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Why '74?

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by pcasarona, Jun 24, 2015.

  1. pcasarona

    pcasarona Tele-Meister

    Mar 27, 2013
    Auburn, AL
    Hi all,

    I have posted on TDPRI several times, but never before on this particular forum. I would like to preface this question by saying that I intend no insult to anyone based on their particular guitar preference. I just honestly would like to learn more about the differences between "vintage telecasters (pre-74)" and more modern guitars. I am aware of the history of the Fender Co. and all the Pre-/Post-CBS era preferences and am also aware of the 3-bolt vs. 4 arguments. The question is what are the other differences and do they really warrant the tremendous differences in relative values of these instruments?

    For the sake of full disclosure, I have owned 9 Telecasters including modern Fender Selects and R.I.'s of 50's and 60's Tele's, and three original Tele's from the mid to late 70's ('74 Thinline, '77 Deluxe, and '78 Custom). I have never owned an original vintage (Pre-74) Tele primarily because I could never find one that I could afford in the condition that I like to collect. For example, my 77 Deluxe is absolutely mint including the OHSC and all case candy and I paid $2900.00 for it. I could never afford a 50's or even 60's guitar in this condition even if I could find one.

    So I thought I would just ask the vintage guys. Tell me what I'm missing. :lol:

    Thanks in advance,

    Oldwood likes this.

  2. Chick-N-Picker

    Chick-N-Picker Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 26, 2015
    North Carolina
    Oh lord man. You've re-opened a huge discussion but heck it never gets old. First I'll give you a quick bullet point list of what different guys argue. I'll leave out my opinions and state only facts (maybe). Second I'll post a link to a thread a few weeks back that discuss things further, which I commented on.

    • 1968-69: the change from nitro is a big issue.
    • 1965 Leo sold the company to CBS is a big issue.
    • 1970-ish the neck notch is a huge issue.
    • the 3 bolt vs 4 bolt is a big issue.

    That's some main issues but here is a thread that discusses it big time. It's worth reading.

  3. Major Gruber

    Major Gruber Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 24, 2012
    Colombes France

    Regular Telecaster never had the 3 bolt system, always 4.

    The only identifyable thing for 74 is the year from which the no notch shape was supposingly on every Telecaster (first no notch shape started 1972).

    1970, when Leo Fender's consultant contract came to end could have been choosen too.

    But there's not a big difference between a 1969 and a 1970 Telecaster. As the quality of fabrication was decreasing progressively as 70's went on, a frontier had to be defined and it seems that the notch disparition won a symbolic victory to represent the end of real vintage.

  4. pcasarona

    pcasarona Tele-Meister

    Mar 27, 2013
    Auburn, AL
    Thanks for the information. I look forward to reading the previous thread.

  5. pcasarona

    pcasarona Tele-Meister

    Mar 27, 2013
    Auburn, AL
    Very interesting reading. Thanks again for point me to the older thread. No need to bring up old discussions as it doesn't really matter to me. I will say that I currently have 3 guitars with original style "notch" bodies and nitro finishes, and 3 70's Tele's without notches and poly finishes and my absolute (by a long margin) favorite telecaster is my 1978 Custom. It plays better than any guitar I have ever held and I can do more on it than any other guitar I own.

    The fact that others don't value this vintage guitar as much as I do means very little to me because it will never be for sale. I just wish others who believe this guitar to be in some ways inferior to earlier vintages could play my guitar. Anyone who ever has knows what I know, which is that it is a very special guitar. My 77 Deluxe is also a great player and my second favorite, but there is just something special about that 78.

    To each his own!

    Peace, Love and Telecasters,


  6. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 4, 2007
    New Jersey
    I don't think anyone here will disagree with you Cas about your guitar and the Fact that Fender made some very nice ones in the late 70's. But the general feeling is that during that timeframe Fender's quality control was all over the place and they produced a bigger ratio of duds to nice ones than in any time of their history.

  7. pcasarona

    pcasarona Tele-Meister

    Mar 27, 2013
    Auburn, AL

    I can certainly understand that. I know from my experiences with other mass produced products that there are better times and worse times in terms of quality control and production. I don't think the British auto industry ever recovered from the mid to late 70's problems in these areas.

