'72 Telecaster Custom review by Fender

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (118 votes)
Fender: '72 Telecaster Custom

Price paid: $ 750

Purchased from: Unknown

Sound — 7
The neck pickup is a wide range humbucker created by Seth Lover for Fender in 1972. The bridge pickup is a Standard Fender Single Coil pickup. The neck pickup has that fat and smooth humbucker sound that is a large part of the Gibson Mystic that Fender was trying to break into when they introduced this guitar in 1972. The neck pickup in this guitar seems to have lost something over time as it's lost most of the sharpness I've associated with humbucker pickups. The P100's I have in my ES-330 are much cleaner and sharper than this model. The single coil pickup gives the guitar a classic Fender sound while the humbucker gives another dimension to the sound the guitar makes. As with most single coil pickups, this one tends to pickup unwanted signals from light dimming rheostats.

Overall Impression — 8
This is probably the least played guitar in my collection, but every once in a while I have to bring it out and try it out. As it is quite heavy and would compare in weight with most Gibson Les Paul's, a wide guitar strap is a must to be able to shoulder this instrument. I need to get the neck pickup checked to see if there is something wrong with it. Other than that, I should play it more to really find out what potential this guitar has.

Reliability & Durability — 8
The three screw attachment of the neck to the body does not hold up a well as it should. The guitar has been dropped while in it's case and sustained a tweak to the neck where it has had to be pulled back into alignment. This was Fender's first foray into Humbucker style pickups having lost ground to Gibson in the late 1960's.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The string action has always been quite good. The neck is a little fatter than my Fender Strat, but is quite fast and smooth and the rosewood fingerboard gives a nice warm touch to the guitar. I've never much cared for the all maple finger board as they feel too hard compared to the rosewood. The rosewood fingerboard does give a nice contrast to an otherwise blond guitar. The finish is a clear gloss over a natural wood finish that lets the natural beauty of the Alder Shine through. I'm a wood worker and always appreciate a beautiful piece of wood as this guitar is. The black/white/black pickguard is a little oversize in my opinion as it hides a large amount of the Alder body. A smaller pickguard with the controls mounted directly into the wood would have made a much sharper looking instrument. Cover plates on the back as Gibson does allows the visible side to have more wood showing than the larger pickguard does, although it does increase the cost to produce the guitar. The finish has held up quite well with no noticeable dings or scratches.

Features — 9
The original Telecaster Custom was in production from 1972 until 1981. According to the Fender website, this guitar was produced between 1977 and 1978. The actual date stamp is on the base of the neck and I'm not about to unbolt it to check. The Telecaster Custom has classic Ash body and added a C-shape maple neck with a Rosewood fingerboard including simple mother-of-pearl Dot inlays, Bullet truss rod, Vintage string-thru Tele bridge and 3-bolt neckplate brought to life by a Wide Range humbucking neck pickup and a traditional single-coil bridge pickup. Controls include 2 volume and 2 tone knobs plus a 3-way toggle Switch all mounted in a black/white/black pickguard. I like the separate volume and tone controls this guitar has over the Standard Telecaster with the larger three way slide Switch. Width at nut:1-5/8" Body width: 12-3/4" Scale Length: 25.5"

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