Fender Telecaster Deluxe '74 Restoration

Tele-friend

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So as some of you know I own a '74 Tele Deluxe that I purchased about a year ago. It is a great vintage instrument and I am really happy that I got it (third owner). The price was quite right and as far as I see, the prices at the moment are even higher.
There were some issues with the guitar however. The nut was just awful - the height of the strings close to the nut was just too low. It was not buzzing but too low action for my liking. On the other hand the height of the strings at 12th fret was ridiculously high when I got it (I lowered that myself). There was also the issue with the neck - it had a slightly too much of a relief and the truss rod was maxed out. So no room to manouver anymore. The frets were OK, but needed at least some polishing and recrowning. The pots were maybe crackling just a bit.
The restoration for me would be just over my level of knowledge and experience so I decided to take the guitar to a professional. He is probably the best tech around here (1 hour driving away). And not just that, he is actually a luthier so he builds his own electro-acoustic guitars. He has really good references, so it was a no brainer.
He took the neck off the guitar and straightened it up. It is now straight as an arrow (actually with just a tiny relief as it should be) and the truss rod is not maxed anymore. He leveled the frets and recrowned them. He also took care of the crackling pots.
This guitar was reborn. It is like it came new from the factory but with heavy relicking ;) It plays and sounds amazing. It got the love it needed and it is now ready to rock for many many years :cool:.

The luthier was very excited to work on my guitar. He said that it is a really nice instrument and that they just don't make this kind of stuff anymore. He claims that the pots are far superior to any of the new pots that Fender now makes (he pointed to the new Fender pots on the wall he sells and installs in customers guitars). He also said that, sure the neck needed some adjustment, but the neck and the truss rod are really good and they will last for many decades more. As I already know, the guitar has tones of sustain (ash body).

Some additional info. I opened a thread not long ago and we were trying to figure out if the finish on this guitar was nitro or not. The luthier confirmed that this is definitely nitro. He does nitro finishes on his new and customers guitars and has lots of experience, so I have every reason to believe him. Yeay, I am super happy 😃

When he opened the guitar, he took some photos for me. Because no photos = it didnt happen ;) It was very exciting to find out that the neck and the pots on this guitar are from 1973 so that actually makes my guitar a 73/74. I cannot date the body, maybe someone might help. I do believe that at least one pickup is from 1974 based on the serial on it. It is very hard to read the other one, but I am guessing that it is from 1974 as well.

So here you go, some really cool photos. It has been a cool project, I learned some more about guitar, but most importantly the guitar now plays like a dream.

p.s. looking at the neck again, it could be a '73 or even '72, it is hard to say. What do you think?

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charlie chitlin

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KILLER!
I thought that would be a "Custom" with those pickups and control layout.
Or is the Custom 1 humbucker and the Deluxe, 2?
Can someone straighten me out on that?
Also...I'd be curious to know what the luthier did you get the truss rod adjusted correctly if it was, in fact, maxed out.
Such a sweet guitar!
Enjoy it!
 

charlie chitlin

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BTW...I bought my '74 Custom as an investment...meaning I fully intended to flip it (my revolving door turns fast!), and it turned out to be a total keeper...one of the sweetest guitars I've ever played.
Hopefully, yours is a good one, too!
 

Tele-friend

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KILLER!
I thought that would be a "Custom" with those pickups and control layout.
Or is the Custom 1 humbucker and the Deluxe, 2?
Can someone straighten me out on that?
Also...I'd be curious to know what the luthier did you get the truss rod adjusted correctly if it was, in fact, maxed out.
Such a sweet guitar!
Enjoy it!
So to answer your first question, a Tele Custom would have a WRHB (Wide range humbucker) in neck position and a 'regular' Tele pickup in bridge position, pic below

fender-american-original-70s-tele-custom-moc.jpg


Deluxe on the other hand, like mine, has two WRHB pickups.

Regarding the neck and truss rod question, I am not 100% sure, since I didnt go into too much details with the luthier. But based on what he said, I think that he takes the neck off, release the truss rod, streighten the neck with the help of some tools, then might apply some heat to the neck and after some time, when it cools down, readjust the truss rod.
Here is a video about a 335 neck twist/warp:
 

Boreas

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I have a 74 Thinline with the same color. I had to refret the neck and that was definitely THICK poly, but could have been oversprayed over nitro. I would have to check again, but I thought the body was poly - BUT I also recall I spattered some acetone or something on it and it left a couple small spots that I had to polish out, so it may indeed be nitro. Regardless, the finish seems quite thick.

I also notice yours is similar to mine - the color of the neck is still fairly light. Your neck stamp looks like 73 to me. I have the same 1M pots and pickups, but different color caps.
 

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charlie chitlin

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So to answer your first question, a Tele Custom would have a WRHB (Wide range humbucker) in neck position and a 'regular' Tele pickup in bridge position, pic below

fender-american-original-70s-tele-custom-moc.jpg


Deluxe on the other hand, like mine, has two WRHB pickups.

Regarding the neck and truss rod question, I am not 100% sure, since I didnt go into too much details with the luthier. But based on what he said, I think that he takes the neck off, release the truss rod, streighten the neck with the help of some tools, then might apply some heat to the neck and after some time, when it cools down, readjust the truss rod.
Here is a video about a 335 neck twist/warp:

Cool.
Thanks.
Here's my Custom.
Different bridge, too.
Artsy pic courtesy of @bossaddict, the previous owner
 

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Tele-friend

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it turned out to be a total keeper...one of the sweetest guitars I've ever played.
Hopefully, yours is a good one, too!
Yours and my guitars are definitely a keepers! Sweet Custom you have :cool:
I have a 74 Thinline with the same color. I had to refret the neck and that was definitely THICK poly, but could have been oversprayed over nitro. I would have to check again, but I thought the body was poly - BUT I also recall I spattered some acetone or something on it and it left a couple small spots that I had to polish out, so it may indeed be nitro. Regardless, the finish seems quite thick.

I also notice yours is similar to mine - the color of the neck is still fairly light. Your neck stamp looks like 73 to me. I have the same 1M pots and pickups, but different color caps.
Wow, that is a pretty Thinline. Looks like a sister to my Deluxe ;)
 

Boreas

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Yours and my guitars are definitely a keepers! Sweet Custom you have :cool:

Wow, that is a pretty Thinline. Looks like a sister to my Deluxe ;)
See if our serial numbers are close.
BTW, my tuners are very stiff. I could not get them to loosen up much with lube. They feel like about a 1:4 ratio!
 

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Tele-friend

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See if our serial numbers are close.
BTW, my tuners are very stiff. I could not get them to loosen up much with lube. They feel like about a 1:4 ratio!
My first two numbers are 55, so we are about 30.000 apart. Quite surprising, given the fact that they were both made in '74. I heard that Fender had this things in boxes and randomly pick em up, but I could be mistaken.
Yes, the tuners are really stiff. I might try @DanglingNutslots suggestion.
 

Boreas

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I would have guessed yours was earlier than mine. But as you say, if yours was taken from the top of the barrel (earlier) the numbers would have been higher and my plate could have been pulled from the dregs and had a lower number. Also, they were using 3 bolt and 4 bolt necks back then, so I don't know how that messed with the plate numbers.
 




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