Tungsten is your bag then you’re in luck. As usual, a rosewood neck option is available too.
As with the new American Deluxe Strat that I reviewed yesterday, perhaps the most significant feature of the new Tele is the installation of Fender N3 noiseless pickups. I have picked up many guitars in the past that claim to have noiseless pickups and never been that impressed, but the N3s are probably the quietist I’ve ever come across, especially on a Fender. During my test, the lack of any discernable buzz was a little uncanny, and I had to check whether the guitar was still plugged in. Coupled with the new S1 switching system, the N3s turn the Deluxe Tele into a very useful recording tool, eliminating at least one element in the chain of potential spoilers.
The American Deluxe Tele has a select alder body and a C shape maple neck with a compound radius fingerboard, 9.5″ at the nut flattening out to 14″ at the top. Although the differing curvature is quite radical on paper the actual feel of the neck is unaffected, and the fear of bending a string after the 12th fret only to hear it choking out is now a lot less present. Double stops are easier too. The heavy duty flat chrome bridge features six chromed brass adjustable saddles for perfect intonation adjustment and the locking machine heads are staggered – three tall and three short. Flipping the guitar over reveals a contoured back for comfort and a four-bolt micro-tilt adjustable neck. All the Deluxe Telecasters have a bound front edge which certainly adds to the already striking finishes.
Plugged in, the Deluxe Telecaster delivers classic tones with a certain authority not usually heard from the models with standard Tele pickups. The S1 switching system yields bridge and neck pickups in parallel in the up position and series if switched down. In series the sound is still Tele, but with a lot of attitude thrown in. The 22 frets are perfectly rounded off and the nut has been cut correctly, making this a very playable instrument straight out of its hardshell SKB case.
Despite the hundreds of different versions of this guitar that Fender has manufactured over the last 58 years or so, including all the different neck shapes, finishes and pickup configurations, there are still places to go and improvements to make to the Tele. Here’s the latest, the American Deluxe Telecaster.