Explain the reasoning behind the Tele Custom to me

bertramladner

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2,180
I just got a custom deluxe and I love it. For someone that just likes single coils it drives the amp just enough to get the gritty dirt just right
 

romiso

Silver Supporting Member
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735
I owned a nice '72 CIJ Custom for a time. I replaced the pickups with Lollars (Regal and Special T) and ended up with a great guitar.

I rarely use Tele neck pickups on their own, so to me it's all about the middle position. I liked having the independent volume and tone controls for each pickup and thought the middle position sound was glorious.

I decided I like the Lollar Regals so much that I wanted a Deluxe-style so I can have two of them -- that's the guitar in my avatar (and below).

 

Maggie_O

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1,034
Ah! I just found an article:

Although neither brand would be able to claim dominance in the hard rock world, during the late 1960s and early 70s, Gibson’s humbucker-equipped instruments were proving to be a popular choice for guitarists looking for a thicker, chunkier guitar tone. This trend was not lost on Fender. The comparatively thinner, percussive quality of their single coil pickups just wasn’t doing it for many guitar players and heavy rock did not appear to be getting any less popular.

In a shrewd and calculated move Fender drafted the inventor of Gibson’s humbucker, Seth Lover, to take care of business, and in 1970 the Wide Range Humbucker was born. Its arrival was heralded by the unveiling of Fender’s second-generation Telecaster Thinline, Custom and Deluxe models in 1971 and 1972, followed by the Starcaster in 1976. This unique, fully adjustable, highoutput dual coil design utilised 12 CuNiFe (copper/nickel/iron) alloy magnets, wound to 10,000 turns with 42-gauge polysol wire, producing a whopping inductance of 4.85H and a DC resistance of 10.6 kilo-ohms.
 

VaughnC

Supporting Member
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17,610
I typically don't like the sound of a humbucker in any guitar but the '72 Tele Custom is one of my favorite guitars. I bought an original back in '72 and sold it when I became a Strat guy. But I missed that Tele...and I recently found a new MIM Fender version of it at a good price and it sounds great to me. What I like about it is its 3 distinctive sounds, like a rainbow...and it doesn't have the murky sound of a traditional humbucker. My regular Tele sounds great too, but it doesn't have the range of sounds of the '72 Custom so, IMO, both have their place.
 
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zach sears

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88
Tele Customs, and HSS Strats for that matter, have always been a rathole for me. I like the way they look, but I was never able to find my sounds in them and spent a lot of time and money chasing. I prefer HH guitars, namely Les Pauls, and get my change of pace from a standard Tele and a Firebird with P90s. I guess if the Fender shape and scale is your guitar north star, then I think playing around with these type of Frankenstein creations is a way to get some other sounds and a unique look.
Couldn't agree with you more
 

coldengray

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1,800
But when Fender recreates some famous guitarist's guitar, they brag and boast about how exact and truthful they are in doing so. I find it hard to believe that a company the size of Fender couldn't bring some metal industry to produce CuNiFe bars for a reasonable price, so there must be some other explanation to this. Lazy cost cutting maybe?

Guitar companies go to great lengths to procure woods for their manufacture, so that they - given all their authenticity boasting - don't do the same on pickup magnet alloys, is to me astonishing.
Read the article I linked. They aren't bar magnets, that's the problem. It would cost Fender a fortune to reproduce CuNiFe threaded rods just to make pickups for one or two models. Fender doesn't make magnets, they buy what is available. An entire company (Telenator) tried to build accurate CuNiFe pickups and had to give up after 10 years because they couldn't make it happen. It's definitely NOT "an easy fix", as you said. There are, however, several very close reproductions that are discussed in detail in that article. Give it a read.
 

monty

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20,968
The dark sound of a neck humbucker combined with that bright, biting Tele bridge pickup not only provides some impressive versatility, but also makes for a great middle position sound.
100% agreed. And with the LP style control you can dial in a ton of tones.
 

gyeniceri

Member
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30
I don't think Fender came up with the idea on their own.

It should've been demand driven. Sometime, somewhere, one of their endorsers might have asked to have a neck humbucker, because, you know, everyone is after their own unique tone.

The question is of course, would you like it?
 

samarshll

Member
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530
I have a partscaster tele with high end components. It has an 80's gibson 57 in the neck and a Tom Anderson TD3. The neck p/u is coil tapped and it gives me a lot of versatility with a 3 way switch. Each pickup has its own volume control. The type of neck pick up matters. The luthier that put this together tried many different p/u combinations before he settled on this configuration.

 

2HBStrat

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41,289
I'm sorry but your thread title "
Explain the reasoning behind the Tele Custom to me" bothers me...it sounds funny...I think it SHOULD be "Explain to me the reasoning behind the Tele Custom"...

The Telecaster Custom was produced in a time when Fender was trying a lot of new things using the Telecaster platform, and that was just one of them. It wasn't very successful, which is why is was discontinued, and it only because pseudo-popular with the indie bands because they could be gotten cheaply, so now Fender reissued them...

Even back then I always thought the Stratocaster platform was the better one for modding, but the Strat was already not selling well...
 

TJT79

Member
Messages
654
I guess if you like the percussive cutting sound of a tele bridge pickup, and want the option of a flutier, thicker lead tone then it makes sense.

It wouldn't be my first choice but I don't think it's that hard to understand.

By the way, the Creamery do an excellent Wide Range pickup - both in the bigger original size and aldo in a standard HB size.
 

Silver Hand

Member
Messages
607
But when Fender recreates some famous guitarist's guitar, they brag and boast about how exact and truthful they are in doing so. I find it hard to believe that a company the size of Fender couldn't bring some metal industry to produce CuNiFe bars for a reasonable price, so there must be some other explanation to this. Lazy cost cutting maybe?

Guitar companies go to great lengths to procure woods for their manufacture, so that they - given all their authenticity boasting - don't do the same on pickup magnet alloys, is to me astonishing.
They don't even need CuNiFe to get significantly closer to a wide range sound than what they do now. It's purely cost vs increase in sales. They don't believe (and they're probably correct) that the increase in cost for a new run of magnets, bobbins, construction, training, ect will be exceeded by an increase in sales from making more accurate WRHB's.

It's all but impossible to reproduce the pickups authentically because you can't get Cunife alloy in threaded rods (Telenator was doing it but I think they had to do the threading in-house and it was a PITA).
It's possible to get immensely closer to the originals than their current offerings without using CuNiFe. Telenator used to even offer a pickup option that had Alnico rods in place of half the CuNiFe rods, for people who couldn't afford a full CuNiFe WRHB.
 

mvsr990

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4,762
It's possible to get immensely closer to the originals than their current offerings without using CuNiFe. Telenator used to even offer a pickup option that had Alnico rods in place of half the CuNiFe rods, for people who couldn't afford a full CuNiFe WRHB.
Closer but still not actually authentic, which was my point - so why invest the money in guitars that retail for $825? A pair of Lollar Regals is $420 - even with the scale of a Fender operation, you're talking about adding 25% to the cost of a niche guitar and you'll still have people who say they're not legit enough.
 


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