Blackout Telecaster Deluxe review by Fender

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.6 (12 votes)
Fender: Blackout Telecaster Deluxe

Price paid: C$ 600

Purchased from: Tom Lee Music - Richmond

Sound — 8
I'm a bit biased. I love the twang of a Tele and the Vintage Tele single coils do not disappoint. I've paired this guitar with a Roland Cube30x, and for the purpose of this review, I'm only considering the clean JC120 channel. Acoustically, the guitar really rings. Great sustain and it feels nice and loud. The chrome neck pickup is smooth and warm. Add in the unusual middle pickup and you get a much beefier and mellower vibe. It sort of broadens the range of sound. Now, with the middle pickup selected alone you start to bring up the twang of the guitar. With the fourth position, bridge and middle selected, you get a great bright chiming tone. And of course it wouldn't be a Tele without the clang of the bridge. I love it! I would have preferred the switching to be the Nashville style 5-way, where you can have neck and bridge active in the third position, sacrificing middle only. This is easily remedied by a number of mods. I think the one I will eventually do, is add a Switch on the neck pickup to turn it off or on no matter which position the selector is in. There is plenty of room on the control plate to add a small switch There is also the ever present hum, but I don't notice it unless I'm not touching the metal parts.

Overall Impression — 9
I love classic rock, country, 80's metal, surf, and I'm sure this guitar can do all of those. It may mot be the best, but it sure is fun. I have no trouble getting real nice clean surf guitar sound and great country twang. I have to say, the one thing I wish this guitar came with is the neck and bridge setting for the pickups. Hopefully I can get that mod together soon, and I'll be crying may way to country stardom!

Reliability & Durability — 8
I'm probably not the best guy to rate how long the guitar will last having only been playing for a few years. Everything about this guitar feels nice and solid and very well built. The tuners feel nice and tight, very responsive. The strap buttons hold up well. The volume and tone pots have smooth motion and may actually be the weakest feeling part on the guitar. We'll see how well they do in a few years of playing.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
This is a Mexican made Fender and I've got to say, I'm very impressed. It really feels like a much more expensive guitar than it is. I considered the Classic Player Baja, and the American Standard and really, I felt this particular guitar felt just as good. I did mess about with the action a bit to get it to respond better to my ham fisted style, but I can hardly fault the boys for that. I wasn't really used to the 9's it shipped with. The intonation needed some work. I like messing about with stuff like that so it was fun to get it the way I like. Only two flaws I could find: the nut was poorly filed on the first string, so it kind of jumped a burr when you bent it, but that was easily remedied. And there is a small flaw in the finish behind the neck. It looks like the poly didn't adhere all that well. Hopefully that doesn't become a problem down the road.

Features — 8
This is not your dad's Telecaster. This is the Blackout Telecaster Deluxe. This model sports three "Vintage Telecaster Style" single coil pickups, chrome accoutrements, a glossy black polyester finish, black pick-guard, five-way switching, and a modern six-saddle string-through bridge. Not to be confused with the Telecaster Blackout, which features two humbuckers and a similar visual style. The body is a nice heavy alder and the neck is an amber stained maple to give it that Vintage look. Medium jumbo frets and a Fender gig bag round out the features. Its not just the looks that make this a great guitar, its that middle lipstick pickup. With it, one can create sounds somewhere in between Strat and Tele, with some of the best from both worlds.

20 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Upon checking there was a BLACKOUT HH tele i saw it one ebay and is not like the blacktop its a discontinued model hes right
    MHidalgo8 wrote: Is it pretty good for punk rock?
    I have one, and punk rock is my main genre. I personally love the sound when you combine the bridge pickup with some nice, heavy distortion (I use a '78 Custom Badass at 2/3 out of my Laney LC50).
    I swapped the bridge and middle wires on the 5 position switch so that position 2 now becomes neck and bridge, Beautiful sound. Mike.
    kid meatball
    GoodOlePaulless wrote: After reading this review, I decided to buy one. I agree pretty much 100% with this! Great review!
    Cool. I hope you get as much joy out of this baby as I do.
    After reading this review, I decided to buy one. I agree pretty much 100% with this! Great review!
    kid meatball wrote: When i was looking for wiring schematics on fender's site, I saw a "blackout telecaster" that sported two humbuckers. It must be a discontinued model.
    I guess you're right, I haven't seen this model in my Fender distributor's offer anymore. But it's not unlikely to find a new guitar in a remote music shop, it's not a budget axe so people didn't much rush to grabb it... Teles are constantly under-rated and unusual models, like this 3 pups-Blackout, are even more ignored that the common ones. But be aware that Blacktop is a different model, actually a new one. If you've seen two humbuckers, then it's not the Blackout, it's the Blacktop.
    kid meatball
    When i was looking for wiring schematics on fender's site, I saw a "blackout telecaster" that sported two humbuckers. It must be a discontinued model.
    There are several HH-type Teles, some discontinued, some still in the current range. I recall, beside the (relatively) new Blacktop, two very nice Custom Telecasters, one regular and one made in beautiful spalted Maple. Go to Fender's website and check them all.
    Nice review! I've never seen this tele before. One thing, though: did you mean Blacktop Tele when you were talking about the HH model?
    Man this guitar looks beautiful. Haven't really been interested in tele's until I saw this. Very nice review.
    Very good review. Telecasters are constantly underrated, despite being great guitars for more than 60 years. This particular model looks versatile and, if the finish is as good as this guy says (Mexican Fenders are usually loaded with all kind of flows), it can be a very interesting instrument.
    There is the BlackOUT with 3 pupx and the BlackTOP with 2 humbuckers. The initial reviewer meant to say "not to be confused with the Telecaster BlackTOP".
    I installed a push pull tone for neck pickup on and turned the control plate around so volume knob is up front, push pull tone in middle and 5 way in the rear so I dont hit it with my hand and can reach volume knob better. I need to dress my fret ends a little as I moved from humid Missouri to dry southern Colorado and the fret ends are a little sharp I bought it from Sweetwater, $599 delivered as my 6oth Birthday present to myself.
    kid meatball
    Thanks but I did that research four years ago when I wrote this. Maybe follow the comment thread that's staring you in the face eh?
    I own one of these. I had two mods done before taking delivery. #1 Telecaster bridge w/ 3 brass saddles, #2 Megaswitch (Stew-Mac) Switching now is standard Tele in 1-3-5, and in-between strat tones at 2-4. Also changed neck plate to thicker piece. It rocks!