2003 American Tele mystery

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Stevenk734, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. Stevenk734

    Stevenk734 Tele-Meister

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    hey folks,

    Can you help me find fire out what this tele is. My friend bought it New, apparently, in 2004. It is gray, no pickguard.
    Tells me that he has the stick lipstick pup, but it’s currently setup with what looks like a humbucker in the neck slot.
    Looked it up, it a Z3, 2003 American, as he told me. He is an acoustic player. I might buy it, might help him sell it. He’s bringing it buy next week. I gave a 2010 I like, but my curiosity has gotten the best of me. I’m attaching some pics.
    Any thoughts out there? What the heck is this thing?
    Thanks
    Sk
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. stratoblaster

    stratoblaster Tele-Meister

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    Search the serial number here....

    https://www.fender.com/product-registration/serial-search

    It comes up as an American Telecaster HS. It's probably some special run for GC or MF. I'm not sure what he means by stock lipstick? That guitar looks like it has the neck HB stock. Cool guitar I dig oddities like that.
     
  3. Tuxedo Poly

    Tuxedo Poly Tele-Afflicted

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  4. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

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    Also I believe this configuration was essentially a 1-year model; I think they added the S-1 switch to split the humbucker and restored the pickguard for 2004. The HS model was discontinued in 2006 if I'm remembering correctly.
     
  5. Stevenk734

    Stevenk734 Tele-Meister

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    Well done, guys,

    Friend is coming over to my studio next week with it. Curious to check it out. He does have the original tuners and maybe some other original parts. IDK which ones. Guess one could always add the s-1 to split the humbucker, but I’d love your opinion on the pros and cons of that. My lipstick reference was what some players i know refer to the standard tele neck pup.

    I’m primarily a bass player, by gave a 2010 American tele and 2005 Japanese strat.

    The only electronics I’ve ever had modded, was having my tech combine my older j bass into one humbucker.
    That is cool, as you can simply pop one dial in and out to go from stock to combined.(serial/parallel, etc)
    I don’t like alot dials or choices in general. Couldn’t stand the 2 volume controls.
    I only play my 62 precision anyway. The jazz is too heavy for me. Plus it needs a new neck. A friend borrowed it and his house flooded.

    Do you guys know anything more about this tele.sounds like you’ve pretty much summed it up. Must’ve been one if those GC/MF special orders, as you mentioned.
    Cool thing is that youve both given me a place to start checking it out from.
    Thank you very much,
    Sk
     
  6. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

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    Email Fender Customer relations with the serial number and they'll send you all the info. on the guitar in question.
     
  7. Stevenk734

    Stevenk734 Tele-Meister

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    Thank you very much
     
  8. Stevenk734

    Stevenk734 Tele-Meister

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    John ,
    Btw, any idea how a tele plays with a neck humbucker. Sounds like a dumb idea to me. But I’ll find out next Sunday.
     
  9. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Fwiw, here is a ‘lipstick tube pickup’....first built by Danelectro. Those are actual lipstick tubes that were used to encase the coil.
    upload_2018-11-10_8-7-58.jpeg
     
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  10. Stevenk734

    Stevenk734 Tele-Meister

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  11. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    A few options:

    -Push/pull tone pot to split the humbucker
    -Strat 5-way switch to give you control over all three bobbins just like a Strat. Control plate switch slot needs a little more cut at the ends for extra switch throw.
    -Stacked tone pot (two pots and two knobs on top of each other), gives you a blender option to blend in the middle pickup -- look up Nashville style
    -Hook up only the neck screw side single coil and use a 4-way switch for single neck tone and series humbucker neck and bridge.
    -Get a new pickguard with a standard Tele neck pickup.

    I'd be tempted to do this: Strat 5-way switch with three separate bobbins, raise neck screw poles in a Strat stagger pattern, drop the neck pickup to maximize Quack with the raised screw side when in parallel, stacked tone pot so one ring is the Armstrong blender to convert from SSS into HSH some or a lot -- which is handy to tweak the tone not force a full one or the other. Then I can cover Tele, Strat, and several Les Paul tones. My favorite mod for my Strats.

    You may need to do pickup surgery if the neck humbucker is only a two wire pickup, take it apart and solder on two more leads to get separate bobbins. Fiddly and some risk. Some might swap in a 4-wire pickup.

    .
     
