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American Deluxe Vs American Ultra

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Winky, Mar 1, 2021.

  1. Winky

    Winky TDPRI Member

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    Hi there,

    I have a 2009 American Deluxe Tele (Burst, maple FB with white pick-guard). The latest Ultra model looks, as far as I can tell, be a very similar spec. Anybody able to tell me what the differences might be?

    I'm curious rather than bothered. The Deluxe has been really awesome, but did need some copper foil to complete the shielding/earthing of the pick-guard.
     
  2. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Deluxe was two generations ago, with the Elite in-between. The main difference that I'm aware of, besides the fact that none are available in ash anymore AFAIK, and the colors offered, is that they're also two generations apart for noiseless pickups. The Deluxe are N3, the Elite are called 4th Gen. noiseless, and the new ones are called Ultra Noiseless. I'm not sure about differences in the fancy switching and wiring options offered between the 3 series. I believe they all have compound radius necks, but may have different fret sizes too.
     
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  3. PastorJay

    PastorJay Friend of Leo's

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    I can't tell you the difference.

    I can tell you that I walked into a store intending to buy an Ultra, either a Tele or a Strat model. But I hated them both. I didn't like the necks (it may have been the frets). I didn't like the way the pickups sounded. Other than that they were great.

    After looking around a couple more weeks, I bought a Clapton Strat, because I liked the neck and the sound. The active electronics with the mid-boost is a bonus on a guitar I already really liked. Given how much I loved early Clapton when I was in my teens and early 20s, owning a "Clapton Strat" is only a little bit embarrassing.
     
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  4. John C

    John C Friend of Leo's

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    You say you have a "2009" American Deluxe - if you're going by serial number it could be the 2004-2009 (2nd Generation) spec (SCN pickups, 9.5" radius, green abalone dots, standard tuners) or it could be a first-batch of the 2010-2015 (3rd Generation) spec (N3 pickups, 9.5"-14" compound radius, pearl dots on rosewood boards or black pearl dots on maple boards). I consider the first-batch 3rd Generation models to be "2010" even though they have a 2009 serial number because they weren't released for sale until about March 2010.

    Besides the pickups there are a few other differences:
    • Neck shape - the American Deluxe is a "Modern C" shape while the American Ultra is a "Modern D" shape. The depths are about the same though.
    • Compound radius - the American Ultra has a 10"-14" compound radius while the 2010-2015 American Deluxe had a 9.5"-14" compound radius - just slightly different. A 2009 American Deluxe would have had a regular 9.5" radius.
    • Contoured neck heel - the American Ultra has a more radically contoured neck heel - somewhat more rounded off like a Charvel or the Ibanez AZ models.
    • Tuners - pre-2010 American Deluxes have standard tuners; 2010-2015 American Deluxes have locking tuners, and starting with the American Elite the locking tuners are all short posts (a standard set of Fender locking tuners has 3 regular-height posts and 3 short-height posts).
    The S-1 switching does work the same way it has since it was introduced on American Deluxes in 2004 - changes the middle position (both pickups) from parallel to series wiring.
     
  5. Winky

    Winky TDPRI Member

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    Awesome, thanks. I think mine must be 3rd Generation. The S/N shows 2009, but has locking tuners. I must have bought it in 2010, I guess. Makes sense.
     
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