Info on 1994 MIM "Special"

Neener

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Hey all

Looking at this MIM tele, and having a bit of trouble finding info on exact model. Serial search comes up at "special" or "signature". Any further info is much appreciated as always!

Edit: I'm seeing they're just called "Fender Special Telecaster"...

Any idea on value?

IMG_3754.jpg IMG_3755.jpg IMG_3756.jpg IMG_3757.JPG
 
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John C

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They were actually called the "Tele Special" on Fender's price lists. These Teles - along with an HSS Strat Special model that had a master tone control and a coil split mini-toggle where the second tone pot is on a normal-configuration Strat - were the predecessors of the MIM Deluxe series models (the MIM Deluxe series had multiple revisions/generations before being renamed the "Player Plus" for the current generation).

Value - they're kind of rare these days but not a sought-after model. I would check Reverb and eBay for sold prices; they would probably go for just a little more than a 1990s MIM Standard Tele.
 

Neener

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Great info thank you. I checked reverb they seem to be around 450-650 sold recently, and one currently going for 750 USD.

Are they not that sought after due to typical MIM status or some other reason?
 

BradKM

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I've got (roughly) the same guitar. Mine's a '95 Special.

Poplar body with ash top on the sunburst models.
5-way switching with a TBX tone control.

Mine was my #1 for years, after I upgraded the bridge pickup and swapped in a 3-saddle bridge. That's a very common mod for these.

They were only listed as the "Special" for a couple of years before the California Series Fat Teles and MIM Fat Teles replaced them in the line up.

As to value, I've seen them climb in recent years, with some listing at $850+. Honestly, I think they should fall in line with MIM standards from around the same time frame, or bring just a tad more.
 

Neener

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I've got (roughly) the same guitar. Mine's a '95 Special.

Poplar body with ash top on the sunburst models.
5-way switching with a TBX tone control.

Mine was my #1 for years, after I upgraded the bridge pickup and swapped in a 3-saddle bridge. That's a very common mod for these.

They were only listed as the "Special" for a couple of years before the California Series Fat Teles and MIM Fat Teles replaced them in the line up.

As to value, I've seen them climb in recent years, with some listing at $850+. Honestly, I think they should fall in line with MIM standards from around the same time frame, or bring just a tad more.

Cool thanks

I’m considering grabbing one, seller is asking $650. I’ll probably put in a 3-saddle and maybe track down a newer Fender Widerange.
 

Andy B

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Great guitar. I’ve got on from the mid 90’s into which I have installed a DeArmond Dynasonic in the neck. It recreates a former configuration of my ‘71 Tele.
 

John C

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Great info thank you. I checked reverb they seem to be around 450-650 sold recently, and one currently going for 750 USD.

Are they not that sought after due to typical MIM status or some other reason?

Sorry; I worded that somewhat awkwardly. I meant that they weren't any more sought after than the typical MIM Standard of the same years.
 

Neener

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Sorry; I worded that somewhat awkwardly. I meant that they weren't any more sought after than the typical MIM Standard of the same years.
All good! was just wondering if there was a specific issue to the model, but I understand what you mean.

really don’t need another tele or a tele with a humbucker, it just looks cool and might be worth checking out at the price point :)
 

JustABluesGuy

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Great info thank you. I checked reverb they seem to be around 450-650 sold recently, and one currently going for 750 USD.

Are they not that sought after due to typical MIM status or some other reason?
I have a standard MIM strat from around that time, and it’s an excellent guitar.
 

Neener

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Does anyone know what the stock bridge PU is? I thought I read they are the same as the Am Std…
 

BradKM

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IIRC, it's a ceramic pickup without a brass baseplate. Black and yellow leads. I found it to be the weakest part of the guitar.

I found it to be pretty thin and a poor match for the very hot neck humbucker. Tried a few replacements before settling on a Harmonic Design S90 in my guitar. The original eventually made it's way into an as Esquire build, and I haven't been happy with it there either. Pulling it from that guitar is actually my next project.

Some folks found the neck 'buckers too hot/muddy... and I can see that, but think it really works in this set up.
 

Neener

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IIRC, it's a ceramic pickup without a brass baseplate. Black and yellow leads. I found it to be the weakest part of the guitar.