    I just think that sometimes people blow things out of proportion. For example, one contributor to the old thread said that the loss of the notch in the neck pocket and the fact the upper bout on later guitars terminating one fret higher on the neck (I've check several photos as well as my own guitars and it is really closer to 1/2 a fret difference) "destroyed" the shape of the telecaster and "fundamentally changed the guitar". Really? To be honest with you, until I posted my question to you nice folks, I never even realized that there was a difference.

    Anyway, thanks for the info and for the link to the earlier threads. I very much enjoyed reading everyone's view points. Its really nice to be part of a group that love these great guitars with such passion.

  8. tweedtone

    tweedtone Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 2, 2004
    Tampa Bay, FL
    My personal experience is that as the ' 70s wore on, Fenders got heavier and heavier. Not a good thing, in my view. I had a '78 Telecaster Deluxe with a Bigsby that sounded amazing but was painful to wear no matter how wide/padded the strap. Same with a Jazzmaster from the same era.

  9. adjason

    adjason Friend of Leo's

    Jan 9, 2010
    Welcome to the forum-sounds like you have some killer teles!

  10. billiemorini

    billiemorini Tele-Meister

    tee hee
    munchin' popcorn and watchin' this thread
    can't say anything because my mouth is full
    But, my eyes are wide open

  11. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 4, 2007
    New Jersey
    Yes, they tended to get heavier - and that's the point we're making - but you can't make a blanket statement. There were some lighter ones produced in the 70's as well.

  12. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 4, 2007
    New Jersey
    I agree with you 100%. I bought my '73 Tele Custom in 1976. Do you think back then I cared if it had a notch, or it was made of ash, that it was finished in "thick skin" poly, or where the upper bout terminated on the neck? And it's only been over the last few years from being on fora like this that I'm even aware of these things.

    Especially given that I'll never sell it, these things are really all meaningless to me.

    And do you think my new found knowledge makes the guitar any better or worse, or my playing any better or worse? :eek:

  13. Tonemonkey

    Tonemonkey Poster Extraordinaire

    I thought pre-74 was chosen because it was 40 years from when the Vintage Sub-Forum was started (ish).

    I certainly never see 74 as an arbitrary delineation of any sort in Telecaster value or quality.

  14. PickMaker

    PickMaker TDPRI Member

    Jun 6, 2015
    The vintage thing is fascinating!
    I remember 1970. Just 13 years prior to that was 1957.
    Now think about 2015. 13 years prior is only 2002.
    Do we look at 2002 teles the way we looked at 1957 teles in '70?

  15. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 4, 2007
    New Jersey
    Pretty much!

    The vintage guitar market was practically non-existent in 1970.

    No one wanted those old things! :eek:

  16. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Jun 24, 2006
    Fort Worth,Tx.
    I sure don't. Maybe 52ri. and vintage spec Teles from the Custom Shop.

  17. deytookerjaabs

    deytookerjaabs Friend of Leo's

    Jun 5, 2015
    Looked at a 78' Tele today, 10 pounds 1 ounce, 9 pounds is pretty crazy but holy heck that's heavier than the (Aria) Les Paul Custom I used to have.

  18. Radspin

    Radspin Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Mar 7, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    In my opinion CBS messed up the Tele far less than they messed up the Strat in the 1970s. The '70s Strats went through some truly horrific changes which were a real decline in cast bridge and saddles, body contours getting smaller and smaller, flat-pole instead of staggered-pole pickups, three-bolt neck plates with sloppy neck-to-body joins, heavier bodies...really bad stuff.

  19. PJ55

    PJ55 Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 27, 2003
    Philadelphia, PA
    Love my '70, and the entire decade of the 70s produced some great Teles. Fender fooled-around too much with the Strats, IMO. But, the Teles remained with good bridges and pickups, nice full-C necks, but agreeably some weight issues. But, even today, there's a lot of variability in Tele weights, so not much has changed there. All in all, I'm more than OK with the 70s Teles. Soon enough, they'll all be considered "vintage." Mine is by far the best playing and sounding Tele of all the different models I have from more recent decades.
    hemmings likes this.

  20. Kingpin

    Kingpin Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    The price differences between vintage and modern Teles has nothing to do with quality--and everything to do with supply and demand.

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