  12. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

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    Steve - sorry; I've never played an HS Tele plugged in. In all honesty I didn't get into Teles until I had come to the conclusion that I don't like guitars that mix humbuckers and single coils (well, at least I don't like HSS Strats with the bridge humbucker - I either like HH Strats or SSS Strats).
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
  13. Stevenk734

    Stevenk734 Tele-Meister

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    Jvin. Since I haven’t even seen it yet, we will see if it ends up with me for a while.
    Your email dead are very inventive, but wayyyy above my pay grade, for now.
    I had a tele for a while , that cane stock with an s-1, that, I think no just acted as a phase switch. Forgetting the name for the moment. Neck was too thick for me, so I sold it. fabulous guitar. If this HS guy hangs around for a while, I’ll soak in all your amazing comments. I’m a bass player, have my old, beat up 62 precision, my 70 precision that i had fretlessed years ago and a Jazz I don’t play much. My guitars that guitars that I can play are just an 08 Japanese strat and a 2010 American tele, stock. I think I’ll be talked to you about my 2010 tele. I’m not a DIY guy with my guitars. I have an incredible tech. He’s the best around( I will not name drop) but he’s the exclusive tech for a number of great players.
    Right now, I’m spending too much time and money but Kristen ng out and starting up a digital Pro Tools project setup. Old analog dog try’s ng to learn this digital world.
    Anyway, thank you!!!!
     
  14. Stevenk734

    Stevenk734 Tele-Meister

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    John,

    As I mentioned, I’m a pretty decent bass player. Middling guitarist. I totally agree. My past experience was with a few Mexican HSS strats. Just didn’t see the point, but I’m not a lead player and mostly like the mellower tones from the neck pickups. I’m never knew that they were actual lipstick tubes!!

    Just curious. Btw, do you or anyone have any idea what the value of this axe might be.
    I’ll do a Reverb. Com search to get a ballpark. I’m mostly in the position to advise a friend on setting a realistic price, as he’s motivated to clean house a bit. Thanks!
     
  15. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

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    Sorry; I had to do a bit of a search on it myself. It looks like these go for $900-$950 at stores, so it should be maybe $100 less for a private sale on craigslist.

    As an FYI this one would never have had the normal Tele neck pickup - it came from Fender in this configuration - so your friend must be thinking of another Tele where he swapped the neck pickup.
     
  16. Stevenk734

    Stevenk734 Tele-Meister

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    JOhn,
    Thanks. Makes sense. Sounds like a silly instrument, but I’ll check it out. Try to give my friend the best advice I can. Maybe I’ll be surprised. Who knows. No one on this site has played one, so has anyone?(lol) I’ll probably recommend that he try and get $800 for it.
    If for some reason, the neck feels just great, then I’m in trouble(hah)
     
  17. Harleyjoe

    Harleyjoe TDPRI Member

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    My guitar serial number is Z3024536, but we're worlds apart with our pickups. I bout mine new in 04 at world music in Nashville. Its chrome blue with a Seymour duncan neck pickup.
     
  18. Muku

    Muku Tele-Meister

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    First year, 2003 Fender USA HS Telecaster.

    2004-06 they had a black pickguard and a better neck PU. The 2003 has the Fender Atomic neck humbucker. In 2004 they, thankfully, went to Seymour Duncan Invader neck humbucker. The HS models came in 4 colors: red, blue, grey and black. Alder body = less organic open airy tele tone. More piano warm sustain and not airy sustain of light swamp ash. I get note bloom out of mine which is rare.

    I have had 3 of them. I bought one 2006 new and regretted selling it. So....I bought a replacement. It had some use damage. It was also a bit too heavy. SO off it went.

    Then all the moons aligned. I was the last second bidder on my (MINT) 2005 HS Chrome Blue tele on eBay. I got it for $1,045 after 25 plus bids. I will never sell this one.

    I absolutely love the 32'ths of an inch wider necks of this era Fender (99-2006). They have more roll in the fretboard too. They do have the dreaded poly saturated maple necks. I advise to get a closeup picture of the High E side of the neck on a slight angle to see the frets. Way up. Do not buy the worn out, poly chipped, fretboard edge.

    I have bought and sold 100 electrics and this is the only tele I have. I love the swamp ash wild tone too and I am building an esquire and a tele this summer. The HS model is quiet and smooth/fast.
     
  19. Harleyjoe

    Harleyjoe TDPRI Member

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    I called fender and had them run the serial numbers and it was built in 2003 with the Seymour duncan pickups. They said it was supposed to have atomic 2 pickups and they dont know what happened.
     
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