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humbuckers, single coils... help!

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Gavotron, Oct 31, 2003.

  1. Gavotron

    Gavotron NEW MEMBER!

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    Hi everyone...

    I bought a second hand telecaster a while back from a pawn shop. Im not an expert on Fenders or guitars for that matter (i play drums usually) so i just wanted to know if someone here could help me and tell me if this configuration was a factory job or has my tele been hacked??

    Its a 1983 USA Fender Telecaster (serial-E321263) with a single coil (slant) in the bridge and a humbucker at the neck. It doesnt have 'custom' written on the headstock. Its got the dark coloured wood for the neck, black scratchplate, and the body is a golden brown colour with the woodgrain visible. Its got the usual 3-way pick up selector switch but between the volume and tone knobs it has another smaller 3 way toggle switch. It seems to give it slightly different sounds when switched.

    On a poster i thought i saw Bruce Springsteen using the exact same model with the humbucker, but ive been to a few shops and they seem to think that if its got a humbucker it'd have to be a custom model, or the previous owner put the humbucker in.

    Has my tele been hacked? Or is this a real factory item?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,
    Gav.
     
  2. ComingApart

    ComingApart Tele-Meister

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    I'm certainly no tele expert, but I would assume that your guitar has been modified with the humbucker, the small toggle you mentioned probaby splits the coils on the humbucker, so you can get a more "single coil" sound from it.
     
  3. TeleGeir

    TeleGeir Tele-Afflicted

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    Well

    Fender certainly have sold Teles with humbuckers as standard - aka "fat teles" - although the Hot Rodded series seems to have been replaced with the new guardless ones today. But if they did in '83 I don't know. They do not have a mini-toggle though.

    Also, that colour of yours sounds like it may not be original. Unless it has a black "rim", aka sunburst finish. (As do a couple of Springsteen's guitars.) Does it look like this? (Except with a black pickguard.)

    [​IMG]

    As ComingApart mentions, the mini-toggle usually splits the coils on the humbucker, or it could be a phase switch. In both cases it would only need to be a two-way, though. The easy way to tell is does it work in the neck only position or not. If it works in both the neck only and the middle (bith PUs) position, then it is a coil split. It would be more noticable when only the humbucker is used, though. If it only works with both pickups active, then it is a phase switch. The effect should be quite distinct.

    That said there are other possibilities, a third option is that it is a tone control bypass for one or both pickups.

    What sort of effect do you get from the three positions, depending on the position of the pickup selector?

    The word "Custom" on the headstock does not indicate a humbucker, but rather was used in the 60s to indicate double binding. Iin the 70s it was used for the 4 knob model. It has been used for at least one special model since, though.

    I wanted to check the SNR, but the support site is down at the moment.
    EDIT: Serial number checks as 82-85, so that is OK.

    Any chance of you posting a picture? That way we could tell a lot more...


    Geir :)
     
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  5. KokoTele

    KokoTele <img src="http://www.tdpri.com/gifs/vendor.png" /> Vendor Member

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    Fender has done various little things with the tele over the years, so it could be a factory job, it could be a mod done by its owner. I don't know of any model like you describe from the early 80s, but there's lots I don't know.

    One thing you might try is to remove your control plate and then remove that toggle switch. If it's a factory control plate, they would have drilled the hole and then chomed the plate, so it will look factory-original. The walls of the hole will likely be pretty smooth and without tool marks. If someone did the mod at home, there will be no chrome in there and it may be obvious that it was drilled from tool marks, jagged edges, chipped chrome, etc.

    You can also remove the pickguard and look at the pickup cavity. I don't think Fender was routing for humbuckers as standard back then, so the route will have been enlarged and probably not finished. If it was finished, then it will probably look a little different than the finish on the rest of the body.
     
  6. esquire_player52

    esquire_player52 Tele-Meister

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    all my suggestions have already been posted
     
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