I found it to be pretty thin and a poor match for the very hot neck humbucker. Tried a few replacements before settling on a Harmonic Design S90 in my guitar. The original eventually made it's way into an as Esquire build, and I haven't been happy with it there either. Pulling it from that guitar is actually my next project.

Some folks found the neck 'buckers too hot/muddy... and I can see that, but think it really works in this set up.

Yep I find it very brittle sounding. I didn’t think they used ceramic during that era of MIM.

I’ve got a Cunife neck and a Tex-mex bridge PU on the way.
 
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BradKM

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If I have time I'll open up the guitar mine is currently in and confirm. It's also possible that mine was swapped out for something else before I got the guitar, but I don't think that's the case.

If I were shopping around for a replacement today, I'd likely go with something from Bootstrap.
 

BradKM

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Also important to remember how the TBX tone control works. It's like a standard tone pot until you reach the center position, bypassed there, then makes things brighter past that point (I believe by scooping the mids?) So the point just before the center "click" is like having a standard Tele tone knob at 10.
 

Singin' Dave

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These come up here on TDPRI every so often. Seems to be some confusion in the name as I've heard "Special", "Tex-Mex Special", "Fat Tele" and then there is the whole "California Fat" series as noted above which were vary simialr but a little different and later than the mid nineties MIM models.

Bottom line, with a few modifications, great guitars! I bought mine off CList about 15 years ago, a '95 IIRC with as also mentioned above the veneer sunburst top, solid color black back.

When I bought it (for ~$350 I think w a hsc back in 2007 or so), a previous owner had already swapped out the tuners for something else but rest was original. I recall I did not like the neck pickup - dark and muddy and higher output than I like, and the bridge PUP was lacking too, as was overall "unplugged" sustain, kind plinky. But I really liked the neck carve, the 5 way tonal options etc.

So I set to it - put a custom order 4 wire Seymour Duncan Seth Lover in the neck and stock Fralin Tele bridge PUP into it, and swapped out the bridge for a Wilkinson compensated saddle. These 3 changed made a HUGE difference to the guitar and I love it now. Still have it and it's used regularly.

As to value, I'd agree, probably in line with any N series MIM Tele.
 

Neener

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If I have time I'll open up the guitar mine is currently in and confirm. It's also possible that mine was swapped out for something else before I got the guitar, but I don't think that's the case.

I seem to remember reading the stock MIM were Alnico up until mid 2000's. Could be wrong
 

BradKM

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I seem to remember reading the stock MIM were Alnico up until mid 2000's. Could be wrong

You are correct.

I pulled the pickup last night and it's AlNiCo. No base plate. Plastic bobbin stamped "O48610." It measured around 7.1 on the multimeter, which really surprised me.

I think I was thrown off by a couple of other pickups I found in my parts drawers as I was making the swap... I had several with black and yellow leads.

I replaced this one with a GFS Fat Boy I recently removed from another guitar, and it's a definite improvement. Still, it'll likely make way for a Bootstrap Pretzel that I just ordered.

I don't know why the Fender pickup is so anemic and shrill. I've had others from the same era that sounded fine. This Esquire was its last chance. It's going to live out its days with me in the case of the guitar it came with.
 

Neener

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You are correct.

I pulled the pickup last night and it's AlNiCo. No base plate. Plastic bobbin stamped "O48610." It measured around 7.1 on the multimeter, which really surprised me.

I think I was thrown off by a couple of other pickups I found in my parts drawers as I was making the swap... I had several with black and yellow leads.

I replaced this one with a GFS Fat Boy I recently removed from another guitar, and it's a definite improvement. Still, it'll likely make way for a Bootstrap Pretzel that I just ordered.

I don't know why the Fender pickup is so anemic and shrill. I've had others from the same era that sounded fine. This Esquire was its last chance. It's going to live out its days with me in the case of the guitar it came with.

Yeah not sure why this one is like that. Maybe shrill was being too mean, just a bit too thin/ice pick for me. I have 3 early Am Std’s with stock PU that sound great. Everything you want in a tele.
 

BradKM

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Yeah not sure why this one is like that. Maybe shrill was being too mean, just a bit too thin/ice pick for me. I have 3 early Am Std’s with stock PU that sound great. Everything you want in a tele.

We're not the first to complain about this specific pickup. And I agree. I've got other MIM and American Fenders and Squiers that I've left completely stock. I think this is the only one I've swapped in one of my Fenders so far.
 




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